HomeAccident & recoveryLeaps and bounds

I just washed the dishes!

I’m getting back to normal life, improving by leaps and bounds—at least, that is how it feels. Yesterday, I took no pain killers; showered and shampooed by myself; wore a pullover T shirt instead of a button-up shirt; was awake (if not entirely alert) for twelve hours straight; had a long visit with friends without dozing off; ate some normal (still soft, but not soup!) food, which I got for myself; pooped; watched TV; and did some research online. Such are the earmarks of nearly normal life.

I am weak from five weeks (!) of inactivity. I have lost a lot of upper-body strength, and my diminished three-dimensional perception leaves me feeling a little wobbly—it’s not quite vertigo, but a sense of unsteadiness and a tendency toward motion sickness. How profoundly reliant on binocular sight we humans are! It will take me some time and experience to adjust to being temporarily monocular.

Regarding my sight, my understanding is that I can expect to be pretty much in a holding pattern for the next five months. All three of my doctors repeatedly stress that I suffered a severe trauma and that I need time to heal. I have some vision in my left eye now (when my eye is held open). I can see light and motion and make out shapes even without a lens. The lens will wait, I assume, until the surgery to remove the silicone oil, in about five months. I have a black area at the center of my vision in my left eye, due most likely to hemorrhaging behind the retina; I also have a clear area within the black that appears to me to be getting bigger. My hope is that the black will disappear as the blood clears away. I picture the black getting erased or chipped or eaten away, bit by bit, as the underlying cells heal.

The other part of the challenge to my vision is my eyelids. I will need another surgery to reconstruct my lower eyelid, most likely in early December. I have been growing new tissue on the lid since Dr. Polonski debrided it some weeks ago. He will graft some cartilage and skin from behind my ear to finish it. I may lose my “Yamaguchi ears” in the process, which I have always been fond of, though apparently sticking straight out is not the preferred aesthetic. One more change in the mirror to look forward to. More concerning to me is my upper eyelid, which is still not yet functioning. Dr. Polonski’s attitude is to stay patient and positive. In the original surgery, he repaired the lid layer by layer and thought everything looked good. That said, there was concussive damage to the nerve that controls the muscles of the lid, and it needs time to heal. That, along with clearing the black, is my primary focus. After all, what good will a functioning eye be if I cannot open my eyelid?

So join me, if you will, in envisioning me with two open, clear eyes—and always a big, big smile. Thank you for smiling back!


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