A Christmas Gift … Going Blind

 

Over the past 4 to 6 weeks, I’ve had a hard time seeing out of my left eye. You might say, “Then just use your right!” right? Not so fast, sister … I have mono-vision, and my left eye is my reading books eye … my reading music eye … my designing eye … my photography eye, etc. It’s my whole life eye. No, I don’t drive that much, so my right eye isn’t as important to me except when I’m at the archery range. Then, it really matters. But I haven’t been there for a while because of other things … you know … family stuff. Kid stuff. Mom stuff. I actually think I’m doing penance for having a career that kept me away from home for ten years … it’s catching up to me now.

Warning to moms. Don’t fall for the rationalist’s thinking that kids are resilient. They can be, but if you’re not there in the early years, they’ll miss out on those things that only a mom can instill in them; things that give them the confidence needed to weather the storms of middle school, high school, and the first three semesters of college. Not to mention pandemics and lockdowns.

But I digress.

My eyesight. It’s pretty important to me. In fact, of all the physical maladies I might suffer in old age, losing my eyesight is the number 1 most dreaded, and developing rheumatoid arthritis in my hands is the number 2 most dreaded. As long as I can see and play the piano and work on my computer to write and design, I think I can handle whatever else comes my way. Oh, and I need my hearing too. Just saying.

So when I started seeing little black specks cross my vision and then flashing sparks of light to my left and then full coverage grey curtains darkening my left eye with a really spooky kind of shadow … AND the floaty party in the center of my vision that made it impossible to focus … well, I began catastrophizing. Five minutes later I initiated a little ongoing Q&A session with the Almighty, which at first wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but then He started getting through my thick skull, which I didn’t like so much either because He was pointing out something that was a little hard to swallow, so I distracted myself for an entire afternoon on Ancestry.com.

I felt better after that.

And I immediately began searching for a solution to the various problems I would eventually face, starting with the first challenge: writing.

The answer? Become a podcaster. So I started asking others questions and pretending I was asking for a friend and got all kinds of good ideas which would have been helpful if I was actually compelled to be a podcaster, but in reality I was really just biding my time with distractions until I could accept what I knew to be the truth.

Not yet … I’ll get there.

So I started imagining myself as a podcaster talking about whatever’s on my mind (which sounds like a good podcast title to me), and at first it was cool because I’m really funny and make people laugh. But that didn’t last for long because as I thought about it, this little voice started saying things like, “Why would anyone want to hear what you have to say?” and “You don’t have anything to say that’s any different from what anyone else is saying … you’re wasting your time,” and “You don’t have any ideas that are relevant.”

And then the final kicker, “You’re not relevant.”

To which I responded, “I know! Oh dear God, I know! I’m not relevant! … there’s no point!”

Now, that’s a show-stopper.

I’m no prodigal son (at least not anymore), but this whole eye thing seems a mad method of pushing me to the end of myself. Have you been there before? It’s not an easy trip, but once you arrive, things get really quiet. Like with Elijah in 1 Kings 19:

111 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I distinctly remember hearing Him ask me the same question. “What are you doing here?”

Let me tell you something. When God asks you a question, you know the answer right away. It’s very weird, but it has this super-power way of clearing the noise and confusion.

My answer was, “I guess I’m trying to impress You with all the cool things I can do. And that’s not what You want, is it.”

So, at that point, I resigned myself to losing my eyesight and thought of all the people who lead amazing lives with their disabilities, and decided I was going to walk directly into the fray trusting that God knows what He’s doing better than I do, and that He has a plan.

As for the eyesight issue, I went to the doctor. The doctor seemed pretty concerned but couldn’t get me in to see an optometrist for one of those fancy scans that would show whether it was true that I would be blind at some point; any point too soon for my taste. So, I took things into my own hands (one last time, please?) and called the local box store optometrist and begged for an appointment and they said yes and I went in and got the fancy scan.

The box store optometrist confirmed that yes, in fact, I am in the beginning stages of a disease and it was good that I came in and that all the symptoms I described are, in fact, legit.

But it’s going to go away.

And I’ll be fine.

All of that to get me to stop chasing the mantel of relevancy and instead start trusting Him to put me to work on what He wants and needs and desires for His glory and relevancy. I know this: only then will I find a settled focus and an otherworldly sense of peace.

But I still feel this: I must be doing something all the time to be relevant and worthwhile.

If I let my feelings advise me, I’ll continue to drive myself from one distraction to the next, looking for my spot.

I stand in liminal space.

Merry Christmas to all of my Ricochet compadres. Love you.

