Discover more from off the record
And we’re back!
I have returned, after an unexpected and extended hiatus.
Me and my one good eye are back to enthrall you with hot takes, deep thoughts, and tales from my real life.
Allow me to get you up to speed.
I have been wearing glasses since I was eight years old. My mother noticed that I was squinting at the television while watching it, and she took me to the doctor to get my eyes checked.
I remember that day like it was yesterday.
My mother and my Auntie Faye took me and my cousins Paulette and Michele to the eye doctor, and when my exam was done, the Japanese optometrist tech — who my mother knew because they worked in the same Kaiser location (and when I called her to verify details I remembered, she said “He was fine as fuck too.”) — told my mother, “Your child is blind. How is she even functioning on a daily basis?”
It was determined that my cousin Paulette also needed glasses, and we both got the same cute little Holly Hobbie frames.
That was decades ago, and I have been wearing glasses ever since.
One time in my twenties, one of my guy friends asked me if he could see my glasses and try them on. I handed them to him. He put them on, looked through them, then turned to me and asked, “GAWD DAMN. Where’s your dog and your cane?”
Yeah. It’s like that.
As I’ve aged, my vision has gotten progressively worse. I am very near-sighted, and I have astigmatism in both eyes with one eye being worse than the other.
In early June, I noticed the vision in my left eye was off. I thought I was experiencing regular eye floaters, and I didn’t think much of it. I have had eye floaters before, and they usually resolve themselves within a few days.
Except this one didn’t go away. When I noticed that it wasn’t leaving, I knew I needed to get an appointment to see the ophthalmologist.
If you know what a scam medical insurance is in this country, then you know that because I have an HMO plan (maybe I’ll go into a rant about the cost of paying for your own insurance and how Covered California gets on my nerves in another post one day), I had to wait to get a referral from my primary care physician before I could see the eye doctor.
It took about a week for me to get through that entire process. My referral was approved, and my appointment was set, and while I was waiting for the day to come up, another thing happened.
I woke up one morning and had tunnel vision. I was literally seeing out of a slit in my eye — or at least that’s what it felt like.
Since the eye appointment wasn’t for another few days, I went to the ER to get checked out.
I was in the ER for hours, and I do mean hours. They ran all types of tests on me and my eyes, and they determined that I had a detached retina. The ophthalmologist who was on call for the ER that evening didn’t think it was a real emergency, and he told them to send me to his office 25 miles away the next day. This annoyed me, and the physician’s assistant in the ER told me he didn’t think it would be a big deal for me to just call the ophthalmologist on the following Monday (which was Juneteenth) and let them know what happened at the ER. He told me to tell them I would need to be seen right away.
The eye doctor I had originally been referred to is walking distance from my house, and I informed them of that when I called, so they got me in within the hour.
They were amazing.
They ran an entire battery of tests on both eyes, and referred me to a retina specialist.
The retina specialist saw me that following Wednesday and confirmed the diagnosis. He told me he would perform the surgery, and he scheduled it for the following Monday, June 26.
The surgery was done on an outpatient basis, and I was awake the entire time. They put me on some kind of drug where I didn’t feel anything, but I was awake and alert enough to let them know if I felt any pain, which I did at one point when they were putting the buckle in my eye. I can still remember the moment that happened; it was pretty wild to experience. It’s like I felt him fucking with my eyeball with a saw or something.
Anyway, there are different types of bubbles they can put in your eye during a vitrectomy to repair the retina: an air bubble, a gas bubble, or a silicone oil bubble. Air bubbles and gas bubbles dissolve on their own over time, but the silicone oil bubble has to be removed via a second surgery after the eye has healed.
I got the oil bubble.
I saw the doctor this week, and he said my eye is looking good and the retina is healing. He predicts he will remove the oil bubble in another 2-3 months depending on how things go.
He advised me that I will eventually develop a cataract on the same eye, and that is common. The cataract will have to be surgically removed as well.
I’m in this shit for the long haul, y’all.
In the meantime, I do have vision in my left eye. It is extremely blurry, but I have it.
There is no way to determine how long it will take for my vision to adjust itself, and even when it does, there’s no way to tell how much of my visual acuity I will get back.
It’s fine; I’m patient. A little.
Everyone around me was way more freaked out about my eye and the surgery than I was. The entire time this was happening to me, I didn’t panic.
I simply realized this was something I had no control over, and getting upset about it wouldn’t make a difference, so my energy was better placed elsewhere.
As it stands, I’m back to life as normal for now. I can do everything I was doing before, including driving.
By the way, did you know the state of California says you only need 20/40 vision in one eye to be able to drive legally? It explains so much.
I went to Vegas for my birthday, and I had a blast with my friends and chosen family.
I’m still the same me. I just don’t see as clearly.