Kage Baker, even during her final days, maintained a cheerful conviction that things could be worse. Even when she knew she was dying, she said she was grateful that it was going to be fast – as it was; she lived with the knowledge barely a week before the prognosis became history. She was glad about that.
The memory is now old enough to piss me off slightly. Not that I am dying; no, I am jealous. I now think it’s much luckier to be struck with metabolic lightning, as Kage was, than to work one’s way through an endless maze of debilitating diseases. I am simply aging, and falling apart piece by piece like an abandoned building. My paint is flaking, my plumbing is leaking, every door is sprung and every window cracked. No floor is level nor wall plumb, and I am fairly positive there are bats in my belfry …
The problem right now is those cracked windows. My cataracts have been apparently growing like kudzu; or some especially malignant variety of Magic Rocks. You remember those, Dear Readers – you sprinkle some neon-colored pebbles in a mayonnaise jar full of tap water, and psychedelic stalagmites grow. It can take between a week and a month, and it lasts until you drop the jar or reach in to touch the things …
That’s what’s been going on in my eyes over the last 10 months or so. I am well aware that I have not been online for most of September: that’s because my left eye has grown so clouded that typing has become a literal pain. What I can see is double-imaged and if I persist in the exercise for more than 20 minutes or so, I get to add migraines to the hallucinatory vision I now enjoy … I have pecked away grimly as much as I can, but most of that has been on the final polish for “The Teddy Bear Squad”, the slowly advancing zombie story (appropriate, I guess) and the occasional guest blog for Stefan Raet’s Company re-read on tor.com – which should post tomorrow or next Tuesday …
Without the aid of Kimberly, who holds a degree in technical writing, this would none of it be possible. She goes over everything to make sure it makes sense and has all its parts. Praise her with great praise!
But! Today I went to my ophthalmologist for the pre-surgical testing. On October 24th, my left eye will be restored to, at worst, the rotten vision I’ve had since birth! And since my rotten vision is correctable with glasses, that will be sufficient for me. I’ve worn glasses since I was 11, have finally found a permanent source for National Health specs (John Lennon glasses), and it would feel like I’d lost my nose if I had to go around bare-faced.
My right eye, which is dim but not as bad, will be restored sometime after the New Year.
This has inspired me to put up with the infuriating exercise of typing, and try to keep up this blog. Also, I am getting very, very bored. I can’t read for more than 20 minutes, either, and have never developed a long-term appetite for television. I don’t like audio books. Sometimes I can knit, but no complicated stitches – can’t see ’em. There’s only so long one can sleep. I’d rather do what I like and risk headaches. What are drugs for, anyway?
Anyway, the process is just getting interesting. The sight in the afflicted eye has begun to show actual distortions – shapes and sizes are no longer normal, he he he, and if I had any artistic talent, I’d give Picasso or El Greco a run for their turpentine. Colors are all steeped in a shadow like strong tea; patterns are vanishing into solid blocks of pigment, but the colors are … weird.
The tests were rather entertaining. The vision test was hilarious – all I could see with the left eye was blurs that might as well have been in Cyrillac, or Aztec pictograms. The ultrasound involved covering my eyes with water-filled cups, and shining deep red lights into my eyes to snap pictures of the mess inside. It was like staring into the face of Betelgeuse, just before the red giant goes nova: a baleful scarlet glare, swarming with dark blobs and ribbons and occlusions.
It’s all grist for the mill, you know? And having spent the last month in a dark room rationing my time in front of glowing screens, I want all the grist I can get! No more patience1 No more waiting for it all to get better! If I have to live through yet another physical disaster, I’m gonna milk it for every interesting moment I can!
I mean, they’re gonna stick teeny vacuums with frickin’ lasers attached to their heads into my eye. There’s got to be some stuff for stories in that!