thejessence

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. – Aristotle


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Let there be sight

From a time I first remember in my life, both of my parents have worn glasses. Mom experimented with contacts a couple of times, but I always remember the frames on their faces.

I couldn’t wait to get some of my own. It was like a mile marker on the highway of life and I wanted to be just like my mom and dad.

In third grade I got the chance to be just like them. The optometrist recommended a light prescription not for daily wear, but more or less just to practice for what the rest of my life was going to look like.

I don’t remember ever wearing the gold metal frames often or for great lengths of time. But in fourth grade, I went into public school (home school adventures is for another time, but now you know why I’m socially awkward.) Around mid-year I made my way up to the teacher’s desk with a couple of other kids to take notes because I couldn’t see the board.

Interestingly enough, I don’t think I connected the dots on that one until my parents took me back to the optometrist. My prescription had greatly increased and new glasses were required and would be a permanent fixture upon my face.

I hated those pink speckled frames. Not because of the color, but they hurt my face at first. I had headaches. All of a sudden my dream of being just like my parents was set ablaze. Forever four eyes.

As I got older, I looked forward to the day I could get contacts. For sports, I used a purple band to tie them to my head. They became a necessity because I couldn’t function without them.

In eighth grade, I finally got a prescription for contacts. However, mine were different. With my prescription significantly high and my eyes changing every year, the optometrist prescribed me RGP (rigid, gas-permeable) lenses.

I was excited until I got them in my eyes.

Who in their right mind would tolerate the feeling of rocks in their eyes? Not an eye lash. Boulders. Constant blinking. Eyes watering. I thought it would never end. Two hours the first round, a gradually increasing until I was able to wear them for the day.

Don’t know what RGP contacts are? Back in the stone ages of contacts, these were the lenses that replaced non-gas permeable contacts. The plastic used is hard and unbendable. If placed between two fingers there is a slight give, but too much pressure cracks the lens.

You don’t pinch your eye to get them out. In fact, you’d probably end up with a piece of your eye ball under your nail if you tried that. You literally popped them out by pulling the side of your eye, forcing your eye lids to squeeze them and break the seal between the lens and your eye.

While all of my friends were sporting their soft lenses, I was trying to avoid the nightmare of getting a speck of dust in my eye. If I did, it was straight to the bathroom to rinse out the contact and wash off the rest of the make-up that didn’t smear off from the tears running down my face on my sprint to the sink. This was an almost every day occurrence.

In the time I wore them, I only met two other people around my age whose every day was the same.

For 15 years I suffered through RGPs in an effort to avoid glasses. Somewhere in there was a small glimmer of hope for the future.

We visited a family member who had a new eye surgery to correct their vision. It was new and very expensive, but maybe, just maybe I could emerge with good eyes.

Another pit stop was an experiment with soft lenses. That didn’t work at all. I liked the fact they didn’t feel like sand paper on a windy day, but I was squinting to see. The optometrist told me there was nothing they could do, so back to the RGPs I went.

20180714_091225Several years and eye doctors later, an optometrist prescribed me the night and day lenses. My vision wasn’t completely clear with them and I was told it would never be, but I was angry with the RGP lenses and needed a change.

I could sleep in these new lenses. I would take them out once-a-week, sleep and most of the time pop them back in the next day. Glasses weren’t an everyday thing. It was a drastic change, the closest thing to perfect vision, but so far from it. Prescription: OD -6.5 and OS -7.5.

Thank goodness thick plastic black frames were fashionable because that’s all I could wear. My prescription wouldn’t fit in a cute thin metal frame.

My horrible vision was part of my daily routine. Out of bed, glasses on, holding a shampoo bottle four inches from my face in the shower to read the ingredients, poke my eye with a contact, eye drops, solution, new contact cases, dirty glasses, dirt on my contact. All for over 20 years.

Then this past April I got brave. I guess I had an extra cup of coffee that morning. I asked about lasik. My optometrist thought I was a candidate and referred me out to a surgeon. I spent the next week researching the surgeon, making myself cringe by reading about what the surgery consists of (don’t worry, I won’t go into much detail) and learning about possible outcomes, worst and best cases.

My tight-wadness was relieved since my insurance assisted with the bill.

