Tempus fugit. Muscae manent.*

Last Monday, I thought I noticed a flash just inside my peripheral vision. Then I noticed it happen again. Not long after, I realized I had a new floater in my left eye, a collection of cells that form a floating cobweb in one’s field of vision.

I didn’t panic, because I had experienced this a couple years back. The diagnosis is posterior vitreous detachment. It’s not painful. It should be diagnosed be a doctor right away so that retinal detachment can be ruled out.

The Latin phrase for floaters, muscae volitantes (flying flies), gives a clue to how disruptive they are. My vision is continually affected by these tiny apparitions moving into my line of sight. The first week I had multiple headaches, probably because of the stress of not being able to focus.

When some part of our physical being breaks down, and we are forced to cease our normal activities while recuperating, it can be an occasion for brooding. It’s (yet) another reminder that we take our good healthy and functioning parts for granted. “It’s a normal, natural part of aging”—a phrase I come across ever more frequently—is not really a comfort.

So I’m at (yet) another new normal, in terms of physical ability. My brain has to learn to disregard the sense that little flies are flying around. Luckily, the brain is an incredible organ. It learns to filter sensory input, like a built-in flyswatter.

For my part, I will attempt to be mindful of the fact that “all structures are unstable” as Eckhart Tolle points out, and to be grateful for all the abilities that I do enjoy, including eyesight that is still good enough.

  • Time flies. Flies remain. A novice attempt at being clever in Latin.
Jean MacDonald @jean