The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #112315   Message #2437424
Posted By: wysiwyg
11-Sep-08 - 11:39 AM
Thread Name: BS: 'Small' Strokes
Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
The following rambles quite a bit.

The vision issue had been vertigo and difficulty controlling focus leading to more vertigo. L and R eyes seemed to be trying different focal lengths to see fixed objects at a distance. In the past this had been corrected by prismatic lenses. This time to eye doc said he thought it might also involve something else.

My brilliant mind has sorted it all out, I think. Taking ALL the variables and phenomena into consideration and adding the new specs to the coping strategies I'd adopted while waiting for them, here's what I think happened.

On vacation, I did notice that the distance vision, driving, was getting blurry. I think the vacay vision was fine otherwise because I wasn't trying to see anything and I wasn't watching TV at all. I was just being and doing. The doc sez that bright light can improve vision because the pupils constrict and thus it's like looking thru a pinhole-- the retina has a smaller field to process, sort of. That's why we squint when we can't see well-- to narrow the view.

Anyway, we came back from vacay and things seemed fine except a tad blurry-- happens every year when it's time for new specs.

Then the new wide-screen TV we'd bought before we left was supplemented, a few days after our return, by a new DVR and new cable package. Great stuff! I over-indulged. No TV on vacay, and now this lovely thingful of movies. Vacay had softened my heart in some areas and the movies I was choosing allowed for some good therapeutic boo-hooing in those softer areas. So because I know that this kind of tears is good for us, I was now sitting and looking, with a fixed gaze, at one distance in particular.

The vertigo began. But so many other things were also going on as we got back into harness IRL that I wasn't sure WHAT was causing it. All I knew was, vertigo last year had been instantly banished by prisms in my glasses, so I went with that.

With stroke symptoms, they always wanna know-- did this begin suddenly? If so it may be a stroke. And if they know you have HAD a few, they think EVERYTHING must be another one, and they may not ask the right questions to locate other "new" things that also were happening at that time.

I think I merely sprained my eyes at a time when the distance prescription had gone off just far enough for my brain to stop working with the prisms.

But it was worrying-- it got so bad that at night, when I closed my eyes, at bedtime, if I pictured anything in my mind-- anything I thought of visually as opposed to abstractly-- there would be the vertigo again. It was very hard to assume anything other than stroke when closing my eyes didn't make the spinning stop....

BUT this day and night vertigo was sporadic, not all the time. It seemed I could do something to affect it, if I could only relax enough to think of variables and observe correctly what happend with each change in variables. So I decided to trust my brain and let it process itself toward a solution.

I noticed, as a passenger in the van, that if I looked ahead I could not focus, everything got spinny, and I mentally howled like a cat in a car. But if I looked to the nearer scenery, about 30 feet, all was calm. At home, same thing-- glancing between near and far, or looking out the window, vertigo. Sticking with a calm gaze at 30 feet was fine. At the pool, gazing across the narrow pool, vertigo. Gazing down the lengths, fine. Hm..... so I stopped looking too near or too far, as I waited for the new glasses.

I stopped spending more than an hour in front of the TV, limited Mudcat staring, stopped driving (because it requires frequent changes in focal length), and..... tried to wait patiently for the "rush job" on the specs. During this time the vertigo lessened and lessened and lessened. I think it was the TV-induced eyestrain diminishing, plus the gradual re-strengthneeing of eye muscles to handle TV time, plus the new way of looking at certain distances only.

I assumed that the prisms needed a change AND that the distance prescription needed to be stronger. Doc said, no, just the distance. That was the source of his worry.

But when he put the proposed prescription on me at the office to look around with, I tried everything I could to make the vertigo come back while wearing them. Couldn't get anything to spin. And every time I had experienced the vertigo, as long as I ignored it, I could walk with perfect balance. I just had to treat it as non-significant information.

With my mind screaming, "Yer gonna FALL......" "No," I replied, "I am NOT. There is nothing spinning at all. Just WALK. STEP down those stairs, DO IT. Look farther away, or pretend we're blind."

It may be that a previous stroke left my brain more vulnerable to vertigo. It may be that therefore, the margin of error between distance scrip and prisms is narrower than it is for other people, and that the eye doc doesn't know enough about that.

It doesn't matter. What matters is that prayer and patience got me through a hard time while I trusted myself to live, and live well. And that I am already doing everything that can be done to reduce stroke risk.

It's quite an odd thing to tell your own brain to shut the F up! :~) But I'm in charge here-- not the brain, and it's gonna have to behave!