A week ago, my vision suddenly changed. Something was different – wrong. My left eye saw every object as multiple, wavy, distorted images somewhat like all the effects of the funhouse mirrors combined, but not so fun now. Cut to the chase – after a late afternoon “come right in” visit to my optometrist and a “they’ll work you in right now” visit to the retina specialist the next morning, I am scheduled for surgery at 4:30 this afternoon – 12 hours away. (Yes, I woke up an hour ago. Unable to go back to sleep and frustrated, I finally just got up – GRRRRR!)  Anyway, the goal this afternoon is to find and remove the lens implant placed in my eye 30 years ago after cataract surgery. It has fallen out – actually, it has fallen in and is currently floating around inside my eyeball. Yuck! Thankfully, it is not painful!!

It has been a wonky week in more ways than one. Physically, with the skewed vision – deteriorated to nothing but fuzzy, cloudy shapes and colors in the left eye – I have felt dizzy, nauseous, and a bit unsteady on my feet, all understandable. I was a bit caught off guard by the emotional swings.

I have been in similar circumstances before, so why all the emotions. Admittedly, I was just numb at first, but later fell into rumblings of disappointment, fear, and, yes, anger — Oh, crap! Not again! – 3rd time for vitrectomy surgery. Why? Why the left eye, it’s the right eye that has been giving me problems? What will my vision be like after this? Will I have any vision? Why now? It’s springtime, we had travel plans. Will I be able to get through two more of these surgeries? Yes, I’ve whined! Preferring to think of it as an honest expression of my feelings, I am okay with a bit of whining. Even my “whining” has been erratic from the serious concerns of vision outcome to the trivial travel plans.

While in the echo of these rumblings, I have been and remain thankful. Thankful that the right eye is still working. Thankful there are options for treatment and repair. Thankful for skilled surgeons who will do the work inside my eye. Thankful for the advanced medical technology and tiny instruments that make repair possible. Thankful for compassionate nurses who gently explain why the repair can’t be done in one single procedure. Thankful for family and friends offering encouragement and support. Thankful for Lou Anne and her gentle, patient love and care.

What I hope and pray to carry into this afternoon and the days ahead in this journey – about three months to anticipated resolution — is the truth of the “both/and” in the circumstances. There have been and will be both “terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad days” and moments of gratitude and joy. May I and all of us, whatever our current circumstances, strive to catch and embrace the moments of gratitude and joy that will sustain us in and through the terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad days.  

By Brenda McWilliams

Brenda is retired after nearly 40 years in education and counseling. When not traveling, she fills her days with community, charitable, and civic work; photography; writing and blogging at Pilgrim Seeker Heretic; reading, and visiting with friends. She enjoys walking at Rose Rudman or hiking at Tyler State Park. Brenda and her spouse, Lou Anne Smoot, the author of "Out: A Courageous Woman’s Journey," have six children and seven grandchildren between them. https://psheretic.com/