Eyes, Teeth, and Insomnia! Oh My!

My eye problems came back again. After four or five months of being symptom-free as I work my way through the “maintenance” mode of my on-going care, they finally came back. In the other eye, this time. Feels pretty exhausting for my usual symptoms to be showing up in a new eye, despite all of the care I’m taking to prevent the issue in the first place. Most of my treatments work for both eyes, with the exception of the eyedrops I’ve been using, so the progression has been much slower than previous iterations, which means I’ve been able to take better notes about the symptoms. That, combined with the slight variations in how the issue is presenting itself in a new eye, means my doctor has some new ideas about what might be causing it and what we can do about it.

Because I caught the problem early this time, helped in no small part by how slow it’s moving compared to the last few iterations, the side effects of treatment are less severe as well. Normally, I’ve only gotten to the point of treatment by the time the light sensitivity has settled in, which means that the increased light sensitivity from the first couple days of treatments leaves me unwilling to look at anything other than a darkened monitor for long periods of time while I do my best to work from home because the morning and afternoon sunlight I see during my commute is too much for me to safely handle while operating a motor vehicle. This time, while I’m still working from home out of an abundance of caution, I was able to go on my daily walk with only moderate discomfort. My medium to long-range vision is still blurry, as is most of the vision out of the one eye being treated, but that will go away in a couple days at most and I’ll be driving to work again as soon as it does.

I’m grateful that my boss is understanding of issues like this and that I can just work from home. It’s a very reasonable accommodation, of course, to be allowed to work from home when my short-range vision is fine and I have nothing going on that would leave me unable to actually accomplish things, but I recognize it for the privilege it is. I, of course, still wish I could work from home more often, and that the various mental health issues I deal with that make being around people an exhausting effort would be taken as seriously as my eye issues, but I’ll take what I can get. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing and celebrating a small win even if you know you’re still working on the big one or that it falls short of base-line acceptability (see recent climate legislation, student loan debt relief, and so much more about modern Democratic governments as an example).

Honestly, the only real issue I’m facing right now, that’s causing me stress, is my mounting exhaustion. The stress from an impending trip to the dentist, the stress of trying to find a new therapist as my current one takes a break between leaving her current employer and potentially going into private practice, the stress of my upcoming birthday, the stress of how shitty work has been, and so on, all takes a massive toll on me. It makes it difficult for me to get to sleep and compounds the effects of not sleeping enough, which creates a nasty cycle of exhaustion that culminates in me not going to bed early enough on the weekends because I’m too tired to sleep. Which is a hell of a thing to be, but I can’t think of another good way to explain the feeling. All of which just amps up my depression during my least favorite month of the year, thanks to past traumas, when my depression is already at its worst.

I’m looking forward to how I’ll feel a few weeks from now when I have answers about my eye (or at least a confirmation that its a relatively benign and unlucky roll of the genetic dice that resulted in having very sensitive eyes), I’m through my dental work, and I’ll have had a chance to establish better sleep patterns. Things will hopefully be easier then, so I can focus on addressing the smaller but longer-term systemic problems in my life and my job. It’s difficult to talk your boss about what your future at the company looks like when you’re just grateful to have decent health insurance so your eye and dental stuff isn’t financially disastrous. Now, since I’m writing this at the end of my work day and I’m feeling just absolutely knackered, I’m gonna go lay down on the couch in the dark and let whatever happens happen. It’s not like taking a short nap while my dinner timer counts down the minutes until the food I put in the oven is ready will ruin my chances of getting to sleep tonight. No, all this stress and anxiety about the next few weeks has got that locked down.

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