I am currently listening to the audio version of Amarcord: Marcella Remembers.
I am not reading it. Reading, you see, sloshes the vitreous of the eye as the animated eyeball scoots back and forth over the words, a vitreous martini shaker of sorts.
You see, a couple of weeks ago my right eye abruptly began ignoring the scene before me. The contents pouring into my brain burst into an array of spinning color, half-moons of yellow fringed in red, followed by a milkiness flooded with black swirls like the escape path of a squid.
The doctor peered in, reciting the gruesome details in a sort of code, a rat-a-tat of words to her assistant. One of the words was “hemorrhage.”
Finally, she turned off her searing light and spoke softly to me. “When one passes the age of 60, it is common for the vitreous of the eye to dry up, tugging at the tiny veins and the edges of the retina. The veins break, causing the floaters you see.”
Then surgery. As you age, things slowly begin to shut down. This was my first catastrophic failure. The surgeon would go in, vacuum up the dried bits of blood and tack the retina back on with a laser. Then a gas bubble would be injected to hold the retina in place while it healed.
Thus I am a prisoner in San Francisco. I cannot go up a hill or the bubble would get too big. I cannot fly until the bubble dissipates completely. Thus the lack of updates here.
If you are squeamish, I’m going to assume you’ve stopped reading already, because the surgery, for which I was awake, was quite something.
I could see with amazing clarity what was going on inside my eye. No longer was light being shaped by an imperfect lens, passed through a bit of cataract before passing through to the retina for processing. I was seeing directly inside my body, inside the very organ the surgeon was saving. I saw her vacuum up the black swirls, the squid in reverse, I heard the hum of the laser tacking down the retina, the amplified twitter of my pulsing heart always in the background. A fantastic voyage, one you couldn’t take just a few years ago, when eventual blindness was the lone prognosis.
Today is the first day I can raise my head after four days of bowing down, paying homage to the gods of good health and trying to keep that blasted bubble backed into the retina, helping to hold it in place while it heals. It feels good.
The bubble prevents me from seeing much more than blobs of light; it’s like looking through the frosted glass of a dirty martini.
Martha puts drops in my eye every few hours. Marcella provides the entertainment that keeps the hours flowing. I can’t wait to get cooking again. I can’t wait to tell you of a different adventure.