I expected RAGBRAI to be this completely transformational experience. Using my yoga experience, I was expecting a challenge and ready to set intentions and use mantras to get me through the day and also have time for personal reflection and meditation... but I was wrong. It wasn't the physical demands that brought a little perspective into my life, but my teammates. Chatting with my teammates I had a sudden awareness of how moved I am by my vision and the gift of sight. Day after day my teammates would hear me babble on about how beautiful the Iowa landscape was, particularly in the morning, it was truly gorgeous in my eyes. In fact anyone that knows me, knows how passionate I am about Iowa scenery, but it doesn't stop there. Images move me more than anything other sense. I mean, a well-cooked salmon steak is pretty amazing or a tomato straight from the garden, but it doesn't move my soul like my eyesight does.
That being said, I had a fairly traumatic experience this week.
I was waking up Wednesday morning and streeeeetched (as most do) and accidentally my fingernail went right into my eye and scratched the fragile thing. It hurt a bit, but I thought it would be a quick recovery... like 10-15 minutes or so. I took 10 (ok, ok it was 20) extra minutes to lay in bed and rest my eye in the darkness... it was sore and tearing, but I pushed on through my morning routine, showering and getting ready in the dark. As I got in the car, I could barely keep my eyes open because of the light. Thank goodness work is only 5 minutes away, otherwise I don't think I would've made it there safely. Once I got to work I realized work was not going to happen that day. The bright glow of my 27" iMac was painful. Back home I went, hoping my slight injury would heal by noon (see how optimistic I am, always an idealist).
My eye was tearing profusely and was extremely sensitive to light, I knew I had to get to an optometrist. Once there she looked at my eye and saw that I had taken a good chunk out of the organ and just kept saying "Oh, hun." I didn't realize how clearly terrible my injury was. Eight hours after dilation and eyedrops galore, I was still sitting in my dark, dark apartment, unable keep my eyes open for more than a couple seconds at a time (I'm not even making this up!). It was not a productive day.
Fast forward to Thursday morning, the only remnant of my scratch was my hugely dilated left pupil, which left me looking a little crazier than normal... Anyway, I went to a follow-up appointment with my optometrist and she was surprised and a little shocked at how much my eye had healed. But the scary party was when she tested my vision with the chart on the wall, something she didn't even want me to do the day before because of unnecessary strain. And she was, again, overly surprised at how well I could see after one day of recovery. WHAT? Excuse me? I could've (temporarily) damaged my vision? The thing that I hold most precious in this world from one sleepy stretch?
One of my biggest fears in life is losing my vision, it's my livelihood and my passion. Crazy how fragile life and one's body can be, but also, amazing how fast the body can repair itself when necessary. I'm just glad to have my vision fully back and grateful for some perspective.