Weeping Angels and Modern Maladies

canstockphoto8252258The creepiest antagonists in the newer Dr. Who series are the Weeping Angels, an alien race that appear as statues. If you blink, they move and feed upon the energy you give off while they hurl you back in time. The constant warning is “Don’t Blink!” If you blink, they are there, bare-teethed and horrifying and then you are gone.

My Weeping Angel is a computer monitor. It saps my energy by holding me captive to its unending stream of information and word processing capabilities. I get my news, entertainment and friendly communication from it. I manage accounting records, shop and listen to music on it. I churn out blog posts, clean up photos and write short stories and even a novel while staring at it.  I do not blink, but I’m still going to be sent back in time – to a time when a writer used pens and paper and not a keyboard.

I have just been diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosion syndrome. Yes, it’s a thing. If you just snorted in derision, well, I did too. No visit to a doctor goes without exit baggage of a syndrome or disorder or complex. I tend to avoid those trips at all costs. But I woke up this morning, as I have numerous mornings over the last few weeks, with blinding, stinging eyeball pain. I could wait no longer.

What I had assumed was eye strain was an actual injury caused by an abrasion and dry, old eyes. Opening my eyes from a deep night’s sleep meant ripping off layers of corneal cells, exposing nerves and causing severe pain and light sensitivity.  I have a treatment plan prescribed by the optometrist. I will follow it – goop in my eyes at night, drops 3-4 times a day, and fish oil supplements (blech).

Whenever a physical malady hits me, I turn it into a statement about myself as a person. Intellectually I know it’s wrong. The optometrist was kind and non-judgmental, but all I could think was “that’s what you get for being on the computer all the time, you slob”. When you are looking at a monitor, you blink 4 times less than you normally would, which is why so many people get dry eyes. On top of that, I apparently don’t blink fully. Ever. More weird shit I didn’t need to know about myself.

So, I must spend the weekend coming up with a new plan for writing, blogging and everything in between. I have to transition to doing most of my initial drafts off line, rearrange my office so that my monitor is not situated against a wall – allowing my eyes to frequently change focal points.

I felt pretty depressed coming out of the eye doctor’s office, but my brain usually can rewrite the code and come up with a better perspective. I’ll take this as an opportunity to realign my priorities, figure out what I must do online and what can be done without being plugged in. It’s a decluttering to clear my vision in more than one way. While I’m resting my eyes and getting all this sorted, whatever you do, make sure you blink.

38 Comments on “Weeping Angels and Modern Maladies

  1. Wow! Never heard of that before. I used to write all my copy in longhand. You can also try a dictaphone. Hope you see an improvement soon. Take care.

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  2. Get better soon! When I’m on the computer for hours on end, I palm my eyes for a few minutes and feel refreshed. Hope this helps, be well. ☼

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  3. I’m sorry to hear about your condition. That sucks. I hope you come up with a suitable solution that works for both your eyes and your reliance on the computer.

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    • It’s probably minor in the scheme of things, but the pain was pretty excruciating. If I’m lucky, it will be healed in 3-4 weeks, but I’ll take the time as an opportunity for offline, more thoughtful writing. Sometimes I just need to be forced to slow down and re-align my life.

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  4. Isn’t it amazing how our bodies tell us when it’s time to slow down? I know dry eye is endemic in older folks, and I guess being on the computer a lot would exacerbate it. I have dry eye drops that I use sometimes several times a day; but living in the desert everything is dry! (Oh, and I haven’t watched Dr. Who since the original series that started in 1963, and I watched it from the first episode until 1980 something.)

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    • I can’t watch the old Dr. Who, but love the new series. Although, I may have to back off of serial TV watching as well. My eye felt better this morning after all the drops, but my body was only giving me a message that my brain suspected – time to put more work into offline writing, keep balance in sight and re-align my priorities – I got off track over the winter.

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  5. Sorry to hear about this but happy there is a cure. Rethinking how we do things can bring something good with it in the long run. Hope you feel much better soon.

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    • Not sure of the cure aspect, just a matter of degrees. I’m due for a shift of priorities and double checking that my personal goals are still the same. Like spring cleaning and decluttering – an opportunity to clear the mental landscape.

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  6. Rest well … creativity flows when we are quiet so maybe in the long term an enforced break may offer new ideas.

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  7. My condolences!! Interesting about the fish oil. I’ve been taking fish oil capsules (no yuck factor) for a couple years for their (supposed) effect on the mental machinery. I’ve been using computers (heavily) since they were invented back in the 80s, so now I wonder if that fish oil has been a saving grace in other regards!

    Two things I wonder about:

    Do you configure your PC tools to have white background and black, clear fonts? I’ve tried to make my tools look as much like a piece of paper as possible. Anything less than crisp white background and black text has lower contrast and thus more eye strain.

