A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
I've been given a Premium Membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review.
I was sent an email asking if I would take the time to review VocabularySpellingCity. I've used their free version in the past a bit, and the kids seemed to enjoy that. I haven't used it for awhile, though, so maybe this will give us more incentive to use it and will keep track of my kids' spelling progress! So, stay tuned to hear all about my more indepth experience with this website.
I am really loving my new vision. At my 2 week follow up visit, my vision was tested to be -1.25. Wow. So, I'm functioning really well and happy with the progress. The doctor said it wasn't good enough for him yet, but that it will be! :) He said my eyes are healing really well and looking really good. That's always happy to hear. For those of you who are contact lens wearers, you know that vision that you have when it's the end of the day, your eyes are sort of dried out and irritated, and it's time to take out your contacts? How your vision tends to be just a touch blurry so you have to blink a bit to get your eyes to moisten a bit so your vision stabilizes? That's my vision right now. I can see. Most of the time, I hardly notice that it's a touch blurry (unless I focus on it). Sometimes, after blinking a few times or closing my eyes for a few minutes, my vision is so sharp it takes my breath away! Then, I tend to tear up a bit which totally ruins my clear vision! HA! It's lovely.Room camping. The best way.
Funnily enough, there are a few side effects that never would have entered my head. First off, I don't have my 'near' vision anymore. I used to have to take off my glasses to read, or to see things up close. I had great close up vision. Now, that's gone...mostly. I can still read and see up close, but it's different than it used to be. I can get used to it, though. :)
Another thing I'd never thought about was my nighttime routine! All my life...well, at least for the past 25 years or so, when nighttime came, the major part of my routine was taking out my contacts or taking off my glasses and just sinking into that fuzzy 'underwater' world before going to sleep. Now that I don't have that anymore, my brain keeps telling me to take out my contacts! It's been interesting how tough that's been to get used to--and how it tends to keep me awake longer!! It's getting better, and I'm sure with a few more weeks it'll be fine, but it's something that I'd never even considered.
The last one is a funny thing, too. You glasses/contact wearers: You know how you get a little eye strain headache for the first few weeks after getting a new prescription, or a new pair of glasses/contacts? The same thing happens when you get your eyes fixed! It's so funny! As my eyes are adjusting to the new vision, I've had some eye strain headaches very similar to those that I get when I have new glasses! It's beginning to go away again, just like it always has, but that was another thing that I hadn't anticipated. It has been nothing major. Sometimes I've had to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen in order to lessen the headache so I can sleep, but it's been very low grade and I'm sure it'll go away (as a matter of fact, it's been 2 days now since the last headache, so I have hopes).
Am I still happy I did this? Absolutely. :)
In other news, I'm home from church today because my 3 boys have pink eye. Yuck. My brain is screaming: "Don't let me get pink eye in my new eyes!!!" So I'm OD-ing on the hand sanitizer and soap. Claire is in heaven because I'm forcing everyone to wash their hands every 5 seconds. She thinks it's great that we're finally seeing things on her level of hand cleanliness. The boys are happily sharing germs while building lego hotels right now. Tonight, I'm going to soak the legos in bleach.
The good news about all this, though, and one of my favorite things about Jordan, is that I didn't even have to take them to the doctor! Jordan is one of the few places where I can be Dr Mom and get away with it. I know, I know, you should always have a professional look at your issues... However, I KNOW they have pink eye. There is no mistaking it. Red, itchy, swollen, and covered in eye boogers? I don't need to drive over to the dr office, park really far away (it's impossible to get close to our pediatrician's office--even though we all really like him, it's quite the pain), walk half a mile, sit and wait for an hour in a crowded waiting room with other infected kids, to hear a doctor to say, "Yes, it's pink eye. Here's your prescription. Don't forget to pay on the way out." Instead, we walk up the hill next to our house to the local pharmacy, show them Peter's face and ask, "Do you have anything for this?" The pharmacist says, "OH my! Yes, use this one!", gives us antibiotic eye drops, tells us to use them 3 times a day, and 3JD (about 5$) and 5 minutes later, we're good to go! I just saved us gas in the car, 2 hours of travel back and forth and waiting inside, 25JD (about 40$ +) for dr fees, plus who knows when they would have gotten us in? Yes, we love the pharmacy here. And Peter is looking MUCH better today...and Josh and Andrew haven't gotten worse. I call this a win.
