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July 20, 2012


Oh jeez, LJ, I'm sorry! By weird coicidence my vision has been blurry this week so i also trotted offto the doctor--and found out that my eye is rejecting my ten-year old cornea transplant! Rightnow it's being treated with steroids.

I guess they treat retina detacjemtn diferrently in Japan. They treated mine by pulling my eyeball out of my head, wrapping a plastic band around it, inflating it with gas, and stuffing it back in. Then they sent me home. I would have been to work the next day except I reacted badly to the anatheisa and spent the day throwing up.

Anyway I sure who the recovering isn't soo god awful boring for you. I hope th ehospital staff takes good care of yuo and that you and your vision are reunited.

Good luck LJ,
FWIW, the repairs can turn out pretty well. I had a "massive C-shaped tear etc." in my left eye with vitrectomy and the gas in my eye like yours. After all was said and done, I could find a tiny disjoint in fine, straight lines for about two years and then my brain must have compensated. You will also get to see some really weird effects when your eye has a mixture of the returning fluid and gas; sort of like having a face mask half full of water.

I do envy you the 10 days. They sent me home in 1 day but I had to do the sleep on my stomach and look at the floor routine for 4 weeks. It took almost that long for the fluid/gas to exchange.

Yikes! Here's to a speedy recovery!

Godspeed, for that matter. (Eyeballs are just weird, if you ask me.)

lj, that's terrible. Please recover quickly.

You too, Laura.

Your (lj) post raises lots of questions ... but later.

I crinch at eye stories. When I was eleven years of age, I chased a baseball (it never stops) into the woods and the very twig of a tree branch slashed across my face and the tip went through the center of my and out.

Long story short - to the doctor in the nick of time (would have lost the eye to infection if we had waited another two hours) two subsequent cataract operations (this before lasers) and bi-weekly visits to the eye doctor until I was maybe 15, and, well despite the probability that I could use the eye, it would have been with contact lenses, glasses with prisms (the images from either eye are vertically not in sync, besides being double) and maybe they could do something now ... eh ... I've learned to live with vision in one eye, knowing that the other eye is still there .. in case.

central texas, I began to notice one day about three years the "tiny disjoint in fine, straight lines" you mention and I ran, not walked, to the doctor and she (very good, I visit regularly to have my pressure checked for obvious reasons), could not detect any damage or irregularities in the back of the eye.

The condition, very subtle, went away after a month of so, but when I hear stories like lj's or Laura's, I go verklempt.

By the way, my doctor told that she would not note in any detail the incident I related in my medical records, in case I lost my lost insurance and would have to apply for new, which I nearly did and still could, since I'm now in the "individual market", and my post-divorce arrangement for insurance is kind of dicey.

Nice, huh, the insurance shunning. I asked her if there would be an underground railroad or maybe a Netherlands attic I could avail my self of should my condition become known in this stupid f*cking country that worships the individual, but refuses to insure it.

Just talking about this is causing me blurriness in my good eye.

Good luck, lj.

whew. get well!

eye injury... does thinking about any other injury make a person cringe quite as much as thinking about eye injuries does?

For roughly half of us, there is another.

Oh - ten years later, Laura? Gadzooks, one never knows. (Now I'm thinking of Jeremy Piven in Grosse Pointe Blank.)

hsh - not even that makes me cringe as much as eye stuff.

I'm totally with you, cleek. I'd say I have a "phobia" about anything touching my eye, except "phobia" is for *irrational* fears, and what I have is 300 million years of evolution saying DON'T LET THEM TOUCH YOUR EYE!

LJ, you have *all* my sympathy.

I don't understand how the Japanese can afford such lengthy hospital stays. In the US, your operation + 10 days in hospital would be well over $100K. That's why central texas had to do hir recovery at home, after only 1 day in hospital.

best wishes, lj.

Speedy recovery!!!

