These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

the eye doctor

i spent the majority of the day with my eyes paralyzed and it wasso uncomfortable.

my vision has gotten worse over the past year and a half and i've been delaying going to the eye doctor to get new lenses or a new prescription. finally the time came and dawn and i decided to do it. she got hers last weekend.

i made an appointment as soon as i could and had it this morning. i knew it would be tough because i have to explain my legal blindness and situation with my optic nerves. for those of you who don't know, i've got optic atrophy/neuropathy, which limits much of my central vision.

luckily i have paperwork from my last appointment in 2002 in texas. i showed it to them and we went through the motions.

they gave me this piece of paper with circles with things inside of them. the woman asked me to identify the numbers inside the circles. i couldn't see a damn thing and panicked. turns out it was a color blind test. i failed it miserably.

after some further tests, my eyes were dilated. it burns like crazy and thus began my day of having paralyzed eyes.

i did the eye exam and the doc. looked through my eyes to see the optic nerve behind them. he suggested i do a test where photos are taken of the eye all the way back to the optic nerves.

when we got the results, he explained to me that my optic nerves are in poor shape. my left is far worse than my right optic nerve. he showed me where the optic nerve has tons of nerve endings connecting to the eye...well, in my left eye, there are only a few strangs connecting the optic nerve to the eye. the rest of the nerve endings are dead or atrophied. that was hard to take and hear. it hd never quite been put to me that way before.

later as my sight started recovering from the dilation, i played around with my left eye. there is a dark spot right in the center of my vision among the reds and greens. i ran my finger in front of it and it disappears when it reaches that area of my vision. it's kind of scary.

he thought my vision, the optic nerve damage anyway, wouldn't progress any more. the damage has been inflicted. as to the culprit? well, he, and research done on my condition, blamed it on a virus that attacked the optic nerves, a freak thing, really. he said it's like having some kind of heart attack at at a young age when one is healthy and has great blood pressure. it just happens. i guess, well, i don't know.

so i went up front and will get a new lens for my right eye. there is no use getting ne for my left. i also got a pair of clip-on dark lenses. i've been needing something to kill the glare.

i did go to work at 5 and even went to an assignment with my eyes still dilated. it was a bitch. luckily jim and mark helped me out by proofing pages tonight. i don't know if i would have been able to do it early on. it also gave me a chance to finish my centerpiece **** tonight. so i'm caught up.

hopefully in a week or so i'll get the new lens and i'll be able to see better.

i don't know. i've been blessed and cursed by this thing. i've got this weird ass thing that's red and green right in the middle of my central vision that at one time was huge and i was pretty much blind, hitting so many things that people would laugh.

then after two years, it shrunk and my field of vision improved. a hole sort of opened up in the center where i can see with my right eye and allows me to read and do what i can do.

"an eye, an eye. my vision for eye..."


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