Tag Archives: Vision loss

Feeling My Feelings

30 Aug

Hurricane Isabel, as seen from the International Space Station – Or my swirling feelings

I know things have been quiet on my blog so far this week.  One of the reasons is that I have been trying to process all of my feelings.  Monday I was virtually useless all day.  I couldn’t get my mind off of my dog’s vet appointment the next day.  I don’t even remember one single detail from Monday.  Nothing.  I know I got up and went to work.  I can’t remember if I ate or, if I did, what I ate.  I have no idea what clothes I wore.  I can’t remember what I did that evening.  Mr. Mess was at school all day from 7 am to about 10:30 pm, so I didn’t even get to talk to him beyond a few quick check-ins.  I went through the entire day on autopilot, zoned out.

When Tuesday morning finally rolled along, I was glad to get the ophthalmologist visit taken care of.  I had to lead a conference call for work that morning on the way to the vet.  As I was getting Buddy together, loading the car, juggling my phone on speaker, a leash and my purse, driving to the vet, and trying to facilitate the call, I realized it was too much.  I was going to go back to work after the appointment, even if he had to get surgery, then come pick him up later.  Somewhere during that call I decided that was not going to happen.  I could not handle it emotionally, in the least.

The appointment was depressingly short.  The actual ophthalmologist (the other person I saw was just filling in for him during vacation), was very personable, knowledgeable, and gentle with Buddy.  Unfortunately, when he took the pressure in his eye it was still quite elevated.  A quick look inside at the optical nerve verified what he suspected – there really was no hope for Buddy’s left eye.  I had a sinking feeling all week that would be the case, so I should have been prepared.  I didn’t cry or get upset or even react much at all; I was just numb.  He said that they were ready to do the procedure immediately to stop fluid production in that eye, which would also lead to permanent vision loss.  While they had him under, the vet said he would confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma and check the other eye for a malformation.  With that, he walked out, one of the ladies from the front desk walked in, and I watched them take Buddy away to the back.

My Mom and I had already decided to have lunch together, so I gave her a call as I was walking out, even though it was only 9:30 am.  I told her what was going on, and she suggested that I come by her house right then.  Grateful for something to distract myself with, I headed her way.  Our original plan was to go shoe shopping, check out some clearance sales, and have lunch together – a few hours of mindless fun.  When I got there we started comparing recent purchases, and I talked her into keeping some really cute, cheap shoes that she had purchased the week before.  We talked about what kind of outfits would go with them, how sexy my step-Dad thought the red pair was, and other completely shallow stuff that was as far away from the anxiety-producing thoughts of my dog going under the knife as possible.

My Mom is great.  She can read me.  She understands all of the emotions I have bubbling just under the surface.  She offered her support and some calm reassurance.  She played to my rational side, and treated this like what it was – a minor procedure necessary to help Buddy be comfortable and more healthy.  She gave me a few minutes to call work and let them know I wasn’t coming in, then we moved right along with the business of going shopping in each other’s closets.

A few days before we were on the phone talking about random things, which my Mom is an expert at (we can literally have a conversation that lasts hours and isn’t really about anything in particular).  She told me that she has been looking for a pair of flat boots to wear to college football games.  Coincidentally, I had a pair that I purchased 2 years ago or so when I sprained my ankle.  They were cute, but I found that I really never wore them.  Those boots, along with light brown leather cowboy boots that were slightly too narrow for me and a few other adorable shoes that always seemed to be sitting in the back of my closet unworn went into a bag for my Mom.  Tuesday I unloaded that bag, and she tried on the various shoes.  She loved them all.  That meant I didn’t have to worry about donating them or listing them on eBay.  It’s great to have the same foot size as your Mom!

