Seeing Double

Imagine you cross your eyeballs, and you see double of everything, while folks around you laugh at the inanity of how "cockfunny" you look with crossed-eyeballs like a buffoon. Now imagine the vision, but without the laughter. That is how my vision was impaired ever since I was struck with Stroke back in October 2010.

Back "then", the separation was actually worse, most times diagonal rather than side-by-side, and further apart. But by covering up either of the two eyeballs, I could actually look pretty much clear and straight, and I have since been wearing an eye-patch, to assist in lessening the irritation.

And irritating it is, if not ultimately worrying. The analysis back in the initial period when I was less scared (and decidedly more worried about my future), was that, even in a wheelchair for life (touch-wood TOUCH-WOOD) I could still conceivable type on a keyboard. But without my vision? I sure had very little options left, innit? I would have been fcuked bad if I had given-up and given-in then.

The visual senses were affected by the lack of blood-flow to the brain, an aspect of Stroke that folks know the effect of, but not necessarily how to treat it.

[Days before the eye-patch of Piratey-goodness]

I remember literal hordes of trainee doctors visiting my bedside in Changi Hospital, where they would test my reflexes and be amazed (and as well confounded) by my eye-sight (I have always been a sucker for pretty ladies, and as well a good conversation, so I let loads slide *cough*). I actually wasn't funny then that folks did not know how to answer for my eye-sight condition, and it sure isn't funny now really (pretty ladies aside *cough-cough*).

Even now, I am not taking any medication for my eye-sight to get any better. Any sense of Western involvement in this endeavor has only led me to be treated with suffering silence, and/or the by now banal reassurance of the constantly repeated fact that it was the result of suffering from Stroke. I am not kind about this situation, and I have a right not to be, for no one has offered me a respite or even solution, besides: "The eye-sight will get well when the Stroke gets well" ~ which to me, is a whole lot of manure disguised with a smile.

In less than a week's time, I have an appointment scheduled to meet an "eye-specialist" in Changi, who perhaps might shed more light into my malady, and hopefully "cure", some semi-odd five months since suffering from my Stroke in 2010. Imagine that was how long folks had to go thru to wait for an appointment, or even felt it was "worthy" of seeking an appointment. In this, I am truly bitter and disillusioned at the current state of medical advances this country had to advise patients like me.

Meanwhile, I have been actively engaged in weekly acupuncture sessions, currently at three times a week (initially it was 10-days straight, when I was out of St Andrews, but that is the past now), for which they have straight out claimed to be doing work specifically for my vision. I grasp only at tangibles that lay before more, not hearsay nor mysterious circumstances. "Words" only mean so much to me right now, when I am dying to "see" the difference, truth be told.

[My Days With An Eye-Patch ... okay one of them does not count]

And I would state for the record, that my eye-sight has seen advanced improvement! There are even days when the double-vision is lesser (no doubt having my eyes used to the effect, might have been a boon), but of course there are days when the vision goes askew and I see double of everything still - most times due to advanced exposure and long time spent in front of the laptop and blogging, for which I have been derided by folks around me, the Chinese Sensei most especially LOL (bleh :p)

I type and blog with an eye-patch on, as well walk or go about in public with an eye-patch.

With blogging, it is reading and typing in large font sizes (controlled in the laptop, which is cool, compared to the 17-incher monitor of my desktop which basically died when I got home from hospitalization ~ WTF?). Some good days, I go without the patch, but most days I am reliant on it.

Since the Stroke, I no longer read the newspapers, or even novels, because the font is so blardy impossibly small for me. I had to even resort to using a magnifying glass to read printouts initially (online updates for when I was hospitalized). But just the other day, I grabbed a newspaper as I went to the bathroom (used to be a fav pastime of mine, yes, now you know) ~ the result being not too shabby, readable but with much focus needed, so perhaps the vision is getting better than I expected.

With going out in public, is another story altogether. They teach you in rehab, to see a vertical line in front of you, and walk towards it, to assist you in walking in a straight line. It didn't really use to work for me, as I had double lines to walk towards, and most times I stumbled like a drunkard man. With the patch, it does get better, and it forces focus unto the task in front of you. But when I am sitting down, or cycling on the treadmill, I would rather do without the patch.

My PT assistant mentioned this: "Wear the eye-patch when you're with girls, and not need them when you're chatting with the boys." = The patch might turn ladies on (sheeyahinmydreams) and the boys don't need the contest LOL

And traveling is also a worrying issue. I can sit still in a moving cab, but the moving visions outside of the window gave me a very bad headache initially. These days it is getting better, and I can actually look out the window, to see the world go by, or even read a natty magazine. Five semi-odd months into my Stroke recovery, I had better recover me sum, goshdammit!

I have also started taking the bus last week (all chaperoned of course, by my 70 year old father, no less) but frankly it works decent so far because I just focus on whatever is in front of me anyways, which most times might be my cane-handle, or a reflection of folks around me (hurhur). Sudden moves freak me out so much, I will not lie. And ironically, what I cannot see, I am afraid of the most.

Aside, what does it say about kids in Singapore, with ten out of ten mentioning "pirate" whenever they see me with an eye-patch? LOL

But of course I am worried of being too reliant on the eye-patch, and hope to one day be "recovered" enough to wean myself out of using it. If the acupuncture does not work, and there is no medication for it, I might have to wait until I have recovered from my Stroke, to know if it indeed will recover along. But I do not put much stakes into that notion.

[Will promote for a decent good eye-patch]

But hell, getting an eye-patch is not that easy an effort too, for most patches might not come with adjustable straps, and my recent gift has but been left with the strap disintegrated (no joke) thru sweat and constant-wear, and my new patch is hella tight and is giving me a headache whenever I wear them.

And if you need to know, I have a "home-patch", which I only wear at home, but is unsightly (I am still "vain" what? LOL). So typing this is not so much a worry, although my eye-sight is getting tired and crossing again (so this would not be too long an post :p)...

The irony of which is, my eye-sight is actually frighteningly crystal clear. I might see double-vision in front of me, but the clarity is literally shiny bright (no doubt thru the efforts of acupuncture) like looking at a HD screen-vision on most days LOL, and only goes to extreme blurriness when I am utilizing too much effort and for far too long a time, and most times it may be of eye-shit, but yes, I am giving excuses for myself.

What folks say is, say away from focusing on computers or tv and/or not spend too much time on them for too long. I find it hard to equate resting constantly and closing my eyes, then to getting better. But then again, I have never had Stroke before and know not otherwise.

Maybe one day soon I would have to be less stubborn, and stay offline for longer periods (but I don't want to be sleeping away, no?), and yes, typing less LOL

Actually, having impaired vision is not a laughing matter, but I thank god that I am not absolutely blind (touch wood TOUCH WOOD) because of the Stroke. And I embrace what I see everywhen, with humility, and being less judgmental (well, "try" anyways) in my visual analysis for "life".


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