Blindness, Fear and a Touch of Insanity - My Darkest Days

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 21st Nov 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/41q8flia/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Health

I have written before about those frightening days back in June when I faced and experienced my greatest fear, they were horrible days and was reminded of them when recollecting the worst of times those months ago. Of course these memories may fade, but they can never entirely disappear, because they were so traumatic and also because of the word my wife said that other day.

Blue-Green Eyes

My wife told me that she remembered what happened back in June and feared that she would never see my eyes again in a functioning state, indeed many times over the years she has stated that she loves the colour of my eyes. But at that time all she could see was a milky-white colour, no pupil, no eyes - just blankness. The start of weeks that she hated but had to live through in the hope that I would recover but also in the fear that I would not.

To me they are just the way they are, but for Afroz everyone in her family has dark brown eyes, so my blue-green eyes stood out in stark contrast and was always one of the features she loved about my face, especially since they were always focused and attentive, something I do not feel they are right now nor have they been since that fateful day.

I realise why she sought to see my left eye when it was still severely scarred (long after my right eye had started to recover), full of puss and useless to me - she was measuring how much better it was versus the day I lost my sight, a memory that will undoubtedly haunt her as it does me. She was looking for reassurance that things would indeed get better.

Sleepless Nights

One of the hardest things from that time was the lack of sleep, but looking back I realise it was not an inability to sleep it was more a case of fear taking over, fear of realising what would happen because my greatest fear had been met, made especially bad when the doctors used each and every bad adjective they could find to describe my condition. Your physical condition impacts your mental state and the truth is you cannot comprehend to what extent that happens other than by looking back at those days and especially the countless sleepless nights.

In truth I have had sleepless nights in the past, but in all honesty even when you feel that it is impossible to sleep, in reality you actually do get some rest, what happens is that you snatch a few minutes here and there and even though you say you did not sleep, you actually do sleep and spend the majority of the night doing so, albeit in bursts and in the morning you are somewhat rested and somewhat frustrated. The place where I have always had greatest difficulty sleeping is on intercontinental flights, because I have never liked sleeping while travelling, yet I know I do sleep more than I am awake in such conditions.

I could not dream, so I would spend time lying down counting the milliseconds in my mind, to look at the clock and if I could see it, the time would not have moved.

Cold Hard Fear!

During those days everything was different I would go to bed tired at midnight, sleep for one hour then not be able to sleep for the rest of the night, the trouble was because at that time all I could do was distinguish between light and dark, that was all and all of it was frightening.

Daylight brought with it painful light, especially if I went outside in the summer sun (on the few days when we actually had that because I know 2014 was not one of those painfully hot years) but the truth is night-time brought darkness that was somehow worse than the daylight that preceded it, house lights versus the darkness, especially when combined with the damage to my corneas did not help at all. I was frustrated as time ticked by very, very slowly indeed and when it was time to go to bed I was not tired, although I should have been.

All light came as both a blur and scratches, this would be the story for many weeks to come and some days were very painful indeed. Any source of light was painful to my eyes - in the daytime I would pull down the blinds to reduce the impact of the summer sun. Funnily enough I was glad on those days when it rained all day because that gave some respite, probably the first time I can ever admit to preferring a rainy day to a sunny one. There was a time that watching TV made very little sense, because I could see nothing, but I did manage to find Q107, Toronto's rock station on the TV, which meant that I could at least listen to music at those times when sleep would not happen, and sometimes it even encouraged sleep on the living room sofa, certainly a relief during these sleepless times.

Fear is a powerful thing and there are times when it can become overwhelming, especially when the mind feels defenceless.

Defensive stance

Looking back I recall that in part my fear was that in going to sleep my wife would accidentally hit my eyes (not that this had ever happened before during the many years we had been married) but I suppose irrationality takes over at such times and of course I knew she would not do that on purpose, but the prospect of it accidentally happening installed fear and every movement, whether mine or hers, actually caused a panic attack and more fear. If you look at the way a boxer stands when in the ring, they use their forearms as a blocking mechanism and this was how I felt I must sleep blocking out potential harm to my eyes and if you think about it this is a very unnatural way to sleep.

Overall fear is a powerful emotion and you do not realise this when everything is sane an normal, but these were not normal times but at this time when the worst had happened and truth is FEAR rules, or very nearly rules every aspect of your life.

Sleeping with a defensive stance actually caused me self injury, I kept hitting my chin, nose, ear, lip, and even caused me to bite the inside of my mouth leaving blood on the pillow. I knew this was no good but could not stop myself from doing it, defending my eyes was painful, but fear told me that in order to get better I had to protect my eyes, yet think about it how many times have you (or your partner) ever hit you eyes during a night's sleep. Fear is certainly a powerful thing, it had taken over and was ruining my life, but I did not know how to break out at that time. Sanity would not come because fear was too great a hurdle to surmount.

I could not go to bed and not take the boxer with me, yet he was there each and every night.

World Cup & Tour de France

At some point, mid-way through July I realised that one thing I would be able to "watch" some sports on TV, because there was very little else I could do. I could not really watch, but I could listen to the commentary and I could watch the replay of the crucial bits by standing close to the TV, so in that way would know how it had happened.

For the Tour de France, arguably the world's greatest race, I started recording the early morning commentary of the race and would watch it when I got up. The crucial thing about the 2014 tour was that all the real action had passed by the time I started watching because the two greatest prospects, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador had both pulled out of the race by day five leaving Vincenzo Nibali almost the uncontested leader of the race, not much of a competition but you never know what will happen in a race of attrition.

