2015 was a terrible year. So much destruction and pain – Paris bombings and terror attack in San Bernardino, natural disasters, shootings, and the list goes on. I lived in Paris for a year and knew some of the places that were attacked. Watching the events unfold made me incredibly sad; especially as I realized how Paris has changed since the time I lived there. It also revealed how naive we could be in thinking we in the US were “safe”.
For me, the year started out with extremely high hopes! I had a full calendar of clients and speaking opportunities and I was excited by the direction I appeared to be going. And then… the retina in my right eye detached. My world shifted instantly, catapulting me into a world of doctors, surgeries, and insurance nightmares. This was on the outside; fears about how my life would change as a result of this vision loss swirled around inside my brain. It was not a pleasant place to be.
I won’t go into the gory details, but this experience has moved me towards education and advocacy on eye health. There were no symptoms, and every single doctor I saw said there is no way to predict retinal detachment. It’s a matter of old age (thanks a bunch) and near-sightedness. The only real symptom to pay attention to is floaters in your eye – if you have them go to an eye doctor and have them checked. A simple laser procedure can repair rips and tears in your eye and possibly prevent more serious issues. Trust me; laser is much better than the alternative.
This experience has also taught me many lessons involving ethics and physical capabilities, some of which I list here in no particular order.
- I have incredible friends. (Rebecca and Joyce, and so many others)
- It is difficult for me to ask for and receive help.
- There is a difference between being “in network” and merely accepting insurance.
- You will never get a return on your investment in insurance unless mandated by law.
- I do not like having my choices dictated by anyone, least of all insurance companies.
- Doctors should be chosen not only for their technical skills but also their office administration. Bad administration is worse than a doctor with poor skills.
- I now have to pace myself. I can only work an hour or two on the computer before my eyes get tired.
- Patience is a four-letter word… and it is something I ask for help with every single day.
- I am grateful for my eyesight.
Goodbye 2015. I thought you’d never end! Finding the true lessons from this experience and understanding why this happened is my intention. I’m still not there yet but I’m now a lot more focused on the effective use of my time. And at finding peace with my new reality.
Happy New Year! May 2016 be a much better year for all of us, in every way.