Eye Can See Clearly Now…

Eye wish. I know y’all are all dying for an update. Until this morning there was nothing to say. What with the pandemic and all I’ve been teleworking and home-schooling. Cataract surgery? Who knows?

This morning I woke up in excruciating pain in my eye. I couldn’t open it and when I did the light made the pain worse. How bad was the pain? I briefly considered a trip to the ER. At 5:00 a.m. In a pandemic.

My eye was red and swollen and hurt like crazy. It didn’t even hurt like that after the bleeping surgery! Wish I’d taken a picture. I finally had scary zombie eye and was too freaked out to take a picture.

Thankfully my doctor was on call and I was able to see him this morning. Apparently it’s something called ‘rebound inflammation’. What’s rebound inflammation? So glad you asked!

After my surgery I was put on anti-inflammatory drops and steroid drops for swelling. I finished them up earlier this week. Going off the steroids can sometimes trigger the rebound inflammation. The doctor just prescribed more drops and it’s all good.

The Eyes Have It…

This will be brief because I have been at the doctor all morning, my eyes are dilated and I have a headache. I can’t have cataract surgery until June at the earliest. The doctor wants me to wait at least three months past the macular hole surgery to have cataract surgery.

He said that if I’m tired of wandering around blind (I am!) I could get another pair of glasses but my prescription is changing rapidly. Given that this pair cost $700(!) that’s highly unlikely. He keeps telling me I’ll be thrilled when this is over. No more near-sightedness, but right now I’m just frustrated and tired.

Seeing Eye to Eye

I saw my Retinal Specialist last week and there’s good news and really horrible news. The good news is, the hole has indeed closed, and the gas bubble is gone. Bye Bye Bubble Boy. Bad new? I have a cataract forming in that eye. Yeah, I know, I need to find myself a religion to follow quickly because clearly I’m not living right.

Cataracts are a known and likely side effect of the vitrectomy surgery. Though typically they don’t form until 6 months to a year and up to two years after the surgery. So I was prepared to have it develop, but you know me, gots to get in firstest with the mostest!

No matter what you do, don’t look up cataract surgery on YouTube. Don’t ask me why, but the visual of having part of your eye ball sliced off with a scalpel is almost as horrific as the visual of having tubes stuck in your eyeball.

Anyway, so the cataract has not developed enough yet for me to have surgery, plus, my eye isn’t healed enough either. So I go back in a few weeks to see where we are. Then I’ll be referred to the cataract specialist. Giving how long I had to wait for the retina surgery we’re probably talking well into spring before I have surgery.

Apparently I will need surgery on both eyes, so my lenses match. I’m trying not to think about that, but given I can barely see, and dreading makes me dizzy, thinking is about all I can do. I go back to work next week. Still working from home, so grateful that I’ve been able to work that out. Driving is not a thing that’ll be happening anytime soon. Tried just moving the car for the roofers last week and dear heavens, it was bad!

As far as my vision goes, yeah, my right eye is mostly ornamental at this point. I still have the funhouse mirror effect, along with blurred and cloudy vision. Yes, Dear Reader, my eye sight is actually worse than it was when we started on this long strange trip!

And I realized I owe y’all an apology. I promised Raspberry Sorbet would be out before the surgery, but no. My vision deteriorated so quickly I couldn’t finish the book and I didn’t want to put out an inferior product. I’m sorry, if I have any fans left, I sincerely apologize. I have NO IDEA when, or even if I’ll ever write again. I have so many books planned for y’all and all this is driving me crazy.

As the Eye Turns

Visually my eye is more or less back to normal. It’s not red anymore. I still put drops in three times a day. I thought I’d share a visual of my charming Medic Alert bracelet because apparently if mishandled my eye could explode. Highly unlikely but I do like the drama of saying that.

The latest in chic jewelry…

The gas bubble is about 2/3rds of the way down. It’s like a half-moon at the bottom of my line of sight. As it has shrunk the glare off it has steadily worsened though the vertigo it caused is better.

It’s clear now that the visual distortion is still there. So now it’s like looking through a funhouse mirror only now with added glare! It will take months for the damage to my retina to right itself and I will probably not get my vision back totally.

You know me I’ve read everything I can about this issue, so I knew going into this that the surgery was more an issue of stopping further damage than correcting the damage already done, but it’s still hard to deal with suddenly having a disability and to your eyesight no less.

I’m really struggling with this. Not being able to drive makes me feel like I’m under house arrest. And don’t even get me started on possible job loss. It’s devastating.

Is That Prone or Supine?

This will be my last day of face-down posturing after my surgery on Wednesday. I have to stay face-down for 45 minutes of every hour. (Yes, that includes sleeping). That’s so that the gas bubble in my eye will remain pressed against the surgery site.

With time, possibly a few weeks, the gas will gradually dissipate and my body will make more vitreous fluid to fill the cavity.

