I sit in a waiting room with people who are significantly older than me. Most of them slumped in their seats, staring into spaces that sight cannot reach. Some have one hand resting on their walker attentively waiting for their name to be called. Others sit in a wheelchair, drowsy from too much or too little sleep. Their significant other sits on the other side resting their hand on a hand or a shoulder. These patients are around my mother’s age, some are a little younger, but not by much.
The ophthalmologist tells me to gaze straight into a lens, his blue eyeball is magnified within it. His lashes bat up and down waiting for me to rest my chin on the black apparatus that he can adjust on his side. Specks of dust settle on his eye lashes, but when I shut my right eye my central field of vision in my left eye is a blur. It looks like a smudge tool from Photoshop erased the spot where I stare directly at something.
“How long have you been experiencing sight loss?” He asks.
I think back to when I first noticed my vision discrepancy. I was running in the desert in Atacama, Chile, when I noticed a crinkling in my vision, like someone had pinched my pupil.
The opthalmologist tells me it is unusual for someone my age to experience this sort of eye condition. His patients were generally in their 60s. I was 37 at the time of the visit.
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have a macular hole.”
He knows I have no idea what he is talking about.
Simply put, the gel in your eye ball referred to as the vitreous is pulling away from the retina causing a tear which results in a hole. If you were to get surgery, you could regain your vision. He would drain my eye of the vitreous, fill it with air, and stitch it up.
He says the hole was small enough for the vitrectomy to be a success, but it not guaranteed. From here on out, my vision would get worse, unless I did something about it. He gives me the card for his scheduler, so she could provide me with more details.
I spent $400 that afternoon, so he could tell me the unfortunate news. The cost of the surgery would cost more than five months of pay and that was if I my work allowed me 45 hours plus a week.
Relying on could was not a risk I wished to take. I considered the amount of time I would be out of commission, a solid two weeks of unpaid leave. Sitting face down in a specialized chair, that I would have to purchase, where I would have to remain, shifting every couple of hours to make sure the hole would heal properly.
Fast forward to now.
Since then my peripheral has become progressively worse. My left eye sees things in a blur, including my peripheral. I put a contact more out of habitI wonder if I’m better off wearing an eye patch. Maybe I can have people call me Left Eye Des (the long lost member of TLC) or better yet Mad Eye Moody’s distant cousin.
My left eye is pretty much useless. Last November, before the depression lifted and before the car accident, I noticed a smudge in my right eye. It blocks letters when I read and when I focus on it too much it gets me aggravated and I get headaches.
I think of Helen Keller on my worst days and then I think about all the things I won’t see in my future. My complaints are like any first world living human, but come on. I’d like to keep my vision. Please and thank you. Being consumed by other worries, I continue to plead with God to not take my sight away from me.
There is still so much I want to see.
Back in December, I went back to The Church on the Living Edge. It was refreshing to come back to the world of believers. I missed God in my life, the comfort of the Bible and the ability to lean on Him in times of trouble. That car accident was exactly what my soul needed so that I could become reacquainted with Him.
Since coming back, I keep thinking about one of the apostles. Paul asked God three times to take away the “thorn in his flesh.” It is up for interpretation, but my big take away was that in my own personal journey, I have had my vision taken away from me, so that I could see.
I wonder how others like me who have gone on to live a fulfilling life without their sight. Did they learn braille? Am I asking too much?
Whatever His plans are for me, I am appreciating the time I have to do all the things I can accomplish. I think of the song from Hamilton, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”
Time is fleeting.
We have a short time on this earth. I’m constantly reminded of this when I hear the ticking of my red wall clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
What will you do with the time allowed you on this Earth?
With God’s help I hope to accomplish a lot, so that I can leave a legacy that my posterity will be proud to share with others with or without my sight intact.