Saturday, January 8, 2011

As we age...

A glass of water. The new treatment for PD tremors.       

"As we age...."

If a doctor says that to me one more time.....

Yesterday, I had an emergency appt. with the eye doctor.  Already sick with what's probably the flu, I had a violent attack of flashing light and visual aura on Wednesday while I was driving. I thought something had happened just outside the car. Then I thought there were things IN the car--little black ants and black strings floating like snakes in water. I was on my way to Kroger on a snowy senior day. What hell. I made it to Kroger's wretched parking lot, where I grabbed my glasses to see if there was something wrong with them. No. Then--get this--I reached around the car window and roof to see where the leak was as if some hole in the car would allow ants and snakes to get in, let loose from the heavens on a winter day. Nothing worked. I wanted to go home and crawl under the bed and hide, but we needed things for the animals. So I braved Kroger and ignored the people who stared at me as I waved my hands in front of my left eye to make the aliens go away.

This is the precursor to one hell of a migraine, I thought as I curled up at home. Well, it wasn't. I called the ophthalmologist and made a first-available emergency appointment, but only after I emailed my neurologist and asked if this was Parkinson's related. "No," she responded immediately. "See your eye doctor now."  I saw him at 0745 hours the next morning. I endured a ghastly in-depth eye exam that required anesthetizing and dilating the left eye several times. Initial evaluation showed a severe vision loss in the left eye. All his attempts to immobilize my head for the exam were thwarted by head, neck, and hand tremors.  Immobilize? LOLOL. Is there a funnier word in a Parkinsonian's vocabulary? He actually got exasperated with me, and, while we waited for a new round of eye drops to take effect, he had me drink a glass of water. I almost grabbed my bag to take a Mirapex, but, for some reason, I just didn't. I sat in the dark, drank water, and prayed, and just breathed. Finally, more relaxed, I made it through his last in-depth exam.

"As we age," he began. <Rage>  He described the collapse of viscous gel in the eye ball. That causes floaters, which many people have. Did I mention "as we age"? Most of these annoying spots and occasional lights dissipate on their own.  But, as I age, I got a whopper of a "collapse." Analogous to a 8.0 earthquake, my viscous material erupted into a huge (for an eye) mass of material right in the middle of the eye. This, in turn, cause vision loss, flashing lights, and the appearance of ants, snakes, and alien shapes everywhere I look. What can be done? Nothing. As I age, all this will dissolve slowly....OR it is causing so much stress on the retina that the retina is in imminent danger of tearing or detaching and requiring emergency surgery. So, as I age, I wait and wait and rail against the problem that nothing preventative can be done. No drops or activity limitations will help.

I have turned to poetry, as I age. Just when I was beating myself up over slacking off on my anti-Parkinson's routine, something new and unrelated rears its ugly head. I have inherited the family eye problems. My father's black eyes that disciplined me with a glare and sparkled with love when he was proud of me ultimately betrayed him later in life. This latest thing isn't my only eye problem, but feeling like a time bomb, I have spent my time, as I age, raging against the "dying of the light" (Dylan Thomas).

As we age....