The World Cup had started the day before my eye problems began and although I did miss much of the qualifying rounds I did "see" some of the later qualifiers and all of the knockout rounds, including that almost unbelievable 8 - 1 demolition of Brazil at the hands of a supreme German team that would go on to win the World Cup.

I don't know how or exactly when but I would have to say that these two great sporting events saved my life, or at least my sanity. It has been said that game the North Americans call soccer and the rest of the world calls football has the ability to save the world, this is a sentiment that I would agree with and I know from my own experience this was the World Cup and the world's greatest race that had a huge part in saving my sanity and provided a way to live through the darkest days of my life. I could not use a computer at that time so I had been cut off from the ability to write, not that I let it stop me from recording my thoughts during those dark days and some of my thoughts will be written down at some future time.

Image Credits

  • Blue-Green Eyes by deviantart.com
  • Cant sleep by bintal3raq.blogspot.com
  • Blurry vision by redbarn-studios.com
  • Defensive stance by self-defender.net
  • World Cup Brasil by Wikipedia.org

Other recent contributions

This is my 499th article on Wikinut and I do intend to celebrate by 500th with the aid of some great Wikinutters sometime in the next few days, please be on the lookout for reason to celebrate.

Other recent material includes:

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is great a place for you to share some of your wisdom, insight and knowledge, you could start by adding a comment, but perhaps you need something more in which case should join Wikinut, write then become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.

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Comments

author avatar Lucie Christine
21st Nov 2014 (#)

That's absolutely frightful, I understand well why you did not sleep at night. But I did not know that sports could have such a positive effect.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Nov 2014 (#)

Sport can have a powerful effect especially if we are involved in it. There is a tendency to free the mind of its worries - at least for the duration of the game.

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author avatar tafmona
21st Nov 2014 (#)

thanks for sharing this my friend

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author avatar Retired
21st Nov 2014 (#)

What a terrible experience - what was the cause of the problem?

Good luck with the 500th article!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Nov 2014 (#)

The doctors are still not 100% sure of the cause most likely poisonous foreign substance.

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author avatar viewgreen
21st Nov 2014 (#)

Informative article... Thank you for share this valuable information.

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author avatar spirited
21st Nov 2014 (#)

Fear certainly does blind us to all else, and it shuts us down from seeing the light that is still available for us too.

Thanks for sharing this poignant article about the chilling tremendous power of such fear, Peter.

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author avatar snerfu
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

I guess "Soggy Newspaper" took the honors for the 500th article. Congratulations! Got to go rescue my newspaper.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

Soggy Newspaper was NOT number 500!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

Awesome post and one of a kind writing, cheers!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

Good morning, Peter. Your experience and sharing it with us has been inspirational. I appreciate your honesty and determination. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

Thank you Marilyn - you have a wonderful day.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

Eye is such a sensitive organ and crucial to basic life, like our sun that we take for granted and even curse at times! Your article resonates with me more as I underwent cataract surgery in one eye and I am not wearing glasses after forty years! This makes me quite sensitive to anyone near me as if they might hit me accidentally. Also, I am having trouble adjusting to normal vision though through implanted lens!

I am happy at your recovery Peter as I know someone who lost his sight and the only saving grace was his memory doubled up to take its place, or at least tried its best. He became an insurance agent and memorized hundreds of dues of policy holders. He was able to remind them of premium dues; all data stored in his memory - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

I would love to say that my memory got better during those days of blindness, but it didn't - I still feel as if my memory is like a sieve.

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author avatar Retired
22nd Nov 2014 (#)

I am so sorry to hear of your suffering, Peter, and sympathize that some of it arises from self-generated fears. You are blameless in that, as fears arise without our control, and although we know it as such, we, often, are powerless to ameliorate it much.

My sympathies will help you none here -- another regret on my part. But, if you don''t mind me putting it this way, it appears that you have overcome a disability by writing well, articulating your thoughts, exposing your issues to a public for sharing such that others might endure as well as you are.

BTW, my memory has ALWAYS been a sieve. You are not alone!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
23rd Nov 2014 (#)

LeRain, this period has been a challenge and one of the things I felt I must be was write down the feelings I had about all of this before it became a distant memory. One of the things I intend to do is compile all of this into a book. I have many recordings from the time, which did record how I felt at certain times.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
23rd Nov 2014 (#)

Sad event,thanks for the share.

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author avatar Ptrikha
24th Nov 2014 (#)

You indeed had some very painful moments, but you had a remarkable tenacity(not sure if this is the right usage for this word!) and you did keep on appearing on Wikinut and other sites.
Have a great time ahead!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
24th Nov 2014 (#)

Ptrikha, the month I was away was one of the worst that I had.

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author avatar WOGIAM
24th Nov 2014 (#)

I felt some of your fear just reading your article.
Are you able to see well now?
I am looking forward to reading your 500th article. Cheers

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
24th Nov 2014 (#)

I have full vision in my right eye, but my left is getting better, albeit slowly but it has much scarring.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
27th Nov 2014 (#)

Still praying that you will receive full sight Peter
Blessings
Stella ><

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Nov 2014 (#)

So am I Stella

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author avatar puncakceria
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Informative article. Thank you for sharing this.

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