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I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (And Not Seeing Things)

montreal mont royal park winter

Have I ever mentioned my mortal fear of total darkness? I’m sure I have. Somewhere.

Anyway.

I’ve spent much of the past couple of weeks partially blind in one eye, with the medical establishment attributing my sight loss to all sorts of dread awfulness (think HIV; think lupus; think multiple sclerosis; think syphilis; think many other abominable things.) I tried to tell the host of profit-driven, lawsuit averse doctors what I thought about it, but they wouldn’t listen.

Perhaps you will, Dear Reader.

I think it’s Dean Martin‘s fault.

When I was a toddler, I sat about six inches from the giant television, waiting for Dean Martin to stumble onstage with his ice water. (Because my mother told me that’s what it was, I believed her.) I waited for his slurred grin at the camera, the sloppy spills of booze, and the luscious, decadent crooning.

When he looked into the Great Unseen Yonder, he branded his hotness into my two-year-old soul. I think I even screamed and tore my footed pajamas. (Yes, I have always been whacked.)

Perhaps he gave me a sexually transmitted disease through the television screen.

No. No. No. That isn’t possible. Even I know that.

I actually got toxoplasmosis from my mother in utero. It took two weeks of tests and a misdiagnosis of lifelong blindness in one eye to finally arrive at the truth. I will live to see another day. Yeah, American health care. Best in the world.

NOT.

I am thankful to Dean Martin, for blinding me to the inappropriateness of dark Italian men at the ridiculous age of two. It took me decades to recover from that disease. I’m sure the first time I saw him, he was swilling a drink. Winking at me. Crooning this very Christmas song.

Do you have a favorite holiday song from childhood?

94 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ah..Andra..sorry to hear that…I clicked on the Wiki link to read a little about it. Did I get it wrong to think that you just discovered the toxoplasmosis and that you’ve only now exhibiting the signs?

    Did they start treatment? Are you okay? Am I being too nosy…if I am..sorry! hehe.

    December 7, 2013
    • It is pretty bizarre for it to exhibit no signs until this point in my life, Shree. The doctor is just going to let my immune system knock it out, since I’m otherwise really healthy. It will take a month or two, but I agree with that approach. I don’t like to take medicines, and the treatment is a strong antibiotic plus a steroid. I’ll only do it if it gets so bad that I can’t see anything. Right now, I’m coping. Thanks for asking. You’re not being nosy at all.

      December 7, 2013
      • How horrible to hear that you got this so long ago and only now is it making itself evident. Hope you are soon not seeing spots! I did what Shree did and read more about it. When my DIL was pregnant, she avoided all her cats, but she works at a vet and so I was worried about that…and the baby has had a “rheumy eye.”

        December 7, 2013
      • It’s worst when it’s really bright. I feel like I’m turning into a vampire, because I like to sit in dark rooms right now and avoid sunlight.

        Isn’t that pretty typical, though?

        December 7, 2013
      • Ok..I’m so glad the option for it to resolve itself is there and that it’s not too bad! Here’s to you getting ALL better soon! :)

        Phew..thanks for the reassurance too !

        December 8, 2013
  2. I like many of Dean Martin songs. I was a Soldier in the early seventies. His music was a important part of life. I like the song (not a Christmas song) Everybody love somebody. Elvis Christmas songs still can bring the spirit of Christmas to life for me. Thank you for the song and the thoughts.

    December 7, 2013
    • John, I also love Elvis Christmas songs. Always makes me feel festive.

      December 7, 2013
  3. That sounds shitty. I’ve been nearly blind in my left eye since just after birth…apparently I was left under a light in a blacked out hospital during a German air raid in ’44…so I sympatheyes! Being this blind I thought of being a Navy pilot, but in the end thought that photography would better suit my hawkeye keen sight :)

    December 7, 2013
    • Jen #

      Your comment almost made me laugh as much as Andra’s post, I appreciate dark humor way too much,

      December 7, 2013
    • Did they forget about you with all the confusion? The natural tendency for babies is to look at the light, right? You capture such lovely light in your pictures, Roger. It sounds like that came right out of the womb. :)

      December 7, 2013
  4. Aw, Andra, I’m sorry. That stinks. Toxoplasmosis is a bummer during pregnancy :-(

    December 7, 2013
    • At least, I’m not pregnant.