1 The Lockman Foundation. Holy Bible: New American Standard Bible (NASB) (Kindle Locations 12204-12206). The Lockman Foundation. Kindle Edition.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 31 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    I thought denial in the medical sense was a guy thing; my friends got sick of my pestering them to get annual prostate exams until three of us got cancer. I like to think my nagging contributed to two of us being in remission and the third (me) controlled.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m relieved to hear of your good outcome. I have often said that you can cut anything I have two of, as long as you leave my eyes alone. Since I make my living as a tech writer and narrator, the need is obvious but it goes way beyond mere necessity. I’ve got to be able to see. When I noticed some bright spots at the peripheral vision I lined up an appointment asap. I was told it’s normal, nothing unexpected for a 70 year old coot. I was also given a list of warning signs of potential problems, which I have taken to heart.

    Keep writing. You do it better than most, including me.

    • #1
  2. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I thought denial in the medical sense was a guy thing; my friends got sick of my pestering them to get annual prostate exams until three of us got cancer. I like to think my nagging contributed to two of us being in remission and the third (me) controlled.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m relieved to hear of your good outcome. I have often said that you can cut anything I have two of, as long as you leave my eyes alone. Since I make my living as a tech writer and narrator, the need is obvious but it goes way beyond mere necessity. I’ve got to be able to see. When I noticed some bright spots at the peripheral vision I lined up an appointment asap. I was told it’s normal, nothing unexpected for a 70 year old coot. I was also given a list of warning signs of potential problems, which I have taken to heart.

    Keep writing. You do it better than most, including me.

    Awww. Thank you! And yes I’m glad you’re doing okay!  Cancer, eyes, and in all other ways.

     As for it being a guy thing…nope. I’m a big fan of denial. It’s worked for me about 90% of the time😀. 

    I probably need to knock that off. 

    Merry Christmas!

    • #2
  3. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Hallelujah. 

    • #3
  4. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Merry Christmas to you, GLW. I’m glad to hear that your eye problem will resolve. Relevance is greatly over-rated. More and more I am beginning to believe that the Ministry (Capital “M”) I am called to is with the people and circumstances around me – being a good friend, a good neighbor, a good family member, taking on tasks a little bit at a time. Thank you for this thoughtful reminder.

    • #4
  5. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Merry Christmas to you, GLW. I’m glad to hear that your eye problem will resolve. Relevance is greatly over-rated. More and more I am beginning to believe that the Ministry (Capital “M”) I am called to is with the people and circumstances around me – being a good friend, a good neighbor, a good family member, taking on tasks a little bit at a time. Thank you for this thoughtful reminder.

    Yes. Everything you said. Me too ! It’s funny how much better I feel shifting my focus to my family and spending time with them, helping my oldest daughter with her struggles and just sitting with my youngest. They are both so much happier. Big DUH for me. 

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    It may not be relevant to your situation, and maybe you won’t have a recurrence, but I’ve had friends in the past who were told they were going to lose vision in one eye or something, and nothing could be done.

    I suggested they find an optometrist or the like who graduated from Pacific University (Forest Grove, Oregon), which one of my cousins attended, because in the past at least they were known for having gotten into a lot more detail regarding musculature of the eyes, etc.  More than a typical optometrist, and likely more than a typical opthalmologist etc would receive too.  Maybe even more than a typical opthalmic surgeon.

    Out of 4 or 5 such cases over the years, every one of them found that a graduate of Pacific University was able to resolve their problem successfully.

    Maybe these days at Pacific University they study CRT instead of musculature of the eye, but it’s worth a try.

    • #6
  7. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It may not be relevant to your situation, and maybe you won’t have a recurrence, but I’ve had friends in the past who were told they were going to lose vision in one eye or something, and nothing could be done.

    I suggested they find an optometrist or the like who graduated from Pacific University (Forest Grove, Oregon), which one of my cousins attended, because in the past at least they were known for having gotten into a lot more detail regarding musculature of the eyes, etc. More than a typical optometrist, and likely more than a typical opthalmologist etc would receive too. Maybe even more than a typical opthalmic surgeon.

    Out of 4 or 5 such cases over the years, every one of them found that a graduate of Pacific University was able to resolve their problem successfully.

    Maybe these days at Pacific University they study CRT instead of musculature of the eye, but it’s worth a try.

    Wow! THANK YOU!!! I’ll check it out. Merry Christmas!

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It may not be relevant to your situation, and maybe you won’t have a recurrence, but I’ve had friends in the past who were told they were going to lose vision in one eye or something, and nothing could be done.

    I suggested they find an optometrist or the like who graduated from Pacific University (Forest Grove, Oregon), which one of my cousins attended, because in the past at least they were known for having gotten into a lot more detail regarding musculature of the eyes, etc. More than a typical optometrist, and likely more than a typical opthalmologist etc would receive too. Maybe even more than a typical opthalmic surgeon.

