This week, I was diagnosed with allergic conjunctivitis, which has exacerbated my eyes’ sensitivity to light. I have spent many hours in the dark this week; I even wore shades to work. Before my cousin Erika (a doctor who was Chief Resident) examined me Thursday, my mom said she just wanted to remind me that my Lola (grandmother) lost her tear ducts. She also reminded me about an accident that happened to my aunt fifty years ago. Like me, my aunt was prescribed artificial tear drops. However, the pharmacist gave her medication for a horse! Her eyeballs turned upside down. It was like something out of The Exorcist.
As soon as my left eye started to change, my mom asked me if I had had an accident again. Nine years ago, I was walking down the street on a sunny day when a gust of wind came and blew a piece of glass into my eye, which scratched my cornea three times. Just in case I have forgotten one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced, my mom wanted to remind me. I assured her that if I had such an accident, I would be curled into a ball crying like Nancy Kerrigan after Tonya Harding’s boyfriend (or whoever it was) struck Nancy’s knee.
Blessed To Have Doctors in the Family
This reminds of a time five years ago before I had a thymectomy and my best friend Ron asked me if I had heard of stories of patients who were wide awake during surgery. I told him I was aware of those stories but hadn’t thought of it happening to me until he reminded me. My mom and Ron should not be motivational speakers. I was relieved after Erika examined me; she has helped me through so many emergencies related to my neuromuscular autoimmune disease, Myasthenia Gravis. Having a top doctor examine me is better than waiting six hours in the ER only to be treated by someone who cannot spell Myasthenia or treats me like I’m a liar. You know, because I have bipolar disorder and obviously, bipolar = dishonest/crazy/incompetent.
5 Lessons I Learned in the Dark:
Music is important–There’s power in music. Listening to music has been critical through surviving these moments, which were literally and emotionally dark.
Laughter is critical–Laughter is vital in surviving pain. I listened to a lot of Chris Rock and it brought me back to those days when I was bedridden for over a year and I watched Chris Rock, Katt Williams, and I Love Lucy. The physical act of laughter produces endorphins, “the feel good hormones,” which help us fight stress and depression.
You can live without constant social media–I learned to turn off the TV and not check my phone and email fifty times a day.
We need to remember how to talk–Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it brings people together from all over the world like Fashionably ill’s Facebook page and Twitter account. This is so important for people with illnesses and disabilities. However, many friends texted and emailed me. I didn’t have any phone conversations because our interpersonal and verbal communications as a society have been stunted.
Always triple-check the pharmacist’s medication–Make sure it’s not for a horse. (Okay, that last lesson is specifically for me and the women in my family.)
I’m off to return to the dark. The prognosis is good; my eyes should return to normal in two weeks.
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno