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 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. 

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