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Thread: Setback

          
   
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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Setback

    What a way to end the year.

    After my fall in October, I recovered very quickly. However, very recently I developed a new problem with the vision in my right eye which, while there is no direct evidence to connect it with the fall, seems to me to be too much of a coincidence to not be connected.

    This is probably the first time in my life that I've had to deal with a difficult health issue, so I thought I would bring my friends up to date on what's going on.

    About two weeks ago, I noticed trouble with focusing my right side peripheral vision. I didn't think much about it - thought maybe it would go away after a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, my sight continued to deteriorate day by day until I was experiencing double vision on my right side (while not as extreme, imagine Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase"). As my sight worsened, it occurred to me that it might be a delayed reaction from the fall, when the emergency room staff and I decided against a CT Scan.

    After several days of this, and being sufficiently scared (my Dad's demise began with a subdural hematoma), I went back to the emergency room, which diagnosed a weak eye muscle due to a palsied cranial nerve (they were reluctant to make the connection to my fall since I did land on my right eye, which was protected by sunglasses). In the week before Christmas, I had the CT Scan, 2 MRIs and am scheduled for a sonogram this afternoon, all of which are new experiences. It's quite unnerving since I've always had excellent health and eyesight and had just had my annual opthalmological exam at the beginning of December. The neurologist suspects a mini-stroke since there is a spot showing on the MRI, thus the sonogram (which could, of course, be other nasty things as well).

    While things could be worse, my current vision is very disorienting and includes a decrease in depth perception, both of which make driving a bad idea, takes most of the pleasure out of my walking (it's hard to see the path without walking with my head at a tilt to favor my left eye) and makes reading, watching television and travel a challenge.

    The good news is the neurologist says that the nerve should repair itself over a number of months, although it might not be 100%. I am fighting pessimism about the whole thing - my sight is so disturbed, it's hard to imagine it correcting itself. There are additional medical resources locally that I haven't yet accessed (one step at a time) - my ophthalmologist has suggested referring me to a neuro-ophthalmologist and the Johns Hopkins complex in Baltimore, Maryland (about 30 miles from here) has an eye institute.

    In the meantime, despite my decreased mobility, my condo has no stairs, I am within easy walking distance to grocery stores and other services, including the Washington, DC subway system and have become quite handy with Uber. And, of course, I can still listen to opera!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Can you take any special nutrients to help with the brain and eye healing. I understand zinc is supposed to help vision and omega-3 (in fish oil) is good for the brain. Maybe do some research on it. Also drink enough water. Other than that, have you tried walking and driving using only the good eye? Can get a patch for the other eye.

    I have cataracts and was losing my night driving ability until I got the lens replaced in my right eye. Now night driving is good but the left eye cataract is scattering so much light that I get double vision and blur so a car in the next lane also shows up blurry in my lane (this effect is mainly at night). Very disconcerting and increases potential for an accident. I sometimes close that eye but it actually feels much better to just put my finger over the left eye to block the central vision. Then I retain peripheral vision in that eye and night driving is as good as no cataracts at all. I plan to get the other eye done soon.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    All good points, Florestan, thanks. I'm still in the process of figuring these things out, but your ideas about nutrition are ones I hadn't thought of and will look into, for sure.

    I probably could drive, but am really reluctant to attempt it, considering already hazardous local traffic. I asked the ophthalmologist about it - in the context of people with single eyesight driving all the time - to which he hesitated and said that it was less of an issue for people who are accustomed to living with single eyesight, but that in my case it would take some practice. Considering that I have trouble finding the hallway in my building without tilting my head to alleviate the double vision, driving hasn't seemed to be a particularly good idea.

    I bought an eyepatch, which actually is a big help, but the neurologist cautioned against using it. He told me the reparation process would be hindered with its use, as the brain will respond to the double vision situation and start to repair the nerve more quickly than if I use the patch. I used the patch over the holiday when flying, as the chaos in the airport at Christmas was a real problem with double vision - not to mention that I am much slower and less accurate when finding my seat and stowing luggage and all when boarding the aircraft.

    By the way, good luck with taking care of the second cataract!

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    Having lived with health issues most of my life, please let me offer this observation: life (nomatter how compromised) is always a good thing when looking at the grass from the green side. Attitude is a major factor in dealing with this stuff. I can only wish you the best in a difficult time, and pray that 2017 brings better news.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Dear Hoffmann, what a bummer, particularly as you enjoy your walks so much! Hope it all gets sorted out; and as you say at least you can keep listening to opera.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Hello Hoffmann,

    I'm sorry to hear of your setback. I hope you can stay strong and positive during this testing time and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    While the walking is a bit difficult for you, sit back an listen to all those operas that make you most happy!

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I probably could drive, but am really reluctant to attempt it, considering already hazardous local traffic. I asked the ophthalmologist about it - in the context of people with single eyesight driving all the time - to which he hesitated and said that it was less of an issue for people who are accustomed to living with single eyesight, but that in my case it would take some practice.
    That makes perfect sense to me because I tried covering the blurry eye and the loss of peripheral on the left was hard to deal with. I did not notice as much issue with depth perception with the one eye closed. My depth perception is more aggravated with that eye open at night. It is the bright lights (taillights, headlights, etc.) against the dark background that really makes an issue for me. On streets that are well lit and familiar it is not as bad. Daytime is almost no issue at all but if I get lazy the left eye will give me double vision of the white line--not good. I think that is because the left eye is worsened in the past year. I had the first surgery in October 2015.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Sending all my best wishes and thoughts to you dearest Hoffmann for a swift and satisfactory outcome.
    Last edited by Ann Lander (sospiro); December 29th, 2016 at 07:07 PM.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the support, am trying to stay positive and will let you know how things progress.

    I am going to try out a walk this afternoon, though will keep it simple - not one of my usual 'marathons'.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    So, that would be an "easy" five miler? (fives times longer than my walks...)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    I'm coming to this thread late, but hopefully still in time to offer my condolences. It must be maddening dealing with such vision issues; I hope they sort themselves out over time, as the doctors suggest.

    As others here have said, keep listening to opera, even if stationary at home. Maybe your ears can give you some respite from worrying about your eyes.

    All the best, and keep us posted!

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    So, that would be an "easy" five miler? (fives times longer than my walks...)

    Ummm. Well. I walked 6 miles, my 'easiest' walk, and found it very challenging. You know you have a vision problem when it looks like cars are driving on the sidewalk...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    I'm coming to this thread late, but hopefully still in time to offer my condolences. It must be maddening dealing with such vision issues; I hope they sort themselves out over time, as the doctors suggest.

    As others here have said, keep listening to opera, even if stationary at home. Maybe your ears can give you some respite from worrying about your eyes.

    All the best, and keep us posted!

    Thanks, Amfortas! Knowing what you've been through, I am taking inspiration from your example.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Ummm. Well. I walked 6 miles, my 'easiest' walk, and found it very challenging. You know you have a vision problem when it looks like cars are driving on the sidewalk...
    Yikes! I do hope your healing is fast and complete.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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  26. #14
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Thanks, Amfortas! Knowing what you've been through, I am taking inspiration from your example.
    We're none of us getting any younger--or healthier.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    I'm also late to this but I hope you're recovering as fast as possible! Eye trouble is so frustrating...

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