27 October 2009

Live! From St. Catharines, it's Tuesday Morning! (applause)

Hey everyone,

So my surgery's on Thursday. It seems like no time has passed since I was given the date, Oct. 29th. It was 42 days away then and now we're at two. I'm not sure where the time went, but I think it went somewhere good.

I go for the procedure at noon on Thursday. I'm not sure how long the surgery takes but it's apparently routine. How routine this type of eye surgery (or eye surgery in general, for that matter) is, I'm not sure. I'm not a doctor, I don't have all the answers.

I think I already described what they're going to do in an earlier post, so I won't go into details again.

I wouldn't be so cocky as to say I'm not scared. It's my only working eye and I'd rather like it to work better, personally. I've been assured that it's very simple, and won't require a year of recovery or anything. The last time I spoke with the surgeon, in fact, I asked him "when it's over, I guess I'll have to get some glasses, again."

"What? Glasses? No, no, you won't need glasses. We're putting the implanted lens in for a reason," he said. So, what the final result will be is, he assures me, at the very least, better than what I have now.

Speaking of what I see now, I'll do my best to describe what it looks like. Enough people ask me, anyhow.

There's always the silicone oil bubble floating on top. It's kind of like being in a clear Magic 8 ball. If I look straight ahead, I only see about 10% of the bubble, it sits right up top. If I look up, straight up, I get a full view of the bubble. It's strange, it looks like a hovering blob, dark (yet transparent, like a Photoshop brush set at 70% opacity. Around the edges of the bubble light bends, and it warps my limited view of whatever's on the ceiling. So, my fan looks really f-ed up right now. When I walk, the oil bubble happily rocks from left to right, but not wildly. Sometimes if I sneeze part of the bubble shoots off and about 50 tiny bubbles spin around, like a strange cross between a lava lamp and a snow globe. And sometimes if I look down, then right back up, the oil spins from pole to pole, like a ghostly jump rope. So, it's a bit odd.

At some point early on some of the oil decided to go AWOL on the rest and get stuck in other parts of the eye. This was a little disconcerting at first, as you might imagine. One got stuck between layers right at the front, and decided to live there. It blocks some light from coming in, so it always looks darker. It still behaves like oils, so if I blink it rolls with a strange light-bending wobble.

Beyond the oil there is very little. There's detritus and various floaties that go along on their merry way. This crap makes my vision hazy, like an extreme foggy day. It looks like if you cross TV static with, uh, milk, maybe? If you've read or seen "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", remember when Harry finds the Pensieve? The cloudy white/grey liquid/gas that floats around in it? It's like that.

As for what I actually see, beyond the shit in the eye, I'll do my best to describe it. It's like I'm looking at the cat, right now, through frosted glass. I can see her ears, eyes, and the outline of her face, but I can't see her fur, her whiskers, or the teeth about to sink themselves into my arm. Her fur, whiskers, definition in her eyes, this is all hidden as though through a pane of frosted glass.

So that's basically the rub on what I see. You'd think that since II've spent the last 11 months like this I'd be able to describe it in better detail, but it's just so strange that that's the best I can do.

People have also asked me how I've kept my sanity. I'd say that I haven't, that I was crazy to start with. A strange Belgian man who owns an antique and cheese shop once told me that "reasonable people die bored." I like that.

I'm not going to lie and say it hasn't been hard. I've sat on a poorly made couch that loses more shape by the day for almost a year now. I can't go for walks because of poor accessibility to get even across the street. There's a lot I can't do. But where I could brood about this, I don't see the point. I've always felt like I'm a pretty independent person, that I can entertain myself. So I put my mind to it and learned to use the screen reader on my MacBook. I busied myself with listening to audiobooks. I've written about 15 pages of a novel that will probably never go anywhere. I've made a nuisance of myself and gone for car rides, helped put up drywall, helped Elaine learn how to drive, learned a better appreciation for cooking, redesigned our spare room into my nerd cave…it goes on. I've even played video games; I beat Ryan in Smash Bros. for the GameCube (though he's pretty bad at it to start, but still); played through Super Mario World; played Rock Bands 1, 2, and Beatles, and Guitar Hero: World Tour, in which I've been able to play bass and sing. I've done lots of stuff.

I think that my attitude for my situation is thanks to experience with my mom. She's entirely blind and is one of the busiest people I know. She's always doing something, be it cleaning, cooking, presentations on behalf of the Lions Foundation and the Dog Guide schools, the latter of which takes her all over the country. She attends cooking classes, does amazing pottery, sits on the Accessibility Advisory Committee for King Township. She takes what she's been given with a glass of wine and doesn't let it get her down. That's what I've learned from her: what's the point of wasting your time moping and complaining when you can't change the cards you've been dealt? Enjoy your time within your means and you'll do fine.

I admit I sometimes complain and won't lie that this experience has been hard, on not just me bot on those around me. Elaine's kept me on the level and I'd be lost without her. The last 11 months have seen major ups and downs, but I love her even more than I thought I could. I feel safe when she's around, like I don't have the vision problems. She's the point of normalcy in my life and that keeps me calm The worst part of the last year, that kills me the most, is that I haven't been able to see my beautiful wife for so long. I can shut my eyes and see her in my mind, but it doesn't compare to actually seeing her. I know I will again soon, though, and that in of itself has been a driving force for me.

I've learned a lot in the last year. Relationships with some of my friends have become even stronger. I've gotten in touch with old friends, people I haven't talked to in years. I've even lost a good friend, whom I miss a great deal. I guess a situation like mine brings out the true nature of one's character, and unfortunately not always for the better. I want to thank everyone who has stuck by me, your kindness has humbled and flattered me, and I can't even begin to think how to thank you all. I'm not very good at this without sounding overly melodramatic, but hey, it's sincere. I'll just say this, then: from the deepest part of the very fibre of my being, thank you.

Well, I'll be seeing you.

P.S. First order of business when I can see: SlapChop Vince's forehead.