Archive for February 12, 2009

A Little Therapy Never Hurt Anyone

As previously discussed, Rookie is a smart dog. She knows to run into her room when I finish tying my shoes. She knows to come to the kitchen when she hears me take a glass out of the cabinet so she can have a piece of ice. She also knows that the guest bathroom is where she takes her baths. And she hates baths. Consequently, she hate that bathroom. Things changed with Ike though. We are STILL using the guest bathroom. Each morning, when Stephen gets in the shower, he makes her stay in the bathroom and wait for him to finish. (If he doesn’t, she’ll hang out by the front door and bark at anything that passes. Her intentions are good, she’s just trying to protect her mom and dad…  but it’s quite annoying.) The first few times we tried to make her come in the bathroom, she tucked her tail between her legs and flattened her ears. She’d walk in and sit down, avoiding eye contact at all costs. She now knows that if we call her in the bathroom in the morning, she’s safe. She just has to lay down and wait. Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks never mentioned that to Stephen or Rookie.


Or my eye doctor.


If my brain is the dog, and seeing is a trick. Yesterday was my pre-op appointment for lasik. We found out that there is a lot I don’t know about my eyes. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t use my right eye. I’ve always thought it was a muscle problem, or just an extremely left eye dominance. Wrong and wrong. It’s a brain issue. Apparently something happened when I was younger so I quit using my right eye. Consequently, my brain has been told that it doesn’t need to use that eye. It no longer knows how to use that eye. I have to teach it.


So what it all boils down to is this: If I get lasik, I will still only use my left eye. Lasik only fixes vision, not brains. (Too bad for that! I think we could all benefit from a little brain lasik. Especially since it took me another 2 minutes to figure out how to open the stupid gas thing yesterday… can someone hurry up with the brain lasik?!) As nice as it would be to have straight eyes, I still want to see perfectly. I want to know what 3D looks like. I want to know how you see. My doctor and I had a little laugh yesterday when we were in the exam room. My mom asked, “Umm, what do you mean you only use one eye? How do you do that? I mean, what does it look like?” Well mom, I know we weren’t really able to answer that question very well for you. But I often wonder the same about you. What do you mean you see with both eyes? How do you do that? What does it look like?


Hopefully one day I’ll know. Hopefully I can teach my brain to use my right eye. If I can do that, we’ll do lasik and I’ll actually have great vision in both eyes. How do you do that Chelsea? Do you just give you brain a stern talking-to? Well, no. Talking to your brain serves no purpose… besides making you look like a crazy lady. We are now trying vision therapy. For an hour each night, I turn into a pirate. My good eye is patched and I sit at the computer for 30 minutes playing stimulating games. The next thirty minutes I am to do precise, close up work (knitting, needle point, tracing small pictures, etc.) When my doctor first mentioned therapy she said, “I’d never prescribe therapy to someone who doesn’t really want it. It’s a lot of work.” I was honestly thinking that the hard part would be to cut out an hour of each night to devote to computer games and knitting. I’m making a habit of being wrong!


I never knew eyes could hurt. Like not just burn. Not a headache behind your eye. My eye was actually sore. Like it had been on the elliptical for 30 minutes and then had some weight training for the next 30 minutes. I’m sure there will be many stories in the future relating to my eye therapy but let me just give you a glimpse. I don’t know how you see, so I can’t explain it too much. Maybe the tired, blurry feeling when you first wake up? When you eyes aren’t ready to work too hard? Okay, take that feeling (except instead of waking up from a night’s sleep, you are waking up from a 24 year hibernation) and imagine sitting in front of your computer. Well, that should be easy…! Now imagine a giant white screen in front of you. The numbers 0-9 are floating around your screen at random speeds, haphazardly, in a size 12 font. Your face is 16 inches from the screen. Your mouse pointer changes. If it turns into a 4, you have to find the 4 and click on it. Then it changes, to maybe an 8. You do the 8. And so on. For five minutes. It burned. It hurt. It was hard! At one point, Stephen came in to check on me and I asked him if all of the numbers had shadows. They didn’t. Hmm. Looks like my brain has a ways to go! After the five minutes is up, a cartoon penguin came on my screen to tell me what a great job I did. And then we started the next 5 minute “game”.


This is going to be a lot of work. But it’ll be rewarding. And honestly, I think this therapy is fascinating. Brains are really interesting. (Except when you take Language and the Brain at UT, that’s not interesting. It’s awful. Take is pass/fail!) Lasik isn’t out of the picture, it’ll just be postponed so that I can receive the full benefits of the surgery. Don’t cancel your prayers, just re-direct them. Prayers are now needed that my old brain learns this new trick called seeing!


Good things come to those who keep waiting…

February 12, 2009 at 10:31 am 5 comments


February 2009


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