January 1: The Inauguration
A new day of music and openness: the free inaugural concert at the Times Union Arena in Albany. James Taylor, Natalie Merchant, Ben Vereen, Willie Colon, Jimmy Fallon. All for Elliot Spitzer, who will resign on March 12, 2008. Who knew?
January 2: The Verdict
At 1 pm l tell my eye doctor what I see from the 12.7.06 injection of Avastin. He tells me what he sees. We'll decide later when we need another injection.
He thinks HE; I think WE. He'll see me next month. We'll see each other next month.
January 16: Here it Comes Again
Over the weekend (13-14-15) I noticed my vision slipping. Notice. Is it? Maybe. Or is it winter finally coming, from 60 degrees in the northeast in the middle of January. Not natural. Change happens slowly. Change happens quickly.
I tiredly experiment. Vision is blurry, but field of vision hasn't changed on the Amsler grid. I can't read the telephone number on a business card. I have to rewrite it in larger, darker, more contrasting letters. I don't think a blood vessel is leaking through the retina, but, damn, I can't see to read The New Yorker.
Yesterday was a holiday, so soon after Christmas / New Year. My weekend was not special, except for the creeping blindness. I want to be normal, so I force myself to take the American holiday. I waited until today to reread the Informed Consent form I signed last month. I review the Patient Responsibility section. I call the doctor. He says let's keep the next appointment as is on February 1.
I see a distinct red dot, like a pixel, suddenly appear like a super nova, quickly burning out, but not as suddenly as a flash. It was a deliberate display from my dear photoreceptors. Like a quarter note instead of a sixteenth.
February 1: Swell
At the ophthalmologist's, I have a Heidelberg Retinal Tomograpn. I notice that my doctor doesn't have a laser printer attached to it. Just not enough co-pays. Maybe next year.
This Star Wars machinery (the process includes focusing on one dot while streams of dots attack the center dot, then the bright flash of a picture) measures the depth of the retinal layers. It shows swelling, but the doctor doesn't SEE any blood leaking. Let's keep on top of it, wait and see what happens. No preventative measures. What about not being able to see? Go buy a magnifying glass. Oh, yeah, he's going on vacation during President's week.
What? Another American holiday?
February 15: Avastin, Part II
Even the magnifying glass is not helping me see, so on Monday I called for an appointment this week. I remember he's on vacation this week. I'm too anxious to wait. I have my computer text cranked up. I am virtually blind. No, literally.
I cannot see the large E on the eye chart. I tell the technician what I can see of the E. He takes notes.
My doctor sees a spot of blood, I have an FA to confirm the leaking, and I get my second Avastin injection by 3:30 PM.
February 16: EEEEEEE
At my follow-up appointment, after yesterday's injection, I can see the E. AND I can read the next line. In less than 24 hours, my vision is returning. Whew.
March 1: The New Verdict
The shot of Avastin in my right eye two weeks ago has worked wonders for my vision. Today's tomography shows the swelling is way down. I can read several lines of the eye chart, maybe 5 or 6 lines. I'm still seeing wavy lines heading toward the SE on the Amsler chart. I'm still seeing the super nova explosions of pixels, mostly black, some with yellow, sometimes red. I have small, pixel-sized blank spots without vision; sometimes I can make punctuation mark disappear and reappear at will.
Next time maybe we'll try something different. Let's try the next injection BEFORE he sees the blood spot. My doctor suggests that maybe he should listen to me and what I see instead of his machinery and what he sees. I say, "Listen to me? Why start now after 8 years?"
I have a hunch that things will settle down now and I won't need another injection for another year. I don't know why I feel this, because we're coming into the spring, the time of year when my left eye went bad from the myopia I've lived with for decades. I've always had the most trouble between May and September. For some reason, I feel things have changed, shifted.
March 20: Wallace Shawn
I think I am Wallace Shawn, except he claims to not have a television for fear of being brainwashed and I think that being brainwashed is an unavoidable consequence of being part of society.
Wallace Shawn was supposed to be giving a lecture at the University, but he had no speech. In fact, he was a bit inarticulate, having immense difficulty formulating thoughts, putting two words together, but not in a drugged-up Capote way. It seemed his thoughts got in the way of his communication of thoughts, which is why (1) he considers himself a writer and (2) he acts. He read from his newest play, and transformed himself perfectly into his Wallace Shawn character, articulate, interesting, as if I were Andre Gregory, and we are both talking, and reading our scripts, and filled with ideas that were readily articulated, while acting our parts, as we played ourselves.
Heads filled with straw when our scripts are gone.
March 31: Friendship
Today I received a Christmas card from someone I've known for thirty years. The artificial construct of time is irrelevant. Pumping up the font size -- meeting me where I am -- is more than relevant and considerate in these ego-casting times. Keeping in touch is a frescoed ceiling in Rome: complicated, colorful, stories that breath life from one panel to another, as one touches another, year to year. Kindness should be -- and is -- noticed and appreciated. Friendship is an honor.
I lapsed after the last injection. The eye doctor. An Inconvenient Truth. Work study group on Tuesdays. AIDS Case Management course. Rob and Michelle's wedding in New Jersey. Work on Saturdays. Anxiety. Zoonosis course. Virginia Tech. Univ. shootings and Nikki Giovanni sells herself. Sparkle, watery, flickering in the eyes (April)—the first ophthalmic migraine. Guarding the fire alarms as graduation. Flat tire. More involvement needed with parental care. Dentist. Coaching for Improvement. STD Lots course. Neurologists, cardiologists, and gastroenterologists for parents. A red pixel in my eye (August 20). Pillcam and double-balloon for Dad's small intestines. My own torn retina. Debi's stroke project. Car battery. David died. I hiked along the Long Pond in the October autumn.
On August 2 I wrote but never posted this: A bridge in Minneapolis crashed into the Mississippi River at rush hour yesterday. "Bridge full of traffic falls" was the afterthought headline in our city's newspaper. As for me, I made it over the Hudson this morning -- and, it may have been my imagination, but it seemed that cars were very hesitant, minding the speed limit, and not weaving in and out of traffic as we all went over, one by one....