Yesterday I was a tourist in my own city. I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder.
It’s only recently that I traced my total paranoia about losing my vision back to Ingalls Wilder’s famous ‘Little House’ books. A few weeks ago, I picked up her biography in a local street library, and discovered that her sister Mary had became permanently blind after some mystery illness as a child.
I read the Little House books many times as a child — probably around the time that I first got glasses — but I’d forgotten that key, horrifying detail. Now I understand why I’ve been terrified of going blind, almost ever since I can remember.
Of course as I grew up, I realised that although my sight got worse each year, short-sightedness doesn’t lead to blindness. But it is a risk factor for a nasty condition known as retinal detachment, which can definitely make you blind, if not treated. And guess what? Last Thursday, after several weeks of monitoring floaters and flashes in my right eye, I was diagnosed with a tear in my retina. Lucky for me, I live in a rich country in the 21st century, so the eye doctor patched it up with laser and cryotherapy the same day.
I went home with retina intact, a sore eye and great relief. Friday passed in a blur — literally and mentally. The bandage came off my eye but the medication kept it dilated and light sensitive. In a cruel twist of fate, I had to complete a job application by midnight. I hit ‘submit’ just after 9.00pm, wondering if anything I’d written made sense.
Saturday morning, I woke up to the alarming view of my eye looking like it was about to pop. The white was red, watery, and bulging with what looked like a blister.
Eeeek! My fear of going blind kicked in big time. Off I rushed to the Eye Hospital Emergency. I sat there for three hours before the doctor could see me, but when she finally did … all was well. It was a normal reaction to the operation. Phew. (And BTW, thanks Laura, for pushing me into paranoid over-reaction).
Well, of course I’d been starving myself in anticipation that I might be rushed into surgery, so by this time I was hungry and in desperate need of coffee. I grabbed a double shot flat white and a fig & fruit bar from the first cafe I saw (oh, blessed sight!) and collapsed in the sun in Hyde Park.
I lay on the grass and looked … well, squinted … up at the sky. Not blind yet.
It was a beautiful day to be in the city. I had no plans for the day. I finished my coffee and went for a long, relaxed walk, down to the old docks and the new park along the harbour foreshore. Past the amazing old buildings that are under threat from developers, under the bridge, down through the tourist market.
Even with an irritated, weepy eye, I had a lovely afternoon, thanks to my fear of going blind, that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
I had to close my right eye or cover it with a tissue to take my photos, but I kept reminding myself, this narrow view was better than none at all.
Check out other people’s takes on the Weekly Photo Challenge: narrow.