      December 7, 2013
      • If you’ve already had it you can’t get it again. I got it when I was pregnant and I ended UMP back at square one… I hadn’t even noticed I was ill. All water under the bridge now. Hugs

        December 7, 2013
      • oops, that should read “ended up”, not “UMP”. My new smart phone is smarter than me.

        December 7, 2013
  5. To like this seems so wrong… mind you, I had a good laugh at your early years. You weren’t the only one fooled by their parents. (Don’t ask, too embarrassing!) Sending huge hugs and I am VERY glad it is nothing mortally serious.

    December 7, 2013
    • Me too, Cate. Thank you for the hugs. I’d love to hear your story sometime.

      December 7, 2013
  6. I’m glad they’ve figured out something and hope it helps. I liked Dean Martin as well.

    One of my favorite songs was always http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkylgZFT_CM

    December 7, 2013
    • It will clear up eventually. That’s what they tell me, anyway. I guess it was good that I was in a wine country over Thanksgiving, because I was convinced I was going to return to awful news. Wine helped. Ha. I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

      I love that Dean-o, too.

      December 7, 2013
  7. Well, I have MS (one of those dreadful diseases you listed). There are four kinds with Progressive being the most, well progressive. But I have Relapsing-Remitting. I lost my functional eyesight in both eyes about 10 years ago for around a week (optic neuritis). Worst thing ever. Well, probably not the worst thing. But at the time it felt like the worst thing. Anyway, it changed me. It made me realize I shouldn’t take anything for granted. Ever. I hope you get medical answers soon. And figure out how to live with (in spite of) whatever the actual diagnosis and treatment are.

    December 7, 2013
    • My hair therapist has that form of MS, Pamela. I’m sorry to hear you do, too. I have an aunt with progressive MS, and she’s been in a facility for more than a decade. According to the retinologist, I will be fine in a month or two.

      December 7, 2013
  8. Andra, no songs but I hope everything gets better.

    December 7, 2013
    • It will, given time. That’s what they tell me. Thanks, Howard.

      December 7, 2013
  9. Andra, Dean Martin is great and I need to believe in his innocence. So if you could kindly better, that would be much appreciated. As for Christmas, crooners and classics were big at our house. Then there was the Year of the Chipmunk Song. Our uncle gave this record and my brother and I obsessed over it for a while.

    December 7, 2013
    • :) Of course, I’d believe anything Dean told me. Anything.

      December 7, 2013
      • This is true :) And I meant to write, “if you could kindly GET better.” Clearly, I should not comment “pre-coffee.”

        December 7, 2013
      • I hope you’re suitably fueled now, Gina. I got extra this morning.

        December 7, 2013
  10. And now you only have eyes for MTM. Well, him and your hot new Italian girlfriend. She is so sexy. I seriously dreamt about her last night!

    December 7, 2013
    • I am really in love with Donna Veloce. She is so awesome. We need to go to lunch before Christmas, so you can ride her again. Ha.

      December 7, 2013
      • Why do you encourage him so? (And it is fun!) Can’t wait to see her.

        December 7, 2013
      • I need no encouragement! Though I enjoy it.

        I especially enjoy riding her with you!!

        December 7, 2013
  11. I, like everyone else in the world, love White Christmas, though perhaps not for the same reason. You’ll have to forgive me, darling, but I love the crooning of guys like Bing Crosby because it’s so ridiculous sounding! I suppose someday people will look back at all those ’90s singers who graduated from the Eddie Vedder school of singing and feel the same way.
    I hope you get your eye taken care of – that sounds awful and frustrating.

