Jan 29th 2018 by driftingfornow • 15 Questions • 71 Points
Hi, I'm u/driftingfornow.
As the title says, I once was blind, but now can see.
Slightly more than a year ago, I began to get pain in my right eye while visiting my future in-laws in Europe first the time during a Christmas dinner. By the end of the week, I had lost all of the sight in my left eye and began to have complications with partial paralysis that totally paralyzed my bladder and bowels into the 'off' mode. I lost thirty five pounds in a week, developed severe pain in my spine and my eyes, and nobody knew what was going on with me.
While figuring this mess out, the night after New Year's Day, I began seeing swimming colors in my right eye and feel some pain. Guessing what was about to happen, I made a post on Facebook addressing to my family stateside that I might be about to become blind and that if I did not reply the next day, to please route any questions through my at the time fiancee.
I was hospitalized in critical care (le departement de reanimation, haha) for four weeks, given a huge dose of cortico steroids, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap!), and finally an operation known as a plasmapheresis or plasma exchange after a series of MRI's confirmed total bilateral optic neuritis (the insulation around my optic nerves had lesions and when they inflamed, the insulation around the nerves, called the mylean sheath, let signal loss occur, is my understanding). The partial paralysis was Transverse myelitis, which is the same concept, but in the spine.
The plasma exchange involved installing a catheter port directly into my femoral artery. This was not fun.
I was diagnosed with a disease called NMO, a neurological autoimmune disorder that causes your own anti-bodies to falsely identify your own cells as invading bodies, which your antibodies then attack. NMO in particular classically targets the spine and the optic nerves, causing ON (optic neuritis) and TM (transverse myelitis).
Besides that, NMO has many other quirks, causing severe fatigue, brain fog, severe muscle spasms, muscle weakness, a breakdown of your body's ability to sense temperature (anything outside of a ten degree range of room temp for me feels burning or freezing, or most commonly, both), as well as nausea, intractable vomiting, and vertigo.
I was medically repatriated and spent three months recovering. My wife and I missed our scheduled wedding due to my illness and being across the ocean from where it was planned, but were married four days after returning to the United States in a small, private ceremony in our living room with the family and friends that were able to make it.
I still have significant physical issues day today but am getting by in life. It has been a big year of adjustment to my new normal.
A huge thanks to my wife as well, whose normal also got radically readjusted, and who has dealt with it fantastically. Her family was a bit worried about her marrying a guy from a different country who they met under very odd circumstances. They have mostly since come around. Anyways, my wife is my hero, and I could not do any of this without here.
I'm here listening to Elliot Smith records, hanging out with my cats, to answer your questions. AMA.
- On a side tangent, I have a very small Kickstarter for recording an album. Check it out or don't.
Edit: I have to go to class shortly and will be back in an hour and a half to two hours. Sorry, have to learn!
Edit 2: I forgot a neurology appointment and am on my way there. Replying by mobile, sorry if it is a bit slow.
Edit 3: Triwest (some VA/ Tricare affiliate) called and canceled my neurology appointment for me. So I just drove 2 hours for nothing. AMA.
Oh, FFS, no...just no. My daily travel mug is a stainless 24oz Contigo. It serves me very well. It's now 3:10pm (apx), and my coffee, whilst not hot, is still pleasurably warm. It was poured at 7:45 am.
What’s wrong with the machine?
Hmmmm, that is an interesting one.
My apartment situation is a funny one for someone who is mobility impaired. I wasn't quite ready to kick off my boots yet, and live in an apartment three stories up with a sun room for a living room.
Outside of our windows, I can see people walking by on the street, squirrels outside on the branches in the trees (our cats love this), and in the spring, sparrows nest about three feet outside of our south window (our cats -really- love this). This room also faces south east, allowing in the sunrise.
In the spring, when the leaves are on the trees, with the southern window open so that I can hear the sparrows chirping while the sun rises (sorry that my favorite thing to look at involves sound, that's a weird answer). That aggregate of the early morning squirrels, bird song, and leaves framing the sunrise, I think that is currently my favorite thing to look at. It looks like an impressionist painting with my visual resolution.
I also really like sidewalks because the textures that shift and move in my left eye really interact oddly with the sidewalk (which is kind of the visual equivalent of television snow or static) so my eye superimposes textures and purple and greenish undertones in the sidewalk that look like constantly morphing snowflakes. That's really interesting as well.
In general, texture dense objects are interesting to look at, while being hell for looking for stuff.