Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? Yeah it’s a cliche but have you ever really experienced it? I have physically a few times and last week I experienced it emotionally. I have 1 goal really for the next 5 years and that is to set things up so that when I retire I can travel a lot. I always assumed that financial restrictions would be the only thing between me and my dream. Well I was wrong. Since I have always been so healthy that it never occurred to me that my body would betray me…that only happened to other people. So I was taken unawares this week when I was diagnosed with age related macular degeneration… dry in the left and wet in the right.
The right eye is what got me to the ophthalmologist in the first place. I thought it was cataracts since that had been the diagnosis last year. It took a bit of work to reconcile that but I did it. After all it is a quick, simple operation and poof! Good as new. So when my eyesight in my right eye radically deteriorated I got my ass to the doctor. You can imagine my shock when he announced that no, I didn’t have a cataract, I had burst blood vessels in the back of my eye and he proceeded to get his receptionist to book an emergency appointment with the retina A-team. Heart pounding I got my ass over there and proceeded to spend 2 hours shuffling from room to room enduring assorted drops, massive machines and professionals while trying to keep the panic from stealing oxygen from my brain. With moderate success.
Finally the doc arrived and after doing his drop/exam/questions routine (do these people not share?) he explained that I had age related macular degeneration and that there is no cure and it will get worse!!!!!!!!!! … after which I only caught every 5th word or so until we got to “and you will need to come in and have a shot every month”. What? Where? “In the right eye.” The left can be helped with massive doses of vits and omega 3. My heart pounding blocked anything else. I managed to make my appointments, catch transit home before I started to cry. I felt like all my dreams unravelled in minutes and with them myself.
I define myself as artist, writer,traveller and reader so sight is pretty high on the list of tools for all of them. It’s not like I can get stronger glasses to fix it, nothing will help. All I can hope for is to slow down the progression. This weekend has been about trying to move past the bad news and trying to weave the threads back into some kind of pattern I can live with.
Funny this. During the condo adventure, even when I felt stressed, I revelled in doing it on my own. Loved that this experience and the condo would be mine. No consulting with a partner, no sharing of glory and I didn’t really mind the thought of not having someone to share the tragedy, if one would occur. I was proud of what I had managed to accomplished. The truth is that it likely wouldn’t have even happened if I had a partner, the bureaucracy of even 2 defeats as many dreams as not.
But this? This is definitely partner worthy (a nod to Elaine’s classic sponge episode :)). To not have someone to hold me and tell me it will be ok, that they will be with me all the way and we will make it work… well it is a dark small room with nary a sliver of light. It is all on me and the Goddess to make it work. Even as I type this I feel my head leaning into a chest… you know that feeling? That wonderful resting feeling you get when life sends you a shit ball and you have someone you can lean into, even for a moment.
Ok, shake the shit off and trundle on. I have had a couple of important epiphanies (of course, right?) :
#3570 – If you are young, don’t waste it on drinking, partying and drugs. Seriously. I think back and imagine what I could have been doing with all that youth-juice? Using my powers for good and making a difference in the world, that’s what.
#3571 – I am going to cram every little bit in while I can. To the people who are waiting till they retire to travel and experience the world – HELL NO! Yeah, there are lots of gray-sters out there trucking around but it is a crap shoot (hmmmm shit seems to be a theme today)… the reality is that as we age, so do our parts. Logic dictates that those parts are going to wear out. Don’t wait. Go outside… your home, your town, your country and most of all, your comfort zone. Be prepared to be amazed.
#3572 – Eat your freaking vegetables and omega-3, they actually do make a difference to your eyes. Who knew? Yeah yeah, Mom knew.
So now I am the proud owner of a juicer powerful enough to send small mice to the moon (but I wouldn’t do that), a fridge so full of vegetables that I can barely get my wine in there and I am planning a trip in January. I was going to forgo travelling this winter because of the condo but the hell with that! I might have to train Sadi (my kiity ) to be my seeing eye-cat soon. And lets face it, the places I usually go to are not all that kind to the olfactory nerves.
All I can do is everything I can and then hurtle into denial and let the Goddess have her way with me. Frankly, denial is highly underrated, I believe that it is what allows us to leave the house every day. The people who suffer from anxiety and agoraphobia are actually the ones that experience the world without the blinders on. But in this moment, before denial’s kind spell? This really really sucks cruel curve balls of shit.