    If you want to hear my FAVOURITE Christmas song — one that will bring tears to your eyes, listen to Hawksley Workman’s Merry Christmas, I Love You

    December 7, 2013
    • Awesome!! Thanks for sharing this one, Helena. I knew you’d have some good ones.

      December 7, 2013
  12. Sorry to hear of your medical condition, Andra, though it sounds like there is a diagnosis, and one with a ready cure. I know of many expectant mothers who are rushed into labor with toxoplasmosis, baby and mother saved, but, did not realize that symptoms could manifest themselves many years later as they have with you. Here is hoping for a bright, color-filled, clear-eyed Christmas for you, whatever you sing (and swill – only you could turn this episode into a Dean Martin-fest).

    Favorite Christmas song from childhood? White Christmas. Back-in-the-day, we spent the afternoon in the gym, singing Christmas songs, then a party the last day of school before Christmas vacation. Each grade had age appropriate songs. At the end, with the kindergarten children going first, we would file out, grade by grade, singing White Christmas, all the way to our rooms. By the time one made it to the eighth grade, one knew the words pretty well. I still have the urge to get into a line when I hear it. tee hee

    December 7, 2013
    • Coincidentally, I’m listening to Bing’s White Christmas right this second. :) I love this story of singing as a class before the vacation.

      The retina doctor said it’s actually pretty common. I went in thinking I had a detached retina and never dreamed I’d end up with such a diagnosis. Ha.

      December 7, 2013
  13. aboccucci #

    I understand your love for dark Italian men…I even married one :)

    Santa Claus is Coming to Town by The Pointer Sisters was the best song when I was a kid. My brother and I would dance around like crazy. Our parents still have VHS tapes they’ve recorded of us.

    December 7, 2013
    • Have you shown them to your daughter? You should definitely carry on that tradition. :)

      December 7, 2013
  14. CB #

    Hopefully the video posts, I’m not good with this kind of stuff. But For some reason I have always liked “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon. It’s a bit dreary and depressing sounding for a holiday song, but I dig it. :)

    December 7, 2013
    • Sometimes, this song fits the exact mood I’m in. It’s perfect right then.

      December 7, 2013
  15. Oh Andra. Will be thinking of you and praying for you, Thanks for telling us. Please keep us posted.
    My mom used to listen to Johnny Mathis’s Christmas albums. I particularly loved his rendition of “O Holy Night.”

    December 7, 2013
    • I hope everyone understands now why I’ve been kind of sporadic of late on visits, and I haven’t always responded to comments. I really had a few days where trying to read was maddening. It still isn’t easy. I try to get it done with one eye. :)

      I think I have that one by Johnny Mathis. I will have to look.

      December 7, 2013
  16. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I do because it tells about a gift of music and the kid goes all in with it. He holds nothing back. He gives his all without caring about being honored for it.

    Regarding your eye thing, I’ll send all the good energy I can muster.

    December 7, 2013
    • I want to say I had the big 33rpm album of the LIttle Drummer Boy when I was little, but I can’t remember. My mom could tell me.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      December 7, 2013
  17. This is the second post I’ve read today about vision loss. Glad you’ve got it figured out. Dean was a hottie, but for Xmas I’ve got to go with classic Bing and White Christmas.

    December 7, 2013
    • Nothing wrong with Bing, Lisa. I’m very sorry we will miss you in the Twin Cities. It is such a quick trip for us. Wedding and out.

      December 7, 2013
  18. Certainly first and foremost I add my voice to what is a whole chorus of concerned cyber-friends. There is nothing light about your concerns towards your eyesight. I am relieved to hear, if I’m understanding, that you have been given some answers that should work for you–finally. When our children were young Jay woke up one morning with total blindness in one eye. I remember how terrifying it was, and it took a round of specialists to discover that he had some weird, completely unexplainable swelling in the optic nerve. Steroids took care of it, but the fact that no one had answers was very troubling. I am sorry for what you’ve been going through.

