Back in November I catalogued a journey of some enlightenment on finally summoning up the courage to cross the boundary of the local opticians.Â At the end of which, a public duty of care was proudly made to my non-upgradable mark-1 eyeballs. Which I’ve mostly kept through increased wearing of bookish glasses*, meticulous cleaning of super-thin lenses and the careless disposal of Â expensive dailys.
Which had gone rather well even while my vision was visibly declining in that horrible getting older/genial decay kind of middle aged action I’m mostly blind about. Reading mainly was becoming a bit of a close squint/nose-edged glasses/light-angled wiggling of text and a frustrated bellow at those printing black text on black backgrounds. Once I’m world dictator, no graphic artist is going to have control of final copy until they’re at least 50 years old.
Still mountain biking wise all good. Clarity and distance unhindered by puffy, red eyes or hated glasses. Until last week when the whole vision thing deteriorated from tired eyes after a long day to searing eye pain, via a sensitivity to light that I self-diagnosed as morphing into a Gremlin. Eyeball abuse has been so frequent in my life, a quick scan of the cerebral compost suggested another eye infection. That’d probably be better in the morning.
Half right in the half light, but after a night of discomfort and bathing of blood-red spherics which were only vaguely comparable with working visual optics, even a dusty fluorescent had me twisting away in pain. Still work to do and displacement to create – rather than seek the opinion of a medical professional I decamped to the home office and squinted at a big screen until common sense (or let’s be honest what the anthropomorphicÂ personification of common sense is in our house: Carol) bundled me into a car and off to Hereford for a consultation with a bored out-of-hours Doctor and, if my experience of Friday night in A&E is anything to go by, a stab wound.
He packed me off with the exact same antibiotic solution we’d treated the dog with a couple of years back. Splendid result all round; no diagnosis and a good chance I’d awake half blind but with a glossy coat and engaging bark. Still placebo being what it was and not wishing to fuss** the next two days passed with a non evidential conviction that things were improving. Bored and frustrated, I went alpha-troglodyte and fixed bikes in the shed knowing riding them meant stuffing lenses into inflamed eyes, and even I am not that stupid.
So back to see Jon first thing this morning and his happy optician smile faded a bit on examining the right eye. He started well ‘the left eye, that’s healing nicely. The right eye? Not so much and the infection is close to the pupil. If it gets bigger it’ll affect your vision, probably best to go to hospital don’t you think?’. I wasn’t thinking much, just feeling. And feeling a bit bloody frightened. Â And a bit guilty about my previously chink free eyeball health regime. Maybe the lenses weren’t cleaned perfectly every night, yeah occasionally sore eyes didn’t get Â the glasses relief Â they should and okay the last mega dusty ride had been unertaken without any glasses, but even so surely this must be someone elses fault.
Maybe. My problem tho. And poor Carol’s who was relegated to a chauffeur role with a whinging client. Back to Hereford and some surprisingly efficient processing before being deposited on the massive eye ward. Â Which stretched as far as the eye could see – Â in my case that was about 20 yards. A quick consultation with a lovely doctor who assured me that I probably wasn’t going blind, but the infection healing process might leave a slight scar. Which could manifest itself as hazy vision in one eye. But then again it might not, whose to know eh? Well, I couldn’t help thinking, maybe you? And can I ask for my medical news to be delivered without quite so many ifs, whys and maybes.
I stiff-upper-lipped it in typical bloke style thanking her for giving it to me straight, and assuring her that I would be absolutely fine as my drinking arm was in perfect working order. She smiled – sort of – and then gave me a whole post diagnosis opinion on contact lenses, my butchered eyes and the incompatibility of the two. Glasses make me feel old I whined/at least you can still see yourself she countered.
Fair point. Well made.
More eye drops, the first application of which I tasted which suggests the application technique needs some work. Â And stern instructions to return in three days or before if Id gone all Ray Charles in the meantime. Oh, and as a bit of a throwaway remark, absolutely no contact lenses whatsoever for two months. AT LEAST. My initial thought – and this tells me Â a lot about how I’m wired up – was ‘shit no mountain biking, I’ll go bloody sitr crazy and get fat and get beaten on Strava and not go drinking with my mates and…and…and..’
So fuck that frankly. Proven approach of taking problem and throwing money at it has already procured me a set of driving sunglasses which apparently are one of a three part set including string-backed driving gloves and beige trousers. So now I can drive but I can’t ride which clearly isn’t going to fly. So I’m hunting down prescription lenses that react to light in a way I’d rather like my eyes to do again. And the second I get the all clear from my rather forbidding eye doctor, I’m back out there.
It might even begin to explain my strange line choices. It’ll certainly explain the bloody horror that a mountain biking shaped hole excavated when I was thinking too much about this. There’s something epically self centred about the prospect of having really screwed up vision for the last forty years or so of your life, but the only context that makes any sense is in the now – ‘when can I get back on my bike?‘. Honestly I’m so consumed by it I might even ride my road bike in these very glasses I’m staring at this screen with right now.
I don’t care if roadies laugh at me. They do that anyway. I blame the camelbak.
So that’s been a scary few days. And we’re not out of the woods yet. Well not as far as I can see anyway. What I have seen is that it’s probably about time I took some responsibility for Â fairly important organs which could convincingly sue me for corporate manslaughter. Â There’s been some interesting upsides as well – mostly about what’s important and what isn’t. I’ll leave that for another day, but it’s fair to say when I finally got back to my inbox, I could barely stop laughing.
Eyes Right I think from now on.
* which I’d hoped would make me look more intelligent. Â On reflection, a big ask considering the balance of stupidity they had to redress.
** Not quite true. I just hate hospitals. They are full of sick people. And other people in white coats with bad news. Who’d want to go there?