Once again, I'm dealing with a shift of something I cannot control. My eyes are at the mercy of time and decrease swelling. This last week, I've noticed an increase of in double vision. In looking at my phone or reading a book, words split suddenly. This morning, I woke up to a reality hovering over each other. Everything on my floor was either stretched or doubled. I haven't experienced looking forward with double vision. Certainly not when waking up. It's always been looking up. I want to document these changes as they happen. I had another poem for today but that changed. It's always an unsettling reality to live in. Experiencing new double vision is never not jarring. I have hope that this is another step closer. Another step to being done with this disease.
When I was a child, time moved slowly. I’d go out front and climb the tree that was in our yard. I felt like I was out there for hours when it was probably about thirty minutes. I was present. I wasn’t distracting myself with my own thoughts. I wasn’t worried about what I had done that day or what I still needed to do.
As I’ve gotten older, the time has sped up. Days go by quicker. Time is so easy to access. It’s in our cars, on our phones, and microwaves. We’re reminded throughout our days where we are in time. The more we’re reminded, the quicker the days go.
The other day, I felt time slow down. I was resting my eyes for an hour. I put my eye pillow over my eyes and settled into the darkness. I was listening to a New Yorker article that lasted one hour and eight minutes.
I probably spent the last thirty minutes of that sixty-eight minutes thinking the hour was almost up. But the article continued on and I kept guessing when would be over. Normally, I would give up before the hour was over because I would get restless. But every time I would adjust the pillow over my eyes, I would get hints of how bright the light was in my room. Then I’d relax into the comfort of the darkness.
For the first time, I welcomed the slowness of time. I trusted that the hour would be up eventually. And when it was I got up and walked to the bathroom to open up my eyes. I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time.
Lately, my eyes have been focusing differently.
Whenever anything is near my eyes,
ie a book or phone screen,
my eyes will innately focus
on that one thing
while everything beyond
what I'm focusing on blurs.
It's like focusing in portrait mode,
the background becomes fuzzy
while the words I'm reading
become better than crystal clear.
This way of focusing is a shock to the system.
It took me some time to realize
what was happening.
When something with my vision changes,
there are moments where I'm trying to decide
if what I'm seeing is actually there,
if my sight is true to my reality
or if what I'm seeing is an interpretation
stemming from my brain not being able to process
where my eyes are within the space I'm in.
Mind games with the eyes seem to be never ending
as things continue to shift each day.
I was in a McDonald’s bathroom somewhere in Iowa.
I was exhausted from a weekend full of family time and walking
around the Minnesota State Fair.
My dad and I had left a few hours before dawn and began the long drive back home.
As soon as we got on the road, I instantly fell back asleep,
holding the old stuffed animal dog I got as a Christmas gift when I was 8.
We had stopped at McDonald’s to get breakfast and pee.
I was washing my hands when I noticed how glaringly puffy my eyes were.
What is going on?
I thought as I poked the puffy skin around my eyes, taking in this unfamiliar sight.
I walked away from the mirror to leave,
only to return seconds later to stare at this unusual occurrence once more.
I chalked it up to not enough sleep and too much driving and walking
within a short period of time (something I’m not known to do).
This conclusion reassured me enough to leave the restroom without panicking.
I can’t remember if I asked my dad if he noticed anything different.
If I did, he probably just told me the same thing I told myself: it’s nothing.
We got back in the car and continued our long journey home.
As we were merging back onto the highway, I checked my puffy eyes
once again through the camera app on my phone.
In natural light, they were still puffy.
It’s fine. It’s fine. I just need more sleep.
Oh, the stories we tell ourselves in the moment so we don’t obsessively wonder
what bad things could be happening.
There’s a split in my reality
every morning and night.
When what I see doubles
into this hallucination like state,
my brain is confused. My eyes
don’t work together for longer than
twelve hours a day. Individually,
they’re fine. Left is down
and right is up. If I cover one,
my vision is single and up
or single and down.
Whatever I’m looking at
will move to a different space
without me moving my head.
I try my best to fight it until
my eyes are no longer cooperating
and I’m forced to go to bed.
When I started my blog a year ago, I didn’t expect to be dealing with the issues I have now. Last year, I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and finishing up my degree in English. These last few months have been defined by my health, particularly my thyroid eye disease. It’s sad but true. Eyes are a huge part of everyone’s life and when they’re sick, it takes a tremendous toll on how one might move about their life.
Last week, I went on a cruise with my dad’s side of the family. While it was great to see other places and learn about different cultures, it’s also difficult to be in the Caribbean when I’m extremely light sensitive. I started the trip with some daily headaches and no real eye problems. But by mid week, I was having a lot of double vision and my eyes were finished with the sun. Trading headaches for burning eyes and double vision wasn’t ideal, to say the least.
Before this last week, I had a few weeks of minimal eye problems. Thyroid eye disease has its ups and downs, some times are better than others. The months before my brief plateau were brutal. A lot of irritation, swelling, and double vision. One thing after another happened. The weeks prior to the cruise, my eyes weren’t my main worry. I certainly had concerns about my eyes going into the trip and how they could react to travel. But they weren’t entirely on the forefront until they began their downward spiral once more.
What these last few months have taught me is to expect the worst and hope for the best. It’s a weird way to live but it’s better to be mentally prepared for something to go wrong so that when it does, I can tread through rocky waters as calmly as possible. And when something does go wrong, I try to find the good in those situations. Things could be worse than they are. At least I can see out of both eyes. This is a difficult moment but it won’t least forever.
Spring has arrived along with the remnants of winter.
Snow one day, seventy degrees the next.
You never know what you're going to get.
The grass is greener as bees fly
and house cats beg to come back inside.
Days are longer, thoughts are shorter.
Everything looks different upon reflection.
Awareness changes thoughts and perspective,
for once I can look at my interactions without judgment.
The keys on a new keyboard are the best present I could ask for.
Smooth and shiny while working together
without pause or hesitation of a key falling off.
My dry eyes make things coming closer appear
like the wizards from Harry Potter, out of focus
and then all of a sudden clear as crystal.