PORTAL 52 - Week 5: 'Perspective'
(Reference Photo credit for this art: Dr. Tom Wilk, Mountain View Optometry)
After the blog and art piece, 'Diagnosis', was published last week, the inquiries about my health started; a private message appeared on my screen within minutes; "I just read your post, is everything okay?"; a phone call, "You alright?"; a text, "What's up? Let's do lunch later this week so you can tell me in person." This line of questions, from people who inhabit completely different areas of my life, told me a few things:
1. My posts are being read. (YES! I am so grateful.)
2. Some people interpreted the art and/or the words of the blog to mean one thing, while others got an entirely different meaning from it. Such is the beauty of art, in any form: it evokes different responses in different people.
3. Perhaps I had better clarify... I am fine! Well, it's not as serious as I'd first thought it was. Let me explain.
About a month ago, I started having issues with my eyes. Intermittent patches of blurriness, along with noticing more than the usual number of floaters in my field of vision was disturbing enough, but when sudden flashes of light started appearing, I became alarmed.
I first noticed it when I was driving home on the highway one night. I had just shoulder checked prior to changing lanes, and as I turned to look forward again, I noticed a flash of light in my right peripheral vision. A vulgar word fell out of my mouth, because my first thought was that I'd just been caught speeding and would likely be getting a photo radar ticket in the mail soon. I looked at my speedometer, but I was not speeding. (Really...I wasn't!) Then, I looked in my rear view and side mirrors to check if there was a police vehicle on the side of the road that I'd somehow missed seeing, or if someone else was passing me in another lane, but there was only darkness surrounding me and no other vehicle in sight. Oh! There it was again, another flash of light! And another! It was very strange - every time I moved my eyes to the side and back again, the flash appeared. When I got home, I noticed I could make the flash appear by moving my eyes side to side, even with my eyes closed!
Needless to say, I made an appointment to see my optometrist, Dr. Wilk, in Cochrane, who my family has been seeing for about 18 years. Even though we no longer live in Cochrane, we continue to go out of our way to see him because, among other reasons, patient education is a priority for him. He has always taken as much time as needed to answer all my questions, and I was certain I'd have a lot of questions for him this visit!
As we waited for the dilation drops to take effect, we chatted about new year resolutions, and I told him about my 'resolve' to complete a painting a week for the entire year, exploring the theme of portals. We both agreed that our eyes are portals, on many levels, and they are so much more than just the 'windows to one’s soul'. He shared with me that there are so many facets of health that can be detected by examining the eyes, even before other symptoms appear in the rest of the body. I found it fascinating that so many conditions like diabetes, blood pressure issues, certain kinds of cancer, colon polyps, arthritis, heart disease, and more, can be predicted by a simple eye exam!
With my pupils dilated, pictures were taken, and then I was ushered into the exam room for further testing. When I walked into the room I immediately noticed a beautiful picture on the computer and I commented on the gorgeous colour. Dr. Wilk told me it was the digital image they'd just captured, of the backs of my eyes, so that he could see a detailed image of my retinas. I was even more enthralled with the beauty of the image now, knowing it was of the back of MY own eyeball! So, when I asked him if I could get a copy of the picture, to use as reference material for a portal painting, he readily agreed. That is how 'Perspective' came to be painted.
To be continued...