Or “Vision II”
About two months after my eye operation a good friend told me I had lost weight. She asked in a concearned manner if I was eating enough.
I’ve always had to deal with comments on being tall and very sknny. I have an “interestingly abnormal metabolism” that has been studied by medical scientists (one of which traveled all the way across the country for the chance to look at me in person. Yeah. I’m so fucking special) and putting on weight has always been an issue for me. After being a lab rat and having gained some insight in how my body works thanks to the nice doctors I set out on a mission to gain weight. Through a combination of making sure I eat the right stuff in the right amounts and working out in a way that’s good for me (not different from any other person really, we all just need to know how our bodies work) I managed to go from my usual average 68 to 72 kg. This was a huge personal achievement for me and even though I did not continue to gain weight as fast as I did the first year I am very satisfied that i managed to make healthy eating (don’t be fooled. I still eat cake and Mars Bars in mind baffeling amounts) part of my life and that I learned how much I actually enjoy using my body. I guess it’s all about finding joy in these activities. I continue eating the way I do because I really like the food I make and I continue my exercises because I feel good when I’m doing them.
So imagine my surprise when I, after the conversation with my friend, step onto the scales and read the number 66. 2 kg below what used to be my average and well below what is considered a “healthy” weight for a guy my height and age.
There was a complication with my eye surgery. Nothing worrysome. Put simply they had to be a little rough on my left eye which resulted in me wearing an eye patch for a while and afterwards dealing with blurred vision on the left eye as the scar tissue on the surface of the eye gradually vanished. At that point I was already enjoying vastly improved vision on my right eye which had, until now, been more or less useless. I had been using a contact lens with a strength of -7.5 before the operation. Now I coulread small print using just my right eye. Surely the laser technology is impressive.
As my left eye healed up, however, I began noticing my double vision returning. This time even more pronounced, confusing and almost impossible to get rid of. I went for regular checkups after the surgery and even had some corrections made. It was clear to me that the doctors were not that impressed with the results of the operation though. Not having a baseline of my own to compare with, I have never had “normal vision” after all, I just made sure to follow their directions and do as they told me to when I was examined. The doctor I saw the most was also the head of the laser surgery department. He was not overly informative but very clear about what he expected of me and as such I did not question that they were on top of the situation. Despite everything my vision was better than it ever had been. I was feeling very optimistic.
About a month or so after the initial surgery I began noticing my ability to do my work dimnishing. I do a lot of drawing and assembly by hand. I was slower and less precise. Soon, after just half days work, my doble vision would be impossible to supress and I would have a migraine. I stopped taking the bike home because I didn’t feel comfortable in traffic. I had already taken some time off to recover from the worst of the surgery. Now I decided to cash in some vacation. Thankfully my boss was considerate and since it was high summer things were slow at the office anyways.
I kept being called in for checkups on my eyes even though the routine is just one checkup after surgery and then a 3 month check after that. I was beginning to feel worried something had not gone as planned and I was increasingly frustrated with the tight lipped doctor. That’s when, after another “look into the light and come back in a week”, I got a call from the hospital a friday morning asking if I was avaliable to come in that day. I said yes and asked if something was wrong and the nurse I had on the phone said that another doctor wanted to look at me. That didn’t do much to make me feel at ease but I gladly took the trip out to the hospital one more time. There I met a doctor who seemed quite the opposite of the one I had been dealing with so far. He was very talkative and explained to me that he had read my file and wanted me to go through some tests. After an hour or so of looking into more lights, reading from a very old version of The Little Red Ridinghood and attempting to focus on tiny dots on the wall. He consulted with a colleague and explained his theory to me:
To begin with fixing my eyes should have been very simple as it was a matter of correcting the lens strength. Just what laser surgery was meant to do in the first place. Some people have other faults that degrades their vision which cannot be fixed simply by adjusting the lens. As it happens, however, it turns out that my double vision was not caused by the difference in strength between my eyes. Ratier it is caused by what is called “latent strabismus” on my right eye. Strabismus is also referred to as “lazy-eye” but really is an overall term used for a lot of conditions causing the eyes to become uncoordinated. The reason for my migraines and the return of the double vision even more pronounced than before was that my brain had been trying to ignore the input from my right eye (as it was both subject to the strabismus and a crap lens strength in the first place guess the brain just decided to scrap it). The migraine I experienced was from my brain adjusting to the right eye suddenly being able to “see” again. Thus fixing my eye also brought out the strabismus at full power. Armed with a lot of new knowledge and feeling both relieved and slightly frustrated I was sent home being told that I would recieve a letter from the hospitals strabismus experts.
Three days later I recieve the letter announcing that I have an appointment mid September. The prospect of having to wait more than two months was too much for me. At this point I was seeing double all the time with little ability to make it go away by focusing. The migraines had, thankfully, abated but I was still unable to function at work. So I called in to talk to them and was told that, yes, they were aware of the severity of the optical disturbances I was experiencing that was why I was not given a time slot in December…. because that’s how long their wating list usually is.
I haven’t really experienced depression or stress in my life. I mean… I have had times where a workload has just been too much. I have pulled all nighters and applied desperate measures and there has been times where I have had no idea what I was doing and how it was all going to work out. But I never lost the faith that it would.
This, however, has been a lesson in feeling powerless. Not knowing what will happen in a few weeks or if a new development suddenly will change everything again. It is hard to explain just how having your vision messed up affects someone. I have always been used to having somewhat limited sensory input to deal with but this is entirely different. Even when trying to focus the double images can be moving around. I feel disoriented. Reading is difficult. My sense of balance is off. I don’t know if I’ll have to deal with this for the rest of my life.
So what I’m wondering is this: have I despaired without knowing it? Did I neglect myself? Have I been stressed out so much I lost weight? How did I not notice? This uncertainty is very frustrating for me. Not knowing what will happen. Not knowing if I can control how I react to it. Not knowing if I will even know…. you get my drift.
I guess I will just have to eat 6 kg worth of cake and hope for the best.