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.

This is what scares me

This is the eye that didn’t have unsuccessful retinal repair surgery 7 months ago. It’s my working eye. My good eye.

my writing eye

Except that it isn’t.

It’s deteriorating rapidly, as the surgeon warned me would probably happen within 12 months of the unsuccessful surgery on my other eye.

At 10 o’clock this morning (Monday) I have an “urgent” appointment at the eye hospital. All The Tests. Exactly the same long day of exhaustive tests and drops and examinations that I had on my other eye back in February. With more surgery to be scheduled at the end of it, I expect. Probably urgently. Almost inevitably.

I’m a novelist with only one working eye, and it’s going dark on me.

Physical things don’t scare me. Medics have remarked on my calmness while they’re doing unpleasant things to me. I’m not brave. Just been through so much painful shit, it doesn’t scare me anymore.

This, though? This scares me.

So what am I doing right now, at just gone midnight? Apart from fretting.

I’m working on my A Flight of Thieves screenplay and yomping a big bag of salted popcorn. The show must go on, for as long as it can. Scared or not.

Progress report

Two months on from the eye surgery. Learning to function on the computer while we wait to see how it’ll turn out. My surgeon says it’ll be another ten months or so before we know for certain how much sight I’ll have in that eye.

Managing to write 1k words per evening on The Honesty of Tigers and happy with that, although squinting gives me a helluva headache by midnight.

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