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Scotland, Week 8: 2 October

Here’s the good news: my right eye’s been given the all-clear by the optician, who says there’s nothing to worry about (other than not actually being able to read with it). I went back on Friday and he dilated my pupils like a Welsh wizard practicing owl transformations, and then he took a scan of the retina.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an image of your retina blown up on a big screen? I’m not sure I’d recommend it. Mine was a veined reddish pink globe, like a Hubble snapshot of Mars, with a large white pimple rising from the surface where it meets the optic nerve, as though Olympus Mons was covered with an unseasonable fall of snow: apparently my eyes are so deep (the reason I’m so shortsighted), the retina doesn’t quite stretch all the way round and there’s a bald patch. Anyway, everything looked fine and the macular, where all the important visiony stuff happens, and which he thought might have been torn by a vitreal detachment, was undamaged. So I can relax. It’s probably just debris blurring my sight. (Probably: there’s that word again.)

It’s a huge relief, of course, especially as the operation to fix a macular tear involves replacing the jelly in the eye; afterwards you have to keep your face horizontal with the ground at all times, even when sleeping, for 2-3 weeks, to keep the pressure on. I’d toyed with buying a magnifying glass so I could pretend I was a detective looking for clues, or telling people I was desperately shy or afraid of ceilings; but none of these seemed quite satisfactory.

A redshank puts its best foot forward

Well, as David Bowie almost observed, I sat right down, waiting for the gift of sight and knitting. I’ve finished the first sleeve and started the second, even unto the end of the first (tree) panel. Incidentally, you’ll notice the sleeves have roll-back cuffs for the wearer to adjust according to preference. A fortnight should see it finished now.


In parish news, Christmas has come early this year with a splendid red gansey by the indefatigable Judit. It’s a very effective combination of chevrons and diamonds and is going to be a Christmas present for some very lucky person. Congratulations as ever to Judit!

And now I find I’m looking at things slightly differently. It’s as if I’ve got new eyes. I sound like those friends I left behind in the seventies: I feel as though I could count every leaf on a tree (this is windy Caithness, mind: the maximum this time of year is about three), or see every blade of grass in a verge. I know it’ll wear off soon (it’s started already), but while it lasts it’s as though the whole world just got closer, sharper, in high definition; almost as though it made sense.

It was David Bowie who asked, “Don’t you wonder sometimes / ‘Bout sound and vision?” Well, sometimes, David, yes: sometimes I really do…

16 comments to Scotland, Week 8: 2 October

  • Judit M./ Finland

    Hello Gordon !
    Happy times are here again 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Best regards

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, and isn’t that a nice thought?

      Happy days are here again,
      The skies above are clear again,
      So let’s cast on 368 stitches and knit a gansey again,
      I mean, it’s not like I had anything planned and there’s nothing on tv anyway,
      Happy days are here again… (repeat and fade)

  • Jane

    Wow, Gordon, wow. All so good. Enjoy the colours! Take care!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, wow indeed. It’s like God reached down and adjusted the focus on my internal tv set, everything just got closer. And yet nothing’s changed, except a load’s been lifted. Just to be on the safe side I’m supergluing a leaf to the tree at the bottom of the garden so I can watch it turn a nice autumnal reddish gold without being blown away like all the rest…

  • meg macleod

    I like the way you describe your enhanced vision…… a poet`s eye, in fact!

    • Gordon

      Hello Meg! Yes, I think it’s my left eye that’s the poet’s eye. Unfortunately my right eye came from a merchant banker and keeps trying to get me to invest in the futures market. It’s all very confusing.

  • Lois

    Excellent news! Just don’t overwork the other eye while recovering.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lois, my sight is so full of floaters it resembles Victorian London it’s so dark and cloudy like smoke. I find I keep shaking my head like a man brushing away gnats to get the floaters to shift so I can see, when they swirl around like a negative image of a snow globe…

  • What a relief about your vision! So happy to hear that you got some good news there!

    • Gordon

      Hello Wendy and thank you. 2017 will get a very special chapter in my memoirs, it’s been a truly horrible year. Not ending it by losing the sight in one eye suddenly makes it feel a whole lot better!

  • =Tamar

    Relieved, but perturbed that your doctor apparently made you wait a week before checking the retina. Horizontal, eh? My friend who had her eyes worked on had to keep her head vertical for two months; it wasn’t easy but I imagine horizontal would be even more difficult.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, don’t be too hard on him—Wick’s a small place and he needed time to dilate the pupils properly and do some other tests which he couldn’t fit in last Friday.

      I can’t imagine how on earth you’d manage to keep your head in one position for weeks at a time. The simplest thing would be to arrange to have the operation under a general anaesthetic, and then be taken home, put to bed, and kept unconscious for a couple of weeks with your head in a brace until it was safe to move!

  • Pleased to hear all tickety boo with the eye. I once had a blister on my eyeball (rubbing my eyes with contact lenses in) which had a similar effect to whatever yours is. Could it be?

    We’ve just had a fabulous weekend immersed in ganseys in Sheringham.

    • Gordon

      Hi Rita. I’m told that in my case I get a lot of floaters because of posterior vitreal detachment, as the outer part of the eye, the cortex, peels away from the retina and lumps of debris are created which swim around and disrupt my sight (or in this case, stubbornly sit slap bang in the middle of my eye). They loom so large in my line of sight I’m always amazed they don’t show up on the photographs, like the moons of Saturn, but of course in reality of course they’re tiny wee things.

      I saw some pictures of the Sheringham gansey event, and know someone who attended and was very enthusiastic. There are, it goes without saying, almost no downsides to living almost 350 miles north of the English border, but the sheer distance to get to events like that, or Propagansey at Robin Hood’s Bay, is sadly one of them!

  • Kersti

    Ah, great news, Gordon. Really pleased to hear the news about your eye.

    • Gordon

      Thank you, Kersti, yes, it’s a big relief. (I kept sneaking down and looking at my shelf of unused gansey yarn, my stash, which is enough to last me 5 years if I keep going at this rate, nearly to retirement in fact, and wondering…!)

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