This blog thing sounded so simple when it started. "Sure, you've got free-time -- fill it by writing!" the "voices" said.
"You've got such interesting stories, they need to be written down," the therapist said.
"Your stories and the way you tell them are hysterical! You could be famous if you wrote a book!" the family members said.
Today I sat down and looked at the calendar. "If you'd just gotten off your duff and started the blog on your 40th birthday like you wanted, you'd be almost done by now!" my mind said. It's now got the "voices" taunting me over my ability to procrastinate like there's always a tomorrow to do something.
I'm into my third month of this and I don't feel like I've made any really insightful posts. No words of wisdom that others would inspire others. Oh, sure, when I ranted about the crappy military collector's show and the one where they freeze-dried people's pets, those got a lot of responses. And, yes, my political rantings have had higher read-counts -- but those are fads. This political season is going to end in November whether we like the outcome or not. Based on what I'm hearing on the news and in other blogs and from my friends on Facebook, I don't think we're going to like it.
So today I thought about why I started the blog. One of the biggest reasons was so that I could dump all of the crap the "voices" in my head keep badgering me about into a place where I can (1) either deal with it in a fun instead of tragic way, (2) deal with issues that are so old yet still hurtful in order to try to make sense of them so I won't have to deal with them anymore, (3) dump ideas and work with them until I've created something useful or seen that it was a waste of time in the first place, or (4) at least keep my writing skills up-to-snuff and entertain and/or educate others. Husband and my therapist keep saying how stunned they are at the amount of things I know about and can pull obscure facts from thin air in mid-conversation. I thought maybe this would be the place to figure out how and why I know what I know because when they ask me where I learned it, I don't know.
But I look at today and the past few days and wonder if I'm actually accomplishing anything at all. Most of my days since last Friday have been spent either at the gun show (which was fun and we made a decent profit after expenses) or asleep because of the pain medication combined with my daily meds that can knock me on my butt without the extra help. I've been fretting over a community theatre production because if my name is going to be on the programme as a technical director, then dammit it's going to be the best I can produce because I have a basically non-existent professional theatrical reputation to uphold. (Yes, I did get to work with "Miss Saigon" and "Sunset Boulevard" when I went to London on a theatrical tour/internship, but that was in the 1990s and no one remembers it but me.) I'm a perfectionist and I don't like to skimp or slide-over particulars but I'm being forced to with no money, no assistance, and no time to make it better.
I've been trying to hide some medical issues that have come-up from certain extended family members because the last thing I need is a lot of drama over something no one can do anything about at the moment. My Step-Father recently severely broke his right leg and has another minor fracture in his left. He's having to stay at a rehabilitation hospital because he cannot walk at the moment (because of the rods and pins) and also needs his dialysis. This has me feeling bad that he's alone there because it's three hours away from where Biological Mother is at their home preparing it for when he can return home again. I'd go to visit him but my medical issue prevents me from traveling long distances by myself. And when Biological Mother asked me on the phone the other day how a doctor's appointment went, I had to remember that she was thinking of one months ago because I hadn't told her what's been happening. I hadn't told her that I went to that appointment which led me to two others with the same doctor and a referral to another specialist who has now referred me to another specialist I have to see next week and if that person can't figure out what's going on, then there's no real hope of ever fixing the problem.
So, I finally told her when she called the other day. I told her that I'd gone to the optometrist to get new glasses but the new prescription doesn't help me see any better than the old prescription. I tested lenses with the new prescription and couldn't see anything any clearer at any distance. I was referred to a glaucoma specialist because my optic nerve is cupped in a manner that, at first glance, would make any ophthalmologist jump to the conclusion that I have glaucoma. I've been told for over 20 years that I have low-tension glaucoma (the type that damages the eye but can't be detected by just measuring the pressure of the eye alone), so I went to have a special test done. It's called an OCT and I can't remember at the moment what it stands for but they flash lasers at my retinas and measure the depth and thickness of them to determine the amount of damage.
