Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Greatest Fear

I know my blog posts are always book related in some form or another, but today I'm doing to deviate from that norm, just once. Instead, I'm going to get a bit personal. I hope that it doesn't come across as insane babble or boring ranting--tomorrow, it's back to book reviews, I promise! :)

If I were to ask you what your worst fear is, what would you say?

I'm sure I'd get a lot of answers like "spiders" or "tight spaces" or maybe even something off the wall like "clowns". All fairly normal fears in society. I'm also sure I'd get some answers I haven't ever really thought about, but would no doubt agree are genuine fears.

I've never really thought about my greatest fear before. Oh, sure, as a child, briefly, it was being afraid of the dark. For the longest time (...okay, to this day!), I've been terrified of most insects--if they stay away from me, then they may live in peace. Otherwise...well, I'm declaring World War III on them!

But I'm not afraid of the dark anymore. And the bug fear, well, I can deal with it. I still hate them with a passion, and might give a little screech if I see them around me, but they're not my greatest fear.

My greatest fear is going blind.

What brought this up, you may ask? Two things, actually.

First, the other night I had a nightmare (Thank God it was just a nightmare) that I woke up...and suddenly I was completely blind. All I could see was darkness. And it was irreversible, I was going to live out the rest of my life this way. Now, I'm sure if someone had taken a video of me during this nightmare, I was no doubt frowning and tossing a lot, as my first thought after finding out I was blind was "Oh God--my books!".

In my dream, I cried, literally bawled at the thought that I would no longer be able to read a book (well, at least none of the ones I currently own, as they are, obviously, print, not Brail). I would no longer be able to escape into a world of fantasy, to feel the pages between my fingers and see the words on the paper. I'd no longer be able to get online here and share my love of books with others. My blog, my reviews, everything I work hard on everyday, would sit and gather dust, and I'd be forgotten--after all, none of you know me personally, so if this happened, you wouldn't know why I had stopped, what was wrong with me.

Besides the books, I wouldn't be able to see the world around me, the mountains that surround my hometown. I wouldn't be able to see the faces of my family and loved ones.

I truly feel for everyone who is blind, whether it was from birth or came on later in their life. I've met a few such people, and let me tell you, they are terribly strong. I know that I couldn't handle being blind. I couldn't--my nightmare drove this point home for me, as even now, days later, it still haunts me.

Now the second thing that brought this subject up is that it is quiet possible I could someday go blind.

I've never had perfect vision (I got glasses in the 4th grade or so, and I've had them ever since). Without my glasses, I can't tell you too many details about the world around me. I'm nearsighted. But this is not why I could go blind. Not really.

Almost a year ago to the day, just a week after my birthday, actually, I went to see my eye doctor. For a few weeks, I had been seeing things a bit dim and blurry--and it was like I had tunnel vision, I couldn't see things on either side. I was worried, obviously, and looking back on it, I want to smack myself for taking so long to go in. I hate doctor visits, although my eye doctor is a great guy, don't get me wrong! Unless I'm dying, I try to avoid them like the plague. But when it's my vision, my oh-so-important and precious vision, I should have ran right over the moment I noticed it....

After doing test after test that evening, and realizing with each test that my eye sight was worse than I had even thought, he finally told me what was wrong: I had extremely high pressure behind my eyes, caused by a buildup of spinal fluid. Within 30 minutes, I was at the ER, where he had already arranged for a bed. They gave me a spinal tap to relieve the pressure, as well as get an opening pressure (how high it was).

Let me tell you--a spinal tap hurts like hell, and for days afterwards you get horrible headaches and dizzy spells (though caffeine helps, so I had an excuse to drink plenty of Dr.Pepper! :) )

My opening pressure was the highest my doctor had ever seen. In fact, he told me, and I quote, "I've only seen pressures that high in my medical textbooks". Great.

After the spinal tap, I was also put on pills that help to pull the spinal fluid out (basically like a water pill). The downside to them? They give you a horrible taste in your mouth. So delicious Dr. Pepper no longer tastes delicious. At all. It now tastes like copper, and very flat. And your fingers and toes tingle. But, if they do the job... I just barely got weaned off them, so now my drinks taste normal again.

