I am a reader. I am, and have always been, a person to devour books, of course not in a literal sense, but the kind of person to max out the borrowing limit on my library card, and binge read all the books I could get my hands on. I made a profession out of reading, completing various degrees in literature and education. I hoard books like they might be a dying art, filling just about every empty space in my house with books. I’m hoping you might see the picture I’m forming – I’m a person who just can’t cope without books. They are an integral part of my life, and they are a critical part of my identity. My family even refer to me when there’s some kind of question needing an answer. Ask T – she’ll read and find out.
Cut to Mid November, 2015, when I woke up one very regular morning to discover a strange gap in my vision. Seemingly overnight, I had lost a critical part of my sight. While still able to drive and generally function, I had, gasp, lost the ability to read. The patch missing of my vision meant that when I read, letters or sometimes entire words just disappeared, making the whole task of reading a rather large and pointless guessing game. Forms and numbers became a too-hard mystery I couldn’t solve.
Not only did I face months (in fact, almost a year) of pointless medical tests and scans, with more and more doctors and ‘specialists’ throwing their hands up and saying ‘we don’t know, ask the neurologist/ophthalmologist/etc, etc.,’ I also was grieving for the loss of being able to read. How I missed being able to pick up a book and lose myself in the stories. How I missed being able to solve the puzzles of my world by reading about them, and hearing first hand from others feeling the same way. I craved words.
Yes, I tried audiobooks. It took me weeks to listen to one single book, and I got endlessly bored. So used to easily smashing my way through a paperback in a day or two, the slow pace of the spoken word frustrated me, and I’d forever drift off into my own thoughts and miss the point of the story.
Call it God, call it luck, call it some kind of divine plan, call it a medical marvel, call it a fluke, but just over a month ago – about 10 months since I lost my vision, I bought a book out of sheer desperation. I opened it to the first page, started to read, and – joy of all joys – I wasn’t missing words or letters. I. Could. Read.
The weird patch of lost vision is still there, but somehow my brain has managed to adjust itself and see around it, to fill in the gaps I previously saw. I can’t explain it.
So what am I doing here writing a blog when I could be reading, I hear you ask? I decided early on to make it my mission to make up for lost time; my sight and the ability to read are such precious, precious gifts, and I will never again take them for granted. I’m going to read as many books as I can – my goal being at least 100 in a year – and I’m going to tell the world how they affect me via this blog. Maybe along the way I will heal myself, learn something, help someone else, or just have a way to process what I’m reading. I hope you enjoy sharing the journey.
(Photo sourced from FreeDigitalPhotos.net)