How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Parking Spot

Approximately 20 years ago, I asked a friend to figure out which of the cars in the parking lot was my newsd car. (New for me but a used car = Newsd. I know, so clever.) He pointed straight away at my car and said, "well, it couldn't be that one." But then he had no other ideas for which one it might be. 

Standing there, staring at all the cars, I finally asked him, "what made you point at that one and say, 'it couldn't be that one.'?" He said, "because it has an out-of-state license plate." I also wondered why he would have even thought to LOOK at that one - and somehow, in the conversation, he pointed out that it was the only car that was parked crooked. 

I finally told him: "that is my new car." Yes, it had out of state license plates, but they were soon fixed. I got it registered and such. This friend, in the conversation, pointed out to me for the first time (I had never known this about myself!) that I parked crooked. 

I had no idea I consistently parked crooked. I was completely clueless. I also was never able to correct it. 

So, a few months ago I arrived at vision therapy and had a chuckle. Of the 20 or so cars in the lot, almost all of them were parked crooked. I felt like "this is my community." I had a good chuckle about that at the time. 

Well, about a week or two ago, I noticed that I was now parking badly, but in a whole new way. I don't think I still park crooked. I haven't checked that out specifically. But I noticed that suddenly, I keep parking about 3 feet back of where I normally have always parked. 

It's like if the parking space has the white lines in the front with a cement block you're not supposed to hit with the underside of your bumper .... over the years, I have usually gotten almost to that bumper or else have hit it, and then backed up a little, listening to my bumper drag back off of it. It makes me cringe, but it's the best I have been able to do. *oops* 

Well, last week or maybe it was the week before, I have discovered that I am now parking 3 feet away from this sort of phenomenon. I think I have pulled all the way up to it and done just fine. But - it turns out - I am still 3 feet short of the top (?) of the parking space! Consistently! I park my car every day in my garage. It's a very deep garage. It could easily accommodate 2 cars parked back bumper to front bumper. (Not a 2 car garage with 2 doors in front; but 2 cars could fit in the one door. It's a deep garage, not a wide garage.) 

My dad's stuff is mostly in the back half of the garage. I need to go through it and pick and choose what I want to keep and what needs to go. I haven't gotten around to it, but I will. But I have consistently been able to park in the garage, and pull up to the spot just before my dad's stuff. This leaves me about 4 feet of clearance behind my car, before the garage door. I don't need all that distance, but that's what I have been doing. 

Well, suddenly, I now park nearly with my back bumper at the garage door. I don't know what happened. But my vision / distance / judgement is all askew from how it's been. It turns out, I have been learning, that I am starting to perceive depth. 

Things are starting to look different to me. it's been very gradual for me. But I no longer am able to use the visual queues around me the way I used to. And it's consistent enough now, that I am parking 3 feet shallow of where I actually intend to park. I have been paying attention to this, this week, and it is still consistent. 

I think I may need to go to an empty parking lot and start parking and parking and parking. Drive and park. Drive and park. Over and over, and re-learn how to park. 

One last thing - just because. My grandparents had a tennis ball hanging from their garage ceiling, on a string. They had a very long station wagon "back in the day," and they wanted to park it "just so" in their garage. It was hard to get the car in just the right spot. So, one time, they pulled it in, determined it was just how they wanted it. And then the climbed up into the attic or the rafters or whatever (I know there was an attic up there) and they hung down a tennis ball. Now, every time they parked that car, they would drive up to the tennis ball. The ball would very gently tap their windshield, and they would know that they were perfectly parked. 

I have been thinking about such a tennis ball these last 2 or 3 weeks. Every time I get out of my car and see that I am still parking shallow. I won't be taking the time and effort it requires to figure out how to get up to the rafters of my garage to hang a tennis ball. But - it jumps in my head now and then to think about this. Just something else amusing going on in my head."


Monday, March 23, 2020

My Vision Therapist

I got permission from my vision therapy team to give a real shout out to them. So, I am going to use this post to just give a shout out to my Optometrist, Dr. Tod Davis, who is a leader in the industry of vision therapy, and to his whole team of people - from the office folks to the vision therapists who work for him and help me see better.
Dr. Tod Davis from Virginia Vision Therapy

They have multiple locations and multiple vision therapists. I haven't met the entire team of people who work for him. But the ones I have met are all fantastic. I have learned something from probably every single person I have met at his team.

Dr. Davis has a fun sense of humor. He also loves the talents that people have. I think he genuinely gets enjoyment from knowing people and seeing all the cool things they do. Also, he loves to share joy with everyone who comes in to his space. He's a great guy and I feel privileged to be getting help from this team.

When Dr. Davis was testing me to see what specific kinds of things should be put into my glasses to help me see better, he tested my ability to see 3D.

