Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Being Thankful

Hi there!

Today, I'm thankful... but it's not really as simple as that. I try to be thankful every day for the people, things, and opportunities in my life- and I think I'm pretty successful at doing so. What I have a more difficult time doing is realizing what I take for granted.

I'm thankful for my eyesight. It's been almost 2 months since I regained it with nearly full cooperation of my eyes. One minute, I was talking on the phone and everything seemed perfectly fine. In less than a full second, I couldn't see. Literally. I will never be able to justly describe or explain the feelings I felt in that moment. It was plain scary.

I don't know about you, but when things like that happen, all of the "what if" thoughts rush through my head. My pulse was quickly climbing. I thought that if I cried, I'd somehow make things worse. My right eye felt enlarged... so I kept thinking it'd explode or fall out (I never said my thoughts were rational). When I stood up, I felt dizzy, I couldn't walk straight... in fact, I walked straight into my dresser even though I knew where it was and I actively tried to avoid it.

Once I was at Quick Care (it's a place that's not so quick, but it was closer to my house than the ER), my heart rate was upward of 150. As much as I tried to calm myself, I couldn't stop thinking the worst. Without an explanation for what was happening, there was just no way I could be calm. They had me do their eye chart- you know, the one you stand however far behind and you have to spout off the letters you can see? I questioned the guy on what the point of this test was. I said I could see 3 of him when I could see. I still couldn't stand up straight- my husband had to hold me up. The guy told me to try anyway. So I did. It took quite some time because I had to hold my right eyelid open. And my eyeball burned. You know what he told me after I finished naming off the letters I saw on the eye chart? "You have perfect vision." WHAT!?

I forgot to mention just what my eyes looked like. My left eye and eyelid looked normal. My right eyelid looked like a Pug dog's forehead. My right pupil was dilated so greatly, it was hard to tell the color of my eye. Oh, and the pupil was most definitely not aiming forward. It was as far right as you could imagine it might go.

Anyway, the people at "Quick Care" sent me to an eye doctor. He ran some fancy tests- all of which, I passed with flying colors. He then did the simple "follow my finger" test. He said my right eye seemed like it became disconnected. My eyes were not cooperating together or with my brain. No kidding, Sherlock ;-) He sent me to the ER because he was convinced I had suffered a stroke or had a brain aneurysm.

After a very long MRI, I was told there were absolutely no signs of a stroke or a brain aneurysm. I still had no answers, though. The best the doctors could do was guess. So what it came down to was stress. I had gone through sooo (can I double underline that?) much of it in the hours leading up to that dreadful day that my body couldn't handle it. I was told that basically, just like your feet can swell, your eyes can, too. Fluid behind my right eye more or less exploded and pinched a nerve. Phew! That sounded hopeful. Except that the doctor then told me not to expect a dramatic or quick recovery.

I'm still recovering, and I will be for the next 4+ months. Bright lights and cold temperatures really hurt my eyes. I do feel an occasional burst of pain through my eye and I can't keep my right eyelid open all day. Sometimes I either have to hold it open with a finger or let it close and take a rest. I'm hopeful.

I'm thankful again for my eyesight. I'm confident I'll never take it for granted again. I appreciate being able to see my loved ones, the changing of the seasons, the sky, and that dang pimple on my chin. I feel like I've gone through a journey. As odd as it may sound, it's self-discovery.

There are so, so, so many things to be thankful for. Especially around this time of the year with holiday gifts and such, it's easy to lose sight (heh, no pun intended) of what's really important. Sure, I think it's okay to be thankful for a game console or a new bicycle... those things do bring joy and entertainment- and I think joy and entertainment are necessary components of life. But I urge you to think about the things and abilities you have that you may not notice. It's kind of enlightening.

What are you thankful for that you may have taken for granted in the past?

Until next time...
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