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Cedar Gansey, Week 9: 10 September

It’s never a good sign when a doctor hesitates before replying, and weighs his words as deliberately as Roger Federer contemplating a serve. In my experience doctors can’t wait to tell you good news; but a judicious pause in a hospital never ends well.

Interesting rocks at Nybster

I’d been referred for glaucoma (which it seems I don’t have; small mercies, etc.). But while I was there I asked about this blind spot in the middle of my right eye, a tiny shimmering point of light that warps the spacetime continuum around it. If I shut my left eye I only have peripheral vision in my right. (Next time you’re driving up the freeway, try reading the licence plate of the car in front of you when the sun’s glinting off it; the effect is much like that.) Most of the time I hardly notice it, since my left eye is the dominant.

Nybster Broch and Mervyn’s Tower, view from the shore

I’ve been aware of it for about 18 months, so this seemed like the moment to ask. Then came the pause. At last he said, It’s wear and tear on the pigment that feeds the retina; and it’s a known risk for people as shortsighted as I (before cataract surgery my eyes were -11). The good news is, it’s not because of anything I’ve done, it’s just genetic bad luck; the bad news is that there’s no cure. It may not get any worse; or then again it may; but it definitely won’t get better. “Should I be worried?” I asked, worriedly. Again he hesitated. “In the sense that there’s nothing you can do about it, no,” he said (this was the point I realised that, owing to Brexit, the NHS was recruiting its consultants from the planet Vulcan).

Bathing au plein air – the Trinkie, Wick

He advised me to eat lots of leafy green vegetables, carrots and oily fish (tuna, salmon, etc.), as these are proven to be healthy for the eyes. Fear is a powerful motivator, as my line managers can confirm: over 30 years of vegetarianism went out the window at a stroke. Of course, I appreciate that this is no more than superstition, burning incense to propitiate the god. But right now I’ll take all the propitiation that’s going.

Meanwhile we keep on keeping on: and the cedar gansey, she is finished! In record time, too, though this is a result of my being on holiday (and, let’s face it, bone idle) this last fortnight. I’m still not convinced by the sleeves: but it seems to fit well enough, and it was fun to knit, so we’ll see. Next project, something in navy (possibly a reckless choice, given the way the seasons are inexorably sliding us into darker evenings, but what the hell): more on this next week.

As for my eyesight, well—as the Bible says (Mathew 6:34) “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”; or, in Doris Day’s controversial modern translation, “Que será, será.” And she’s spot on: whatever will be, will be. Right now I’ve got this new Flamborough gansey to chart…

8 comments to Cedar Gansey, Week 9: 10 September

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon !
    Congrats to the Cedar gansey, looks fine and for sure fits fine too. As to the eyes I recommend to read this : https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-blueberries-eyes-5356.html
    You will find a lot of other things to read in connection with blueberry and the eyes.
    Best regards
    Judit

  • meg

    lovely knitting…im assuming you have daylight lamps everywhere for your navy blue project?????
    [eyesight etc] i was vegetarian for years until i got pregnant the craving for boiled ham put an end to that ……tho i still love the vegetarian recipes…the best hot smoked salmon can be obtained down at thurso harbour ..small quantities go along way …x

  • Dee

    Hello Gordon, the gansey looks lovely, the deep green and simple pattern are very pleasing.

    Dispassionate, no-bedside-manner medical people can be awfully disconcerting. So can the opposite type, the panicky sort who say things like “You’re a walking time bomb.” (To be fair, that one was young, and had probably never seen someone with my genetic condition before. Still…)

    I’ve heard good things about lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health. They are found in many yellow and orange foods, also might be worth looking into supplementation. Those oily fish are wonderful for brain health and inflammatory conditions as well. If we give the body what it needs, it usually does its best with it. Your realization of “Sufficient unto the day…”, and willingness to make dietary changes should go a long way towards health for your eyes.

    Very best wishes.

  • Lynne

    I support Dee’s suggestion of supplements, in fact, my husband’s eye doctor and my own opthalmologist recommended 40 mg. of Lutein daily and a multisupplement called PreserVision that has Zeaxanthin, Zinc, Lutein, Vit.C and Vit.E. It’s worth a “Google” for info regarding the supplements. Even though most of us eat a healthy diet, it’s my belief that we have depleted the soil of a lot of nutrients and damaged it with weed killers and pesticides to the point that our food isn’t as healthy as it once was.
    Nothing better than Navy for a gansey, but, oh, those dark winter nights! You’re a brave man!

  • Lois

    Congrats on the new gansey, lovely colour, lovely pattern.

    After a whole series of gloom and doom predictions, much throat clearing from specialists, loads of unpronounceable words thrown my way, all after an eye injury a few years back, I subscribe to the “sufficient unto the day” theory. My eyesight isn’t any worse after several operations, and in some ways it is better.

    So eat your salmon and carry on! (Brave man – navy Flamborough in the winter ………..)

  • Gordon

    Hello everyone, and thank you (as ever) for the compliments and good wishes.

    Sorry for not replying individually this time, but I’ve been down in Edinburgh doing archivey stuff (I have an image of a young Darth Vader going into a crowded futuristic bar and when everyone looks up saying, “Archive business. Go back to your drinks”—possibly before killing some younglings, possibly not).

    Imagine wearing a pair of spectacles to which someone has attached one of those paper disks that get punched out with a hole punch stuck right in the middle of the right lens. That’s more or less what my blind spot feels like from the inside. But iff it doesn’t get worse, in the words of the Prophet Elijah, “meh”!

  • Jane

    Sorry, only just seen this post.

    The gansey is a wonderful thing, the colour and the pattern are beautiful. If you are set on the navy, a great colour, is it possible to use a light coloured set of needles to contrast with the stitches, so easily said, etc ….

    The son-in-law has an unusual eye problem, it won’t go away but doesnt seem to get any worse, I expect that sounds familiar. The advice he was given was indeed to take a vitamin supplement, one of those specifically for eyes, usually high on blueberry or bilberry extract. He buys his from the High Street chemists. And yes, we do the diet too, the oily fish bit, sorry again, take care now.

  • Jane Callaghan

    I love hard-hearted medics. I had had some pain in my hands when I trotted in to see the doctor about a wrenched knee. ‘The arthritis,’he said, ‘won’t be helping.”What arthritis? I haven’t got arthritis is my knee.’ ‘Well, you’ve got it everywhere else’, he said. ‘You’re riddled with it.’ Ah, bless….

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