On the day of my formal introduction to Retinitis Pigmentosa (from here on out affectionately referred to as RP), I woke up to a chilly five a.m. alarm, took a quick shower, threw on lounge around the Eye Institute clothes, and waited for my dad to pick me up. The day began with a series of scary sounding tests; well, let’s face it, tests by any name sound pretty fucking scary and I had a history of doing lousy on tests.
The first test of the day was another Visual Field, but with a twist. Rather than being scored by a computer, I got a live proctor. Damn, there would definitely be no cheating. During a Visual Field, you are asked to place a sterile patch over one eye, stick your face into a large white dome and press a button each time you see a flashing red light. Sounds simple, straight forward, totally passable. It sucks. The proctor instructs me to stick my face into the dome and asks if I can see the big red light in the middle, then tells me to focus on it for the next fifteen minutes, with one eye, while pressing a button as other red lights flash in the distance. Instantly, I feel an impossible urge to blink and my eye starts to dry up. I am really trying to focus on the big red light in the middle, but it keeps disappearing; and then I remember the flashing red lights that are supposed to be appearing with some regularity but seem to be on hiatus. Then, right there in front of me, like a beacon of hope, I see a big red flash……or I think I do…….so I press the damn button, hoping that I answered correctly.
Half an hour later, I am excused; sore neck, dry eyes, and fuzzy red lights all over the room.