We then went upstairs where it was my turn to shop.  My Mom has been on the South Beach diet for the past 3 years or so (usually on phase 3, but sometimes going back to the earlier ones for a weight-loss boost).  She is about 2 sizes smaller than I am now, but there was a time she was in the same transition phase as me.  After losing approximately 25 pounds in the past 2 months, I also lost about 2 pants sizes.  That meant I could fit into some of the nice clothes that are too big for her and have been just taking up space.  I played dress-up there in my Mom’s big walk-in closet and found that her old clothes look amazing on me.  My ass is killer!  I ended up going home with 4 new-to-me pairs of pants, 3 sweaters, 2 cardigans, a fly-away jacket, a necklace, and an amazing pair of khaki colored boots.  Score!

We also went to lunch at an amazing little restaurant run by a well-known chef.  Right as we were completing our lunch order I got a call from the vet.  Buddy had come our of surgery well, was just now coming around from the anesthesia, and would be ready for pick-up in about an hour.  I fought my natural urge to jump out of the booth and go speeding over to get him.  Instead, we had a nice lunch followed by a trip to Sally’s next door where I picked up two new hair accessories and admired pretty-colored nail polish.

I had ridden with my Mom to lunch, so we returned to her house where I gathered up my bags of clothing.  After a quick pit-stop, I found a special treat for Buddy waiting next to my purse on the table.  If I weren’t so numb I probably would have cried.  I gave my Mom a hug, and thanked her for lunch and the great, free shopping trip, then headed out.

When I arrived to pick up Buddy they gave me some medicine to give him over the next few days and a piece of paper that said (in part):

Diagnoses Left Eye: Primary Glaucoma, chronic

Diagnoses Right Eye:  Narrow angle

Gonioscopic examination of the right eye indicated a significant risk of glaucoma

There it was in black and white.  I knew it, in my head.  I thought I had accepted it.  Buddy wasn’t making it a big deal.  So why did that hurt so bad?  The vet explained there was really nothing I could have done.  He said that usually by the time the damage is noticeable it is usually too late to do anything.  He said that it was a good thing that he is 9 years old when it first presented, not 2.  He also said that we now are ahead of it in the other eye.  We have medication to delay its progress.  We have an emergency plan and medicine in case his other eye acts up.  We are really in a much better place with Buddy’s health this week than last week or even the week before.

I guess it just made me have to recognize the fact that Buddy will not live forever.  I knew that, too.  I’m not a moron.  I am just very connected to him.  My husband has made fun of his sister for saying she would sleep in a tent before she got rid of her dogs, but I get it.  He is my family.  His whole body wiggles with joy when he sees me.  He snuggles up to me in the most adorable way.  He has been there for me through lots of tears, and he always makes me feel better.  When I got him home he was still groggy from the anesthesia, and he fell asleep on my lap.  He is so sweet and soft and wonderful.  I know he isn’t mourning the loss of his left eye, but I am.  I am mourning the fact that he is getting old and may die sometime sooner than I am willing to admit to myself.  He may have 5 years left, maybe more.  It doesn’t seem like enough.  Once again, I am faced with something I cannot control, and I do NOT like it.  Not one little bit.

Yesterday I had a long day.  I left my house at 5:30 am and didn’t get back until after 8:30 pm.  I had a training/ roadshow for work yesterday that was held 3 hours away, then had to play IT person when I got back because internet had been down most of the day and no one knew how to fix it.  I didn’t have a chance to think much at all.  The last week I have also been pushing my feelings down with shopping.  That worked for a little while, and I am definitely more stylish and confident today because of it, but that high finally ended.  Today I am crashing.  I am finally feeling my feelings.  It feels crappy.

I know, I know…  It’s necessary.  We have to sit with bad feelings, give ourselves a chance to mourn for things that are lost, even if they are intangible.  I have to get better about that.  I need to stop avoiding my feelings.  Today they caught up with me, and I’m feeling down.  That’s okay, though.  Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter.  In the meantime, I haven’t forgotten about doing at least one thing for myself.  Today I took the time to write this blog.  I also wore a cute new pair of pants, one of the flirty cardigans from my Mom, a teal, ruffled, lace shirt that I haven’t worn in ages, and these fantastic new shoes.

I hope everyone else is having a good Thursday.  If you have some good news, a funny story, or are having an especially great week so far, I would love to hear about it.  I need a little sunshine today.

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