Did I tell y’all vitreous fluid looks like egg whites? Yeah, I woke up toward the end of the surgery and could see the fluid and the instruments in my eye! And yes I asked my doctor what would happen if my body didn’t make more fluid. He looked at me like I’m an idiot, rolled his eyes and said that’s never happened, but if it did he’d write a journal article about it and I’d be famous. My doctor is a bit snarky, yeah?

Right now I can’t see anything out of my right eye. And I’m getting damned tired of it. I’ve essentially been blind in that eye since November but yeah, this is worse because at least I had a little peripheral vision to keep from walking into stuff. Now I’ve got nothing.

It’s interesting though because I can watch the bubble gradually dissipate. It’s like looking through a glass of water that’s draining bit by bit. It’s aggravating and fascinating at the same time. The bubble moves though and is ridiculously distracting.

Anyway I’ll keep you posted. No more pictures because there’s really not much to see. My eye is swollen and a bit droopy. Definitely red, but hardly sympathy-inducing. Mainly I’ve been sleeping a lot. I hadn’t realized how exhausted I was but straining to see is wearying. And I don’t sleep well because of the face down thing. Hopefully tomorrow night will be bliss!

Horrifying ‘Zombie’ Eye!

Not nearly as bad as I anticipated. Probably the worst part of the surgery was the nerve block to the eye and waking up with a drape over my face. Me no likey having my face covered. It’s tender but I’m not in pain. I thought the gas bubble would be opaque but it’s clear like looking through a bubble of water.

We’ve spent most of the day adjusting my chair and such so I can keep my facedown position comfortably. Yeah, no. Not possible. Fortunately I’ll be done by Sunday.

The Funhouse Mirror

Someone asked what does my vision look like with the macular hole. This image is the best representation I can find. I keep that eye shut or covered when I’m working because it’s mad distracting. And given that my job involves almost constant spreadsheets it takes me twice as long to do tasks. I’m having frequent headaches and am exhausted but can’t sleep. I just want it to be over. Even though the recovery can last months and there’s no guarantee my sight will ever return I just want it over.

Doctors use this grid to determine how bad it is. Mine is about like this. Sometimes I have a black hole in the center of the distorted area. Sometimes I do not. I see a bullseye, much like the Target logo, but with ragged edges almost constantly.

I’ve been getting pointers on how to navigate with one eye. I have always had limited depth perception but now I have none. I’ve cut myself three times, the last time pretty severely. I’ve been cooking forever and it’s difficult to alter that process. But I have to because no one wants my blood in their burrito.

The Five

 

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I know it’s been forever since I blogged, but I miss it and will try to blog regularly going forth. I’ve got a lot going on in my personal life and have had to sideline a lot of stuff, but I miss writing so I will do as much as I can.

I have been reading a lot. I just got back from vacation and I read this book. The Five is about the five victims of Jack the Ripper. I’ve long been a fan of true crime, and used to listen to a lot of true-crime podcasts. With my growing consciousness as a radical feminist I’ve been examining my interests in this genre.

Almost all the victims are women killed by men, and most of the true crime podcasters are men. I have a major problem contributing financially to men profiting from the murder of women by other men.

The infamous ‘Ripper Tour’ has long been on my bucket list should I ever find myself in London–unlikely, but you never know. This tour has become controversial of late as being the glorification of male violence. An opposing tour has started, highlighting the victims which is what led me to this book.

The Five is an indepth look at the lives of the Ripper victims. It’s shockingly indepth given that these women were purportedly prostitutes, born 150 years ago the author was able to find an astonishing amount of information about them. The most amazing fact she discovered is that of the five, only two had records of being prostitutes. The other three were assumed to be streetwalkers because they were out-of-doors at a late hour. Never mind, that it was common for poor people who didn’t have the price of a bed to ‘sleep rough.’ The author further speculates that it’s possible that the Ripper attacked his victims while they were lying on the ground, sleeping.

And that’s another aspect of the story that’s so very striking. The issues that led to these women being available to killer are very common to anyone with even a passing interest in social services today. The speed at which a woman could go from being a respectable working class wife and mother, to a homeless alcoholic sleeping on the ground is breathtaking. Having worked in social services, this is remarkably familiar. And that’s a damned shame.

So I Saw This Today…

…and it annoyed me on all sorts of levels. First, it was at the register at Publix. Primo sales real estate. Clearly Harlequin paid big bucks to have it placed there. Interestingly, this store is in an almost exclusively black area south of I-20 in Atlanta. And don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of black readers who enjoy cowboy and western romances, but it’s not a major category with black readers. So this makes me wonder.

As some of you might know Harlequin is discontinuing their Kimani, their black line at the end of the year. Presumably sales are not what they had hoped, and they’re dropping it, but this little publication here makes me wonder about Harlequin and their marketing efforts toward black people.