    Out of 4 or 5 such cases over the years, every one of them found that a graduate of Pacific University was able to resolve their problem successfully.

    Maybe these days at Pacific University they study CRT instead of musculature of the eye, but it’s worth a try.

    Wow! THANK YOU!!! I’ll check it out. Merry Christmas!

    I think if you contact the school, they might be able to point you to some graduates in your area.

    If possible you might want to ask for graduates from sometime in the past, rather than recent.  Although I don’t really know if their emphasis has shifted.

    • #8
  9. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Sorry to hear some of this, but I’m glad you’re talking about it with God in prayer.  It sounds like you have what I have.  (I have monovision as well.)  Have you been to an ophthalmologist for this?  What I’ve been diagnosed with is two things, basically, the sparks and flashes at the periphery of vision is the sack that holds the vitreous humor separating off the retina.  This space fills in with fluid and doesn’t cause problems in itself.  But the separation can cause retinal tearing, which is bad, but can be prevented with laser spot welding.

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off as long as possible.

    I’m not saying that you have this, but what you describe sounds like what I have.  I would suggest seeing a good ophthalmologist, if you haven’t already.  But overall, God bless you, soul and spirit, and your vision.

    • #9
  10. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    kedavis (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It may not be relevant to your situation, and maybe you won’t have a recurrence, but I’ve had friends in the past who were told they were going to lose vision in one eye or something, and nothing could be done.

    I suggested they find an optometrist or the like who graduated from Pacific University (Forest Grove, Oregon), which one of my cousins attended, because in the past at least they were known for having gotten into a lot more detail regarding musculature of the eyes, etc. More than a typical optometrist, and likely more than a typical opthalmologist etc would receive too. Maybe even more than a typical opthalmic surgeon.

    Out of 4 or 5 such cases over the years, every one of them found that a graduate of Pacific University was able to resolve their problem successfully.

    Maybe these days at Pacific University they study CRT instead of musculature of the eye, but it’s worth a try.

    Wow! THANK YOU!!! I’ll check it out. Merry Christmas!

    I think if you contact the school, they might be able to point you to some graduates in your area.

    If possible you might want to ask for graduates from sometime in the past, rather than recent. Although I don’t really know if their emphasis has shifted.

    Copy that🙏

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Merry Christmas, GLW.

    • #11
  12. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    May God save your sight GLW. Blindness even in one eye is a horrible thing. Special prayers through Santa Lucia (as Italians call her), patron saint of eye sight for we Catholics.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    And if they say “Did Trump tell you to do that?” find another doctor!

    (Like the “drinking bleach” hoax, y’know…)

     

    • #13
  14. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    And if they say “Did Trump tell you to do that?” find another doctor!

    (Like the “drinking bleach” hoax, y’know…)

    I’m not sure what you mean, but this is a real medical treatment.  It’s no more invasive than cataract surgery, but one that I hope to avoid.

    • #14
  15. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Sorry to hear some of this, but I’m glad you’re talking about it with God in prayer. It sounds like you have what I have. (I have monovision as well.) Have you been to an ophthalmologist for this? What I’ve been diagnosed with is two things, basically, the sparks and flashes at the periphery of vision is the sack that holds the vitreous humor separating of the retina. This space fills in with fluid and doesn’t cause problems in itself. But the separation can cause retinal tearing, which is bad, but can be prevented with laser spot welding.

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    I’m not saying that you have this, but what you describe sounds like what I have. I would suggest seeing a good ophthalmologist, if you haven’t already. But overall, God bless you, soul and spirit, and your vision.

    Thank you Flicker. I’ve been reading about it a bit and the box store doc talked really fast, so just a flyover from him. You are filling in some of the detail I would have wanted. It sounds like the same thing. I’m going to start sending out feelers to the university and to my primary doc about seeing an ophthalmologist. I just happen to have a primary doc Apptmt the first week in January. Hmm

     

    Merry Christmas and God bless you

    GLW

    • #15
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Sorry to hear some of this, but I’m glad you’re talking about it with God in prayer. It sounds like you have what I have. (I have monovision as well.) Have you been to an ophthalmologist for this? What I’ve been diagnosed with is two things, basically, the sparks and flashes at the periphery of vision is the sack that holds the vitreous humor separating of the retina. This space fills in with fluid and doesn’t cause problems in itself. But the separation can cause retinal tearing, which is bad, but can be prevented with laser spot welding.

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    I’m not saying that you have this, but what you describe sounds like what I have. I would suggest seeing a good ophthalmologist, if you haven’t already. But overall, God bless you, soul and spirit, and your vision.