Despite the spinal tap and pills, which did relieve the pressure and bring it down to it's normal range, the damage was already done. My optic nerves were severely damaged from the extreme pressure. And that damage is not something that can be fixed.

Everything is still very dim and kind of blurry for me. Worse, I'm still seeing tunnel visions---I have almost no peripheral vision. In other words, if I look straight ahead, nothing exists to the sides of me but blurry darkness. And from what the specialist told me yesterday during a follow up, she doesn't expect my vision to improve any. I am probably stuck with the vision capabilities I will have for the rest of my life.

I've been taking a break from college for this past year because of this. When this started, I was getting ready to register for my third year. But with my vision, I can't drive, and even walking in a crowd or busy city (which is were my college is) is a bit scary. I can't see if someone is right next to me unless I turn my head, so imagine all the times I would hit into people, trip over things, knock things over...Chaos, utter chaos.

I'm living at home right now (again), and my family has been great, very supportive. And I can't tell them enough how thankful I am, how greatful for everything. But I feel a bit..pathetic, I guess, a grown woman coming back to live with her aging grandfather and great-grandmother. But I wouldn't change it for the world, as I love my childhood home and my quiet hometown, not to mention my family. But this isn't how I had planned for my future to turn out. I was suppose to be in college, working part time to bring in some money to live on, dreaming of the day I could try my hand at opening a small bookstore in my town (there's not a real bookstore for about 100 miles). But now...*Poof* My dreams are gone. Or at least, much more complicated to reach.

I'm not one to give up. But this's pushing my limit, I'll be honest. And the nail-in-the-coffin was those horrible words from my doctor yesterday: "You will probably never improve". Before, I had been hoping, praying, wishing, that it would improve--if not to what I had before all this, than at least to a degree that I could legally drive (and therefore better handle everything else as well).

Her hope is to keep my vision from getting worse. To keep checking my pressure often to make sure this doesn't happen again (because if it does, she's sure I'll lose even more--and I can't afford that loss). To move on with my life the way my vision is, rather than sitting here and hoping for something that probably will never come. She's even going to have an agency for vision impairment get a hold of me and offer whatever help or tips that they can.

I never thought this would be my life.

But that just proves that life is not certain, it is not easy, and it is not mapped out, though many of us would like to (naively) believe so.

My question for you today, readers, is what is your greatest fear? And could you handle being blind, if something suddenly happened to you tomorrow that left you without any of your sight?

I hope that I didn't bore you or make you pity me. I don't want pity. I don't even need sympathy, really, especially since I can't complain too bad--after all, I'm not blind. I'm lucky, in comparison, though it's hard to see it that way now. But with all these emotions and fears bubbling away inside me the last few days, I needed somewhere to spill them--and though I've never done so before, I felt like perhaps my blog was as good a place as any. Even though I've never met any of you in person, I often feel like you are some of my good friends, and I'd like to think that in between all our deep (ahem) discussions about our favorite romance novels, we can take some brief time to connect on a more personal level. After all, this is real life, not a fantasy book that we're living in. :)


Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


DBookWhore said...

I'm afraid of failing. At anything blogging, school, my career, being a parent, being a good wife. Maintaining a healthy weight so my husband will check me out in ten more years. I mean it builds up so much, and I think about it all the time. "What if I flunk out of school" then Ive wasted all this time. OY!!!! I am happy it was a nightmare for you. High blood pressure is a scarey thing.

The_Book_Queen said...

:) This may sound odd, but I think that is a wonderful fear, because it is one that we all have, to one degree or another. It's what makes us human, both the fear of failing and, should it happen, actually failing at something.

It does build up, all the expectations that we put on ourselves as well as those that friends, family and even society put on us--and it's frightening, the thought that we could fail, whether it's a class or a marriage.

I'm glad that it was a nightmare as well, believe me! But it wasn't highblood pressure I had. Rather high pressure in the head from too much spinal fluid. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and joining my discussion!


Angela said...

I don't know if I can exactly pin point my greatest fear. I am definitely terrified of spiders (I freeze in my tracks when I see them and carry a can of spider spray during bad seasons). I am also very afraid of moose (I know weird but a long scary story).

