Fill my Eyes with that Double Vision

Fill my eyes with that double vision. Do you know this lyric? It’s from Foreigner’s 1978 hit song, Double Vision.  Christmas time, 1978, I sat at the tail-end of my first relationship. Sue Witt and I hooked up at my high school homecoming rally and walked home together. For the next three months, we toyed with something that resembled being boyfriend/girlfriend.

I can only remember a handful of times hanging out with Sue. There’s that time we went to Burger King on a cold, gray, Sunday afternoon and ate French fries. I had nothing to say because, essentially, I was terrified of girls. We sat mostly in silence and then drove to the back parking lot of an abandoned office building and made out.

For Halloween, we made plans to trick or treat with a mixed group of her friends and my friends. I was the bridge, the key connection. My all-male crowd dubbed her all-female crowd the bod-squad, and they eagerly anticipated the night. Like most of my high-school years, I found myself grounded for some ridiculous reason probably involving grades, and I couldn’t go along. The groups began to forge a bond without my connection, and my importance eroded.

To keep the relationship alive, I needed a home run Christmas gift. It was make-or-break, either wow Sue or fade away altogether. I bought her that Foreigner album featuring not only the song Double Vision but also Hot Blooded. I nailed it, or so I thought. She opened her gift in her basement a couple of days prior to Christmas; her disappointment in my five-dollar investment obvious. She gave me a boxed set of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, something I immediately cherished and still own today. The disparity of our gifting drove us finally apart.

Fill my eyes with that double vision!

The timeline is murky. I can’t remember exactly when my vision began to split. Was it before or after my traumatic brain injury—the day the minivan hit me? My double vision (also known medically as diplopia) coincided with intense discomfort in my eyes resulting in me making straining eyerolls to relieve pressure. I began to see an ophthalmologist to get to the bottom of both issues. Months went by, a dozen appointments with various tests and experimental remedies. At one point, worried about cancer, they biopsied eye tissue. In all that time, no one ever mentioned the brain injury as a possible cause of either issue.

Ultimately, my vision was fixed with surgery, but we didn’t figure out the eyerolling thing—which twenty years later was identified as Tourette Syndrome (something I believe was also jumpstarted by the brain injury).

This is on my mind because the double vision is back. Well, in truth, it’s been coming back ever since the surgery twenty-five years ago. Every few years, when worn out at the end of the day, my vision begins to split. It’s most obvious when driving at night or trying to read a book—two images instead of one. Driving becomes a little dangerous, and reading becomes almost impossible. When this happens, I visit an ophthalmologist and get a prescription for prisms added to my eyeglass lenses. The prism bends the direction of my vision, bringing something out of line into alignment. It’s a simple (but moderately expensive) fix.

Last January, in for my biennial lens adjustment, the doctor said “Huh, I’ve never prescribed this much prism before.” He’s a pretty young guy, so possibly he simply hasn’t seen enough diplopia patients, but he seemed pretty concerned with my degradation. “I don’t think I can prescribe much more prism.”

In May, my vision split again. My initial concern was maybe the doctor shot too high. Maybe he added too much prism, and when my eyes tired each day, I couldn’t handle it. No, a follow-up appointment showed that my diplopia increased again… in four months. I needed even more prism in my lenses. Thank God I was within a six-month warranty period on my lenses, they cost about six hundred dollars to make. The downside is I needed to send my glasses back to the lab to get new lenses cut for my frame.

I’m wearing my old glasses now. I have double vision all the time. I worried it would interfere with my work, which is performed completely on a computer. I scheduled a meeting with my boss: “Let me start by saying that I’m sensitive to the fact that there is literally always something wrong with me.” And there is. I’m always limping through the office or grimacing when reaching to pick something up. Annually, my accounting records need to go up a tight spiral staircase into our attic, something I flat out refuse to do. I’ll blowout my back. Seizures, dizziness, hearing impairment—once in a meeting, the board president said “Jeff, you must have an opinion on this…”

“Um, sorry, I can’t hear well enough to follow this conversation.” Sometimes it’s remarkable that I’m employed at all.

