once i could see and now i am blind!

I have been in a complete writing funk. The reason for this dry spell is that I recently had corrective eye surgery. It hasn’t been all together successful and the truth is –

I CAN’T SEE!

I am not blind, but everything is a tad fuzzy – maybe more than a tad. More like a thick marine layer – Think seeing through a coat of Vaseline.

I could kick myself.

This decision to operate on my eyeball was prompted by vanity – and by an audition I went out on in May- I thought it was time to come out of semi-retirement – until – to my horror – I realized that I could no longer see dialogue on the pages.

I was already nervous – as it was my first audition in 4 years – and broke out in a clammy sweat as I asked the director if I could wear my reading glasses.

“No problem” He looked amused. Oh God, was it amusement? Or was it sympathy? Or maybe acknowledgement that I was soon for the glue factory!

But then, I realized that I could no longer see the casting assistant with whom I was reading – so I had to halt the audition – Sweat production increasing exponentially – to ask if I could rearrange the position of our chairs apropos the camera and move the woman I was reading with to sit closer to me, so I could see her in focus when I wore the damn glasses.

This was my first middle-aged moment as an actress.

I left feeling crushed – envisioning that all that was left for me were librarian and spectacled grandma roles!

I discovered I needed glasses 3 years ago, when I realized I couldn’t see my husband in focus when we engaged in intimate pillow talk. I would have to push him away so he wouldn’t look like a one-eyed Cyclops.

And when I had to ask him to read menus for me.

I mused ”Welcome to the Golden Years!” He laughed, “Who knew they would come so soon!” How true!

I had presbyopia – one of the joys of middle-age – perfect 20/20 vision except for anything up close. It seemed 20/20 was highly overrated. And it seemed that every 6 months my prescription went up at an alarming rate. Soon I could be wearing coke bottle glasses!

Then, as luck would have it, or not, I bumped into a friend who told me about this extraordinary procedure – Refractec – radio pulse frequency – different from laser – which miraculously coaxes the aging, flattening cornea to become round and youthful and boyant again.

“Really, it wasn’t painful? And no recovery time?” He assured me, it was a synch. A breeze. The best thing he’d ever done. He raved that he and his wife were the only ones in their age group who didn’t pull out glasses to read a menu. Wow, I was a believer!

So, off I went and signed up for the same procedure. I bounced onto the operating table and cheerily allowed the doctor to clamp my head  into a contraption that reminded me of the Silence of the Lambs. This should have been a warning sign!

My procedure wasn’t a breeze. In fact, it became a nightmare.  The following morning, I woke up, but could barely open my eye. The pain was excruciating. I clamped my palm over the offending eye as the slightest shard of light sent searing daggers through my brain. I dragged myself into the bathroom and saw that my eye was blood red– this couldn’t be normal. It looked seriously infected. Could the offending germ carriers have been 2 new kittens head butting me all night long?

My daughter India commented that she never thought she’d see her mother as a vampire – but she was right – I had to withdraw into complete darkness, curtains drawn, otherwise I would shriek in pain.

The doctor confirmed I had an infection. But once the infection subsided, my condition didn’t seem to improve. I still couldn’t focus. This generated a fair amount of panic as I realized that so much of my ability to focus mentally was linked with my ability to focus visually. Literally, I couldn’t think straight. It was maddening.

The bottom line is that my stubborn brain does not want to adjust to mono vision – which is what I elected to do to myself without fully understanding the ramifications – One eye, the dominant eye, is 20/20 and can see distance, and the other, the one I altered, can now only see up close. One’s brain is supposed to adjust to focus. But mine refuses to. So, the doctor gave me a contact lens to correct my vision back to the way it was originally. Which was a relief, as I could see again. But, now, I still can only read with my reading glasses.

Not only that, but I am one of those people who seems incapable of touching my eye, so I have not been able to put in or take out my contact lens. I have to drive all the way out to El Segundo each time I need to get it changed.

This ordeal has consumed the last 6 months of my life.

And the worst thing about it – I volunteered for this!

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