I hate to sleep on my stomach (how is this possible anyway? ;-) )

I also am very reluctant to have anything done with my eyes* and, as said in an earlier thread, I am among those who would wear glasses even if it were not necessary anymore. I simply feel extremly unprotected without.

*the yearly recurring need for anti-allergic eye drops is bad enough.

at least they can fix it:) I have macular pucker, another retina problem, but nothing can be done.
good luck, hope the healing process goes quickly.

You've got my sympathy; I still recall my panic when I had my first ocular migraine, the symptoms of which are remarkably similar to a retinal tear. (Except that they go away in an hour or so, of course!)

In the last couple of years I've gone through chemo induced cataracts, and now gradually progressing "epi-retinal membrane". My left eye is shot full of those "tiny disjoints", because my retina is being pulled into wrinkles by the layer of scar tissue. While my vitrious humour has fractured in my right eye, kind of like looking through a glass full of ice cubes tumbling around, with little flashes whenever a piece impacts the retina.

Eye surgery, again, eventually. At least I hear the surgery gets rid of all your floaters...

LJ, major bummer. If I slept on my stomach, I'd need back surgery the next day. Damn.

Count--to follow up on a thread way back when that you've probably forgotten--and if you have time--could you drop me a line at [email protected]? thanks.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, LJ.

My guess: $450.00 US

Eye surgery plus ten days hospitalized? I guess about 50 X bobbyp's guess, so $22,500.00

Best wishes.

"I still recall my panic when I had my first ocular migraine, the symptoms of which are remarkably similar to a retinal tear. (Except that they go away in an hour or so, of course!)"

Happened to me too, a few years ago. I remembered reading something about them before, though, so I had an inkling of what it might be, though I was still worried. But the internet description reassured me and it went away in my case after about 20-30 minutes.

"I'm in the hospital for at least 5 days, maybe 10, because I have to sleep on my stomach and not look up (they put air into your eye to push the retina back so that it will reconnect. Not fun)"

Not fun at all.

OK. Hanes has me running scared.

My guess: $450.00 $850.00 US

Best wishes for a full recovery to Laura also. And as for Countme-in, let us know the cost of your journey across the verklempt seas of the "individual health insurance" (hahahahahahahahahahahah) market(insert major snicker here)...a trip scarier than going blind if you ask me. Best of luck to you.

Yeah, I stopped panicking when my vision started coming back, being aware that retinal tears don't repair themselves. Couldn't research what had happened until I could see again, of course.

It was actually kind of interesting undergoing eye surgery, since they keep you conscious during it; You get a really close look at what they're doing! (Those were some amazing tranks they had me on. Wasn't the least bit nervous once the IV started.)

Thanks to everyone for the thoughts. I woke up this morning and they took a look and everything seems to be going ok. I know doctors don't like patients researching all their symptoms on the internet, but it is a godsend for calming the nerves as is everyone anecdotes here.

I'm sharing a room with three Japanese men. I'm amazed at how much more difficult it is to carry on a conversation when I can't look at people. That additional channel missing makes it really tough.

I don't think they gave me any tranquilizers, but one of the machines in the operating room gave aural feedback in English, so I spent most of the time concentrating on listening to that rather than try and figure out what the doctor and nurses were saying. At the end of the operation, I asked about the machine and the doctor said oh yeah, that's in English. We don't pay any attention to it...

At this point, it sounds as if the boredom of the hospital stay will be the worst part. Get well soon.

Reading the comments, its amazing how many of these familiar voices have had eye problems. Just for completeness, I'll chime in with optic neuritis which resolved.

I'm glad you are hanging in there LJ.

Yes it is amazing to me how many eye stories there are out there! I went back to the doctor today and asked for a prognosis. He said, " Your eye will either get better or get worse. Good luck."

I think he needs to work on his human relations skills. I had to probe repeatedly for details on what "worse " might ential--the transplant fall off? My eye rupture? Lose my eye altogther? Turns out all he meant was I'd need a new transplant.

My sister did some on-line research and it turns out that cornea transplants frequently get rejected by the eye at the ten to fifteen year mark. So it's not a big deal.

