- drinking water
- making good choices about what foods to eat and what foods to eat less of
- taking care of your body by bathing it and tending to its needs
- taking prescribed medicines when needed, and at the appropriate times
- giving your body ample rest time, for me this often includes a nap in the middle of the day
- exercising (this is something that I am still working on getting up to doing, but that is a whole other journey for me to work out. I am just not there yet.)
How I See Things
Monday, October 26, 2020
Monday, October 19, 2020
Reading space differently
My vision therapist has been so helpful and kind. She is super creative and patient. I really like her and appreciate her.
She learned early on during our therapy that I need extra kind kid gloves to be treated with. I have had so many concussions and my life is in a rough patch, and she just gives me kindness and gentleness with my eyes. Above all, she wants me to feel SAFE at therapy. She has worked very hard to make sure I feel safe. And I do feel safe at therapy!
She has told me myriad times that we can only heal when we feel safe. I am so grateful she taught me that. It makes so much sense.
One time, which I wrote about in the 3 part blog post, "My life changed for 24 hours," I wrote that I had a different therapist as a substitute one week. He had me doing something called "the Infinity Walk." Walking in an infinity sign around tall traffic cones, as I looked at a 3D image. I exited that walk and for the first time ever, saw in 3D. It was so remarkable! I got home and felt like the ceiling was closing in on me. It was scary and I didn't feel safe in my own home.
It was then that I saw and appreciated how much my regular vision therapist works so hard to have me make gradual, safe shifts in my vision. I told her this then, and I told her again at my recent appointment with her.
In the last month, or maybe the last 3 months (it has been so gradual that it's hard to say when it started), my ceilings have definitely started looking closer. I no longer hover my hand over a nearby wall when I am walking in a narrow space. I think that's part of what is called "proprioception." If I am getting my vocabulary words correct, that means "awareness of space." I have become more aware of where I am in space. This is excellent!
I noticed this last week that once again, I am parking better. This is HUGE for me. I am straight in the spot, not diagonal, and I am parked at a more reasonable distance from the white line in front of me.
I told all of this to my vision therapist at my most recent appointment. She said that I am reading space differently! She was having me touch beads and look at them, and move them. I was able to reach out and touch the beads the first try, instead of reaching out and having to adjust where my fingers were so that I could touch the bead.
In other. words, it is possible that I am starting to very gradually see things in 3D. Things don't look that different to me than they did my whole life. But I think that maybe I am starting to get a bit of that 3D perception, 3D vision. I would love to give you more analytical folks a number so you can understand what I still don't have. So I am going to say that I feel like I probably have between 3% and 10% 3D now. Things are not at all like that post when I said, "my life changed for 24 hours." But something has shifted and I am seeing space better. I have more 3D now, apparently, than I have ever had before. This is wonderful!
By the way, I have been going to vision therapy for over a year now. The kids generally need to go for 12 weeks or so. And most folks don't go for more than 3 sets of the 12 week sessions. I am about to start what will be my last set of 12 week sessions. They said they won't let me work beyond that. I am not sure why. So I may never achieve the full 3D that normal people with healthy, normal eyesight have. But I look forward to more improvements during my next sessions and in the weeks between.
Monday, October 12, 2020
I have mentioned that I am doing light therapy. I was given a spotlight to basically stare at.
Throughout the days, my eyes get tired. I believe my vision therapist said that our eye muscles work harder than any other muscle in your body. If you think about it, you're probably sitting somewhere, reading this blog. Your eyes are moving but the rest of your body is probably fairly stationary, unless you need to scroll once in a while. It makes sense.
Speaking of which, as I am learning new skills with my eyes (conversion is a lot of my therapy - that means bringing my eyes towards each other / approaching cross eyed in appearance, and HOLDING it there), the muscles in my eyes start to hurt. They hurt a lot at night lately. My vision therapist said that it is likely eye strain. She said she hears this a lot from most of her patients. I have experienced eye strain my entire life.
Decades ago - back in like 1995, I started taking an eye pill made by Vaxa, called "Ocutane." Just for kicks. They sent me a free product every month, and one monty is was Ocutane. It was vitamins for your eyes. After taking this for a few weeks, I woke up one morning and realized, "I don't feel my eyes in my face!" I had NEVER had the experience of not "feeling" my eyes. Like, we all know we have knees or elbows or whatever. Forearms, forehead .... but we don't actively FEEL it all day long. It's there when we need it. We feel it when it is hurting or when we bump it. But it isn't a constant, "yes, I am aware I have all these parts to my body, they are there because I feel them."
I remember looking around my room that morning, having this weird logic going on in my head. "I can't feel my eyes! They must have fallen out of my head! Oh no!" .... "Wait, I see my window," tap tap tap on my eyes, I think they are there.... "That is my dresser. Yes, I can see my dresser, so my eyes must still be attached.... they didn't fall out, I better look at something else just to make sure, yes, that's my door, there is my cat ...." I finally concluded that my eyes were still attached and working; they just didn't have that feeling. I finally concluded that the feeling was actually long term, permanent pain. I had experienced that my entire life! It was so bizarre to have something so familiar suddenly be GONE.
Well, in the last few months, the eye pain has returned. It started up gradually as I was going through vision therapy. I didn't really think much of it.
