Monday, January 19, 2009

my floater

The Grinch, Nature or Old Age gave me a gift on Christmas Eve. I first noticed it as a darting spot on the computer screen when I checked my email.


I rubbed my eyes, blinked numerous times then looked at the monitor again. It hadn't gone away. Instead it hovered right beside the words I was reading and then, the second I moved my eyeball to see what it really was, darted away like a mischievous child.

Now I'd had visual impostors before. Floaters, they're called. Always in the past they had drifted through my visual field - occasional lazy black snowflakes that just disappeared. This was different.

Since I had no pain and could easily function I ignored the nuisance through a hectic Christmas day. However, when it was still there on the 26th I decided to do some deeper sleuthing.

Googling "visual spots" and "retina" yielded some alarming possibilities - retinal tears, detachment, blurry vision, vision loss. Frightened, I made an ASAP appointment with a local optometry clinic.

The result was a relief. A floater it was, though a big one, the optometrist said. The bad news, it will hang around indefinitely. More good news, our brains typically weary of registering such non-objects, learn to ignore them and we become oblivious to their presence. Unfortunately my brain isn't there yet.

This constant companion brought to mind a little poem I memorized as a kid. Here it is, modified just a tad to fit my situation.

My Floater
(With apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson)

I have a little floater that goes in and out with me
And what can be the use of her is more than I can see.
She is very very jumpy like a little black fruit fly
As she swoops and flits and quivers 'round the corner of my eye.

The funniest thing about her is the way she never stares
me full face-on but rather lurks beside me unawares
like a glass chip in a window, cobweb fragment, spot or thread
she’s a bit of protein darting through the humor of my head.

She hasn’t got a notion of how floaters shouldn’t stay
within one’s line of vision but should gently drift away.
The way she hovers near me, paranoia it must be
I’d think shame to stick to anyone like floater sticks to me.

Perhaps one morning early when my desktop is alight
I’ll rise and find my page displays without a spot in sight.
My annoying little floater will be nowhere about
because my brain has finally figured how to tune her out!

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly


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