ME: Double Vision–not just a song title

I’m scared.

And I’m asking for your prayers. I won’t do an LJ-cut here, because I’m naughty. But anyhow, I need y’all to pray that I don’t have a brain tumor or brain lesion, and that I have something that can be fixed.

I’m really scared. Some of my readers know that twice, several years ago, I was treated for a benign pituitary adenoma that pressed on my optic nerve (it protruded into the optic chiasm) and caused a sparkly blind spot and other problems (the usual endocrine symptoms, which they treated while blithely telling me I couldn’t possibly have a PT, until the visual symptom got really bad.) I guess it was 1990 when I had surgery the first time (which cleared it up), and around 1995 when I had surgery the second time and then radiation (which also cleared it all up, but left some of my visual field damaged in the left eye.) I had hoped to never deal with a neuro symptom again.

Since last Wednesday (or at least that’s when I noticed it for what it was), when I first wake up, I have double vision. Usually I go to bed around midnight, but around four-five AM the Pomeranian wakes me to go tinkle outside. It used to be that I could take him, stand at the front door, then take him back to bed. But now? I get panicky and can’t keep track of him, and I end up sitting or walking around the house until it clears up.

Yes, it clears up. After I’ve been up about fifteen to thirty minutes, sitting up and walking around, my eyes finally stop fighting for dominance and the focus comes clear. They can then work together. But at first, to get clear vision I have to cover one eye. It’s clear through the right eye alone, and it’s clear through the left eye alone, but they can’t work together.

I never could imagine what was meant by “double vision.” But now I see that when you have it, that’s what is natural to call it. Mine is horizontal, blurry images kind of like a View-Master that is out of whack. Doesn’t matter whether I am trying to focus near or far.

The first time I actually realized this was going on, in the middle of the night (Thursday 4 AM), I put my glasses on and when it didn’t clear up, I panicked. That made me have a nervous rigor (a shivering chill that travels up your body) and I took the dog into the kitchen where I tried to take my blood sugar. I also washed my eyes and took an allergy squirt of Astelin. Mama woke up (her room is off the kitchen) and immediately wanted to know what was the matter.

I was so scared that I told her.

She immediately went into a gasping-for-breath mode. Had to take a rescue inhaler. Told me I was a hysterical hypochondriac (which she always says–she never believes anything is wrong with anyone else!) But I could see she was taking it seriously.

My vision took thirty minutes to clear up that time. She wanted to make it be a result of a film of allergy stuff in my eyes, or blurred vision from high blood sugar. I have noticed that instead of being crusted closed with that “sandman” stuff, my eyes do have a film of allergy stuff. But that isn’t causing this.

The meter beeped to signal that it had my sugar reading ready.

285.

Okay, we could operate from a base of getting that sugar reading down. I don’t take insulin, and metformin is a systemic medication that doesn’t immediately bring sugars down. I marched around the house for a while, and my vision came into focus. I was pretty relieved, as I wasn’t sure it ever would.

You see, when I had the other visual symptom leading up to the diagnosis, the symptom just gradually appeared and then got worse day by day. It did not clear up and go away. The doctors said that I probably had not noticed it for a long time while it was coming on *because* the brain compensates. It would just interpolate the background so that it seemed there were no visual field defects (blind or blank spots.) By the time I couldn’t read the eye chart and so forth, it was too extreme to ignore (even though it took two months to get various doctprs to send me for an MRI and so forth and then send me to my neurosurgeon.) With THIS, I only have it when I first wake up from a night’s sleep or from a nap. It lasts a few minutes after a nap, or up to thirty to forty-five after a five-hour night’s sleep. I take this as a good sign.

I’m afraid to go back to sleep every time this happens, as I don’t want to find that it doesn’t go away next time.

Yes, I know I have to go to my regular doctor and a neurologist and an ophthalmologist. I had hoped never to have to do that again.

I told my mother that I figured it was a recurrence of the same old problem, possibly from the other lobe this time, and that the spotting (bleeding) that I had last week was probably another sign of the screwed-up hormones. But she insisted that it had to be something related to edema, as I have been really puffy and swollen, and when the fluid drains, I get a lot better.

