So I woke up the other day and my right eye didn't work.
It took me only an instant to know that something was very wrong. I was getting light, but no focus. After about half an hour, which I spent requesting a ride to the ER and taking a miserable shower, I could force it to focus, on a very small area in the center of my vision, but so much as the inevitable saccade would make it all a thunderstorm blur again.
Cue emergency room and many doctors. Much prodding around with lights and liquors--did you know that your corneas have pressure, like a bicycle tire?
By the end of the day I could focus with more-or-less normal speed. None of the several doctors who peered into my skull can tell me anything except that they would each like a thousand dollars, please. No visible abnormality other than a 'birthmark' on my retina. Perhaps a migraine, they said, and gave me a sheet of paper that told me what to do for the pain and discharged me. I had told them repeatedly that there was no pain at all, that it was like I had an empty socket, useless. They sent me from the hospital without even a pair of dark glasses to protect my much and widely dilated pupils; it was fifty hours before I could go outside without sunglasses, before nighttime neon lights weren't oddly beautiful and vibrant.
I stepped from the emergency room, into the bright day, and recoiled instantly, hands clapped over my eyes, agonized. I crept to a shadow across the street from Western Psych and waited for a ride, unable to focus on my cell phone and glad that my fingers know certain numbers without prompting. I felt like a vampire, the sun suddenly my enemy when previously we had been such friends. I am sure I looked quite mad, particularly when factoring in my physical proximity to the mental hospital. I didn't care.
Rob picked me up. Even in the shade his white car burned like phosphorus, the thin top edge of the door was a knife in my skull. I flung myself into the vehicle and sank down into the footwell, keening quietly, fists balled into my eyesockets, and felt exquisitely miserable. I had gone straight from bed to the emergency room, and it was now nearly two PM; I was starving. Rob gave me his sunglasses, and putting them on was like popping in earplugs at a music festival, or shoes in a gravel pit--suddenly the world retreated to a manageable distance. The relief was almost enough to make me burst into tears.
We went to the park that was half a mile away, to get some bourbon chicken before I went home and climbed back into bed. I put my arm through Rob's and closed my eyes as I walked; even with the glasses it was too much, like a screaming in my ears. So rarely do I regret my synaesthesia. I walked right past Ju-Sung without seeing him, and poor soul, he thought I was ignoring him. "You were holding Rob's hand." he said later, quietly. He realized after a couple of minutes, watching me from a distance, what was wrong; I don't wear sunglasses, after all. He came over and introduced himself to Rob, not how I'd have had them meet, and his shirt--white linen--reminded me of a dress I'd dreamed of once, all brightness and fire, like the height of a flicker prolonged to discomfort.
I got my chicken, ate a little, went home. Life went on.
I had a kendo promotion test, over this most recent weekend. It went well--aside from the final kata, which I forgot entirely. My brain was utterly, completely empty. I had to bow out. I failed the test, my empty head ringing like a dry water tank. The most peculiar feeling.
Betrayals of body and spirit. I'll test kata again at the Johnson Cup, but after I bowed out I had to go into a back room and shake for a while, wondering at myself. If I can not trust my body, and I can not trust my mind...
After the tournament that happened on the next day, I sat next to my friend Xia. He'd seen my Facebook witterings about the eye problem, and he said "You had a little stroke." he said it lightly, with a tilt of the head, his eyes fixed carefully on my face.
Life goes on. Who knows anything, anyway. I had practice tonight; Titus-Sensei was unexpectedly absent, so even though I'd gone to the bus stop thinking I am so tired, I should turn around and go to bed and I'd closed my eyes on the bus thinking I am so tired, I should just go to a coffee shop and I'd walked up the hill thinking I am so tired, I will say to Sensei that I can not do bogu today, and I'd climbed up the stairs thinking I could just put my bag in the club locker and go home, go back to bed and sleep. And then I got there and changed, slowly, and Jeff was there, returned at last, and Wazo was there, and Nigel came, but no Sensei. If I have to lead, I have to have twice as much energy as anyone else, otherwise everyone else takes it easier too...
Vince and Elwin arrived eventually, and Ken, and a good practice was had. Who cares if I am going to go blind. Who cares if my tongue stops, if I can't find the word I'm looking for half the time lately. Still moving forward, and exhaustion--I have class every day before I should even be awake--surely explains any number of perplexing questions.