My successful eye surgery

SPI had the op under local anaesthetic last Tuesday, as scheduled. It was a bit grim. Normally a routine 20-to-30-minute procedure, but mine was complicated by the major retinal repair surgery I had last year on the same eye so I was on the table for longer.

Didn’t enjoy it, but as last year the Royal Eye Infirmary staff at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital were superb. Every one of them is professional, highly-skilled, and considerate.

For the rest of the week I was horribly painful and exhausted from the long day and its unpleasant ocular assault, but when the dressings came off it was immediately apparent that the surgery had yielded a better result than either I or the surgeon expected.

As many of you will remember, last year he (the same surgeon) performed emergency surgery on this same eye after I tore my retina to shreds during a choking fit when I had pneumonia. He warned me then that (a) there was permanent damage so the surgery was a gamble that probably wouldn’t restore much of my sight, although he thought it was worth a shot; and (b) an inevitable result of that first operation would be that within 12 months I’d need cataract surgery in that eye.

He was correct on both counts, so since last February I’ve been functionally blind in my right eye except for a dazzling glare from any light source that’s affected my good left eye badly. All we hoped for last week was to remove that glare and enable my good eye to get on with business without the ache-inducing glare in its useless partner.

But, remarkably, as well as successfully removing the glare, the insertion of a bionic cataract has restored some vision to my right eye too! Not fully of course. There was permanent damage. But enough for my brain to start processing the result and giving me some of that old-fashioned depth perception back again.

It was great for three days, until suddenly at the weekend my sight in that eye went cloudy, like a diluted milky film right across my vision. I called the emergency post-surgery number first thing this (Monday) morning and they called me right back in.

It’s good news. My eye is going to be okay. The milky layer is being caused by a dry cornea, which apparently is quite common after eye surgery and easily fixed with lubricating drops.

They also found I have very high pressure behind the eye. That’s also something that can occur after surgery and if left untreated is dangerous, so it’s a good job I went in. More drops for the pressure.

That’s four different drops I’m putting in now, several times each every day but never two at the same time. I need a chart. 🙂

Thank you for all your prayers and kind good wishes, everyone. You’re lovely.

In praise of Nathan Lowell’s TRADER TALES series

I’ve spent this “recovery from eye surgery” week listening to Nathan Lowell’s fabulous Trader Tales series on Podiobooks.

“Listening to” is a pale phrase for what I’ve been doing. I’ve been living it. Still am. I started the sixth and most recent novel Owner’s Share last night.

It’s a strange science fiction series. Old-fashioned in its leisurely and often detailed style. Took me a while to get over wondering when he was going to move on from the introductory character-and-worldbuilding.

Thing is, he never does move on from it. He just keeps going, deeper and deeper, and takes me with him. Until the moment arrived when I realised I love these people and I’m living their lives with them.

This won’t be for everyone. It’s a slow read (listen) and although his craft is superb and his voice assured, his unique style will test the patience of some readers. I can’t imagine any publisher would want him. But this series has attracted an enthusiastic and loyal readership.

I’m out there with them all, enjoying the golden age of the solar clipper.

The realities of life with a chronic illness

Realities of life with ME (photo by Geoffrey Arduini, Unsplash)I hit a wall one day early last week. My brain set on fire and stopped functioning beyond the basic survival stuff, and not even managing that a few times.

It didn’t occur to me at the time, but it’s typical that this happened in the week of the international ME Awareness Day so that I was unable to participate in that event.

My wife had to keep a close eye on my safety because I was blacking out and falling a lot. Then on Thursday things got really unpleasant. Horribly painful and feverish. I tweeted a bit through the week, but mostly just liking and retweeting political and football stuff to maintain some contact with the world.

None of which was great for my mentor program work, but when my cover art efforts plunged into freefall my wonderful mentor took over and produced four fabulous covers.

If you know Frauke Spanuth’s work, you’ll have an idea just how fabulous they are. And you’ll understand why, when her drafts first arrived unexpectedly in our shared dropbox folder one evening and I realised she was doing them, I welled up with grateful and awestruck emotion.

We’ve been planning and working towards these covers for weeks, and I had managed to make a decent newbie attempt at each of the covers before my brain stopped play, but hers are magnificent!

They’re not all finished yet. When they are, I’ll show you here.

Feels like I’m about a month away from my first release, which will be The Honesty of Tigers. Of course that depends on my health. I need to open accounts with D2D and the retailers. But my eye op is scheduled for tomorrow so that admin stuff can wait until I’ve recovered from that.

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