I took the results to the glaucoma specialist who said, in a very assertive tone, that I don't have glaucoma. He had me re-take the OCT exam as well as a visual field test. The visual field test is like sticking your head in a fishbowl where they place a patch over one eye and then flash dots of light at different intensities all around the domed surface and you're supposed to click a button when you see the flashing dot. Oh, and you have to stare at a bigger, red dot while they're doing that so you won't look around the bowl and cheat by looking for the lights. After they do one eye, they do the same thing for the other. I failed it badly. The technician kept trying to remind me to click the button when I saw the lights and I told her if she'd make the lights show up I'd click it. I didn't know that the test had already begun.
The glaucoma specialist then looked at my eyes again, reviewed the tests again, and examined my eyes to see how well I could see with my current glasses or with a new prescription. He came to the same conclusion -- a new prescription wasn't helping me see any clearer. As a matter of fact, my eyes had gotten even worse since the last time I saw him a few weeks before. Now there was a serious problem. In our state, if you can't see better than 20/50 with correction (glasses or contacts), you can't legally drive at night. I've been having a lot of problems with my night vision for a long time and had recently noticed that it was much, much worse. I just didn't know it was that much worse. He immediately referred me to a retinal specialist across the state to see if he could help fix whatever is going on because it's not glaucoma and he's now stumped.
So, I travel across the state to have another appointment. My eyes are dilated and another OCT test is done (I hope the insurance pays for all of these repeat tests). An angiogram of my retinas was done so that detailed photos could be taken to determine where the damages are. I know that I have a type of macular degeneration called Lattice Degeneration, but I couldn't imagine that after all of this time it would just start acting-up. Oh, and if they ever do an angiogram on your eyes, fair warning -- they inject flourescent dye into your veins so they can see the veins in your eyes but forget to tell you that you'll urinate flourescent colors for two days. Just thought you'd like to know.
The retinal specialist comes in, looks in my eye, and says, "You must have glaucoma based on your optic nerve." I tell him that if he'd read the notes and test results, he'd find that I don't have glaucoma. He stood there and read my file, reviewed every test result that was sent to him, looked in my eyes again, and said, "I don't know what you have." They checked my vision again and now I'm up to 20/60 with glasses. One more jump and I'll end up unable to legally drive -- day or night. he continued to check tests and the photos and reports before sitting down in front of me and admitting, "I can't do anything for you. There's nothing wrong with your retinas that should be causing this that I could fix. You need to see someone else."
Now I'm waiting until next week to see a neuro-ophthalmologist at one of the more-prestigious medical colleges in the United States (which happens to be across the state from where I live) so that they can scan my eyes, my optic nerves, my brain, and whatever else they decide to stick into a machine to see if there's a tumor, a damaged area, a disease, an alien, or something else. I'm waiting for the usual answer I get -- "It's all in your head." My eyes are in my head, so of course it's "in my head." I had an ophthalmologist once tell me it was "in my head" as if I was making it all up. He was quite humbled when a partner of his had to do a cryogenic surgery to repair a hole in my retina that the first one had missed by thinking I was pretending (and I didn't have to pay for the surgery). But now I'm facing the prospect of not being able to drive, not knowing what's causing this, and/or finding out that it could be something that can or can't be fixed easily and -- guess what -- Biological Mother is worried now. I didn't want her to be worried now because there's nothing that can be done until I have the tests and someone comes up with an answer. And if this doctor can't come up with an answer, there's no one left to see (no pun intended).
What am I doing? I'm sitting here completing one of the objectives of my blog by getting things out in the open and trying to get my "voices" to shut-up about them. But, at the same time, I'm boring the rest of y'all to death, announcing a problem that other family members still don't know about (but they might as well hear it from me here), and I'm still not feeling any better about it. If this is supposed to be therapeutic, it's not helping. Even Celeste is noticing the tension in the room and trying to get me to quit typing.
Am I doing this right? Is this actually going to work? It is worth the daily "freak-out" when I don't have a topic already in mind? Does it fundamentally matter in the greater scheme of things? And would anyone notice?
And, before anyone says it, the answer is not "42." I've already tried it and it's not worked....yet.