    But with all that you’ve been experiencing, you do not disappoint my dear. A Dean Martin memory! I told you I can’t separate hearing him sing from thinking of you, so you’ve given me a cheery beginning to my day. oxo And when I was a kid I loved Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters singing Mele Kalikimaka. I loved saying those words. The other day we were in Target and the song came on and Sophia spontaneously said, “I really like this song.” I had to smile.

    Thank you for my morning smile. ox

    December 7, 2013
    • It’s a good thing Sophia has inherited your good taste. I always liked songs with odd words and phrases in them when I was little. Still do.

      I’m through the worst of it now. It was really awful, because I had the whole battery of tests the day before we came your way. I didn’t get the full results until we returned, so it was a pretty tense Thanksgiving for me. The doctor did say that the yoga must be helping with the stress, though. My blood pressure is normal, in spite of it all.

      December 7, 2013
  19. Well, I guess it’s good that it was Dean-o your eyes crossed paths with and not Maurice Chevalier:

    Okay, okay – I know it’s NOT supposed to be THAT sort of tune, but I haven’t been able to watch Gigi since about 1983 when a friend made a Humbert Humbert joke and I had to look it up…

    Hmmm. I wonder if watching a Duke Mitchell flick with help as some sort of Bizarro World placebo? Then again, watching Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla may end up doing more harm than good…

    December 7, 2013
    • I like it when people go out on limbs like this. :) :) :)

      I may have to try your placebo. That would be hilarious.

      December 7, 2013
      • Oh, my mind is a bear trap of bad ideas. Still, I’d say you’ll laugh at least three times while watching that old film…

        December 7, 2013
  20. I’m on the long list of well wishers for your health. Hope you knock this out sooner than expected.

    December 7, 2013
    • Thank you. Seeing a snowy day with this condition might be cool, though. Everything looks sort of frosted in that eye now.

      December 7, 2013
  21. A scary time for you, Andra. Hopefully the wine (you and me), virtual hugs (the whole internet) and woeful singing (me) will ease the recovery :)

    December 7, 2013
    • Cheers, Fiona. I felt really bad posting this, when so many people I know deal with massive health problems. I think about you every day right now, and I hope the ding-dong bureaucrats do the right thing by you.

      December 7, 2013
  22. omtatjuan #

    Well at least you don’t have that made up disease where your teeth melt and run down your throat (The Office… I didn’t make it up they did.)

    December 7, 2013
    • OMG. I hope that never becomes a real disease. I can hear the news reports now.

      December 7, 2013
      • omtatjuan #

        Melting teeth somehow sounds quite painful…

        December 7, 2013
  23. So sorry to hear about your vision, Andra. I hope it gets better soon. You made me laugh about Dean Martin. I LOVE him. I used to watch his show as a kid, too. I’m addicted to his Christmas songs myself. and a few years ago I bought a multi-CD set of his songs. I don’t know what it is about him. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on him from watching his show as a child.

    December 7, 2013
    • You and me both, Donna. I still get a little giddy every time I hear him sing a song.

      December 8, 2013
  24. Enjoyed this and I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. I know another award is a pain, but I did promise the nominator that I would try and fulfill the requirements. You are under no such obligation. The good news is the nominations should be blogs that I enjoy reading and yours is certainly that. Go here to see the blog: http://wp.me/p2Qoij-Uc

    December 7, 2013
    • I will check it out, John. Thank you. I am always honored to receive awards, even if I seldom follow through and accept them.

      December 8, 2013
  25. So wait a minute…if Wikipedia is right, that means your mother ingesting the feces of a recently infected cat, and then passed this to you in utero? Holy shit, Andra. And I thought I had weird and whack afflictions. This one takes the cake.

    December 7, 2013
    • That’s one way she could’ve gotten it, though being a cat hater, I have a hard time believing she got it that way. She could’ve also ingested some infected meat (as could I, though the doctor seems to think I got it from her.)