Well, it's really late at night (at least, it's late at night for me...meaning it's after 10:30pm), but Devin says I have 5 minutes to do a quick update. The past few days have been BUSY and after a frantic email from my mom who wanted to make sure I could still see, I realized that I really should update! Wednesday, Josh went to a sleepover at a friends' house, and so Claire and I made a girl's night. We ate popcorn and watched Anne of Green Gables until like 10pm! Yesterday, we went to an embassy dinner and stayed until after 9pm! Today, we had a new family over for dinner and we chatted until almost 9pm! So, yes, some late nights for us...and busy days! The kids and I right now are on our 'summer schedule' for school. During the summer is when we do a lot of our academic studies (math, spelling, etc.) since we take spring and fall to do unit study immersions (where they also get math and spelling, etc., but don't know it! Ha!)--so we're full swing into Saxon and Spectrum and Sing, Spell, Read and Write!
But, of course, I'm sure everyone's wondering how my eyes are doing. I feel terribly as I was reading over my last few posts (and some of the comments), it seems that I was sounding pretty negative. I didn't mean to. In the past few days, I've seen improvements in my eyesight LEAPS and BOUNDS!!! Wednesday, I woke up and when my eyes first opened, my vision was crystal clear!! I laughed out loud (poor Devin)! Of course, as the day wore on, my eyes got a little fuzzy again, but that moment of clarity was SO encouraging! Wednesday, my eyesight reminded me of how I used to see when I was wearing an old pair of contacts and it was the end of the day--you know how it is: your eyes are dry, the contacts start to fog up and fuzz over and you just can't seem to see...and your eyes are irritated like crazy. Well, I just saw things fuzzily without the eye irritation. Cool!!
Thursday, I again woke up to crystal clear vision. It wasn't perfect all day, but I could see improvement even from Wednesday. Get this: I drove for the first time! I drove to the embassy AND I parked the car!! Those of you who are here know what it's like to park your car at the embassy! It's ALWAYS crowded and the parking is tight. I parked between a big huge truck and a minibus! :D I had no problems at all. Road signs are a little fuzzy, but I could see just fine. I recognized Devin across the pool...lengthwise! AND when we left the embassy late at night, I looked up in the sky and saw the STARS!!! They weren't fuzzy bubble halos anymore--they were a little bit fuzzy, but I was able to point out the big dipper to the kids!! I could SEE THE STARS!! WITH MY OWN EYES!!!! I can't get over how cool this is!!
Today, my eyesight is even better than yesterday. It's still a touch fuzzy, but half the day I hardly noticed it!!!! I played the piano in church today. I don't have light sensitivity anymore. I am looking at the computer screen right now. I can read for an hour+ at a time! I can read to the kids and read all our school materials now without feeling nauseous. My kids are probably SO SICK of me exclaiming at every thing that I can see...or every sign I can now read. I can read the alarm clock across the room. I read the chalkboard in church today. I honestly almost don't notice it anymore! WOWWW!!! The doctor said I'd be about 90% by my next visit on next Wednesday, and I can see that as a possibility! I still can't wear makeup...but if it helps my eyes heal faster, then I'll do it. I've been following their instructions to the T, so that's helpful, I think. And I know that people have been praying for me, and that's always a wonderful help and blessing! So, thank you! :)
All of this is so exciting to me! That first week is tough. But being able to see is SO COOL!! I'm enjoying seeing the slight improvements every single day and I've learned SO MUCH through this whole experience. I know it's not over yet, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience this--and to see! :)
I honestly detest posting pictures of myself. I'm not photogenic. However, I'll make an exception in this case, since this is funny. This is me right out of surgery with my beautiful space-age goggles. I had to wear these outside AND all night while sleeping to keep dust/debris out of my eyes, to protect them from light, and to keep me from rubbing my eyes while sleeping. I no longer have to wear them, and they are now in the dress-up box. The kids are enjoying them as an addition to their myriad costumes, so at least they will continue to get some use. Ha!
I suppose I'm beating a dead horse, but since I really don't have anything else to do but type with my eyes mostly closed, I may as well continue to wax eloquent about my PRK recovery. Now, at day 6, I DO see some improvement. I was standing in my kitchen this afternoon and looked into the hallway (about 6 feet away) and could almost read the words on my picture frames! That's pretty good to me! Not perfect by any means, but it's daily improving, and that's happy. I woke up this morning and my first sight was pretty clear! It of course started to fuzz up a bit, but those moments of clarity sure give me hope! And my eyes always see better after a dose of eye drops. I just keep those coming!
