Spring!

I’m loving this weather at the moment. Can only sit outside to enjoy it for half an hour at a time, and not strong enough to do it every day, and contrary to expectations I find that climatic conditions don’t alter my health condition in any way, but the sunshine and lovely birdsong does make me smile.

That’s it, folks. I’m still in the same way I was last time I posted. It’s a long old relapse, this. I’m mostly bedbound, mostly sleeping, mostly hurting too much to bear and so mostly drugged quite heavily.

My wife is reading a splendidly illustrated hardback copy of Mrs Beeton’s Every-Day Cookery, annotated throughout with pencilled menu notes.

On the first blank page inside the front cover, in a different hand of confident cursive blue ink, is this message:

To Bunny, in self defence, John. 1948

Making us smile. 🙂

Seeking peace

My silence here on the blog last Monday said more than any words of mine could have. It was a terrible week in the UK. Probably the worst week of my life, even when compared to the very young death of my father and the deaths of my beloved grandparents some years later. I was in agony last week. I couldn’t talk.

With a tiny number of dignified exceptions (Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn) our national politicians embraced the don’t want to adult meme.

They’re inadequate, and so are we. We’ve spent decades putting them in power and rewarding them for abusing it.

The infantile behaviour in Westminster continues. So does the raw racist hatred and violence on the streets of England and Wales, the scapegoating of our most vulnerable people, the villifying of our innocent neighbours, the reckless endangering of peace in Europe, and the deliberate ignoring of the awful plight of war refugees when there are more displaced people on the move now than at any time since the end of the second world war.

I couldn’t talk. Sometimes I felt like a small black hole of despair. Other times, like a simmering volcano.

My twitter feed exploded with distress, anger, fear, and analysis. Naturally. Like many people, I expect, I tend to follow and be followed on there by people with whom I’m in broad agreement on political matters.

Much of the analysis and comment was intelligent and right on the button, even amusing…

…but for most of the week I couldn’t engage.

By Friday, I was here:

Yesterday morning, I made it to my local Quaker meeting. And that’s where it all started falling into place for me. My silence, or, rather, my inability to talk for several days. As I sank into the cherished deep silence of the meeting, I felt I’d been unconsciously preparing for it all week.

Peace filled me.

I don’t have any answers for our country or our continent. I certainly don’t pretend to have any answers for individual people. But for me, I will continue to seek and live that peace.

Yesterday evening I stood out on our front patio and took this photo. peace and lightCaptioned it: the evening side of our valley, from the morning side.

It isn’t a great photo, but there is light. There is peace.

Brexit isn’t a great situation, but I’m not going to fall apart. My inner peace will hold me together.

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.

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