Night Terror

(subtitle:  Another Adventure in Aging)

Early this month THWAM and I spent a great weekend in Austin with family, celebrating a 4th birthday; it was outstanding in the fun department. But we did experience a little blip in the bliss.

Back story: THWAM has weird eyes, and recently they’ve been weirder than usual.  It involves cross-eyedness ( you can’t actually SEE that he’s cross-eyed) and the need for prisms in his glasses. In late spring /early summer he got a new exam and new glasses with new prisms and SEEMED to be doing fine.  Keep in mind he’s a guy who doesn’t volunteer a lot of information about himself.

Son A and Son B live miles apart; B is way north in Leander, A is way down in South Austin.  This time we hoteled in the north end, but we partied until after dark in the south end on Saturday night.

THWAM is the primary driver when we are together in the car.  It’s been that way for forty-three years, and I’m perfectly happy with the arrangement.  On long drives we do switch out every 100 miles, but I pretty much make him take the cities. I have little in the way of an innate sense of direction.

So on that Saturday night we hopped in the car to drive north in our assigned seats.  This is A’s new house, so we’ve been in the neighborhood only once before.  It’s dark and the street signs are hard to spot. Soon it is clear that we are heading in the wrong direction, but with me reading the signs and THWAM going on instinct, we get it straightened out.

It is soon clear that there’s a serious problem.  My driver is asking me to read all the signs (I don’t have great night vision, but can manage).  He is having trouble staying in his lane, with slight over-correcting.  I look at him and see that he is gripping the wheel tightly, his shoulders are hunched up, and he is forward in his seat.  The tension is palpable.  Now we have to get on the toll road north.  He says things like what does that sign say, and is this the on ramp?

So now we’re on the toll road with other Saturday night drivers who all seem to know where they are going and are in a hurry to get there.  We maintain speed while THWAM struggles to stay in his lane.  We tend to ride unnervingly close to the cars on my passenger side, and come up close on the car in front of us.  I watch for and read signs, but otherwise try to keep quiet and calm.

Yes, I am praying very enthusiastically, and specifically call upon Archangel Michael to protect us and all those on the road with us.  Michael is particularly helpful in really dicey situations.

We find our exit ramp, and eventually we are safely parked in the lot of our motel. Neither of us really knows how we got there.  We’re exhausted and grateful that we haven’t killed anybody.

“So, how much can you actually see?” I dare to ask.

“Not very much,” he says.  It is only then that I learn that the last couple of weeks he has been seeing double when he drives, double lanes, double cars, double signs.  He can compensate in the daytime by cocking his head in some funny way and looking up out of one eye, but driving in the dark is nearly impossible. Now he tells me!

Of course, there are two obvious questions here:  At the first sign of trouble, why didn’t I kick his butt out of the driver’s seat and take over? and, at the first sign of trouble, why didn’t he pull over and tell me I needed to drive?  For my part, I have no idea; maybe it was some weird reluctance to take his power away, or something.  For his part, he hasn’t said why.  For my part, I announced I wouldn’t be his passenger until we got some answers because I’m not volunteering to be that scared again any time soon.  He was okay with that.

So he got a new eye doctor and was examined VERY thoroughly this week. The great news is that his eyes are in great shape, no disease, no diabtes effects, no scar tissue from lens replacement.  Just cross-eyes and weak muscles (weak muscles are a result of getting old, no getting around it).  So in a couple of weeks he’ll have new glasses with stronger prisms, and we’ll see how it all works out.

If he sees only one lane, I’ll be riding with him again.

Blessings.

 

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 19th, 2011 at 12:30 pm and is filed under Things to Think About. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Night Terror”

  1. martha bailey on August 23rd, 2011 at 10:44 am

    this is a very suspensful story. Glad you guys got there all right and he doesn’t have any diabtes stuff wrong with him.

  2. martha bailey on August 23rd, 2011 at 10:44 am

    this is a very suspensful story. Glad you guys got there all right and he doesn’t have any diabtes stuff wrong with him.

  3. I, Rodius on August 23rd, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Oh my goodness! I had no idea there was a problem! I’m glad you and everyone else on the road got through OK, and glad he doesn’t have anything more serious going on. Hope the new glasses help, and much love to you both.

  4. I, Rodius on August 23rd, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Oh my goodness! I had no idea there was a problem! I’m glad you and everyone else on the road got through OK, and glad he doesn’t have anything more serious going on. Hope the new glasses help, and much love to you both.