I was told to not expect 20/20. I mean, I didn’t see 20/20 with my soft lenses so I figured I’d still be good with that. Glasses for two weeks and then we’d get a more accurate assessment.

The surgeon took an extra look at my file to confirm he was comfortable with my surgery and the outcome because of my extra large prescription.

My husband will tell you I was a spaz the day of and few days before, which is far from the truth. I was a complete mess.

They were taking measurements the morning of my surgery, trying to get the exact map for the best possible outcome. Then I was taken back, placed in a massage chair, given a dissolvable anxiety pill and told to relax. Fat chance.

The surgical room was cold. I crawled onto the small table blind. Eye lid holder, drops and gel drops. I was under the laser for approximately one minute each eye. To give you a frame of reference, most people are under the laser a few seconds to 30 seconds per eye. I wouldn’t describe the experience as painful, mainly uncomfortable. If you’re very interested in the details, contact me. I’m all for sharing, but some people get squeamish.

I was probably in the procedure room for 10-15 minutes max. I felt like I was underwater coming out of the room. Imagine yourself submerged in a bottle of clear aloe vera gel opening your eyes or as the baby in the new 3D sonograms.

Then it was home to sleep for at least four hours. I wasn’t sure that was going to be possible, but I felt I would rather have my eyes closed with the underwater feeling than have them open, which helped immensely.

I ate one or two bites of my dinner. I couldn’t see it clearly, so I didn’t feel like eating. My husband even pried my eyes open to make sure I got my eye drops in. What a trooper considering he refuses to use eye drops or touch his own eye.

Hot tears welled into my clear plastic sleep mask that evening. Again, not painful, just strange.

I awoke the next morning able to see. It was unbelievable. My depth perception was slightly off, but it was like a new day.

A month later, it is still weird to wake up outside of my vision routine for the majority of my life. I find myself sliding my finger around imaginary glasses to scratch an itch on my inner nose. On occasion I reach for my glasses when I wake up. Most of the time my brain alerts me that I haven’t taken out my contacts in awhile.

A couple more follow-up appointments are left, but I’m completely satisfied despite the consistent use of eye drops and sunglasses right now. The bright side is I no longer have to wear the goggles to sleep.

 

 

 

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Twinkies

Carlos Danger (Photo by: Jessica McBride)

In March I got a puppy – a cute, playful little boy.

Carlos loves Caramel, she hates him. He runs, squeaks toys, finds baby bunnies (the subject of another blog) and I swear is constantly eating (and pooping).

I took him in for his first vet visit to have puppy bliss destroyed. 

His fecal test came back for a protozoa, which was treatable. Then the vet sadly told me he had demodex. A type of mange, he would lose his little baby hairs on his tiny baby head… and there was nothing I could do.

We would hope he would grow out of it as he got older.

Um, flashback?

Of course God would give me a puppy that was suffering from alopecia.

So, for a month I watched my baby puppy transform into an old man. Helpless.

Carlos didn’t know any different. He was excited about life. Caramel still didn’t care for him, but it wasn’t because of looks.

At the next appointment, an older vet suggested a treatment… so we went with it. 

He grew a lot in six months. (Photo by: Jessica McBride)

In three months I no longer had a balding pup.

It’s been nine months since I took a picture of my head. I don’t typically wear a headband unless I have my hair pulled up.

I have one spot near my temple, but otherwise it’s filling in nicely. 

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a thinning spot on top and the spot on the back of my head growing.

Twelve shots to the head last appointment. We’ll see where we’re at in two months. 


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Thirty Going On Eight

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

Inspiration is all around us, and yet we fail to recognize it with all of the distractions of our daily life. Our minds are struck with life’s subtle sparkling nuggets and in a moments notice vanish as if they never existed.

Every day I’ve taken a mental note of rarely noticed details that move me to inspiration, and when the finger tips hit the keys the panic pulsates within my veins. I close the laptop and end the idea that captured me.

Recently, I find myself frustrated at life’s possibilities. Not regret, just a childlike desire to do, go and be. Interesting how hitting the big 3-0 leaves you at a point of reflection, adventure and pursuit.