As far as senses go, I think I could deal with blindness, I have met several people who deal very well with it. My feeling is you may not be able to read a book but at least you can still listen to one. That leads me into the sense I fear loosing the most, hearing.

I have had this debate many times with myself and close friends and family, and I have come to the conclussion that the loss of hearing would be the biggest blow to me. I love so many things that I hear, from music to hearing the voices of loved ones even to the simplest things like the purring of my cat.

Of course I have other fears that many of us have, such as, loosing loved ones or ourselves passing on and leaving our loved ones behind to deal with the pain and loss.

So yeah I really can't pick which is my greatest fear.

Book Soulmates said...

I certainly don't pity you but I do wanna give you a big, supportive hug because that was a scary thing you went through! There are still things to be thankful for :) Your vision is not perfect, but it's there and even though life can be cruel, it can be good too. Maybe one day you will realize your dream of owning your own shop :D

As for me, I'm not entirely sure what my fears are...I mean, I'm not fond of the dentist and I hate roaches with a fierce passion (they make me scream like a little bitch, lol) and I have some social insecurities that run pretty deep, but I don't know if I "fear" them in quite the same way. I think the only thing that would truly scare me is losing a parent or one of my brothers. I'm really close to my family and really attached to my younger brothers so I'm crazy protective of them. I'd probably die if anything ever happened to them! *cue melodrama* lol

Anyhoo, I don't mind at all that you did this post. We're all still humans w/ a lot more to deal w/ in our lives than just books!

♥Isalys / Book Soulmates

The_Book_Queen said...

Hi Ang--
Thanks for stopping by! :)

I'm with you on spiders *shudder* I can't stand them, at all! To this day, I will holler for someone--anyone--to come and kill one if I see it. My cat, however, loves them, yuck!, and if I would let her, she'd eat them all.

Oh, I'm sure that I could with time, adjust if I was blind, it would still be very, very hard for me. People are able to adapt so well, and I know that if one loses one of their senses, they do eventually learn how to thrive even without it.

Hearing would also be tough for me. A girl I grew up with was deaf (from birth) but she worked so hard to still do everything as normal as possible. I learned basic sign language to talk with her in class, and when she moved away before high school, I was a bit sad to see her go--she had a great sense of humor! :)

The loss of loved ones is a very real fear for all of us, and it is one I don't wish to have to deal with, but know that, eventually, I shall have to.


The_Book_Queen said...

Hi Isalys! :)

Oh, I'll take a hug anyday, thanks. I know I should be thankful--and I am, really--but when things like this happen, it does test even the strongest of people, and I guess I now know what my own limits are. :) I'm not going to give up on my dreams though. It may not happen for years, but I do plan on still accomplishing everything I had planned. I'll just have to rely a bit more on my family and friends (transportation mostly, support always), but other than that I think I will be able to do just fine. After all, at least I can still see, even if it's not 20/20. :)

I'm with you on the dentist--I finally found one a few years back that I'm not completely terrified of going to, but before that, I'm ashamed to say I went a few years inbetween check-ups because I couldn't stand the drilling and prying and whatnot. No cockroaches around here (at least, none I've came across) but if I saw one, I'd be screaming and jumping away just like you, I promise! :)

I'm really close to my family as well, and losing them is one of my greatest fears. When my grandfather had a heartattack a few years ago, I was so frightened, so upset at the thought thatI could have lost him--and that, really, I could still lose him at anytime. He raised me, and we're very close to this day, so the thought of not having him in my life anymore is enough to make me bawl like a baby!

And it's much the same with most of the rest of my family. I lost my uncle two years ago, and we were very close (he was only about 10 years my senior). I still cry about it now because I see his two children all the time and I still can't believe that they will grow up without their father.

Now look, I've turned weepy and sappy on everyone as well! I think it's time for me to go back to book posts before I make a complete fool of myself! :) LOL.


erin said...