Anyway I hope your retina is settling down where it belongs LJ.

jh -

$22,500? surely you jest. I had ear surgery a few years back that didn't involve an overnight in the hospital, and that was someplace north of $20,000 (I had to go to my HMO's website to find how much they paid).

With five nights in the hospital (at least), I'll guess $75,000.

My wife and youngest just came by. The youngest is happy because she gets to play cards with daddy for 3 hours at a stretch because that is about all daddy can do. Silver linings.

I'm also amazed at all of the eye anecdotes out there as well. I was shocked that I had a detached retina that just happened without me doing anything, because I thought it only happened with boxers and such, and was stunned to see Wikipedia saying that people with high risk factors (like poor eyesight) experienced it in 1 out of 3 cases, and early checkups reduced that to 1 out of 20. I'm beginning to think that the open thread should be about a part of the body or something going wrong with people and have people chime in. While it may seem a bit perverse, just having folks relate their experiences helps me ground myself a bit.

Negotiating everything in a second language has been a bit fraught as well. It's not just the medical stuff, it is the everyday stuff. Frex, we get three meals a day, but the first meal came right after my surgery, and when it got there, there were no utensils. The food is Japanese style, so everyone is expected to bring their own chopsticks or waribashi (disposable chopsticks). I was able to get a pair then, but it is something that would never have occurred to me that I needed. I'm not sure if this is standard or part of cost-cutting measures (it makes sense to be able streamline the food preparation and reduce disease vectors) There seem to be a number of those sorts of measures in place, like the fact that I purchase a card to run the TV and fridge. The cost is minimal but it makes sure that the fridge and TV are not drawing power when no one is using them (there are huge concerns here about energy usage at the moment)

I get the shakes just thinking about eye surgery. But then, I guess I'm on the extreme end of the spectrum: I can't even think about contacts. In fact, I was in my 20s before I forced myself to get glasses (had to have them to get a driver's license). Having something even as close to my eyes as glasses took a lot of getting used to.

Until then, I just lived with 20/400 vision and astigmatism. Couldn't read the blackboard in school (which nobody figured out until jr. high), nor in college, nor in grad school. Just had to listen carefully, and hope the teachers didn't write something critical on the board and not repeat it aloud.

Well, at least close up I can read fine. I keep wondering if the usual lengthening of focus with age will finally hit and change something. So far, it looks like not.

I have a genetic strabismus, for which I was twice operated on as a youth (sometime before 1965). I think I spent two nights in the hospital for each occurence; I know that each operation cost a cool $1,400, at a time when my father was making $12,000.00/annum.

I'm with all the folks above in wishing you good recovery.

I'm also with all the folks above with insane fear of Anything Touching My Eyes. Contacts? no thanks.

I can't even begin to guess the cost.

Best wishes, lj.


I'm beginning to think that the open thread should be about a part of the body or something going wrong with people and have people chime in.

You do NOT want me to start that thread.

Just sayin'.

lj, my best wishes for your speedy recovery. I was lucky -- two retinal tears but both repairable via laser zotting.

Something gone wrong with people? That's rather broad. I imagine it might cover my desire to wish everyone a happy Pi Approximation Day.

To clarify, mostly for bobbyp, in case my pyrotechnics cause ambiguity, I have health insurance at present, but its complicated.

I pay full individual rates, basically what you might pay for a decent one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs of a mid-market city where rentals are tight, but its through my former group insurance coverage in the Federal government.

Like COBRA, except that mine doesn't stop at two years (I hope .. I can't say I fully understand its complications, the small print being illegible) will last as long as I pay the premiums -- all part of a mediated divorce settlement, for cripes' sake .... for your eyes only (lurkers look away) and everyone else just forget you heard that.