If you’re going to spend big bucks for this type of placement, would it have been that difficult to put one book in there with black characters and have that cover in their more diverse areas? I mean, this thing is retailing at $15.99, it’s not exactly cheap, and placing it at the point of sale spot like that means they’re counting on impulse buys.

Publishers make little to no effort to sell to black folk, and then when the sales don’t happen they use it as an excuse not to publish black books. This has been going on since forever, back in the “black folks don’t read” days. Studies have shown, and experience as a bookstore manager tells me, black women read more than anybody. They buy more books, and they’re willing to spend more money because they’re accustomed to doing it because of the rarity of black characters in media. Given that history, there’s no reason on earth that a black line like Kimani should have suffered from poor sales. Except, of course, that no effort was ever made to market it to black readers.

I can’t speak for Harlequin, but from my observation most publishing companies are almost exclusively white. This is primarily because most jobs in publishing are low-paying and black folks are generally in no position to spend a fortune for a college degree and then work for nearly nothing. I say this as someone who did this, and I was the only person in editorial at a publishing company that didn’t come from an upper middle class background, and it goes without saying the only black person. If they have no black people working in their marketing department, they’ve literally handicapped themselves, and of course, us, in regards to sales.

Now of course, you have to ask why? Why would a publisher deliberately hurt the sales of its own authors? Well, I’m a firm believer in that old maxim, Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. Don’t get me wrong, having conversed with plenty of authors and publishing folk, I have no doubt that racism plays a role as well, but the bottom line is, they’re both stupid and arrogant, and that’s why publishing is in trouble today and will continue to struggle. Unless and until they diversify their workforce to get a better grasp of a global readership, this will continue.

And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t limited to major publishers. Some ePubs lost sales because they didn’t put their books in the African American category on Amazon! This happened even as they were deliberately recruiting more diverse authors, but by overlooking this very crucial component, they lost sales. Publishers of all kinds are leaving money on the table because they fail to consider one crucial issue: Marketing to black people. As far as they’re concerned all the readers are white, and nothing can be further from the truth.

Lured Away?

Of late there’s been a lot of talk about missing teens and the fact that they’re most often categorized as “runaways.” Some people see this term as pejorative or dismissive. It’s apparent that many people visualize Opie with a bundle and stick over his shoulder in Mayberry when it should be apparent that a runaway can be in as much danger as a child who has been abducted.

I tried to explain this to a group on Facebook, but when I tried to explain that most of the missing girls in D.C. are runaways they accused me of being dismissive. Nothing is further from the truth, but when they claimed that the states get $72,000 per child, I quickly realized they had no idea what they were talking about and moved on. More the fool I, given that I swore no more arguing with folk on social media. I’m too old for that crap. So, I’m posting this here from the perspective of someone who has professional experience with this population.

For the sake of clarity I’m going to hit a few random bullets of issues that come up repeatedly when this discussion is occurring. Since my area of expertise is teenagers, I’ll limit this post to them. Younger children are a whole other discussion.

  • Amber Alerts can ONLY be issued when there’s evidence that a child has been abducted. They’re not issued every time a child goes missing, there are criteria to be met. This is skewed more toward younger kids, because they’re unlikely to decamp of their own accord.
  • Some states will not take a missing persons report on people over a certain age (this varies depending on state) unless there’s evidence that the person did not leave on their own.
  • Generally missing teens are found within 24/48 hours usually with friends or family members.

In general, children do not run away from stable, safe environments. With chronic runaways there’s almost always some type of abuse occurring in the home. Of course, there are exceptions, but kids don’t run for no reason.

Most of the time if a teen girl is missing there’s a male, usually an adult involved. Girls run away more than boys, probably because of being lured by men. Boys don’t run as often, but when they do, they run farther and it can be more random. This is especially true of white males.

So, as you can see there’s certainly plenty of danger involved when a child runs away. It’s nothing something to dismiss, which is why I think we should consider using the term “lured away,” at least when we know or suspect that a child might have been targeted, and almost all of them are. If not initially, certainly within hours or days of being on the street. It’s so pervasive that these predators will actually set up “shop” near group homes so they can prey on girls in foster care.

And that’s another issue that must be acknowledged, most of the teens who do go missing in this country are in foster care. Law enforcement generally can’t mention that because of HIPAA regulations. Foster care is literally a bullet train into commercial rape for many young girls. This goes back to a post I made a while back about sex trafficking and how prevalent it is.

Now that I’ve depressed you out of your mind, I can think of certain measures we can take to address these issues.

  • Strengthen families and provide services and support to keep children in intact homes.
  • If children do have to leave their families of origin work hard to maintain a “kin first” model.
  • Provide support to our foster care system so we can have more and better foster homes so children don’t have to go in group homes.
  • Use better terminology liked “lured away,” and carefully explain the dangers of the street to people so they understand runaway is not a trivial issue.