Once upon a time, I used to want to go into space. I was good at math and thought I wanted to fly. Then I chased a bullfrog into one of those rain culvers under a dirt road….
….and got stuck.
I went from annoyed to scared fast. I yelled for help, no one heard me. It took about an hour and I found that I could only go forward, so that’s what I did. I stayed calm and freed myself.
Later I watched the Android Bishop do the same thing in the movie “Aliens” and had an anxiety attack. I didn’t know what it was; I just couldn’t breathe and felt as though the room was closing on me. Then I learned that you have to be strapped in and still for training and actual missions and I knew that wasn’t for me.
I needed to be free.
But I never lost my love for space. Watching the shuttles, Voyager, Skylab. It all seemed so, BIG.
Then, one day, I was given a chance to work for NASA, as a contractor. The people bringing me in didn’t know it, but I was so excited!! By then we had Hubble and we’re building the International Space Station. Still launching shuttles. Getting ready to go to the moon again. I was proud to have a PIV card that said that I was at Goddard Space Flight Center. It made me so happy.
I have glaucoma. It’s pretty far along. They were supposed to operate but I can’t afford it and now my right eye is almost completely gone. My left is down to 86%. And I’m freaking all the way out.
I’m not sure if they can save my eye. I hope so. But I’m really scared right now. I’ve drawn all my life. I don’t have any memories of not doing it. My job is photographer/video editor/ artists.
What happens when I lose my sight? Forever?
I don’t live with anyone. There’s no family nearby. And I suffer from the kind of mental issues that are mocking my continued efforts to not give in to despair. Suddenly that suicide thing that I’ve been holding at bay feels like a mercy killing.
As an artist, if you’d ask me what I feared more than anything, it would have been losing my sight, with losing my hands a close second.
I’m not close to anyone. I’ve been dealing with this by myself for months. The surgery can only save what’s left, maybe. And because it’s the optic nerve that’s dying…well, maybe it’s already done.
I gotta have the surgery. I need to. But my window is closing and soon it won’t matter. I’ll be in the dark. And I’ll never come back.