It's still hard to read or focus. I can do it for about 10 minutes before I start to feel like I have motion sickness. If I stop and close my eyes for awhile, the nausea goes away. Hopefully that will all be a happy memory some day. I'm still not planning to drive any time soon. If I were in the states, I might consider it, but here you never know what these people are going to do, so you should probably be able to see in order to keep yourself and your passengers safe. Which reminds me...I need to put in a request to my driver (Devin) for a ride to tennis lessons tomorrow.
Today, I made it through the day with only a 15 minute quiet break. It wasn't a normal day, so I couldn't do more, but I am ok. I don't feel thoroughly exhausted. I did a fast walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes while lifting light weights and it felt so nice to do even a little exercise. I didn't want to overdo it, so I kept it low-key, but a little is better than none. I went out with a friend for a long lunch and really enjoyed myself.
I was thinking this afternoon about the biggest benefit of being contacts/glasses free--even now when I can't really see or focus: I don't have eye irritation or headaches. It's been something I've always quietly dealt with. Contacts have always irritated my eyes if I wear them for longer than a few hours (and lately, it's been ALL the time). Glasses tend to give me headaches after awhile. It's a sad conundrum--I can wear my glasses all day and have a headache and feel super tired...or I can wear my contacts and my eyes will be super irritated...which will eventually give me a headache and make me super tired. Now, I've not worn glasses or contacts for 6 days. I haven't had any eye irritation for 4 days now, and no headaches. Wow. Now, it was never severe, mind you. It would only be really bad if I wore my contacts from, say, 6 am until 9pm. Then I would want to rip out my eyes. It was, however, never very comfortable. I never liked to sit and chat for super long periods of time with people because my eyes would start to hurt...or my head would. I noticed this afternoon as I was talking with my housekeeper, that I didn't feel that need to cut off the conversation because my eyes were tired or my head was hurting. It was a happy realization for me. I am happily looking forward to more outings with friends where my time spent isn't dictated by how irritated my contacts have made my eyes!!!
Speaking of my housekeeper, she just celebrated her birthday, so I thought I'd put some pictures up for everyone to see her...and to see the celebration we enjoyed with her and our friends whom she also works for. She is the cutest lady, and calls all of the kids 'her children'. Good times. We love Devika...and we'll miss the Bangerters when they leave in a few weeks! :(
And in closing...Josh's feet are now bigger than mine. Oh well. I knew this day would come. I just hoped that he'd be older than 10 when it happened....
I'm now day 5 out of surgery. I'm still typing with my eyes closed...although it wouldn't matter if I had them open, since everything's still pretty fuzzy anyway. The light doesn't bother me anymore, and I'm not in pain at all, but I still can't see and I have to admit that it's driving me BONKERS!! At least when I wore glasses, if I had to walk around without them, I could see up close. Now, I can't see far away OR up close! Gah!
I've been reading a few blogs in the 5 or so minutes that my eyes want to let me read, and it's been very enlightening. Would I have still done this after reading other people's experiences? I think I probably would have. Mostly because I would have regretted NOT trying it if I just chickened out and had my eye exam/contacts/glasses extravaganza again.
That said, I would have done this differently if I would have given myself a chance to step back a bit. Mostly, I would have read REAL people's blogs instead of just wikipedia or medical info propaganda. In those areas, they tell you about what happens, or what might be going on, but in reality, there really isn't a whole lot of information. I was surprised. I thought I had read up quite a bit about the procedure and what to expect before I went in. But what you REALLY experience is a bit different than what the medical community writes up on their sites.
First off, and I know this is totally petty of me, but I can't wear makeup for like a month. Yes. I know. I'm so lame. But when your eyes are slightly puffy with big dark circles under them as they're healing, I really look terrible without makeup! It would have been nice to know that. I read on one med site that you have to go a week. My doc here said 3-4 weeks. It's better to be safe than sorry, but still. I would have liked to have prepared myself. Ha!
Second, all the med sites tell you you'll have 20/20 or close to it by 10 days to 2 weeks. Now, I'm only 5 days in, so I don't know if that's totally true for me or not, but from what I've read from real people, it's more like at LEAST a month to 6 months...some it takes a year. Oh boy. One person mentioned the fact that finally, a year after surgery, they were able to see the stars instead of a massive blob of halos. How sad I will be not to be able to see the stars for a year! I'm only hoping that they'll at least come back. I love the stars. How am I supposed to teach my kids astronomy next year if I can't even see the stars?? :(
Plus, no one mentions anything about the halos. I think it's funny right now, but I can tell you, if you have to drive or do anything that involves night vision, you're out of luck for quite a while. ALL lights look like halos...like shining bubbles floating about your vision. It's a creepy sensation, really. It's impossible to judge distances or anything with these little halos of light. They're pretty...but not overly helpful. I hope they go away, too.