Now it’s my vision. The optician told me to expect the new lenses to take at least a month: “Covid supply-line interruptions and all.” It’s really disconcerting having double vision, it makes me spacey, puts me in a bad mood. Last night at an outdoor concert, I met Eli’s boss. She’s upbeat and dynamic. Friendly to a fault. My vision was so screwed up, I had trouble concentrating on the conversation. I didn’t even introduce myself.

Susan put a sign up in our kitchen: Jeff is not wearing his normal glasses. Help him please! An attempt to remind everyone, herself included, that they should expect me to seem off and cut me some slack. I haven’t needed to bail on work yet, but my nightly reading has taken a big hit. I’ve been reading The Black Painting by Neil Olson for two weeks. I’m slogging through it at a snail’s pace, most nights putting down the book after fifteen minutes. Although the fact that it’s incredibly dull might also be inhibiting my progress.

My new lenses should come in a couple more weeks. Hopefully, the prescription will last longer than four months. Eye surgery is starting to look pretty likely in the not-so-distant future. I don’t recall it being a big deal last time around, so possibly this will be just another minor blip on my never-ending spectrum of medical ailments.

20 thoughts on “Fill my Eyes with that Double Vision

  1. Yikes. Let’s hope your new glasses arrive soon and spare you more discomfort. I’m waiting for mine too, and the headache from wearing the old ones is minor compared to your issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh, I struggle on the random days I forget to take my glasses to work, I can’t imagine struggling for that long without being able to see straight. Sorry to hear of this latest ailment.

    Great album, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • probably my equivalent to you forgetting your glasses is me forgetting my hearing aids. It’s a major pain in the butt, but not worth going home to rectify. I just spend the day lost in my own little world.


      • Yeah, didn’t mean to suggest not having your glasses isn’t a worse deal, definitely sounds worse than if I forgot mine. It gets tiring squinting all day but I never go home to get them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds really frustrating to deal with and concerning from the Dr.’s reaction. I am very hopeful that an outcome can be reached that meets your vision needs without being too invasive, even if surgery is the final option – I hope the surgery and recovery are easy peasy!


    • Honestly, the last time I had surgery for this, I don’t really remember any issues as all. They didn’t even use real anesthetic. There was a really weird event afterwards where they fine-tuned my eye alignment by pulling on a string. As they pulled, my eyeball changed positions and my vision changed with it. Very trippy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for a Sunday song post! I loved it! Like you, I feel like an enigma when I see doctors. My body never reacts normally (I blame it on being 2 months premature [or not fully baked as I like to say]). I hope that your new glasses do the trick. I am the opposite of you and have been reading a lot again. Before my TBI I read less because of migraines and listened to music and podcasts more. Now that I lost functioning hearing I have fallen back in love with books!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s always something wrong with me too. I think we can blame it on being old😂😂 Oh wait, we’re not *that* old yet. Well, you’ve got your TBI, and I’ve got Fibromyalgia… both are things not fully understood.

    I need new glasses. My nearsightedness has reached about 6″ from my face. I’m giving myself headaches squinting behind my old glasses.

    Great song and album. I would’ve been happy with the gift🎶💃🏼


    • Buying glasses is one of the most stressful things I do. I always worry that I’m going to make a bad choice. This time I did make a bad choice. My lenses are too heavy for the frame and they slip down my nose constantly. And now the lenses are getting heavier. Aargh. I pretty much don’t mention when something is wrong with me while I’m at work. I feel like a hypocrite. Of course, I think they all read my blog anyway… It occurs to me that Sue might still have that album and listens to it sometimes. Although she doesn’t seem like the sort of person who would still have vinyl.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. that sounds like a tough issue to deal with; hopefully the new glasses will take care of the problem for a while. and it also sounds like you have a very understanding family and workplace, which must help a good deal.

    and that Foreigner album was great; I remember listening to it many times in my college dorm room…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You made the unfunny funny, a talent of the highest order in my book. I love your work-based conversations. I also really feel for you with the double vision and all the other ailments. It’s so hard to feel off. It seems to me at age 58 a miracle if you wake up one morning and everything seems to be in working order.

    Liked by 2 people

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