I am not afraid of the dark.
Except when I am sick.
It started with outrageously high blood pressure and outrageously low platelets, which together can cause bleeding retinas. Did you know if your retinas bleed, they can detach from your eyeballs and you can end up blind? The doctors assured me that if the bleeding didn’t stop, they could zap the tiny blood vessels with lasers. But still, when you’re stressed out, like from being sick, you hear the possibilities more than the odds.
That was a few years back, but feelings tend to stick around longer than facts. That fear of going blind shows up whenever I’m sick at night and it’s dark. Doesn’t matter what I’m sick with. In fact, it’s usually bronchitis or bad allergies or asthma, which have little or nothing to do with my eyes. Maybe it’s just the being alone and sick thing that triggers it. Either way, when that fear returns, I can’t sleep. I can’t think. I can’t do anything but shrink as the fear crushes me down.
Ah, but fortunately, it’s not too difficult to handle a fear of the dark. All you need is light. Over the past 10 years, I’ve tried different lights before finding the perfect one, something like Goldilocks, only without the porridge. The overhead light was too loud. The TV was too busy. A night light sounded better, but even then it was too severe. Candlelight would have been nice, but the possibility of burning down the house didn’t seem like a wonderful answer.
Then last Halloween, I found the perfect solution. I’d bought some glow-in-the-dark necklaces at the dollar store for Halloween, and they were still glowing when I went to bed. They made just enough light to shine a soft glow in the room without glaring, without keeping me awake.
This glow-in-the-dark jewelry is very affordable. I found some the other day, 3 for a dollar, in blue, pink, and green. I saw a tube of 100 bracelets for $7, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted that many. I don’t get sucked into blind fears all that often.
But the best part is that they come in many different colors. I got out the blue one last night when I couldn’t sleep because of a migraine. Funny, I wasn’t the least bit worried about going blind, I just liked the soft light. It distracted me from the pain. It was such a pretty shade of blue that I didn’t want to go to sleep, either. But somehow, even with pain ripping into my skull, I did go to sleep.
I’m going to have to stock up on glow-in-the-dark jewelry now, because I never know when I might need one. I’d hate to be stuck alone, in the dark, shrinking under fears that are always worse at night, and not have any glow sticks to cheer me up.
How many can I buy and hope to have them still work when I need them? According to a quick check on the internet, shelf life can be anywhere from 1-4 years. I don’t think I’d need 100 of them in a year, but maybe a dozen would be a good number to keep around. Just in case.
Although, when the night is dark and the fears start creeping back in, it only needs one to make me happy.