      December 8, 2013
      • I must’ve skipped straight to the cat feces portion of the definition because I found it fascinating. Didn’t mean to make light of it though. Hope your prognosis is good and that your vision goes bad verrrrrrry slowwwwwwlllllly, over many, many years, as will be the case for most if us as we age.

        December 8, 2013
      • I pretty much skipped straight to that and schizophrenia………..I’m sure a lot of people are now going, “Oh, THAT’S what’s wrong with her………”

        December 8, 2013
      • Well thank god it’s not syphilis.

        December 8, 2013
  26. I found I like Dean Martin at a later point of my life. So much like your health issue I am a late bloomer.

    December 7, 2013
    • I like a lot of things now that I wouldn’t tolerate when I was younger. I’m glad we’re both improving with age. :)

      December 8, 2013
  27. tarakianwarrior #

    Mike is so enjoying this right along with me. He loves Dean Martin, as well as I since he was a big part of both of our families growing up. :D

    December 7, 2013
  28. That is really something to take a dim view of! Hope it goes away quickly (the tox thing, not the eyesight!).

    December 7, 2013
    • It may take up to two months. I’m using it as an excuse to sleep a lot. Ha.

      December 8, 2013
      • I like the ill wind, or lemonade from lemons, thinking!

        December 8, 2013
  29. I loathe Christmas, so my favorite Xmas song is The Kinks’s cynical “Father Christmas.”

    December 7, 2013
  30. I hope it clears soon for you, Andra.

    December 7, 2013
  31. Andra, I hope the sight in your eye improves.! How scary.!! Sending good thoughts your way :)

    December 7, 2013
  32. Dean Martin (anything he sang, Christmas songs or otherwise) will always get my attention — he was a very large part of my childhood and young adulthood. But this is the song (and singer) that will always give me a lump in the throat and tears in my eyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmENUKqd7fw Perry’s Christmas programs were always a bright holiday spot and I miss hearing him. Glad to know that your eyesight problem will likely be short-lived. Hugs!

    December 7, 2013
  33. JEEZUS. I hope your sight returns. How awful and amazing. I’m very glad your body is knocking it out, though. How in the hell did they figure out the root?

    December 7, 2013
    • I finally went to a retina specialist, and he diagnosed it right away. He used to be the head of the eye institute at the Medical University here, so he is very well regarded. I was also glad he was reticent to immediately prescribe a bunch of drugs like most doctors these days.

      December 8, 2013
  34. wow, what a discovery. hopefully it will return before long )

    December 7, 2013
  35. You may have a temporary sight problem, but you have a full-time sense of humor! You’re awesome!

    December 8, 2013
  36. Debbie #

    Thinking about you and hope you start seeing clearly real soon!

    December 8, 2013
    • Thanks, Debbie. We talked about getting together, and we really should do that soon.

      December 8, 2013
  37. Ay, no me gusta! I hope the recovery is a quick one and that have good results! My favorite childhood Christmas song was definitely, “El Tamborilero”, The Little Drummer Boy. I loved it when my father played it on our record player. :)

    December 9, 2013
  38. I’ll click “Like” to acknowledge that I’ve read and still enjoy your writing, but I must say it’s a tough bit of luck for this to happen and in this season. And I’m aware I’m a little behind; has your sight in that eye returned yet? I sure hope it does if it has not!

    December 24, 2013
    • It is still diminished, Rob, but it will return. It is slightly better than it was when I wrote this. I am very lucky and grateful it is what it is. Thanks for asking.

      Thanks also for reading. I am doing a big round of email subscribing after Christmas, and your blog is on my list. I miss too many people trying to read my feed. I have enjoyed getting to know you this year and wish you and your family a lovely holiday.

      December 24, 2013
      • Thanks, and same to you and yours! I hear your decorations are a sight to behold. :)

        December 24, 2013

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