Anyway, if I lose the insurance, unaffordability becomes the new style, at my age, I hear its all the rage, and is explained in various conservative tracts under the pamphlet headings "Charity and Your Brain Tumor: A Handy Guide", "Medicaid: Yeah, Right!", The Moral Case For Ignoring You On The Gurney In The Hallway -- Hey, You Made Your Choices", "Is It Safe? -- The Libertarian's Primer for Self-Dentistry" (accompanying DVD of the instructional film "Marathon Man" with a free listing of the best Middle European dentists living in the jungles of South America), "Retina Detached? -- How to Win It Back Through Prayer and Fasting", "The Word 'Prostate' Is NOT In The U.S. Constitution", "Pre-existing Conditions: Albert Camus' Thoughts On Self-Diagnostic Remedies", "The Road To Surfdom -- Catching The Wave In The Emergency Room?" and "The Donut Hole? Your Life Is An Effing Donut Hole" ........... motheryouknowwhats.

Hey, I'm lucky. I have my health and millions are much worse off, which is to say I'm still ahead, and that's the point of America isn't it, that we are ahead of someone else so when the time comes and the Ayn Rand Institute asks your ranking, you can say, well, I'm not number one, but I am ahead of "Bob" over here, and when they turn their gaze on "Bob" and ask "Bob", "So What's Your Problem, Bob?", I can sneak out the back and tell myself that there but for the grace of God go I and have a little skip in my step the rest of the day.

It's a fact that the death rate among the medically insured, including government and purely private arrangements through one's employer or in the "individual market" (bends over here and slaps his knee in a full-bore wheeze; the entire room snorts a beverage out their noses) ..... and the UNinsured, rich and poor, is identical: 100%

Studies show.

It's like the difference between the frying rate among free-range chickens who recieve wonderful treatment and those fowl wretches cramped in feces-filled cages -- either way, what you end up with is a dead chicken, except that the friends of the poorly treated chicken get to hold a bake sale to make the better-off chickens feel better.

All God's chickens is fried, barring salmonella. As long as my chicken lives long enough for me to trade it for a colonoscopy, where's the sweat off my back, I ask you?

I think that's what Sarah Death Palin meant by the Death Panels. Didn't she?

Meanwhile, trivial things can happen to cause you to fall off the end of the Earth. I pay by monthly check and the amount is converted to a computer-generated withdrawal from my account. Well, somehow, during the conversion, a scribe on their end mistyped the premium amount on my check into the system and I received a notice in the mail that I was $30.03 short -- a pittance of the entire premium but roughly the price of a hospital aspirin and a Q-Tip somewhere in my future - and my insurance would be canceled in 15 days, the notice tolled darkly, like a gigantic bell in Penury's antechamber.

I was out of town and returned to read this delightful missive in the nick of time, paid it, natch, and resolve to remain in shape and healthy (I'd sleep on my stomach just to be sure, as a preventative measure, but I'd be wearing a neck brace soon -- I hope lj is sleeping on a massage table) so that I can tell my Death Panel to go f*ck itself when the time comes.

This, from a news item flagged by John Cole at Balloon Juice:

"A man spotted dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah has wildlife officials worried he could be in danger as hunting season approaches.

Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said Friday the person is doing nothing illegal, but he worries the so-called “goat man” is unaware of the dangers.

“My very first concern is the person doesn’t understand the risks,” Douglass said. “Who’s to say what could happen.”

Douglass said a man hiking Sunday along Ben Lomond peak in the mountains above Ogden, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, spotted the person dressed like a goat among a herd of real goats. The person provided some blurry photographs to Douglass, who said they did not appear to have been altered."

That is all.

I loved that story! I also love the comment thread that follows particluarly the coment from the guy who said that goats must be pretty stupid not to spot a man in a goat suit. Afer all he was pretty sure he'd be able to spot a goat in a man suit.

That's only half the story.

What many don't know is the goat-man actually exchanged places with one of the goats in the herd and the latter moved into town, rented a condo, secured a job as an instructor in Animal Husbandry at the local community college, and is dating an unsuspecting female librarian, when he's not browsing among the oblivious female fauna at the local watering holes and opening accounts on every internet dating site (handle: Giles Goat-Boy) known to the two-legged.