So we needed to calm down. We convinced ourselves that it could be corneal edema or something related to my sinus impaction. After all, my ears are messed up and I’ve had terrible sinus problems with impaction for some time. I asked the doctor last week for antibiotics, but he wanted me to try just the nose spray and breathing steam and natural remedies first. (But then that was last TUESDAY, before these symptoms became apparent.) We also wanted it to be diabetes. But it only happens when I first wake up, which isn’t how the diabetes books say that happens–they say in diabetes that it happens after the eye muscles and nerves are damaged, and it doesn’t just get better. I was hoping there was a fluid buildup behind my eyes, or something, and that the fluid was draining as I stood up and moved around. What we’re afraid of is that it’s the brain compensating, and it just takes that long for it to figure out how to coordinate the signals from my eyes. Imagine a data cable being squeezed. But it wouldn’t clear up quickly once you awakened if it were actually being squeezed, would it? That doesn’t make sense, and we’re clinging to that.

Anyhow, I started on the most restrictive diabetic diet and spread out my food in half-cup increments over the day, and I started exercising even though it’s hot (in the early morning it’s only in the high eighties). My sugars started to come down–first to 265 the next morning and 220 at night, and finally this morning at 180 upon waking. (I couldn’t focus on the dang lancet device or get my dot of blood to the test strip unless I closed one eye and held it way away from my face like a farsighted person trying to read a newspaper.) So the sugars are coming down. The effects of continuing high sugars may stil be with me–I suspect that last week and the week before, when I had a stomach bug and ate up the wallpaper because I was starving (and went to four restaurants, including a Mexican place), my sugars must have been running much higher than 300. I’ll have to start checking again.

Anyway. The LAST thing I want is a brain you-know-what and brain surgery again (and I sure don’t want something they CAN’T fix), so I am asking for your prayers.

I’ve noticed flashers and floaters, but nothing serious, and I don’t have blind spots. I tried to make this be diabetes or retinopathy or whatever, but hell, it’s got to be something else.

In my experience, something like this just wastes a lot of time at an emergency room, especially because the symptom is long gone by the time you get there, so I’ll just get with my doctor on Monday. I was supposed to go in for follow-up blood work on Wednesday, anyhow.

Meanwhile, I firmly believe that ANY kind of prayers, positive energy, or thoughts that you send my way can cause a miraculous healing or healing progress. So please, if you pray . . . put in a good word for me.

I don’t believe I have accomplished my mission in life yet. I have been convinced all this time that I was meant to make a change in the world through my fiction/writing, but apparently that is not the Plan. I dreamed several times over the past month that various people told me to give up the idea of publishing a novel (it is various authority figures in the dream–Jerry Lewis, various old teachers of mine, etc.) I also dreamed of something being wrong with my body. The Universe speaks to us through dreams (and so do our bodies), so I am going to take this seriously. I have been doing housework and catching up on mundane stuff furiously instead of working on frivolous stuff, in hopes that this will make God happier with me . . . I think I’m not supposed to be pursuing the publication of a novel. At least not now. Other things must be waiting in the wings for me to do–at least I hope so. I needed to do some deep housecleaning in many senses, anyway. We’re still hoping that I’m having a reaction to black mold or some other irritant in the house; I haven’t found anything other than dust yet, though. I often suggest that I should sleep in a hotel or someone else’s house overnight so as to see if I still have a problem on waking, but Hubby and Mama don’t cooperate. I might still do that, if they tell me it’s allergies (and I only wish they could and would–and be correct.)

All of this housework made my bad knee swell, too. But it’s coming down. I need to call the bone surgery office to make sure that I can still HAVE an MRI; they put screws and wire and so forth in to fix that broken kneecap. It’s on the “other end,” so to speak, so it probably won’t disrupt an open MRI, but it’s still good to ask. I understand that most of that repair hardware is made to be not-magnetic these days.

I found a small mockingbird feather on the carpet under the breakfast table last night. It is a good sign from Great Spirit. So say my Choctaw ancestors. But that doesn’t mean we’re not . . . yeah, scared.

This morning, I got up around five-fifteen. Vision focused slowly between five-thirty and five-forty. Now I’m working on the computer and having no problems. You’ve gotta admit that’s weird and not a typical symptom . . . or is it? I’ve gotta be the weird one, even medically.

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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