Gaining Perspective Through Vision Therapy
Part 3 of a series. Click here to start at the beginning.
I arrived 15 minutes early. Embarrassed to show my excitement, I drove to the drug store 2 blocks away and wandered through the aisles to calm myself.
As I walked into my therapy home for the next 45 weeks, I heard ‘hello’ from behind a wall. Dawn peeked her face out from behind the barrier and told me she’d be right with me. My first glimpse was a woman with beautiful red hair.
We started with a little paperwork. Boiling over with excitement, I kept going off on tangents. Finally, it dawned on me that if I kept chatting it up, we wouldn’t be able to get to the therapy. I was terribly nervous and excited.
Dawn led me over to a blue line. I knew instinctively that I was to stand on it. Surrounding me were tools of the vision therapy trade. It looked a little bit like a playground. Dawn showed me a ball on a string. She explained that I was to look straight at her, hit the ball with the palm of my hand as it swung towards me, and then do the same with my other hand. Simple, right?
Immediately she let me know that I wasn't facing her. What? She came over and moved my head. It felt like I was turning to the right. Is this why when I talk to people they veer to my left? Is it because that’s the way my face is turned? Oh! My! Goodness! Day 1, minute 1, and I’ve already learned about the quirkiness my eyes expose in my body.
We played catch a few times. Dawn asked me if I felt alright. I nodded yes, wondering why she was concerned. We had stood there for all of 5 minutes with a ball on a string. It’s not exactly real exercise.
As we walked to the next station, I begin to feel woozy. It wasn’t like a headache or being dizzy nor was it upsetting to my stomach. Woozy is best word I can come up with. I was sure it would pass. As Dawn explained the next task, I wasn’t able to fully comprehend what she was saying. I did my best to follow her instructions.
When she asked me again how I felt, I understood why. I let her know that I was glad we were done.
Not so fast, she giggled. She laid a tumbling mat on the floor and instructed me to lay down on it. It was that ball again. We did one more exercise with my eyes.
3 little exercises. Waking up my brain. This was much harder than I thought it would be.
My brain was literally tired and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drive home.
About a half hour after I got (safely) home, I called my husband, Mike. ‘Honey’, I paused, ‘I’m going to need your help with my therapy.’ Tears started to well up in my eyes. ‘Every day?’ he asked. ‘Un huh', I replied. ‘For ten months?’ he asked. ‘Yep’, I whispered. ‘This will be great!’ he exclaimed.
I don’t like to ask for help. I’ve got that German born stubbornness mixed with a healthy dose of self-reliance. I’m too proud. I’m more comfortable showing everyone how capable I am than being courageous enough to ask for help. But I needed his help on this one. I couldn’t do it on my own. This had to be our project.
The next day I started my homework. As I played ball with my husband, I wondered if I was supposed to do this more than once per day. ‘I’ll email Dawn and ask her’ I added to my mental to do list. By the time I was done, my head was spinning and there was NO WAY I was going to ask if I should do that again. Once was definitely enough! ‘Even if I’m supposed to, I’m not going to ask. I need to lay down and close my eyes.’
The weirdest side-effect was that I could hardly speak. Thoughts were coming slowly and I couldn’t get them out. I didn’t even want to. My speech is somehow connected to my vision. Then I felt like crying. I realized how hard this was for me. Mike could play ball all day and not have to close his eyes, roll into the fetal position, and ask for quiet. I felt inadequate and vulnerable. I felt weak and child-like.
I'm not the only one to face things that are difficult. Things that seem easy to others but are difficult for us. So difficult that we want to close everything else out. We want to quit because it's too hard. This is how it feels for some people to battle their weight, face a difficult relationship or have faith that the future will be bright. We all have things that push us to the brink. We each have mountains to climb to get better. We each have limits, even if they’re only in our mind.
But this is what needs to be done. I’m creating new pathways in my brain. I need to take one step at a time. I need to do what seems easy to everyone else but is tough for me. I will need to follow the advice of the therapist who knows more about this process than I do. I need to be patient and persistent to get the results I want.
This is hard work.
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