Friday, September 26, 2008

Seeing clearly

Clarity of sight is foremost in my thoughts today, as it has been for the last few days. I mean that both literally and figuratively.

I had a cataract removed from my left eye on Tuesday, and will have one removed from the right eye Oct. 7. Tony had one removed last week -- at this point he doesn't need to do the other.

It took six minutes.

I was at the day surgery center maybe an hour and a half. No pain, no discomfort even. I felt pretty woozy from the don't-give-a-crap meds that they relax you with, but remember quite a lot of what went on. Tony saw colors, I remember a little of that, but also seeing just white, sort of like the old test pattern on the black and white tvs.

'But I can see thing with my left eye, unaided by correction, that I have never seen as well with that eye. Things close and midrange are still fuzzy, but even that is improving, and I can finally pretty much see the computer screen with that eye.

It's downright miraculous.

And yes, I AM too young to have cataracts.

They may be a result of meds I've been on for years, it may be some genetic thing, whatever. But I got 'em early. And once replaced, I won't ever have to have it done again. If cloudiness returns, it can be clarified with a simple laser treatment in the doc's office.

Coping with wildly disparate sight is a bit unnerving and strains my eyes, but I can handle this for another couple of weeks, and then I'll work with getting both eyes focusing together. I should come out of this needing only reading glasses.

And then there is clarity of thought and action and insight, and I've been trying to wrap my head around several different things.

I'm using the old Serenity prayer a lot, both as regards the volatile state of the economy (egad! what a FUBAR that is!), and for some of the people I love or care about who are struggling right now with depression and anger and fear.

What do I say? How much do I say? How strongly can I push? Will it even make a difference?

These are old patterns at work, I think, in all cases: methods of coping with pain and anger, and how to work through it. I believe my dear ones need help doing it, but I'm also so well aware that they have to drive that decision. As much as I can point out that it would be beneficial, it means nothing unless the individual wants to make that change. The old "you can lead a horse to water" theory....

It's an addiction, these old ways of dealing with pain and confusion and fear and grief and anger. You numb them with substances or you act out in your behavior, or your life teeters on the edge of unmanageable, and none of it is fun. NOTHING seems fun. Except when you're doing whatever you do to stop thinking about it, and even then it's not fun because you know you're going to feel crappy later.

I know a thing or two about addiction and how to deal with it. I recognize it. I know a few things about denial, too, which -- have to say it -- is not just a river in Egypt.

There's a quote attributed to George Carlin: "Just 'cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town.”

Merely stopping an addiction, be it behavior or substances, is not going to make you recover. It takes constant, lifelong work of adjusting and readjusting your thinking, being scrupulously honest with yourself about what is going on, and admitting when you need help to work it out.

Ah. Life can be so damned hard.

So I'm also working on clarity for myself: to know when to talk, to know what to say, and to know when to shut up -- the last being the hardest thing for me. Bottom line: we create our own destiny through our choices. The only destiny I have any control over is MINE. And today I am taking care of me.

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