Yeah, so as you might imagine I spent last night thoughtfully. Damn near sleeplessly, in fact. I thought about many things last night. You could say my life passed before my eyes, and the story didn’t exactly fill me with joy or lull me to sleep.
I’ve been injured before. Lost half of a perfectly good leg, wrecked the knee of the other one. Got a little chunk of finger cut off. I’ve been hit in the head hard enough to give me headaches for weeks. Had a forearm slashed open in a dispute that didn’t go well. Smashed a wrist so bad the surgeon told me I’d never turn it again. Broke another knee, many years later when life was much more placid.
I’m not trying to come across as some sort of action hero. My friends know I’m definitely not that. I’m just saying I’m familiar with pain. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t particularly frighten me. If it doesn’t kill you, you usually heal. Eventually. Even when you don’t, you can learn to live with it. That’s my experience with pain.
The two prospects that have always frightened me are losing my hands and going blind. I could find some joy in life if I was stuck in a wheelchair, as long as I had my hands and my eyes.
When my eyesight gradually got worse over the past few years, I just figured it was part of getting older. My eyesight has always been very bad, since an illness I had when I was five. Glasses corrected it, and that’s just the way things have always been. But the sight in my right eye has recently gone kind of milky and vague, and the eye doctor’s words yesterday only told me something I should have paid attention to a long time ago.
I’m really trying not to freak out about this. I saw a Wally-World optometrist, and she’s probably not a world-renowned expert on glaucoma. (On the other hand, says Practical Joel, she’s probably seen one hell of a lot of eyes. And didn’t you hate it when people looked down on your lack of a degree, when your expertise only came from the fact that you could do it? I’ve got an eye for bullshit, and she seemed quite competent.) We’re not talking about something that’s going to happen later today: This has been going on for decades, and I may well have several or even many years left to my left eye even if all goes badly. (On the other hand, says Frightened Joel, she didn’t seem to think things could go any way but badly. This condition was not caught early. For which I have no one to blame but myself.)
Yeah, really trying not to freak out. Part of me spent the night composing my death poem, because if I really lose my eyes I don’t think I can live. Part of me channeled Buck Owens: “Good buddy you may get me/But brother let me tell you that it’s gonna be after the fight.”
Yeah, and haven’t I seen so many people who claimed to be determined to “fight” some deadly illness, when they might have been better off finding serenity? Most of them died anyway. The illness didn’t agree to “fight” back, it just killed them. Sometimes the “cure” killed them.
Sorry, I ramble. Long night.
Before laying down last night I stared at an incredibly tiny bottle of eye drops that cost me sixty bucks, which I had to borrow from a friend because I’m broke. And that leads me to the one scenario I knew my “broke” lifestyle would not be able to cope with. I can stick to my philosophical guns, refuse treatment I can’t afford, and quietly go blind. Or I can cut the bullshit and apply for state disability. In the cold morning light, I see I’m going to do that second thing. Once I learn how and overcome my gag reflex.
But first I’m going to try to raise some money in a more honest way. I have an idea, which I hope to discuss with friends today. I have two and only two possessions that are worth a little money. One of them is precious to me, but I’m no longer physically worthy of it. I’m thinking of raffling it off, but need to learn about legalities and plan details. Don’t know how realistic that plan is, but I’m going to look into it.
More later. Sorry if I’m not a lot of fun this morning.