Every door and window is open to you as a child. It’s almost as if living under a canopy with the sides unhindered to view. Today you’re a cowboy. Tomorrow you’re an astronaut. Possibilities never cease and are never out of reach.

I think as an adult we build walls and are pushed to close doors and windows, leaving two or three open as careers and escapes. Why?

Is it a societal push? Is it an internal mental push so the mind can deal with the pains of being an adult?

Puzzling. I think I prefer the child’s view.

I was asked the other day what the next 10 years hold. I smiled, and said something amazing! Though I’m no where near ready for 40, I do know that I want the next ten years to be full of adventure, happiness and inspiration.


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Hubs and Awards

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

It’s not every day that your hard work is acknowledged, especially by your peers.

Tonight, I was honored to receive three awards from the Native American Journalist Association for articles I wrote last year.

While I’d like to say that I’m this awesome person that truly deserves an award, I know there are better writers out there that deserve it more than me.

Daily, my husband tells me he is proud of me and I’m so lucky to have someone that makes me better with everything I do. Many times I don’t recognize what he is proud of me for, but as a pessimistic person, it is nice to have someone who has seen me at my worst and helps to pick me up because he knows I can do better.

When we were stunt partners in college (Ya, I married a male cheerleader. What of it?), I always knew that he would tell me what I needed to hear to strive for perfection. The minimum was never acceptable.

It wasn’t always easy, and I left several practices ready to punch him in the face. I didn’t, and I’m grateful because I would never have accomplished half of what I have without him.

Our goal to push each other to success was the basis for a beautiful friendship and love that grew into a marriage as the years developed. If it weren’t for him, I would’ve given up on writing and finding a career that I truly love.

He always encouraged me to do what I loved and that he would do whatever it took to help me get there. There are days that he has to set me straight and remind me that I’m capable of much more. There are days he has to hold me together when my world is falling apart. There are days he brags on me for something I see as so insignificant.

When they announced the awards this year, I was proud of my accomplishment but I think he was more excited than me. He’s my biggest fan, and I can’t thank him enough for choosing to stick by my side through thick and thin.

I know I have a husband, friend and coach that will hold me accountable for being stupid and will let me know when it’s time to celebrate.

I’ve included links to the stories I received awards for below, but I have to say that Husband of the Year can go to no other but my hubs.

Without him, I wouldn’t be an award winning journalist.

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https://m.facebook.com/MuscogeeNationNews/photos/a.362213007142792.87634.359095080787918/814767138554041/?type=1&theater

https://m.facebook.com/mcnfvp/posts/363255017147766

https://m.facebook.com/MuscogeeNationNews/photos/a.362213007142792.87634.359095080787918/833092833388138/?type=1&__tn__=C


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The Soothing Smell of Dunkin Trumps Being Motivated

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Dunkin > Starbucks

I haven’t written since February, and a lot has been going on. We bought a house, we moved in, we unpacked for the most part, and I have literally been going 90 to nothing the past two weeks getting it all done. Talk about stressful.

I still have so much to do, but when I took Caramel out for her leisure morning potty, I couldn’t help myself to just sit with my giant Starbucks mug filled with Dunkin Donuts coffee and enjoy the cool weather and gentle rain.

The dachshund princess has made her way back to the toasty blanket on my bed, while instead of loading the dish washer, I added to the collection and made some breakfast. Sorry hubs.

It’s a glorious Saturday in Oklahoma from my back porch.


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A Rare Bit of Sunshine From the World’s Pessimist

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As I sit drinking a hot cup of tea and enjoy my snow day with the dachshund glued to my leg under the blanket; I find myself contemplating the world and how to fix it.

Days like this remind me that life is too short to keep myself busy and worry about the work I could be doing and the catch up game I’ll have to play when I return. So, until tomorrow I’ll slow down and smell the flowers so to speak. Well, maybe the wild onions that are in season here.

Whether it takes two inches of snow to shut your brain off or a blizzard, just remember nothing is more important than those who love you and the dachshund that has a love/hate relationship with snow days. Look at the bright side, at least you don’t have to drag your belly through the cold wetness just to potty.

If only Caramel knew how humorous I find her plopping through the snow.

Smile and have a happy day with those around you.