That Fly In My Eye

About ten days ago, I came home at the end of a long week of work and my daughter and I settled into dinner and started into White Collar: Season 4. We were in enjoying the evening when a fly flew past my left temple. I swatted at it to no avail. The odd thing was that the fly was silent…no buzzing. Throughout the evening, that same pesky insect repeatedly bothered me. Eventually I focused on it long enough to realize that there was no fly…I had a new floater.

A nagging worry started to work on my subconscious. Every time I get my annual eye exam, the doctor warns me to look for sudden new floaters, sudden flashes of light, or a veil descending over my vision. I think I’m at special risk due to my extreme near-sightedness…although, after Lasik surgery 10 years ago, my vision is decidedly sharper. This sudden floater worried me more and more, but it was the weekend. Then the week was incredibly busy. The floater got a bit less noticeable.

A few days after I first noticed the floater, my left eye felt really dry and slightly irritated. I assumed it was all part of the same problem. I thought back to a story I recently heard from a friend. It seems that he had some vision problems while an engineering student. He ended up having emergency surgery for a detached retina. After the surgery, he went right back to school, but he couldn’t see very well. He flunked an engineering exam and his college career was in jeopardy. Then the story got life-changing. A friend of his came over and offered to read his texts and homework to him. It was a few weeks until the first friend’s vision returned, but a lifelong friendship had been forged.

I kept thinking about this story for two reasons. First and foremost, due to my growing fears, I worried that I was suffering from a detached retina. Secondly, I liked to reflect on the meaning of friendship and the sacrifices some people are willing to make, without even thinking of them as sacrifices, to help out a friend in need. I also thought about how many people, myself included, would never even ask a friend for such a favor.

A week after my pesky floater-fly appeared, I found myself at work with a suddenly cleared calendar. I called the eye doctor and was told to come over immediately. Eyes dilated, I met the opthalmologist. She wasn’t my regular eye doctor and she turned out to be a close friend of a work colleague of mine…small world indeed. She focused first on the fact that only my left eye was dry. She said I likely had a lash stuck up in my eyelid. Hmm…this turned out to be true! So, relieved of that burden (don’t make me speak of the flipped eyelid involved in the cure) she turned her focus on my retina.

Happily, my optic nerves are quite healthy and my retinas are firmly attached. Phew! She started by looking at my right eye, the eye with no problems. She told me that my right eye had a floater…one that I don’t notice anymore. Moving to my left eye, she immediately so the floater-culprit. I asked if the floaters would ultimately dissolve, but she informed me that it didn’t work that way. I guess my brain just filters them out eventually. Meanwhile I have a fly in my left eye that drives me nuts!

Find the Joy in the Journey…revel in good health and great friends!

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