Monday, April 5, 2010

The eyes have it

How would I endure losing the pleasure of seeing a garnet-amber or brick red or golden gleaming wine in my glass?

How would I be able to write (or read) about wine without sight?

Come to think of it, without sight how would I read the notes on music sheets when I play piano?

How will I get to my favorite wine shop, see my favorite people, drive myself to New York City to meet up with old friends in convivial settings, look at my wife?

How would living in the dark be?

This past week I was given a scare and some potential bad news that made me think all the above.

I was preparing dinner, putting together a braised lamb shank concoction. As I made my way to cut some potatoes, a small dot appeared on what I thought was my eyeglasses. I rubbed the glasses with a cleaning cloth, but the dot refused to go away. It did, however, keep moving around.

Later that night, I noticed a flash of light off to the side of my left eye every so often. I mentioned this to my wife and she told me about floaters. I looked floaters up online and learned that they are little breakaway gel spots that happen to us as we age. I also learned that flashes of light can be a serious symptom and that I should call my eye doctor (I have one of those, because glaucoma runs in the family).

The doc took me in on emergency and gave me a thorough going over: dilation and a laser examination. In the process, I could see the road-map image of the blood vessels in my eyes. Weirdly fascinating.

The examination proved that the loosening gel is pulling at my retina—hence, the flash of light as it opens a tiny passageway where light gets in. But right now, it is only pulling. There is no tearing of the retina away from the gel.

The doc said that I must keep vigil over this situation, because if the gel tears the retina away some I will need laser treatment. The symptom will be more light flashes. If I happen to see a curtain-like closing over my eye, then I will need emergency surgery, as it would mean the retina had detached and I would lose sight.

This news, as news like this often does, started me thinking about what is and what isn’t important. Seeing is important, especially to a writer who is also a lover of stimuli such as the many bulbs we have planted around our property over the years and that are in full glory this spring, plus the forsythia and soon the fruit tree flowers—not to mention the striking beauty of the Finger Lakes region outside my porch.

I could live without seeing a computer screen, but could I live without seeing words or music notes in print, or the red and white of wine, or the beauty of my surroundings, or the beauty of my wife and others whom I cherish?

Sure, I could live, but could I enjoy it?

I’m going to be vigilant and keep a watchful eye, literally, on my condition. Plus, I’m going to look more closely at everything and everyone from now on. Beginning with tonight’s Tamellini Soave Classico with dinner.

If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
April 2010. All rights reserved.


  1. The eyes may have it, but the other senses surely aren't shirking their duties? Missing Spring blooming everywhere would be a big disappointment, but the imagination can fill in the blanks when necessary. And while I'm sure you'd prefer not to put the "blind" into any visually-impaired tasting (beat Ron to the punchline!), what would you do if suddenly you couldn't taste a favorite Barolo or Riesling? Mon Dieu!

    Fingers crossed the tugging away stops tugging at your retina.

  2. Very scary I'm all worried and stuff. Take care of yourself darlin' and thank you for sharing and for the reminder that we should all look very closely at everything we hold dear.

  3. Thank you guys.

    I've been solemn for the past few weeks, as if I knew something was brewing. This is scary, but scary is also a time for reflection about what really is important; few things are, you know, not when up against the big thing like life and quality of life.

    While I don't like what's possible, I'm sure that I can live with and maybe even learn from it, should it happen. But I don't welcome it either.

    My piano tuner has been blind since his teenage years. He remembers sight and misses it, but he still plays quite a "mean" piano...

  4. ...And my mom loved the anchovies piece/recipe. I tried to comment, but Blogger was being a Booger that day and wouldn't accept it. My folks used to open cans of King Oscar sardines and anchovies as we drove to Colorado every winter. I couldn't stand the stink in the car and would complain loudly...which meant my mom loved doing it even more! ...I still can't stand 'em.

    Keep tellin' yourself the vision thing is a glitch! They're done pullin' and movin' around. No white spots today, please! :-)

    Word verification: stica ??? too weird!

  5. Marcia,

    When Blogger acts up like that, it's usually a cookie issue--or maybe a crusty bread issue.

    Tell your mom I said that she has taste.

  6. Here's hoping that your retina remains intact so that you can continue to identify the baboons out there.