Four Years In

So…been a little quiet on the blog lately. Okay, a lot quiet.
What generally happens is that I write a post, or most of a post, set it aside to tidy up and post a little later, and suddenly it’s several days later and my brilliant post is no longer current.
Meanwhile, I’ve yakked about whatever it was on social media, or hashed it over with MrH, satisfying my desire to talk about it and draining the urgency to post the piece.
There’s been some other stuff in the background siphoning off my drive to write, which I may or may not get around to talking about here.
But. In the meantime.
The first of this month marked my fourth anniversary of being admitted to the hospital to evict the trespasser lurking in my brain, to emerge two weeks later into a world that had faded to black.
So. What’s changed, and what hasn’t, in the intervening four years?

My Vision

By now, I think my vision has pretty much stabilized. I can’t foresee it getting any better, but I don’t expect it to get any worse.
My left eye officially has no light perception, but occasionally I seem to sense light or motionon that side. It’s not consistent, though, and it’s hard to tell how much of that is my brain helpfully filling in.
I sometimes get headaches on that side, centering in or behind the eye, and I suspect the pupil doesn’t contract as quickly or completely as it should, exposing the eye to too much light. Something to ask my optometrist about.
I’m not sure how much the vision in my right eye has improved since those early days, or if I’ve just become more adept at interpreting the patterns of light and shadow and movement that make up my vision these days. It really is like trying to puzzle out the picture on a staticky black-and-white analog TV
If the contrast and proportions are just right, I can sometimes make out simple shapes, letters or numbers. I can’t do it consistently, though, and it’s really tiring.
On the plus side, I’ve gotten so used to relying on my other senses that most of the time I do it without even thinking about it. Sometimes, when I’m describing something to someone or thinking about what a character perceives, I have to stop and remind myself that they have the superpower of vision! They can see that thing across the room!
I’ve even had a dream (just the one, so far) where my level of vision was the same in the dream as it is awake. I guess even my dreaming mind has finally internalized my blindness!

My Brain

It’s a lot easier to talk about the effects of my vision loss than the aftermath of my brain tumor and brain surgery, because they’re a lot more noticeable on a day-to-day basis.
Overall, I’d say I’m on a much more even keel. I’m much better able to take the long view, consider both sides of a question, and to empathize.
I’m also more susceptible to stress and can be emotionally volatile, particularly when I’m tired. I’ve learned that I have to manage how much I take on and keep from overextending myself.
Every time I think I’m completely healed, I get a little farther along and realize that nope, I still had a way to go. So even now, I’m probably still a work in progress.
I think my memory, both short-and long-term, has improved dramatically. I don’t remember everything, but I’m consistently impressed by my ability to dredge up long-forgotten names, factoids and incidents, or to recall exactly the ten-digit phone number I’ve just dialed.

My Life

The past year has felt like one big plateau, full of roadblocks and frustrations.
It seemed like whatever I’d done on my own, I couldn’t keep moving forward because I needed help with one tiny part of the process I was working on. I felt lonely and bored, trapped at home either by lack of funds or lack of people to do things with. Writing had hit a dead-end wall, and on the rare occasions I had an idea for a story or blog post, I lacked the gumption to run with it.
I think I’m moving past that now. As my friend Z wisely said, “The important thing to remember when you hit a plateau is that you’re still moving forward.”
MrH and I have moved away from some groups and tried to connect with others. I’m trying to reach out more, both to current friends and to potential ones, and to get past the feeling that when I invite someone to do something, I’m really just imposing on them to take me somewhere.
I’ve broken up with Vocational Rehabilitation. It just wasn’t working out, and going into an emotional tailspin after every encounter wasn’t productive. I plan to focus on writing, online opportunities, and (potentially) marketing my crafts, areas in which I’m fairly confident my knowledge base already exceeds theirs.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that my writing mojo, which had dwindled to a trickle, seems to have returned in full force.
Or perhaps it is a coincidence, and this upswing will give way ere long to another slide into the Slough of Despond. Either way, I’ll go there on my own terms.
Over the past year, I’ve taken a far more active role in meal planning and managing our finances, and it’s made a difference. Our grocery budget (and our eating out budget) have gone down, and I think we’re eating better. It’s taken some of the strain off MrH, a trend I want to continue!
Our younger son started his first job a couple of weeks ago, and our older son is looking. This is going to ease the strain considerably, even if they’re just putting gas in the car and paying for their own entertainment at first.

Looking Forward

As I move into Year 5 AB (After Bob or After Blindness, take your pick) there are several things I want to accomplish:

  • Write 1000 words a day, at least five days a week.
  • Submit at least one piece of writing to a paying market or contest before the end of the year.
  • Continue decluttering and organizing so that our house becomes a more pleasant place to live and work.
  • Find a place to walk at least a couple of times a week.
  • Explore new hobbies and handicrafts.
  • Find more places to go and things to do, with and without MrH.

What about you? Hit any milestones lately? Set or changed any goals? Have you taken a turn in a new direction, and how is that working out for you? Inquiring minds want to know!


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