Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Vison-Ready To Go

Ready To Go
8"x 12"
and acrylic
The darkness faded away to boiling clouds of smoke-colored fog that filled the room. I could see the cabinet with a chair beside it, the door frame, and the mirror where the eye chart reflected. And, I could see my feet with my black walking shoes on the foot rest of the examining chair, poking out from the fog.
I could see the letters on the eye chart, just like they had appeared when I had looked at it during the exams. The letters were not clear with shadow images appearing behind and to the right of each letter. Smaller letters toward the bottom were blurred and were indestinguishable. Still, the doctor had said that my eyesight was good enough to pass the eye exam for the driving test.
The technician had told me, as we were signing papers before the injection, that they would give me some eye drops to take home with me and to use them every 4 hours, as directed. He said it would help if I kept them in the refrigerator. They would be soothing to my eye, if they were cold. He also advised me to use cold washcloths on my eye if it started to be uncomfortable. He explained that some people said that they felt like there was something in their eye, like a grain of sand. And, he told me that my eye may turn very red, if the doctor hit a blood vessel when he gave me the shot. But, that was nothing to be concerned about. It was normal. He also said that I might experience pressure on my eye, but it would not hurt to get the shot. They were doing lots of deadening. (Of course, I had not really believed that. My heart was pounding. I felt hot, anxious, a little sick at my stomach. I may faint. Even after the shot.)
Dressed in blue sweat pants (I guess they were scrubs but they looked like some kind of excercise outfit, to me, instead of a professional looking nurse uniform) and a patterned smock top, the nurse came in the room. She took a small, round object from the cabinet and came over to me. She put the insrument on my eye and quickly removed it. She turned back to the cabinet, put the instrument down, and walked to the door.
"Okay, you can go now," she said as she walked out the door.
I thought that was a little odd. She wasn't very friendly now. Before the shot, she had not been exactly warm, but she had been sort of in the background, with the techician and the doctor closer to me. She could have, at least, asked me how I was doing, or commented on something like the fact that it was all over and I was doing just fine.
I stood up slowly as my daughter arrived at the door. "Ready to go?" she asked.
"I guess so," I answered. I thought the doctor might have appeared to reassure me, but the hall was empty. I had to use my walking cane for a little while since my knees bothered me after sitting. We walked to the reception desk. Water ran from my eye and I used the tissue to blot the tears on my cheek.
"Here's your card for your next appointment," the receptionist handed me a card, which I couldn't read. I thought it was from my eye watering. I handed it to my daughter. I thought that, maybe, this is why they wanted you to pay before seeing the doctor. You might not be able to write a check after seeing him. But, of course, the person with you could take care of that.
"He wants to see you in a week to check how your eye is doing. If it turns really red, call us right away." She turned to talk to the person working beside her.
We went out to the car. My daughter was driving.
"The drops!" I said. "I thought they were supposed to give me some drops. I didn't get anything."
My daughter went back into the office and returned with a small bottle of eye drops.
I had read, online, about someone who had a shot in their eye. They said that, after their injection, riding in the car really bothered them. They finally solved the problem by just closing their eyes for the trip home. Now I understood what they meant. Things seemed to just whiz by, if I looked out the side windows, almost making me seasick. Light reflected off the back of parked cars like big, bright, half rainbows. The bending and distortion of objects also tended to make me a little sick at my stomach. I closed my eyes and held the tissue over my eye. I didn't like to ride this way, unable to see where I was going and what was around me.
At home, I put the drops in the refrigerator and fixed a cold washcloth to put on my eye. I walked to the couch in the den, sat on the reclining section of the couch, took off my shoes, and put my feet up. I turned on the tv to watch an old movie. I would spend a lot of time here, with the cool washcloth on my eye, listening to an old movie, in the next few days.
I didn't have nerve enough to look at my eye until later. At least we knew the answer to what would happen when they put a needle in the eye. It didn't deflate, fall out, or have all the juice inside to run out. I remembered being cautioned so often about standing on a chair and holding a coat hanger. I was told that an older girl had put her eye out when she was on a chair, with a coat hanger, and fell. So, wouldn't a needle also make one have to get a glass eye?
I couldn't help but think about the rhyme we used to say as children. "Cross my heart and hope to die; stick a needle in my eye." This was about the strongest promise one could make. I never dreamed anyone actually would do that, for legitimate reasons. But, I had just had a needle stuck in my eye.
When I finally did get the courage to look at my eye, I was horrified to see the bottom lid drooping some, and the top lid hanging a little. It was only a little pink in places, so I was sure that the doctor had avoided hitting a blood vessel. I guessed that it would clear up quickly. He had done a good job. The drops and cold packs would probably tighten the lids up again, and make my eye clear up soon. It did feel a little like something in my eye, like a piece of hair, perhaps. So, I kept pushing hair away from my eye-some of it real, some of it just the way my eye felt.
I had survived the shot and now looked forward to going back to the doctor to get it checked in a week. Hopefully the extra blood vessels would have stopped forming, the bleeding avoided, and my vision would start improving. I tried not to think about the injections that had been scheduled for every four weeks during the next year-possibly two years. I needed to think about the positive, and the "right now", and not dreading the rest of the shots. Hopefully, they would all be as easy as this one had been. Still, I was a bit uneasy about how long it might be before the discomfort would go away and I could see better. It was manageable for now. Soon, I may be able to continue drawing, painting, writing, and riding in the car with less distortion.
"Okay, You Can Go Now" was painted on 140 # Strathmore watercolor paper using Winsor Newton watercolors. Acrylics were used on the eye chart.
I hope that you will share this with anyone who you think might be interested. I am curious as to what others with AMD, or similar problems, experience. My original idea in starting a blog was to share what I have experienced so that others might be better prepared when it happens to them, or that others might relate to what they, or those they know, have already experienced.
Other subjects and memories will be posted on my blog, but I thought it best to post my AMD experiences in order, as they happened. You can see some of my other art work on my Google group, Art -By-Cecelia. I hope you will jon that group and get updates when I have added something to my blog or pages. Also, take a look at the interesting Authors and Artists, and Interesting Sites section of my blog. Check back when you have time, and enjoy!

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