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The days keep getting away from me. Even as I sharpen my gaze, fixating on the color and the lightness of the evening sky—is it more cobalt than black at 4 o'clock?—is it lighter now, just slightly? It is! A miniscule difference that lights up my whole attitude—they seem to begin, whiz past, and end more quickly than ever before.

In addition to the still-more-frequent than I would like blurry eyes, I've been plagued this past year with a recurring eye infection that is very irritating coming as it does with constant watering, sensitivity and redness that the strongest eyedrops seem ineffectual in the face of. This past week it's been acting up again (if it were a teenager I'd be at my wit's end) and today when I went walking, so excited to be able to go walking in sunshine, the combined forces of cold, wind and stabby rays of light combined to have me walking nearly the entire half hour with my left eye shut.

I have a friend who recently lost an eye to cancer and who is adjusting to a world with reduced vision and all its attendant discombobulations. Granted, I COULD open my eye and did as I walked (though almost always shutting it again immediately as it twinged and complained with an sudden influx of aggravated tearing up) but the entire way around the village I thought, aha! This is what it must be like for her: this strange hyper-focusing, this need to crane my head further around than normal in both directions.

Karin was with me, on her bike, and as is her wont, she was all over the place: speeding up ahead of me, then stopping to wait, swooping in elongated circles forward and back of me, switching from side to side as she passed so that I never knew where she was coming from. It was disorienting, and though we were pretty much the only people out at that particular time in the afternoon, I felt as though I was being buzzed by a swarm of oblivious insects, who were never thinking about anything but their OWN trajectory.

I had dinner before bookgroup with brief_therapy who, after moving out of the city recently, is considering withdrawing slightly from things in order to enjoy her idyllic new life as a country mouse. And here I was thinking, but not saying, "but I don't see you enough as it is!" She and I happened to touch upon, during the course of our conversation, how our mutual friend, shazzerlive, is doing since the loss of her eye, and both of us expressed admiration for her positive attitude and example in dealing with her new circumstances. "I can't imagine it," I said, and Geena agreed. She said having something happen to her eyes was not to be thought of and that she'd rather be deaf than blind (if'n I suppose there was ever a choice in such matters). I agreed with her then, but I've been sort of mulling it over in the back of my brain since then, wondering.

I have another friend who is legally blind, though you'd never know it. She has a tiny pinprick's worth of vision left in one eye that she capitalizes on to such an extent that she manages to get around and handle everything in her life (including a baby) with no real loss of function. "Until I smack into a lamp-post or trip on something below eye level that I didn't know was there," she laughs disaparagingly when I tell her how amazing I think she is for her ability to not just handle things but conceal her very real disability. I find, when I am with her, that it's often easy to forget that she can't SEE...often until I try and hand her something at waist level and realize after a few seconds when she doesn't react or reach out to take it, that, oh yeah...she can't SEE me handing it to her.

If I couldn't hear, there'd be no chance of reacting to infectious laughter. No heeding of shouted warnings or greetings. There'd be no whispered I love yous from my children when I kiss them good night, words flitting straight from their lips to my heart. There'd be no quiet talks with my husband, going over our days, our dilemmas, the planning, the logistics of being a couple, of being parents. No international phone calls with my mother, my sister, my brother; effectively severing a precious connection as surely as if the wire were cut. There'd be no music.

There'd be no music.

But the thought of being blind makes me shiver. We take so much for granted when we're healthy and all our parts are in working order. When you think of its loss, every ray of sunshine becomes a blessing; every time you catch someone's eye and smile, it's a joyous gift to be celebrated.

Bright and Beautiful Belated Birthday Wishes to somebodystrange!
mood: thoughtful
music: Johanna Kurkela—Kunnes sinut viimein saan


Yes, let's count both our visual and our audible blessings.

I remember having the would you rather be deaf or blind conversation with my best friend in college. I said I'd rather be blind for sure, as I was already so near-sighted that I figured I was used to feeling my way around, and I couldn't live if I couldn't hear music. She thought she'd rather be deaf because she couldn't imagine not being able to see. One night there was a black out and we couldn't listen to music or see our way down the hall to the bathroom. We pretty much decided that either would suck and we had better shut up and count ourselves lucky.

Here we are, 20 years later, about to both get in our cars and drive several hours from our respective homes to meet up and see and hear our favorite band play. A joyous gift to celebrated indeed!

I am suffering from rapidly deteriorating eyesight that worries me sick as I am a voracious reader and when talking with L-G the other day, we both agreed that we'd rather lose our hearing than sight. I can't even begin to imagine how I would cope with the loss of vision, so for now I'm simply choosing denial.

This whole past year with all the eye problems I've had (plus new glasses twice in the past 2 years) has made my hyper-aware of my vision and how it's deteriorated in such a short time. It's SCARY. :(

I've always had eye problems. Generally itchniness, eye strain, red, sore eyes, inability to look at the sunshine etc. i can't drive at all without sunglasses on, even on dull days and I need to shade my eyes from bright lights all of the time, as well as use constant eye drops for itchiness.

My eye covering on my left eye (the clear sheet that covers it - can't remember what it's called) managed to fold and had to be surgically removed not so long ago, resulting in me looking like Pirate Pete for a while and leaving that eye even more sensitive to light than usual. With age, my sight is getting bad and like you, I've had 2 changes of glasses in as many years with each one radically different from the other. They've checked for things like diabetes that can cause a rapid change, but I'm okay for that and so far they have no idea why my eyes are behaving like they do. All I know is that I can't see clearly any more unless books, computer screen etc are a certain distance away and I take my glasses off! I can't see the date on my watch (with or without glasses no matter how I hold my arm) and labels, prices etc in the shop. I'm terrified of losing my sight altogether and have toyed with the idea of going home to see if the doctor's there can do something as I don't entirely trust the casual attitude to health care here.

I TOTALLY think you should go home and do this! (and also because I think you should see your kids!!) :)

It´s so so true how we take our health for granted. I am in awe of Sharon, the strength of her bravery and her attitude towards this loss of her eye is amazing.

Must admit I just don´t know what I would choose to lose if I had a choice. Boggles my brain just trying to wrap my senses of what would be easier.

P.S. I am jealous that Karin can ride her bike so well, maybe I should come to her for lessons...hahaha!!

Tonight I heard about a distant friend I haven't seen in almost three years. The last time I saw her she was newly married. Now she's 32, has a 10 month old son and recently she's been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of face or skin cancer. :-( For a long while her face had been swollen, but she thought it was an effect of the pregnancy. When she finally went to the doctor, he gave her a few weeks left to live! On second opinion, there was a chance to surgically remove the cancer, but it meant cutting up half her face, cutting nerve ends and so on. Thus she's now paralyzed at one side of the face, unable to close her eyelid and more. She's undergoing radiation therapy and praying she will somehow survive. If cancer wasn't scary enough as it is, finding out at very late stage is, when it takes such proportions.

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