o/t: my recent adventures

Some may have noticed that things have been a tad quiet around Chateau Noirish recently. The movie posts have been appearing (they’re currently lined up ready to post themselves until the middle of July), but I haven’t been replying to comments, posting book notes, etc.

On the Monday of last week I woke to discover I’d lost almost all of the vision in my right eye. We took the offending eye, with me attached, to an ophthalmologist that afternoon. On Tuesday we saw the retina specialist to whom the ophthalmologist had referred us, and he confirmed my suspicion that the cause was an occlusion of the retinal artery by plaque. He strongly suggested I have an ultrasounding of my carotid arteries done; by the time this had been organized through my doctor/cardiologist, it was Friday.

The ultrasounding tech found enough of interest that he phoned my doc, who on the phone to me told me I should go forthwith to the Emergency Room of the nearest hospital for a CAT scan. When we got there we discovered one of the partners in his practice waiting for us; between them they’d decided I should stay in the hospital after the scan to have an operation done to essentially scour out my right carotid of the accumulated plaque there.

This was enough of a shock to send my blood pressure berserk, so we spent the weekend stabilizing my BP before the CAT scan on Monday and the operation on Tuesday. (It was done under novocaine and valium rather than a general anesthetic, so I may have nightmares in future!)  I got out of the hospital on Wednesday, but unconnected complications with my feet — it’s an affliction I’ve had before but, through circumstances, have never had properly diagnosed or treated — mean that moving around is a bit difficult (though getting easier).

I’ve had to cancel guesting at HELIOsphere this weekend, which is pissing me off something rotten — it’s a great little sf convention, and I’d been very much looking forward to it — although I’ll be popping in there briefly in an hour or so to drop some books off with Sally Kobee. Today or tomorrow we’ll be buying me the long overdue upgrade to my current monitor, which has served me wonderfully for many years and is dearly loved but today looks like something you’d find on a laptop. I’ll be doing a tangle of book notes over the weekend — the one good thing was that I got a fair amount of reading done — and I hope by Monday or Tuesday to be back up and running at full speed doing this writing/editing thing whereby I try to earn my living. (Luckily the client for my major current editorial endeavor is being cooperative about scheduling!)

I’m surprised, to be honest, how little the loss of one eye has affected me. The right eye was my dominant one, so I was nervous about the left’s ability to cope, but it’s stepped up to the task like an absolute  trouper. Moreover, since my eyes have always been weird (one long-sighted, one short-sighted; thanks for giving me that, Mum!), I’m finding it relatively easy to cope with the loss of depth perception — i.e., my depth perception has always been lousy, so this is just a different lousy.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. It’s not been an unalloyed delight, but, ya know . . .

And you?

40 thoughts on “o/t: my recent adventures

  1. Thanks for the brave post, and very sad to hear that, about your eye. Hopefully you’ll make a very good, and quick recovery. Good Luck and warmest wishes, from Ireland

  2. I hope you recover as much as possible. It’s one of the dire things about getting old – the unexpected things your own body does to you.

    • “Getting old”? Moi?

      I know what you mean, though. I’m feeling pretty decrepit at the moment . . . but it’s reassuring that I can recall feeling equally decrepit on a couple of other occasions, then managed to leave those behind me.

  3. Wow, that was a scary adventure. Rushing to the ER does not sound like fun. It sounds like it all went well, though. Is the damage to the retinal artery permanent?

    My husband recently has had problems with decrease of vision in one eye following a cataract operation. The operation did not cause the problem but revealed the extent of the damage to his retina over the last 15 years. He then had an operation to fix a “wrinkle” on his retina and has weird vision problems now (still working on that). But, like you,with adjustments he can still see surprisingly well with the other eye and it does not affect his work and he can read, watch movies, drive, etc. Just sometimes reading is more of a strain than before.

    • Alas, although I may get a small percentage of the vision trickling back someday, essentially the retinal damage is permanent. Like your husband, I’m finding it amazing how much the other eye can compensate in activities like reading. I’m not finding ordinary reading more of a strain, but reading this computer screen, for example, is far more difficult — hence the need for the new monitor! (What’s happening is that the absence of the right eye is revealing deficiencies in the left that were never much important before.)

      Good wishes to your husband as he copes with what sounds like his own stressful rollercoaster!

  4. So sorry to hear about your eye, John, but I’m glad your left one is able to compensate for some of the loss in vision. That’s a relief, at least. It must have been a pretty scary experience, all told. My very best wishes over the next few weeks as you adjust to everything.

    I’m currently recovering from a bit of a trauma myself after fracturing my pelvis in a nasty fall at the beginning of February. The first 4-6 weeks were really tough, but it’s getting easier now as I can move around a little more. (I’m down to one crutch now, just when I go outside.) On the upside, it has given me a lot of time to read books, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it as a strategy – it’s far too painful for that!

    • I noticed a while ago that you seemed to have gone a bit quiet, Jacqui, but then you bobbed up again and I assumed it was just you’d been away on your hols, or whatever. I’m so sorry to hear it was a bit more painful than that. Lots of cyberhugs ‘n’ stuff, and all hopes for a speedy recovery the rest of the way. Maybe you should cut back on the limbo dancing, hm?

      Jokes aside, I’m really quite upset to hear you’ve been going through this. Do take better care of yourself, d’you hear?

      • Thanks, John. My absence at the beginning of last year was down to something else, and I went offline for around 3 or 4 months just to clear my head.

