After two dozen dives, my hands continue to heal, thank goodness. I’m typing this post with a few fingers on each hand, instead of poking away with a stylus.

But I am also beginning to experience one of the side-effects of HBO therapy—blurred vision. For more than a week, I’ve noticed that road signs look a bit fuzzy when I’ve driven home from the hospital. Then, last week, I realized that my computer glasses no longer were the right correction. Instead, I needed to wear my regular bifocals and sit a bit farther back from the screen.

Over the weekend, to my dismay, things got more blurred. I can certainly see, but when we went to the movies Saturday night, the screen was a bit fuzzy. I did some long distance driving on Sunday to be sure I could still handle it, and I could—but needed Al’s help to read signs.

Fortunately, I still have my most recent pair of glasses, which have a stronger correction for nearsightedness. As I’ve discovered over the past few annual check-ups at the optometrist, aging can improve vision of distant objects. So using my old prescription has compensated for the worst of the problem—for the time being.

I’m told it could continue to get worse, in which case I’ll need to get a new prescription and a pair of cheap glasses to tide me over until I finish my dives. Based on my discussion with the team last Thursday, we’ve agreed to apply for insurance coverage for 10 more sessions, to be sure my grafts heal fully. That will take me into the last week of December.

The vision issues, like my hearing issues that have required temporary ear tubes, should resolve within six to eight weeks after I finish diving. I’m hoping it doesn’t get worse. But it could.

Even still, I’d rather stick with the treatment. Too much is at stake for healing my hands, especially as the weather gets colder. If I have to get driving glasses for a few months, so be it. Fortunately, I had a previously scheduled eye dilation appointment with my optometrist last week, and everything else is fine. As for my farsighted correction, I’m better off with my current prescription. I guess I’ll be switching back and forth.

Miraculous as the HBO therapy has been for me, nothing is ever that easy.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at

Image Credit: Clem Onojeghuo


  1. Karen Schatz says:

    I just happened upon your blog, but honestly I believe that I was led. I am a 61 yr. old widow of five years. I was diagnosed with CREST and Fibromyalgia in September of 1999. I know I probably had it for at least two years before that. I know no one else that has what I have. My family and friends really don’t know what I have, but it’s getting harder to hide it from them. Thank you for writing, now I know someone. Karen

    • Hi Karen,
      Thank you. I’m glad you found my blog helpful. There are many fellow travelers out there. I encourage you to check out the Inspire online support group moderated by the Scleroderma Foundation to connect with others and learn more: It really helps to know we’re not alone. Take care of yourself, and I hope you come to a point where you feel that you can turn to family and friends for support. This disease is complex, challenging and stressful, but nothing to be ashamed of. And we all need hugs!

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