This weekend we had a scare.
For about twenty minutes on Sunday I couldn’t see out of my left eye.
It was as if I had looked at the sun for too long, and my eye had been burned. Purple and pink snowflakes, like the ones we cut out of paper with our kids, covered everything. The center of the snowflakes completely obstructing whatever I was looking at. Bleached out objects peaked through the cut-outs in the snowflakes.
After twenty minutes of keeping my left eye covered and sitting very still, the snowflakes melted away. But my eye was still slightly fuzzy and very tired. I felt almost as if someone had punch me gently (is that even possible??) in the socket.
After conferring with all our resident doctor-people (my sister-in-law,and my boss – a pediatrician turned priest) we decided to go to a walk-in clinic just to be safe.
I have family history of detached retina’s and strokes and diabetes, and we didn’t want to take any chances.
Sweet Man drove, and I blinked at my surroundings and tried to determine whether or not it was snowing pink and purple again, or if I was just sleepy (thankfully, it was just the latter.)
At the walk-in clinic there was confusion about insurance, and I realized I was going to have to find a replacement for a work event that night, and a tiny little headache began to ping the top of my head.
That is until Sweet Man reminded me that being stressed out wasn’t going to help anyone if it meant I ended up dead or blind. (Don’t worry, he was sweet about how he broke the news.)
The very kind doctor at the clinic couldn’t find anything obviously wrong, but urged Nathan to take me to the eye doctor on Monday. Until then the prescription was a lot of rest and no screens.
So after picking up a late lunch, we went home, where I promptly crawled into bed and slept a good four hours.
Later that night, Nathan held my hand and explained what was happening on Deadwood, while I lay in darkness, my eyes covered with a sleeping mask (his prescription!)
Monday morning I called the eye doctor and made an appointment first thing.
It turns out that I – who have never had a single migraine – had what is called an Ocular Migraine. Basically I got the spots that often come as a migraine warning, but without any of the others symptoms except feeling really, really, tired (see four-hour nap, followed by ten hours of sleep.)
Such a relief. Huge, huge relief.
Also, it upped my motivation to do all the preventive things in order to ensure that I won’t get diabetes.
Turns out I really really like being able to see.
And there is so much to see. Chickens and roosters. Flowers and trees. Birds and turtles. My children’s faces. Words on a page. Images on a screen. My husband in overalls and a cowboy hat. New life sprouting from the earth. Stars and the moon and geese flying overhead. Paintings on the wall. Colors and patterns in an old quilt. The names of things.
It’s amazing how eye-opening 20 minutes without sight can be, and how many gifts I must take for granted.
As the season of Lent approaches (just a week away!) I am wondering how I can practice the discipline of being grateful for the things I take for granted the most… My body and all it’s working parts, my marriage and it’s joy, my children and their presence, my work and it’s lessons, the earth and it’s bounty.
I have an idea brewing… now let’s see if this Enneagram 7 can see it through!