        The pelvic fracture has been really tough, but I’ve been able to carry on blogging throughout – getting around on foot has been more of a challenge though! Anyway, it’s getting easier to move around now, so hopefully I’m on the mend. 🙂

  5. Sorry to hear of your troubles, hopefully you’ll improve more as the weeks progress. I did wince several times reading the post, I’m a tad squeamish. Take care,

    • You? A “tad squeamish”? The man who’d likely say that Dave Knuckle’s latest novel, Teenage Sadist Psycho Babes on the Rampage in Miami, “ticks all my boxes?

  6. Yikes, John. Sorry…and I know what you mean about eye-surgery under local. I had cataracts in both eyes arise about five years ago, and the left eye was worked on under general anesthesia, and for reasons no one bothered to tell me, they insisted on locals for the right. Perhaps I vaunted credit and enjoyed high pleasures during the first surgery.

    Glad it hasn’t messed over your life too badly (I don’t envy you the CATscan, I’ve only had open MRI so far…dunno why everyone doesn’t get to go Open), and further hopes the prognosis for the right eye might end up being too conservative.

    Thanks for letting us know…

    • Thanks for the kind thoughts, Todd! In fact, it was carotid surgery done under local — there’s no real point in operating on the eye. Sympathies on your own experience the latter — one of my pet nightmares.

      I answer happily to both names.

      The new, bigger and clearer monitor is now installed, and I’m persuaded that with its help I’ll soon be able to beaver away in the former fashion. Still got to work out how to make the adjustment such that the monitor displays stuff in the correct proportion — i.e., not squat. The cards on my copy of Freecell are showing as almost square. 🙂

  7. @realthog, wishing nothing but the best in the future. I see you are one tough hombre though & still stepping up to the plate. I love your posts & hope you can continue for a long time yet.
    Regards, Peter

  8. Ouch! Sorry to hear about that. The human body is depressingly subject to a lot of stupid wear and tear, isn’t it. Thank goodness you had some great medical staff to take care of the matter. I’ll drink to your quick and easy recovery later tonight!

    • Thanks for the sympathies, Richard! The good news is that I’ve been off the oxygen for some months now. In many ways I feel healthier than I did this time last year . . . if that doesn’t sound too much like the knight in Monty Python.

  9. John, I’m not one of your regular posters, but I do have your book. I was surprised when the MOVIES! channel here in the US ran “Dangerous Passage” (1944) and it wasn’t in your book, or Haliwell’s or another text I consulted. Anyway, that brought me to your “Noirish” site.

    I read with interest your adventure with your eye and your arteries. I hope you are able to recover, and gain the sight back in that eye if that’s possible. I’ve had detached retinas in both eyes, so I know about eye problems. Lucky for me, they were able to get them back in place and keep them in place (so far) with a plastic and silicone device I now have inside each eye called a sceleral buckle.

    Thanks for all your great work in Noir and the book and the website. All are important references. Best of luck with your recovery !

    • Many thanks, Kevin, for your kind thoughts, and congratulations over getting your retinas reattached (although sympathies over what must have been even more unpleasant operations than the one I’ve just had!). There’s a possibility I may get a small fraction of the vision back but essentially, alas, the eye is lost. However, I’m astonished by how well the brain is adapting to the use of just a single eye: a fair amount of the time (e.g., when reading), I simply forget about the impairment.

      Thanks for compliments re the book and this site. I see Dangerous Passage was one of the first movies I covered here — how the “site style” has changed since then!

      • John, Keep up the great work! I tried to find “Lady Gangster” (1947) but couldn’t find it on using the site search function. Maybe it’s in the book? I’m at my other location, but will check your book on Saturday or Sunday when we’re back.

        Glad to hear that your coping well with the vision in one eye. We “detached retina” types are always one step away. . . Hope you’re looking after your general health. Unfortunately, that takes more and more effort as we age.

        “Lady Gangster” does not seem to me to be very “Noir” from the visual aspect, but the story and the perspesctive are certainly on the dark side. The fact that the director (Robert Flory credited as Florian Roberts)worked under a psuedonym is often a concern. . . It does not resemble his very expressionist take on “Murders in the Rue Morgue”

        All the best !

        • Thanks for the encouraging words, Kevin!

          Lady Gangster (1942, not 1947) is indeed in the book. I can’t, to be honest, remember all that much about the movie — it’s been a while since I watched it, with a lot of other movies watched since then — but I see from my own entry that the movie’s background is pretty interesting:

          “The movie’s less interesting than the backstory, because playwright Mackaye knew whereof she wrote, having spent time in Sing Sing for obstruction of justice in connection with the manslaughter of her first husband, jazz singer Ray Raymond, by her lover and eventually, after their prison sentences, second husband Paul Kelly.
          Mackaye’s play was earlier filmed as Ladies They Talk About (1933) dir Howard Bretherton and William Keighley, with Barbara Stanwyck, Lillian Roth and Preston Foster.”

  10. Blast. Stuff like this is alarming and always happens at the worst time. I’m sorry to hear of your emergency procedure, but glad to hear it could be done relatively quickly. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to wake up with no sight in one eye!

    I’m also sorry to hear the damage is permanent, but I hope it – together with the food condition – doesn’t slow you down…and it appears it hasn’t, happily.

    • Ha! I spent some time wondering what the “food condition” you referred to might be before realizing — duh! — that it was a typo.

      A lot of the time, now, I actually forget about the vision loss. The cats are a pretty wary little crew, so I’ve so far trodden on only one tail. The bigger, clearer monitor is a major help. We’ve taken one or two precautions around the house, like a supplementary light switch at the top of the stairs, but otherwise life has been largely unaffected. Getting over the operation has been a little more troublesome, and I’m trying to steer clear of stress (which may, through elevating my BP, have contributed to the initial event).

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