11 Apr

Back at it

It’s been hard to focus on the blog. Literally because it’s been hard to focus on anything with my eyes since the fight with vertigo.

While the ‘I can’t walk without medicine’ phase passed pretty quickly, I was left with a mild inability to look at screens without feeling mildly queasy. Any scrolling or movement on my laptop screen was hard to focus on, or made me feel mildly dizzy.

I did, with the help of the medicine, drive up safely to Kalamazoo. But the screen after affects lingered.

It’s hard to explain the terror of having my main social lifeline, my preferred way of doing business, and livelihood, all take a step back away from me. The stress of it all, which I thought I was handling rather well, actually began to manifest physically (I’m good at mentally shoving things into a box, it squeezed out elsewhere). I actually developed a facial tic for a week and facial numbness until I realized what was happening and took a xanax (to see if the tic and numbness went away, which they promptly did, as well as a weight on my shoulders, all of which allowed me to realize how much stress I was actually carrying about all this) and decided to take the whole week off last week.

Which it turns out is a stress all its own.

As a writer I rather define myself by the act of writing (even if its sitting at the keyboard, dizzy and freaked, trying to tap out a few words against all odds, because dammit, that’s what I DO), and vacation isn’t as such a soothing bit of down time, but something I fight back against with a withering barrage of mental activity (ideas for new stories/books swim into being and taunt me, fears about my career surface and occupy the idleness, etc). For the first two days I kicked and fought, and by the middle of the week I made peace with the enforced nothingness and… relaxed. And it was good for me.

What also helped was a visit to the eye doctor that confirmed some of the lingering effects I was struggling with were underlying eye issues that the vertigo highlighted. Apparently I’ve been getting hella eyestrain from my prescription, which was three years old, and in addition to my eyes needing two different prescriptions, I now need dedicated computer glasses because my eyes’ lenses can’t handle stuff in the 2 feet away to 5 feet away zone. That’s a liminal zone between my good reading eyesight, and the prescription for good long distance vision the glasses give me.

This week I have been able to work on screens by changing the screen resolution on my monitor from 1900*1200 down to a prosaic 1368*768, which blows the screen up large enough I can take my glasses off.

Scrolling fast and trying to speed read on screens still make me feel strange, a lingering after affect, but each week I feel more and more recovered, which is a great sign. And when I take off the glasses I feel almost normal as I use a computer.

I’m so grateful for the iPhone, which I could hold up close to my face without glasses and the retina display, and for voice dictation that allowed me to keep up with emails through all of this.

Upside, I’ve been working in notebooks with pen to outline ideas and project thoughts. That doodling around was nice.

And my office has gotten cleaned up. So there was that as well.

That being said, I am so grateful to be easing back into work that will be paying the bills. If this had lasted any longer, it would have really, really messed up my life.