Just Heather
Bleeding In Your Eye Is As Scary As It Sounds

A couple weeks ago, I woke up with a headache, sore throat, stuffy nose and blurry vision. None of this is odd—I get strep throat & sinus infections several times per year, and if I wore my glasses more often there’s a chance I could see clearly.

My cold went away, and I could see again—in my right eye. My left eye? Still pretty blurry. Then something weird happened Friday night. The blurry vision? Was suddenly very localized, like there’s a big bubble in the center of my eye. It’s a good thing I spent so many years in marching band—if peripheral vision is all I’ve got, I’m glad it’s so well developed.

I went to Lenscrafters in my first free minute on Saturday. They were booked but scheduled an appointment for Sunday. I flunked most of my pre-screening tests. You know,the ones for my left eye. Then, I headed back to see the eye doc. Yes, this is Lenscrafters but he’s an independent ophthalmologist and has always been great with Brenia.

He asked a lot of questions, looked at my retinal pictures and told me my problem was beyond his expertise. Um, that’s not something you want to hear. Ever. I have a retinal bleed, causing wet macular degeneration—a central vision blind spot. He referred me to a retinal specialist (appointment at 1:15 today) for immediate surgery.

There’s an 80% chance my vision will be completely restored once they stop the bleeding. That’s a passing grade and everything, but that 20%? Sounds awfully high when you’re talking about my sight.

I. Am. Terrified.

And, not just about losing my vision. It took me most of yesterday (with lots of tears that are possibly not good for a bleeding eye), but I’ve come to terms with that. I think. It’s just one eye, anyway. I’m currently ignoring Dr. Google who hints that it could happen to the other one as well. Dr. Google is mean and scary.

I’m scared of surgery. They’re going to point laser beams at my eye. My eye!

I’m scared of the financial ramifications. Our insurance is basically sucky, our HSA is fairly depleted from other events, we just received a huge list of repairs for the rental house we own, and our savings account? Not what it should be.

My eyesight or letting Lorelai go to preschool as planned? My eyesight or keeping the girls in their current school. My eyesight or the Disney vacation my girls have been excited about for months? I might honestly choose all the things my girls “need” except that my personal income pretty much relies on my eyes. How can I blog blind? But, we’re ignoring that possibility for the moment.

Except. I’m not.

9 Responses to “Bleeding In Your Eye Is As Scary As It Sounds”

  1. You are a force and you will be part of that 80%. If not, we will find you the prettiest eye patch to match all your cocktail dresses.

    Lots and lots of hugs.

  2. The ability to see feels like the defining human experience. Our language is infested with these analogies: from heralding those who are “visionary” to shunning those with “blind faith.” Our culture rewards hindsight, foresight and acuity. Yet we don’t really see with our eyes. Biologically, the process of image interpretation takes place in the visual cortex, not on the retina. I take more solace in an old expression of philosophy: “The eyes do not see; they are but portals to the soul.”

    Your words, here and elsewhere, are not expressions of what your eyes can see. If only the sighted could write, we would not have the essayist James Thurber or the novelist James Joyce. If only the sighted couple inspire, we would not have politicians like Franklin Roosevelt or Thomas Gore, musicians like Ray Charles, Doc Watson or “Blind” Lemon Jefferson” or painters like Claude Monet. Greatness comes from within.

    Admiral Horatio Nelson, the great hero of England, lost his vision in one eye in the horror of combat. In 1801, the commander faced what historians believe was his most difficult challenge at the Battle of Copenhagen. The odds were overwhelming, and Nelson’s overseers raised the signal to order his retreat.

    When Nelson’s officers informed him of the order, he wanted to see the flag for himself. He said: “I have the right to be blind sometimes,” and raised his telescope to his blind eye, insisting “I really do not see the signal!”

    Nelson won the battle. England eventually won the war. Sight is not what we see, but who we have the vision to be. Your life and your future are greater than any eye can capture. I hope you can see in yourself what the rest of us see in you.

  3. I have had two bouts of optic neuritis (related to MS) and lost vision completely in my left eye at one point. It has returned but is permanently affected (which just means I need a stronger prescription) Praying that all turns out fine for you..I know how scary eye problems can be. (((hugs)))

  4. Heather, I know you’re scared and so much is going through your mind with all the ramifications but I believe, truly believe, that you are the 80%. You will have this surgery and come back with your sight restored. All the other things, those will come in time. There is plenty for them to be done. Your sight is important now and forever. Focus on that and the rest will work itself out. I know that sounds like an easy thing to say when you have true, major financial worries. I’ve BTDT and it doesn’t help much with the worry. Just know that taking care of you and your health will pay off more financially for you and your family than taking care of anything else. Please know that we all care about you and have you and your family in our hearts. Please keep us updated when you can. ((hugs))

  5. Heather,

    I don’t know if you recall my bout with iritis nearly 2 years ago. It was without a doubt one of the most horrifying experiences I’ve had in my life, mainly because it was so filled with question marks. Dr. Google (and Dr. Ironman, my opthamologist) were equally UNreassuring about if I would ever cure, if I would ever see again, if the other eye would follow, etc. Like you, my terror was about losing my sight – how could I drive? Type? Work? Run? Watch my kids play ball? Confirm that they turned in their book report online? SO MUCH seemed tied up in my sight.

    As it turns out, I beat the odds and you will too. Tell Dr. Google to take a hike, and trust in the passing grade. Eye repair/surgery/correction has made leaps and bounds in the past decade, and those 20% are part of the old stats (I’m sure) not the new ones.

    I am actually legally blind in my left eye, which happens to be the iritis eye. In fact, it may be because of that that my disease progressed to where it did – I didn’t recognized the deterioration in sight. I am here to tell you that the other eye compensates just find, TYVM; in fact when I went to get my eye test done for my driver’s license back in December I passed WITHOUT my glasses. My right eye is happy to help keep on keepin’ on for me.

    I know you are scared – BTDT – I wish I could take that away from you. Know I am praying for you and that I hope it all goes as well as possible, and is as painless as possible. Get drugs!! this is no time to be a hero!!!

    Love ya!

  6. I think you are justifiably frightened. I will keep you in my prayers.