So, it’s been a month now. As of today, I have been cross eyed for precisely 4 weeks.
People tell me my eye looks better. In fact, I am only now finding out that it looked REALLY bad at first. A little scary even. No wonder the staff at work encouraged me to wear an eye patch. It is admittedly unsettling sometimes when you first meet someone who has one eye that doesn’t work. You aren’t sure where to look, and it throws the usual communication cues off – you feel vaguely like someone isn’t paying attention if they aren’t looking directly at you. So, I’ve been wearing an eye patch. I got one of the little white ones from the drug store that come with a little square of gauze and hook around your ears. I wear it all day at work, and I’ve worn it to parties, but I usually don’t wear it out on the street. I like to think that people might not notice anything is wrong as I walk around town going about my daily business. Especially if I try to tilt my face so that I am always looking to the right. Nothing of consequence ever happens on my left side anyways.
I considered getting a “real” eye patch, like the black ones you usually see people wearing. And by people, I mean pirates and movie villains. But, I’ve realized that investing in a more “permanent” patch makes it look like I have a “permanent” eye problem, and I don’t want anyone to think that for a second. Least of all, me. I’ve also realized that wearing the disposable eye patch is actually better than going without one, in many cases. Especially if I’m meeting new people. I don’t want them to assume that my eye is just “like this” all the time. Wearing an obviously temporary eye patch says to the world that I have a temporary problem, and nothing more. I wore it out to a New Years party, and it’s quite possible that I met more people because of it than I otherwise would have. People had something easy to comment on, as they were naturally curious to know why in God’s name anyone would show up to a party wearing a drugstore eye patch, though they normally worded the question much more politely than that. People keep telling me that eye patches are somehow more common here, and that there is a whole niche group of cosplay fans in Japan who like to wear these things just for fun and fashion. I have yet to see even a single one of these people walking around. It would be kind of comforting to come across one.
I went back to the hospital for a follow up check last week. They did another MRI and took more blood, and still didn’t find anything really wrong with me. That’s still good news. Not having a brain tumor is ALWAYS good news. This time, I had a doctor who spoke English well, so he explained a little more about my situation himself. He said that it is probably idiopathic (fancy word for “we don’t know what caused it”), and that he has seen many patients with this type of problem, and usually these nerve palsies go away on their own within 2 months. “Usually” he said again. I already knew all of this from my uncle, the eye doctor, and many consultations with Dr. Google, M.D., but it was still nice to get a personal assessment from a professional. He gave me more vitamin B12, and another drug to increase my circulation, and told me to come back again in 2 weeks. Why, I don’t know. They didn’t take any measurements or pictures, so I don’t think they will be able to tell whether the eye has actually changed at all. Nevertheless, I suppose it is nice that they are going to track it like they would a more life threatening or painful issue.
Most days, I just sort of deal with this annoying conflicting vision, and go on about my life. But every once in awhile, I think to myself, “I am really tired of being cross eyed.” I’d just like to be done with this already. It is pointless and I can’t see how this experience is helping me to grow in any way. Am I learning to deal with adversity? I guess. Should I take better care of myself and manage stress better? I suppose. I thought getting lots of rest would have fixed it. I barely left my apartment for most of my 11 day New Years vacation. I went out to celebrate a proper Christmas and New Years Eve, but other than that, I mostly slept. I got a serious professional massage, saw an acupuncturist (who, of course stuck me with needles, but also did moxibustion on me – which is where they set little cones on certain points on your body and then burn them off!), and went to a quirky back healer, who barely makes any physical contact with your body, but sits behind you and makes lots of whooshing noises and motions as though he is pulling imaginary energies up and down and away from your spine. Maybe none of this helped. Maybe all of it did. But, alas, not enough.
But, like I said, people have been telling me it looks better. That’s nice to hear. And, if something is about 3 inches from my face, it actually seems to be mostly in focus and not in duplicate, so maybe that’s an improvement. I don’t understand it really. How can something that didn’t hurt at all and happened without any signs of trauma or injury take 2 whole months to heal? And why does normal function seem to be returning gradually, when it went away pretty much all at once?