    Thank you Flicker. I’ve been reading about it a bit and the box store doc talked really fast, so just a flyover from him. You are filling in some of the detail I would have wanted. It sounds like the same thing. I’m going to start sending out feelers to the university and to my primary doc about seeing an ophthalmologist. I just happen to have a primary doc Apptmt the first week in January. Hmm

     

    Merry Christmas and God bless you

    GLW

    Thanks, and you have a merry Christmas, too.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    And if they say “Did Trump tell you to do that?” find another doctor!

    (Like the “drinking bleach” hoax, y’know…)

    I’m not sure what you mean, but this is a real medical treatment. It’s no more invasive than cataract surgery, but one that I hope to avoid.

    Yes, I’m just thinking of doctors who may not have heard about it and assume it must be some kind of snake-oil thing.

    • #17
  18. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    And if they say “Did Trump tell you to do that?” find another doctor!

    (Like the “drinking bleach” hoax, y’know…)

    I’m not sure what you mean, but this is a real medical treatment. It’s no more invasive than cataract surgery, but one that I hope to avoid.

    Yes, I’m just thinking of doctors who may not have heard about it and assume it must be some kind of snake-oil thing.

    If your ophthalmologist hasn’t heard of it, don’t educate him.  Just get a new one.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    And if they say “Did Trump tell you to do that?” find another doctor!

    (Like the “drinking bleach” hoax, y’know…)

    I’m not sure what you mean, but this is a real medical treatment. It’s no more invasive than cataract surgery, but one that I hope to avoid.

    Yes, I’m just thinking of doctors who may not have heard about it and assume it must be some kind of snake-oil thing.

    If your ophthalmologist hasn’t heard of it, don’t educate him. Just get a new one.

    They didn’t ALL go to Pacific University.  :-)

    • #19
  20. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Percival (View Comment):

    Merry Christmas, GLW.

    Merry Christmas to you, Percival

    • #20
  21. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Merry Christmas!    I have been enjoying your posts.   Praise God that your eyes are going to heal.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Keep those G-d conversations going, GLW! Blessings and Merry Christmas.

    • #22
  23. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Merry Christmas! I have been enjoying your posts. Praise God that your eyes are going to heal.

    Merry Christmas to you E. K.  May I call you E. K.?

    Thank you for giving my posts some of your precious time. 

    • #23
  24. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Keep those G-d conversations going, GLW! Blessings and Merry Christmas.

    Merry Christmas to you dear Susan. 

    • #24
  25. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Merry Christmas to you, GLW. I’m glad to hear that your eye problem will resolve. Relevance is greatly over-rated. More and more I am beginning to believe that the Ministry (Capital “M”) I am called to is with the people and circumstances around me – being a good friend, a good neighbor, a good family member, taking on tasks a little bit at a time. Thank you for this thoughtful reminder.

    I’m reminded of a quote attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel. Occasionally, use words.”

    • #25
  26. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posterior_vitreous_detachment

    Been there, done that.

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The black dots, filaments and curtains is from changes in the vitreous humor, a problem, but when it gets too bad that vitreous humor can be sucked out of the sack and replaced with oil, something that I will put off a long as possible.

    And if they say “Did Trump tell you to do that?” find another doctor!

    (Like the “drinking bleach” hoax, y’know…)

    I’m not sure what you mean, but this is a real medical treatment. It’s no more invasive than cataract surgery, but one that I hope to avoid.

    Yes, I’m just thinking of doctors who may not have heard about it and assume it must be some kind of snake-oil thing.

    If your ophthalmologist hasn’t heard of it, don’t educate him. Just get a new one.

    Some doctors are educable and don’t mind being provoked by a patient to learn new things.   It happens.  But if you can find someone who is already good with your malady, that’s probably preferable.

    • #27
  28. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I understand completely about the importance of eyesight to you. I am the same. My malady, however, is that I cannot open my eyelids and I go cross-eyed without medication. My immune system attacks my soft-tissue muscles.

    • #28
  29. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Hang On (View Comment):

    I understand completely about the importance of eyesight to you. I am the same. My malady, however, is that I cannot open my eyelids and I go cross-eyed without medication. My immune system attacks my soft-tissue muscles.

    Good grief. That sounds terrible! I’m so sorry for your eyesight troubles. I’ve never heard of such a thing. 

    • #29
  30. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    I understand completely about the importance of eyesight to you. I am the same. My malady, however, is that I cannot open my eyelids and I go cross-eyed without medication. My immune system attacks my soft-tissue muscles.

    Good grief. That sounds terrible! I’m so sorry for your eyesight troubles. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    Neither had my ophthalmologist whom I went to see about it. What it also did was make my speech slurred and I had trouble swallowing. He thought I had a stroke. I knew I hadn’t had a stroke, but I didn’t know what the problem was.

    He referred me to a neurologist and they knew exactly what it was that I had. It is rare, but they get 5 or 6 cases per year.

     

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.