For some reason, I was also really surprised to find that I still can't read. I guess I should have assumed that that would come with recovering eyesight--that having had my eyes blasted with concentrated light sabers, the near vision would be messed with, too. It'll come back...right?
I suppose the hardest thing is the fact that I just can't function at 100%. By the middle of the day, I HAVE to take a break--the kind of break where you lie down and close your eyes for like an hour. If I do that, I can make it through the rest of the day. If I don't...well, I haven't found out what happens if I don't. I almost did today, since I felt pretty good this morning and had lots of things on my list of things to do today. But by 3pm, I was just so exhausted that I had to lie down, close my eyes, and listen to documentary hour with my kids. I know, I know, it's good to have down time and take breaks and have naps and things, but that's not how I roll. I'm sure I'll get my energy and drive back once my eyes have a chance to heal. I need to let them do that so that the recovery time doesn't drag on...but boy, oh boy, is it ever hard for me to do!! It would have been nice to know that naps and frequent breaks are recommended for the first, oh, month or so. The first few days, obviously. In my mind, by day 5, I should be fit as a fiddle! That's ok. Now is a good time to slow down a bit and finish the school year with the kids. (Which, of course, opens up a whole other can of worms...how am I supposed to be teaching my kids and keeping them up in their school work if I can't even READ????)
Overall, I suppose that I'm in the "What in the Heck have I DONE?!?!?" stage. From what I've read, that seems to be a normal thing. I read one person's comments that on day 5, they started to freak out and cry when they woke up and the world was STILL blurry. It's nice to hear that, because that's EXACTLY what happened to me this morning. I opened my eyes hoping that overnight they'd magically improved...at least a little... but no such luck. I felt deflated, exhausted, and pretty freaked out. Sort of like that one week post-partum...every new mom cries uncontrollably about a week after birth with that feeling of being overwhelmed and 'WHAT HAVE I DONE??
Will my vision EVER improve? I have hopes that it will. The doc said that by my next visit in 10 days, my eyes SHOULD be about 90%. I hope so. I want to read. I want to exercise. I want to read some more. I want to put on makeup (yes. I admit it. It's on my top 5 list of things I want to do.). I want to SEE!! I want to see my kids' faces. I want to see the pictures they draw and read the stories they write. I want to watch the computer screen while I'm typing. I want to go swimming and scuba diving. I want to drive my car instead of making poor Devin chauffeur me around town. I want to read. Have I mentioned that I want to read?
With all this negativity, there ARE improvements. They're slight, and I really should be celebrating them instead of dwelling on the fact that I can't focus to read yet. Every once in awhile, I'll have these glimpses of clarity. If I'm not focusing on things, I'll notice that edges will all of a sudden become defined...then it will go away when I try to focus. It's looking through a glass, darkly. And I still wish that I would have been warned a little more about the extent of the healing/recovery process. I suppose I just didn't read up enough.
While it's frustrating and, quite frankly, rather terrifying (WHAT IF IT DOESN'T EVEN COME BACK??), I'm grateful for this self-inflicted trial. It's an exercise in patience, and an experience that will definitely give me the ability to empathize much more with difficulties and disabilities. Yes, hopefully this is short-lived. But it's a trial nonetheless. Yes, I chose to do this, but quite frankly, living life with glasses and contacts can be just as much of a trial! Ha! Ok, so maybe not so much a trial, but it's something you have to deal with on a daily basis. If you're out and about and your glasses are broken, then what? Or if your contact falls out, then what? Or if you're not able to get new glasses or contacts...what then?? I felt really good about this decision. Devin and I DID discuss it at length, and he agreed with me. I had a blessing just before I went in and I felt very calm. Now, it's a test of my petience and a good exercise in trusting in God even more to help and guide me.
But I still want to read. And put on makeup.
Last week, Devin and I were chatting about the fact that I had some serious eye appointments coming up. It was time to have my eye exam, get more contacts (maybe even hard this time...), get new glasses, and some prescription sunglasses. I always hate when this time rolls around because I feel so selfish spending SO much money every couple of years on eye gear. Last time I had a basic eye exam and got 2 pair of glasses and it was almost 400euros. Ouch. This time it would be more since I'd be ading contacts to the list and sunglasses. Sigh. You just can't win with bad eyesight!!