In the last month or two, it has gotten to the point where I am telling friends when I am on the phone with them, "my eyes are hurting me right now." A lot of friends want to show me something online "go to this YouTube video, it is so funny...." "did you see this meme, I will send it to you..." And I just want to have my eyes shut. I am tired of using them and want a break. So I have to tell my friends I need them to describe it to me.
So, I told my vision therapist about the whole experience when I woke up that morning about not feeling my eyes, and she said it was probably eye strain. And I started taking a vitamin made by Bausch and Lomb. My optometrist, Dr. Davis, approved it, too. It is just vitamins. It has made my eyes feel a bit better. Maybe quite a bit better. I am still experiencing eye strain (like right now, as I type this blog post).
Well, so I have this light therapy I do. I put on cardboard glasses. The eye piece in them has a very dark indigo filter for me to look through. I stare at the light bulb for 10 minutes. I love my Echo device. I say, "Echo, count down 10 minutes," then I turn on the lightbulb. She goes off 10 minutes later. I tell her to turn off, and then I turn off the bulb. It is super handy not to have to put on the glasses and try to see a timer to set it ... the voice activation of a timer is excellent for me!
So, then I palm my eyes in between. The goal is to get the lightbulb circle out of my eyes before I start the next one. The next set of cardboard eyeglasses has a dark forest green lens for me to look through. (In theater lighting, they would call the material this lens is made from a "gel." It is a screen made of a thin, filmy plastic that they can place over spotlights to change the lighting on a person on stage.) I stare at the lightbulb through this dark green forest filter for another 10 minutes.
I asked over the last few months, "what is this trying to accomplish?" And I finally got the answer that it is trying to help my eyes relax from all the input they got all day. It is like a reset button. I think that's interesting.
I have so many more things I want to say about the syntonics / light therapy! But this blog post feels long enough and veered around in a few directions that I didn't intend to go in, so I am going to sign off this post.
I hope you're doing well, wearing your mask when you have to go out, and drinking water & staying healthy.
Monday, October 5, 2020
Parking the Car
In previous posts, I have mentioned my dad and my grandfather. My dad passed away at the end of 2014. There was a very nice tribute written about him on YoYoNews.Com. You can see the post here. My grandfather is still around. (This is my dad’s dad.) We visit him as we are able to. He especially loves my sweet puppy, Bella. She is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a friend to everyone. A funny side-note. If we are out walking, “everyone” wants to pet her or meet her. Occasionally or probably rarely, we meet someone who isn’t a dog person and doesnm’t even glance at her. Bella always gets confused by such people. She wonders why they aren’t petting her already? It’s really cute. She is a sweetheart.
[This is a photo of my sweet dog, Bella. She is a fawn and white colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Her spaniel ears are the fawn color. She is curled up in a sleepy ball, lying on a turquoise blanket.]
Grandpa loves dogs so much. He told me a story about a dog he knew when he was a boy. I will share that in another blog post. I like to write stories, and I wrote down the story that he told me. It’s a good one. Glad I wrote it down as I am already forgetting the name of that dog!
Anyway, so I have been learning a LOT from my vision doctor, Dr. Tod Davis, and his Vision Therapy team.
One thing I learned recently was that people who Dissociate (this will be more blog posts) often have a lot of similarities with each other. He said that Vision Problems and Dissociation often go together. It’s a thing. He didn’t say whether one causes the other. He just said that they seem to often be connected.
He gave a lecture that I got to listen to. I am hoping to see if he can lecture a few more ways, and then I can share the links here for you to listen to, too. Anyway, in the one lecture, he told of an older teenage gal and the issues she has, and then he told about me (with my permission / he interviewed me for the lecture). As he shared the teen girl’s issues, he said that she has trouble driving, parking, gaging her speed when driving …. And I thought, “I have all of those issues, too!”
It made me think of my dad, and then it made me also think of my Grandpa.
I think Vision Therapy is a relatively new field, so it is possible that my dad and my grandpa also have or had the same problems that I have. (It turns out that my younger son does, too, and that will be future blog posts, too.)
I remember being a little girl and my dad talking to me about where he parked the car. He always parked the car at the far end of a lot, where there were lots of empty spaces. He said he didn’t want someone to ding his car with their door, and that’s why he chose the farther, emptier spots.
It turns out that I also do the same thing. I find it easier to park when there are 3 empty spaces together. I can’t tell how far things are away from me, so I just would rather have nothing near me when I am pulling in our out. I have never hit another car when parking, but I am sure I park more slowly than other people when it is a tight space. Because I can’t judge and have to trust that I won’t hit the other car. So far, so good.
Anyway, this teen gal said that she also parks far away, where there are many spaces. And I immediately jumped to that little Jodi inside me, walking across a whole parking lot to get to the door of the place we had driven to, listening to my dad tell me about not wanting his car door to be dinged. And I thought about how I park far away, under the trees when I can (just like my dad did), at my local Aldi grocery store. I guess I kind of feel like “that’s my spot.”
The teen has worked with Dr. Davis now for a while and is driving and parking better. She is now able to gage her speed and how to park. I know I was doing better for a while, before the Corona virus hit and I wasn’t allowed to go to Vision Therapy for a few months. I slid downhill; I park 3 feet away from where I mean to park, again. Hopefully I will get better again now that I am back at Vision Therapy doing the work with a trained therapist.
It is super interesting to see similarities between me and other folks. I don’t feel so alone or “weird.”
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