He told me to look at his face and concentrate on his nose. He put a pair of Prism testers over my eyes and asked me what changed. I said, "your nose came forward!" He looked genuinely amused.

He took the prisms away from me and told me to do the same thing - look at his face, but this time, concentrate on his ears. He put up the prisms for me, and his whole everything changed. He asked me, "what changed about my ears?" I said, "they went around to the back of your head!"

I think this kind of thing is a wonderfully entertaining thing for Dr. Davis to experience with patient after patient. They have never seen in 3D, and he gets to introduce the experience to them. WOW. From my perspective, it's clear that he enjoys his work. He enjoys helping people see better.

I believe he also cares about the people and wants them to be able to live a more fuller life, with eyes that work the way they are supposed to. If you need vision therapy, I encourage you to contact Dr. Tod Davis. If you don't live near him (in the Washington, DC / Northern Virginia area), then I encourage you to contact him and see if he can refer you to a vision therapist in your area.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

My grandfather just turned 99. He is local to me. We had a big family gathering to see him. He is Stuart Crump, Sr. (My dad was Stuart Crump Jr. Please note: my dad never used that comma before "Jr." He just didn't like it. My dad was a rebel.)
[Grandpa and my puppy, Lady Bella Luna.]

My extended family was there - aunts and uncles, cousins, distant relatives I rarely see.

I just want to share something I learned from one of my aunts.

Backing up, though:

When I was maybe ages 4-6, I went to the eye doctor. The eye doctor put heavy black plastic-framed eyeglasses on me and showed me a 3D image of a butterfly. I remember waving my hand over the image, trying to get it underneath the butterfly.

He also showed me numbers to test to see if I am color blind. I was never color blind, although, come to think of it, I should probably write a post about the time I was scared that I was possibly going colorblind. Haha, another blog post for another day.

One thing the eye doctor told me was that while my eyes were fine, I had a lazy eye. He had me wear plain glass glasses with tape on the side. I have shown a photo of this on another, earlier blog post. He also had me walking around, wearing an eye patch. That's super embarrassing when you're a little kid, by the way.

Another thing he had me doing at home was that my dad was supposed to hold up his fingers and have me follow his fingers together: left .......... right .......... up .......... down .......... left .......... right ...........

Well, as I have been doing some thinking about all of this, as I have been doing vision therapy for a few months now with Dr. Davis' team. And I got to wondering if what I did as a kid was vision therapy. I didn't think I had anyone to ask. My dad is gone. I haven't spoken to my bio mom now in 5 years (it's mutual, and it's a long, sad story). I didn't know if my grandpa would know.

In other words, I have felt sad that I didn't know if I could ask anyone in my present about whether or not I did vision therapy as a little girl.

So, back to my grandpa's 99th birthday party. I was sitting there, next to my grandpa who was holding my puppy girl, Bella. He loves Bella so much.

I forget why I brought it up, but someone must have asked me, "what are you up to these days?" and I answered, "I am going to vision therapy."

My aunt was sitting next to me. I remember when she and my uncle were high school students, dating in probably the late 70s and early 80s. She has been in my life a LONG TIME, in other words.

My aunt spontaneously piped up and said, "well, you did vision therapy when you were 6 years old." I turned and looked at her and felt so incredibly grateful that she knew this! I said, "it WAS? I was wondering that!"

And she said, "Well, sure. You wore a patch on your eye. I remember you had a lazy eye. And your dad did exercises, I think, with you at home."

Wow - she knew and remembered things that I also remembered. I had no idea anyone knew these things!! I told her I didn't know that was vision therapy; my dad had only said, "eye doctor." I knew I had an eye doctor. I didn't know he was a vision therapist.

I am just so happy that when I was a little girl, my dad took me to vision therapy, to try to get my eyes corrected.

It turns out that with the knowledge that exists now, they would never patch someone's eye. They used to patch the strong eye so that the weak eye (the lazy eye) would have to do more work. It would force that eye to be more strong. All it did, though, was encourage my eyes NOT to work together. Fast forward 40 years, and my eyes don't work together. Which is what we are correcting now.

My vision therapist was so excited to hear from me at my last session that I had vision therapy as a kid. I was excited to tell them. It's cool to see how far vision therapy has come in the last 40 years!

We still do that left .......... right .......... up .......... down ........... They do still patch my eye, but only for short periods of time and only for very specific reasons. After patching one, they will patch the other.

So, to finish this up - happy birthday to my grandpa. And thank you to my Aunt C for knowing that I had vision therapy as a little girl and for telling me so matter-of-factly about it. I like getting answers to questions that I don't even know who to ask about. 

Flickering Eyesight

So, I have known for a long time that my eyes don’t work together. It has taken me almost 50 years to be able to describe what I see to peop...