Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nutrition and Vision

Since y'all asked . . .

The explanation for my double vision: a miniscule and and momentary arterial blockage that damaged the nerve that, unfortunately, controls FOUR eye muscles and the eyelid and pupil.

The immediate consequences: a pupil that remained completely dilated and an eyelid that could not be opened for about 10 days, and a world that looked entirely and diagonally x2 for about six weeks.  I would see, for instance, a building that I was confident was located on the left side of the street lying on its side on the right side.  Two of them.

The healing: It has indeed  taken about ten weeks, as predicted.  The doctor said that a bruised nerve is like a sprained ankle: the damage is not permanent, but it takes a long time for the swelling to subside.

The cause: After about a zillion tests (no tumor, no stroke, no aneurysm, no diabetes, no this, no that, no, no, no), the only one with a significant number was for a marker called C-reactive protein, which indicates arterial inflammation.  And arterial inflammation, I have learned, is now believed to be a possible major culprit behind heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's.

The test: A simple blood test that should probably be done routinely, as it scopes out this issue in individuals who otherwise seem pretty healthy.  My number wasn't particularly exciting but, as the doc said, "You've had an incident.  View it as a warning sign of something that could do major damage, but for now is reversible."

The solution: Omega 3, reduced fat, lots of colorful veggies, and good-bye to the white stuff.

The personal challenge:  I don't take any vitamins or meds regularly, and I'm finding it to be a difficult habit to develop.  I like, of course, all the foods that are terrible for me.  And while I have nothing against veggies, the fact that I can't smell means that they all taste the same to me -they taste  like crunchy water.  (Imagine my surprise one day when my husband mentioned that the peppers in the spaghetti sauce were too strong.  I use them for texture; I had no idea that peppers have a taste!)  Sugar and salt and  fat , however, taste good even to me.  Oh well.

I am trying to come to come to terms with the idea of eating as being solely about fuel, preferably healthy fuel.  And, perhaps, community and conversation.  I think that my days of  enjoying what little taste I find in food are pretty much over.

I'm sure that if you're a creative vegetarian cook, this is probably not the sad kind of news for you that it is for me.  But if you're someone who could not distinguish one vegetable from another with your eyes closed, someone for whom salad dressing and dark chocolate (that delectable combination of sweet and bitter) are  major food groups ~ it's pretty depressing.

On the up side: I can see!


  1. I've always thought that Japanese cuisine is the most artful and beautiful to look at. Perhaps you can take a class that will help you to add more artistry, to substitute for some of the flavor that's missing? I wonder if you please the eye, perhaps the palate will benefit. Just a thought. I'm glad the damage is not permanent!

  2. An annoying trade-off, but I guesss I'd rather be able to see...

    Oh, yea...this is Lisa :-]. Your blog doesn't like my google id anymore...

  3. Wow, there are an amazing number of things that can go wrong with us, aren't there?

  4. I think I can see the development of Asian cooking in the household. Noodles, rice, stir fries and low fat, yum. Vegies - the trick is to steam them, not boil them and take them out while still quite firm. Why do I state the obvious? Because its horrible how many people of our background cook them till they are mash. I hope the aged care homes have been reformed by the time I get there in this area.

  5. Wow! I'm really impressed .... that they are able to find these things out, and let us know. How amazing that our bodies can give us so much information - if we only know how to read it.

    I've got to do something like this change myself.

    I'm afraid I have a major sugar habit. But I've noticed in the last few months that I feel really crappy after I eat much of it.... so it's like my body is saying "Enough already!" but I so badly want to ignore it.

    Thanks Robin, for once again, being an inspiration that leads me do something different in my actual life!