A few months ago I revealed that I was afraid I had a brain tumour, only to be diagnosed with a partial hole in my macula. I was pleased to find out that I wasn’t dying. It’s been 10 weeks since I was diagnosed and the hole has gotten bigger. What that means is the vision in my left eye is much worse. Cross your eyes and what you see is a fair approximation of my vision these days. I can feel my right eye struggling to focus and I have a lot of headaches (hence my original Google-assisted self-diagnosis in April). I can’t see the forest for the trees, and that’s okay right now.
I am scheduled for vitrectomy surgery on July 24 and then I have 3 weeks of recovery ahead of me. What does that entail? 2 weeks in a face down recovery chair. I am not allowed to look up for at least 14 days. I will need a permanent metal straw to enjoy my gin & tonics.
I also have to rent a special pillow so that I can sleep face down. I am dreading all of this. The surgery entails the surgeon removing a build-up of vitreous gel that has built up in my eye and poked a hole in my macula. I described this to an 82 year old X-Ray technician friend and he got squeamish. So, yea, gross. Once the gel is removed an air/gas bubble is inserted to keep the macula stabilized while the hole heals over and that’s why I must remain facedown everyday for 24 hours. I’m hoping that my age will mean a shorter healing time as the average sufferer of this condition is 61 years old. I will be listening to a lot of audio books and podcasts and I'm unable to go to the gym. One of my friends suggested that I take up smoking weed. It's legal soon, right? But, knowing me, the spliff would fall out of my mouth and set the apartment on fire.
Why is this happening to me? Bad luck. I’m 20 years too young for this condition and the two doctors and specialists just shook their heads and said, ‘Sorry, Andrea, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent this because it should never have happened to you.’
A few people, unaware of my issue, have remarked, jokingly, that I need new glasses because I was squinting to see a sign in the distance. I’m also unable to see my dearest friend’s faces clearly if they are standing far away. Andre Sills jogged towards me to give me a hug on my birthday last month and I was like, ‘who is that black man running towards me? Peter? Matthew? Michael??’ I wasn’t completely sure until he was standing directly in front of me. This partial hole obscures the center vision so I simply can not see who I’m looking at 5 feet away clearly.
I’m going to the Dora Awards, Toronto’s theatre extravaganza, tonight and I will be encountering a lot of people I know well, and not so well. I will be happy to be there and see everyone, but if you see me and I don’t appear to acknowledge your presence, I swear, it’s because there’s a blank space where your face should be; it’s pretty bizarre.
I probably won’t be wearing heels tonight because a) heels hurt to walk in (so says Drake) and b) my depth perception is atrocious right now and my falling ass over tea-kettle at the Winter Garden trying to go up the stairs is not how I want to upstage any of the worthy nominees. I’ve already been whisked away in an ambulance from a theatre once before and I do not wish to repeat that performance.
When you have difficulty with any of your senses it is a wake-up call to take care of yourself. Get your eyes checked every two years, wear sunglasses, and don’t sleep in your contact lenses. Once you lose your sight there is little to be done to get it back. Love to you all.