Thanks for being so transparent and honest. It was so brave of you to put that all down and I'm in awe of your optimism and your bravery. I just found your blog this week (I can't remember how though) and I've really been enjoying it :)

I guess one of my deepest fears and one that I haven't really voiced is that of being alone. I have some deep rooted abandonment issues (justified as I was left as a toddler on the side of a road in Korea) and although I was blessed with a loving adoptive family, sometimes I feel disconnected from every one. I have good friends and a wonderful boyfriend, but sometimes I feel like the other shoe is going to drop and it will all be a dream and gone. I also suffer from bad vision (I have no center vision in my right eye from malnutrition as a baby and that means no depth perception. If I lose vision in my left eye, I'd be legally blind). And as a voracious reader, that's a big fear of mine too. There is nothing in my life to justify my fears that but I also feel now that I'm in my 30's that I haven't accomplished anything really of value and I'm going to regret all the missed/neglected chances. I'm not as pessimistic/bad as I sound, but when you write it down, it makes it seem worse! But... each new day, new chances, fresh start.

Thanks again. You are inspiring and I hope you realize that :)

Amy Valentini said...

OMG! Danielle, I had no idea. God Bless you, sweetie. I'm putting you at the top of my prayer list and I'm not going to stop until I stop.
Strangely enough, I've never had a fear of going blind so much as deaf. I love music and the thought of never hearing it again is too sad for words. My greatest fear, however, is neither ... it's burning! I am terrified, I mean, lose control, lose any sensible thought process, lose it, terrified. I once saw the leaves in my folks' backyard on fire, I panicked and couldn't speak, grabbed the phone and dialed for help and got, 'Information, how may I help you?' I dialed 411 instead of 911. I'm the same person who can stand by and watch as a loved one gets a skin graft or wound stitched. Start a fire that gets out of control and I lose it!
I'm so glad you told us and if you ever need a shoulder to lean on, you got one.

Amy Valentini said...

God Bless you, Erin. You're both so inspiring, amazing, and brave.

The_Book_Queen said...


I'm with Amy on this---your comment practically had me a bit in tears. Not because I pity you or anything horrible like that(oh, God no!), but rather from reading how strong you are. I'd have to say that out of the two of us, you are the inspiring one! :)

I'm glad that you felt comfortable sharing this with us--when I put the question at the end of my post, I wondered if I'd get any deep answers--but I did, and I am glad that everyone feels like they can be open, because that is what I've always hoped for on my blog. :)

Erin, I'm glad that you did find this blog, and even though we don't know each other, I would like to extend an invitation--if you ever feel like you are alone, even if it's not literally the case, please feel free to contact me! I know the feeling, though I haven't been through even a quarter of the things you have in your life. You are truly strong, and even if you don't suddenly become the richest person in the world or hte most successful, don't think for one moment that you didn't accomplish anything! Living life, not just carrying on from day to day, but actually living it like you have done, is a feat until itself! :)

Thank you so much for stopping by, I appreciated not only your kind words for me but also the fact that you shared your fear with us. (hugs!)


The_Book_Queen said...


Thanks for the support--you don't know how much it is truly appreciaated! :)

Going deaf would be a hard thing for me to handle as well. I'm greatful that I have great hearing at this point (sometimes, really sensitive, actually, having the TV up above 25 really hurts my ears, but that's better than not being able to hear it even at 100, right? :) )

I've never really thought about burning, but it would have to be a fear of mine, too. On top of that, I fear a fire in general, consuming my home and possibly hurting my family and pets. It's such a real, potential threat, and that makes it even scarier.

Thanks for the shoulder offer, Amy--I'll definitely keep that in mind! (hugs!)

To lighten the mood, I'll leave you with my favorite quote: "When the house burns down, remember your priorities--SAVE MY BOOKS!" :)


Amy Valentini said...

OMG! I worry that I won't get the dog out - I never thought of my books! Perhaps, I should put one of those little signs on my door that say, 'Save My Books' next to the one that notifies that there is a pet inside. ; )

The_Book_Queen said...

LOL! Do it! I should do that too...

Course, I should also put one up for my cats. Sorry babies, I promise I didn't forget I just...well, Okay, I forgot. Lol. :) Needless to say between my family and pets and my books, I think I'd be the last one out should a fire happen!