Clarity. Even with murky vision.
Shelter-in-place has been all kinds of things: quiet, fertile, and full of the unexpected. For me, things took an interesting turn involving vision, clarity and resilience.
I have two stories to tell, each about how and what I’m seeing and the clarity that’s available even when things appear out of focus, out of whack, and hard to read (literally and figuratively).
Longish post today. tl/dr version: Got new glasses with lenses that exacerbated a condition I didn’t know I had. Clarity ensues.
Adjusting to new lenses. Wait. What?
I got my eyes checked for the first time in years in February. I’d been straining to see for a while.
After an exam, the eye doctor told me the new lenses would be a big adjustment. Oh boy do I wish I had asked
more any questions about what exactly he meant by “big adjustment.”
I missed my moment of inquiry. Who knew I’d be on my own when the new lenses were ready?
Two weeks later, I picked up my glasses just as shelter-in-place started up in my area. I was met at the door of the store, escorted to the counter, handed my glasses, and got whisked right back out the door – no fitting, no conversation, no nothing.
That big adjustment my eye doctor mentioned? Yeah, it was big.
Fun-house distortions. Rectangles no longer appeared to have straight up and down sides; instead computer monitors and my tablet looked squeezed at the bottom like a trapezoid, or is it parallelogram? (I looked it up and I still don’t know.)
Food looked like it was sloping away for me. Same with the cutting board and pan. A square canvas didn’t look so square any more.
My balance was affected, making me queasy. I’d lurch a bit when walking down stairs and around corners. Driving got to be a bit too exciting when I was going around curves; the lane markings were out of whack, which was a more-than-a-little freaky.
I got no call back from the doctors office in response to my calls. Remember this was the beginning of shelter-in-place. I did my best. I decided to move forward and try to adjust. I made this decision because my support options were limited. I was hoping that this was simply the “big adjustment” the eye doctor told me I’d have. And I’d heard once upon a time that your brain adjusts over time to new lenses (new neural pathways and all that). I thought I’d try to get through the adjustment on my own.
It was the end of March, a time to stay at home and be self-reliant (an identity I slip into so easily). I didn’t want to make a fuss (plus where would I have if I’d wanted to?). I lived with the lenses and this weird distorted vision situation long enough that by the time May rolled around I wasn’t thinking about it much. I’d gotten used to less visual clarity.
I wore those lenses for ten weeks! I learned to how adjust the way the frames fit my face via video calls with an optician friend and YouTube videos (achievement unlocked — I’m now a skilled frame fitter).
I made adjustments. I drove less, slower, with more care (and moments of anxiety). I walked more carefully and held the banister on the stairs. And my brain adjusted enough/a bit/some.
Who knows? Not sure. Denial is powerful in me. If I didn’t have the desire to put new lenses in my old frames I might’ve continued on as I was (living with weird balance, sloping surfaces, and scary driving). Luckily my research led me to someone who finally said “I think you should have these numbers checked; these numbers look wrong.” I snapped out of my denial, finally, which leads me to the next story.
Getting kicked up to a specialist. Really?
There’s a moment in Western medicine when you get referred to a specialist. I just had that moment.
It’s weird. Because now I’m in limbo. I’m in-between.
What’s in the in-between? What’s between hearing “Oh yeah, looks like you might have [fill in the name of condition here], and now you get to go see a specialist. Oh, and by the way, this as-yet-actually-diagnosed condition might involve surgery and might involve drugs. Can’t tell. Not sure. Let’s start finding you a specialist.”
Finding a specialist in a rural town during pandemic. This may take a while.
I’m in limbo. Time to relax and keep moving forward, letting time take its sweet time.
How am I using this liminal time?
Clarity: I’m at choice here. I get to choose. I could spend more than the few minute I’ve already given my new vocabulary words doing more research (and scaring the sh*t outta myself). I know that desire to figure it out/do something repeats regularly for me. I know this behavior. Worry and then worry some more. Call friends and talk about the possible symptoms and what they mean. Discuss (in my own head or with others; looks pretty much the same either way, right?) possible scenarios (based on zero facts). Make social media posts and search for others in a similar (so far still 100% made up by me) situation.
Or. When I go there — and I go there — I get to choose again. I get to choose to find a way to stay aligned and in flow. I know that what I think about perpetuates, and shifting my thinking is possible.
Some ways I’ve been exploring in this liminal time that have helped me walk myself back into the light:
- Look at/do something else. Hands in paint is high up on that list in my world.
- Move my body. Listen to music.
- Take a nap. Take a walk.
- Have an orgasm. Eat something delish.
- Grow something. Dig in the dirt.
Clarity. Once again I get to dance with this spiritual axiom. How I show up today guarantees me nothing, zero, bupkes, about the future. Once I admit to myself that I have no facts, I’m free of the cage those fears based on nothing put me in. Free to enjoy, share, bask, and allow.
I’m back in my old glasses now, squinting a bit to read near and far, and looking for a specialist. Which takes time. Which I have. I’ve also got some clarity and more…
Clarity and gratitude.
We’re in an pandemic, and I’ve learned to be patient. I’ve been learning patience for a long time. Another gift of aging.
Clarity is present.
- I’m grateful I can see. At all.
- I’m grateful for the vision correction I’ve got, in glasses that fit my face, and through which I can read and drive and be in the world.
- I’m grateful that I’ve been through so much already that’s taught me how to adapt with grace, and surrender with some style and not too much of an attitude when surrendering is called for.