How the Light Gets In

Sculpture by Paige Bradley

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

-Leonard Cohen

Short story: under1000skies is going a bit offline until next year because of a recent vision diagnosis. Details to follow. Gratitude Day will continue on the 28th of every month as planned.

Long Story: I had a long-overdue eye exam this morning.

I have to admit, at first I was apprehensive. The nurse couldn’t believe I couldn’t see a thing on the chart, not even the largest letters, and it was the same in both eyes. All I saw was a black circle on a white background with some grey in the middle. My dad had macular degeneration from diabetes and was essentially blind at the end of his life. He couldn’t see anything on TV and couldn’t even read the newspaper. The nurse put drops in my eyes to dilate my pupils for the doctor’s exam, so I used that as an excuse to give in to the tears. As it turned out, my fears were soon allayed.

The doctor was young and very energetic and kind. As soon as she looked into my left eye, she said, “Ah.” Then after viewing the right eye, “Ah” again.

The good news is I have no glaucoma and no macular degeneration. What I do have are cataracts on both of my eyes which are so severe that even the strongest glasses wouldn’t allow me to see well enough to drive. As the doctor today described it, everything is cloudy because there is literally a film on my lenses. And that’s what it looks like. It’s been cloudy for years.

The doctor explained every detail of what will happen next. Cataracts are easily fixed by a two-hour surgery, first in one eye then the other. Once the surgeries are over, my vision should be very good and much improved. If I qualify for the lens upgrade, I may not even need distance glasses. No matter what, just removing the cataracts will help immeasurably. After the second eye is done, I can go back and get proper glasses. She asked how long ago I had had an eye exam and I said perhaps five years. She said the doctor would have seen cataracts then since these were very advanced. I said it might have been longer.

When I was done with the exam today, my husband reminded me that the last time I had an eye exam, the doctor did mention cataracts but had said they were not advanced enough to do anything about. I suspect he expected us back in a year or so, but we never did go back.  Exams and glasses for the three of us took years to pay off. I knew we were long overdue for eye exams, and I had become aware that my vision had gotten increasingly worse. But, I attributed that to a lack of a proper prescription for so many years. I’d totally forgotten about what the first doctor said about cataracts.

What that has meant for me physically in the past several years is neck and jaw swelling and frequent headaches from straining to see. It explains why I’ve been in pain every single day, more as the day goes on. So I have to take steps to cut back everything until my surgeries are over.

What that means for this blog.

I’m going to share favorite Gems from the last eight years starting next week and concentrating especially on the Gems shared by our contributing poets, artists, and photographers. That will continue through September 23rd.

From September 23rd and for 28 days after that, I’ll post the annual Eowyn Challenge milestones, following Frodo and his companions from Bag End to Rivendell. Then for the remainder of October and November, I’ll return to sharing favorite Gems.

In December or whenever I have my surgeries, I’ll shut the site down until I heal, probably for only two weeks. The only exception will be John’s Gratitude Day posts on the 28th of every month which I’ll set up in advance.

That’s the long and short of it. I apologize for the length of this post. Thank you for reading patiently (I hope) to the end.


2 thoughts on “How the Light Gets In

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