This morning, when I peeled off the patch over my eye, my world looked blue. Icy blue, like a super strong fluorescent light had been turned on. It was bright, crisp, and unbelievable. I squinted shut the eye that had been bandaged and slid back into the dingy, dun-colored world I’ve been in for the last five years.
The scarf that was a muddied brown and maroon when seen with my right eye was rich purple and orange when looked at with my left eye.
Diabetes is a disease of slow, creeping changes. They are so gradual, you incorporate them into our perspective, into your reality. At night, you see halos around lights. Small ones, that grow so slowly you accept them. Finally, you can’t drive at night because lights are blurs and oncoming cars are giant glares.
Street signs aren’t distinct, and you can’t read freeway signs. But you think it’s your glasses. Because diabetes doesn’t signal changes clearly.
Protein deposits cloud and finally occlude the lenses in your eyes. No glasses can repair the damage. Some diabetics can’t chance the surgery because of retinopathy–little aneurysms in the walls of the capillaries in your eyes. I was lucky. Having stuck to a sugar-free diet, lost a lot of weight, brought down my blood pressure and reduced the amount of carbs I love and wish I could still have, I was a good candidate for eye surgery.
The surgery was simple and fast–a surgeon removed the damage lens in my eye and replaced it with a clear plastic prescription lens. Not a contact lens, but the one behind the cornea inside the eye. I was awake during the surgery but felt nothing. Late in the afternoon of the same day, I was able to run some errands, although Cooking Man had to drive. Today I ran my own errands. Tomorrow I’m teaching proofreading.
But until the eye heals enough to have the same surgery on the other eye, one eye will see a bright, crisp world; the other a dusty brown one. With both eyes open, I see the clear world more often because my left eye is dominant. I had the left lens on my glasses replaced with a clear lens, because the correction is already in my eye.
It was a gift of sight, and the surgeon did a great job. I do have a black eye, but it’s a small price to pay.
Why am I taking up a whole blog to yak about health problems? Because a majority of diabetics don’t know they have it until the disease is advanced and damage is done. I caught mine in time, I brought the numbers down. The disease is almost entirely symptom free. If you love french fries, ice cream, cookies, pies, bread, sweets, sodas, and enjoy them, stop by a drug store or grocery store with a minute clinic. Ask for a blood sugar reading. It’s easy and almost painless. And it can save your eyesight.
And if you don’t have diabetes, this is also a wonderful opportunity to look back and see how you have changed and not noticed it. Your life is a metaphor. Everyone gets used to the dingy. What can you do to get that crisp view again?
—Quinn McDonald lives in a blue and yellow world. Within the next month, both eyes will see the world clearly again.