After putting it off for a long time, I started to talk with some friends. They mentioned that getting eye corrective surgery here is relatively cheap and would solve that issue of feeling like I'm wasting tons of money every couple of years. Well, last week, I looked into it, and last Wednesday, I did it!!! For me, it was one of those things that if I sat on it for too long, I'd never do it because I'd chicken out. As it was, I was pretty freaked out about it. I'd always wondered what it would be like to be able to see without the help of glasses, but it was SO expensive that it never seemed like it would be something I'd really consider. Here, though, it cost about the same to get it fixed as to go in for one year's worth of contacts/glasses. That seems like a pretty good deal to me!
So, Wednesday morning, I went in to have a PRK done. It's not quite the same as Lasik. Lasik, they cut away a flap in your eye. In PRK, they just remove the front of the cornea. As I lay there on the 'operating' table, I felt like I was in Star Trek and they were going to turn me into a Cyborg!! I had on a lovely hospital gown, hairnet, and even some lovely purple crocs. he he he. They laid me down and put this 'executioner's mask' on me so just my eyes were showing. They then taped one of my eyes shut and covered it, then opened my other eye with some interesting instrument that made me think of those wire thingies that you use to dye Easter eggs. Ha! But it kept my eye open and no blinking was allowed. I forgot to mention that they sat me down in a big comfy chair at first and poured half a bottle of eye drops into my eyes to dumb them. THAT was a weird sensation! Anyway, then I looked up at a little green blinking light as they wiped my eye with all sorts of stuff and put more drops in. I didn't feel anything, but it was SO weird to see! Then the dr told me that they were going to start the laser and it would last about 55 seconds. I think I started to hyperventilate! GAH! I had to remind myself to take really deep breaths as I heard the laser and watched my vision dim and smelled that smell like you're sittin gin the dentist chair having your teeth prepped for fillings...and that was my EYE!!!! GAH!! It was really short, though, and then they switched to the other eye (after putting more drops and salves and COLD water on my eye), and went through the whole procedure again. The whole thing lasted less than 3 minutes altogether. Crazy.
After the invisible drilling in my eyes, They had me sit up and open my eyes. I was a little dizzy, and I still couldn't see, but I was ok. They gave me prescriptions for eye drops galore and pain meds, and off I went with some lovely goggles that made me look very space age-y. I walked outside and almost died, so Devin and Claire had to hold my hands and pull me along the streets tot he car because I couldn't open my eyes at all. My eyes burned for the rest of day. It was pretty intense. I slept most of the day with dark goggles on and a towel over my face while the kids watched movies. Same with Thursday. Friday I was feeling much better and I even went to church! I wore my sunglasses to church and felt like a real nerd. I told people I just wanted to look cool. Half of the people at church have had this done already anyway, so they were excited for me.
However, I still can't see. My field of vision right now is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet and that's it. Everything closer is doubled, and further away is still fuzzy. I have some pretty funky vision issues, too. Lukily, though, the dilation in my eyes is going down so I'm not AS sensitive to light as I was just a few days ago. I can read for a few minutes at a time, and that's good, too. I can tell that my vision is getting better each day, but it's hard to be patient!!!!!! As I'm typing this, my eyes are closed, so I'm hoping there aren't too many typos! However, I'm not going to go through and fix anything that's wrong, as it's a part of my history--this time of no sight. All I can say is I'm BORED!!! I'm never bored, but without my sight, I'm BORED!! I can't read, can't watch movies/tv, can't exercise, can't really see to clean/organize, can't cook (can't see to read recipes, chop things, or see for doneness), can't go outside...I'm BORED. THAT is the worst part of all of this. I know that in a few weeks, I should be mostly all back to normal and without glasses, but until then I admit that I'm going a little bit bonkers! I have lots of energy, but I'm not supposed to overexert myself. I go in tomorrow for a follow up appointment where they're going to take out my 'bandage' contacts (I think I forgot to mention that they put in these contacts that are supposed to cover my eye to aid in healing and I keep them in day and night until the dr takes them out). Hopefully I'll have more info about what to expect at that point.
And if anyone wants to know what PRK is, please google it. I can't really manage to put any links into my text right now. Read about it on Wikipedia and from blogs of others who've had it done.
I'm day 4 post-op. I haven't taken a nap yet today (I've slept more in the past 3 days than in the past 20+ years!!!!!!!!!), and I feel relatively good. Here's to hoping for a fast recovery and glasses-free sight!!!! :)
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
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