My Radical Eye
May 24, 2017
I’ve never believed in luck. In fact I’ve always thought that you make your own luck – being in the right place at the right time; the harder you practice the luckier you get – kind of thing.
But I found myself in another hospital at the weekend having laser surgery on two tears in my retina. We were in London at The Radical Eye exhibition (there’s a joke there somewhere – I’ll work on it) where I’d earlier noticed a couple of floaters in my right eye. As we came out into the light the floaters had multiplied into oily looking streaks. I realised it was blood in my eye. No pain. Slight panic.
I called the chemo suite and asked the nurse if this was a known side-effect of chemotherapy, and should I be worried? The nurse, evidently trying to keep her voice steady, said “Are you near an A and E?” I said “Well, Moorfields isn’t far.” She said “Yes, Moorfields, perfect, perfect, go there, go there now.”
Many, many long hours later, the last one and a half of them in surgery having my eyeball somewhat vigorously pushed about so the surgeon could get a clean shot. Bright green flashes seared my poor eye while I lay back, clenching my teeth, and gripping the chair for all I was worth.
It’s fixed now. The twice torn retina has been laser riveted back against the wall of the eye. The resulting scar tissue should hold it all in place, and should prevent a complete detachment. It’ll take a week or two for the soft focus to sharpen up again.
Bad luck I know. Nothing to do with cancer. But is all this some kind of cosmic retribution? Did I kick a puppy as a four year old? I don’t know, but it’s been tough to keep smiling.
A day or two later Amanda and I took a picnic to Wendover Woods, one of our favourite walking places in the Chilterns. I was all dark glasses and pulled down baseball hat, looking like an ageing C list rock star.
Then I dropped my sandwich.
Man, I really lost my rag. I suddenly felt so angry, so utterly powerless over my own body, my own fate and my own luck. I wanted to shout, swear, punch something. I really had to work to quell my rage, and it took a lot of resolve to steady myself. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that tip you over the edge. Happily normal service is now resumed.
The exhibition had my eye opened in an unexpectedly radical way. There, that’s the best I can do 🙂 Can you do better?
Here are some shots taken in and around the radical new wing of the Tate Modern, the Switch House.