    Do you use a smartphone or other tiny screen much? I refuse to use any of those devices. I wonder if staring at a tiny screen is worse. My work makes having the largest monitor possible almost a requirement, and that may also have been a saving grace.

    And those Weeping Angels? I’ve never been scared, or much impressed, by monsters (Frankenstein bores me), but the Weeping Angels totally make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!

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    • I should clarify that the “too much time on the computer” is my take on the whole thing. There is an underlying condition (injury) that is exacerbated by dry eyes, which one can get from too much non-blinking time. I avoid tiny screen time and my computer is maximized for being easy on the eyes (monster icons and off-white background with black text). I just need more breaks, more distanced focal points to look at and a little less time online, I think. All manageable changes in addition to the eye drops.

      The fish oil supposedly helps a person produce more tears. The doc promised the fish oil pills had no burp factor…urp…but he was mistaken. While I’m often stubborn, I’m not always foolish and plan on being diligent about…urp…taking them.

      Weeping Angels are indeed the creepiest and statues now take on an ominous air when I pass them!

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      • Interesting! I tear easily; I wonder if it’s the fish oil. I use the Nature’s Bounty 1200 mg caps… no burping, although that could be individual stomach chemistry. (I do love beans, though, and could often participate in that infamous scene from Blazing Saddles).

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  8. Ugh, what crummy news. I hope you can improve your problem soon and well. Your post came at an odd time for me. I just had my eye dr. visit and was told I have the beginnings of dry macular degeneration and she gave me vitamins to take which are larger than my eyeballs. She also lectured me about taking a break every 20 minutes from the computer because when you watch the computer screen “you don’t blink, you stare.” This came on the week I decided to take a partial blog break (no writing and only some blog reading). Good luck to you, Michelle.

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    • Best to you as well! It all boils down to balance, as usual. The eye thing freaks me out a bit. I’ve worn glasses since I was 6 and somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve always been afraid I’d lose my sight.

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      • It’s been a mild concern for me, since glaucoma runs in my mom’s family, and I saw how that made two people blind. And needless to say, I spend a lot of time using my eyes for reading and writing. But now I am a bit more concerned because the dr. said I am a little young-ISH for the macular degeneration to start. My dad has it and didn’t get it until his 80s! I am in my 50s. So we’ll see. Thank you and, yes, we need to find a balance that works for us.

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        • That is so true. My grandfather lost vision in one eye when he was very young and when he was an old man they finally gave him sight in that eye. But the glaucoma had taken the sight in his other eye by then. But now my mother and her brother take drops and will probably not get full out glaucoma if they stay on top of it.

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  9. The Weeping Angels are TERRIFYING!

    Hope you feel better soon. I know I also spend way too much time staring at a screen; this is a good reminder for me, too!

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  10. Wow – that sounds really painful. I’m sorry to hear that. I wonder if you can dictate some of your writing. I have been using apps to dictate notes and emails. I hope you are feeling better soon!

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  11. Glad to hear there’s a treatment regiment for it. Hope it works quickly and painlessly.
    (And followed, just for the Dr Who ref!)

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    • Thanks for the good wishes and the follow! I’m a huge fan of the new series, but never got hooked on the old one. I’m part of the rising class of Nouveau Nerds.

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      • The old series is worth a look just for the overwhelming cheesiness of it.
        Seriously, it’s hilariously bad.

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  12. Sorry to hear, but really enjoyed the post! The things we do for love: burn my eyes out. I can relate after a week in Las Vegas. Burning, dry eyes and soul sucking statues.

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  13. I had a corneal erosion years ago. I thought I had an eyelash in my eye and kept rubbing at it until my dad pulled my hand away. I’ll never forget the sound of his indrawn breath. Evidently my eye was a sight. It was the most painful thing I’d ever experienced. Thankfully it healed and I never had another. They gave me all sorts of warnings, you can never wear contacts, you can never wear eye makeup, etc, etc, on and on. The takeaway for me was keep your eyes moist and don’t blindly rub! I hope you recover soon and never have to go through this again. But it’s probably a good idea to keep some of the goopy stuff on hand, just in case.

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    • Lesson learned indeed. Waking up was the worst part – never need caffeine if you rip your corneal cells off first thing in the morning! Fortunately, mine are on the tops of my eyeballs, so I can still wear contacts for taekwondo sparring and workouts, but I think I’ve come away with the same lesson – never rub eyes mindlessly and keep them moist. And apparently, take fish oil, which has turned out not to be as disgusting as it sounded! Thanks for reading and commenting! It gives me hope that the “recurrent” part of the syndrome might not hold true if I pay attention.

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