I hate the term “tunnel vision”. It has always scared the crap out of me, and until recently, I really had no idea what tunnel vision felt like, even though I supposedly have it. As I walk around Hollywood, I don’t get the sensation that I am walking through a tunnel; I just walk and scan and suffer the occasional spill that brings my RP crashing down on my heart. As I have said again and again, I don’t know what I don’t see or what to expect from my surroundings; but that is when I am walking.
During the summer, I had the opportunity to go swimming in a pool with some friends. I loved to swim as a child, but hadn’t been in years; since before my RP diagnosis. I thought I would never be in a pool again, because of being unable to be outside without my Jackie O’s. But, I found a pair of over sized tinted goggles that ended up protecting my eyes beautifully. I was elated to be going back into the water.
Looking at the sparkling pool, I was a bit nervous so ventured slowly into the soothing depths. I felt 9 years old again; excited, I dove down into the water and the silence and for the first time I knew what tunnel vision was. Under water, the pool became a narrow passage through which I swam, holding my breath, until my out- stretched fingers grazed a wall. It was like sinking into a hole filled with shimmering silence; I lost my direction and my bearings. The walls disappeared and the tunnel closed in around me. The feeling was both terrifying and curious. I dove down again and again to embrace the sensation and a new understanding of my disease. I had finally experienced tunnel vision. I understood and I was no longer afraid.