He sits at the bar in pants and a waistcoat, cloven hooves on the foot rail below, and instead of ordering food, after a few drinks he commences to eat everything within reach, starting with the napkins and utensils, condiment containers, salt and shakers before moving on to munching on the necktie of the guy sitting next to him.

He's become quite influential in the Mormon Church and is moving up the political food chain.

Quite possibly Vice Presidential fodder.

And since blindness should be part of every detached retina open thread, here's some:


Great reporting, that.

No one minds a little lying, cheating, and graft in America .. after all ... those are the lubricants that make the whole thing keep moving forward ... but it's when the black guy mentions it and the liars and the cheats and the frauds deny it (pulling on their bootstraps, originally designed but not commercialized by a government agency) and are shocked, I say, shocked that anyone could possibly point out the wolves among the sheep, the better to cull the herd, that the myopic might forgo the blinders and take a good look at the steaming pile of horsesh*t cast before swine.

That's a barnyard full.

If we had two chickens and one stone, we'd have it made.

...originally designed but not commercialized by a government agency

Much like this thingy we're using to type at each other? I just love the irony of people bitching on the internet about how the government can't do anything right.

Much like this thingy we're using to type at each other?

The computer?


Our respective Internet Service Providers?

Fiber optics?


I guess my italics weren't italic enough. From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

The origins of the Internet reach back to research of the 1960s, commissioned by the United States government in collaboration with private commercial interests to build robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer networks. The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2011, more than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third of Earth's population — use the services of the Internet.

I'm aware of that part of the Internet's history, hsh. I've actually used CSNET.

It'd be interesting to compare the Internet as built by e.g. telecoms with what the government has built by itself, I say.

Much like this thingy we're using to type at each other? I just love the irony of people bitching on the internet about how the government can't do anything right.

Of course it was the military that did all of it and, as we all know, there is nothing governmenty in the (US) military. Otherwise there'd be a paradox since the government can do no right and the military no wrong. Not to forget (impossible anyway since we get reminded of that daily) that money spent on the military has zero influence on the budget deficit (although defense cuts inevitably lead to catastrophic revenue and job losses).

It'd be interesting to compare the Internet as built by e.g. telecoms with what the government has built by itself, I say.

This might just rehash the end to end argument, but at one time, telcos were primarily interested in building networks where the edge devices were dumb and all the intelligence was in the network core (compare an analog phone to a 5ESS switch). The internet folks pushed the opposite notion: smart edge devices with an incredibly dumb core. The telco folk complained that you couldn't implement lots of useful networking features in that model (like smart resource allocation) while the internet folks said "meh, just overprovision bandwidth so that resource allocation doesn't matter".

In the end, the internet folks won this argument because an ultra high performance dumb router is a lot cheaper than a comparably performing ultra high performance smart router.

Putting aside the technical issues, I'm not sure telcos could have ever developed something like the internet. In a telco-internet world, everyone who wanted to offer a network application has to worry about how/when the telcos are going to screw them if they're successful. The telcos would have too much power. That kind of power would deter new businesses from offering network services atop their networks and would dry up startup capital. Why invest in Google or Netflix if AT&T is going suck up all the profit anyway?

No, it wouldn't be interesting.

The U.S. Government spent a little risk capital on research and early tinkering and then the telecoms said, after standing by scratching their balls for a bit ... O.K. that's very cool and now that you've done some of the early risk-taking by letting brilliant Federal scientists and some university lab types take this hair-brained scheme to a stage that satisfies our risk-adverse investment model, we'll take it from here and develop and commercialize the technology with our brilliant scientists, engineers, and MBAs.

You know, like so many great things have been done in this country, successfully.

The government had no attention, that I've heard, of building out the Internet.

Now, of course, some people, not Slart, but some people, who shall remain nameless, stage-Ayn Rand-cough, now call even this well-oiled, productive model communism and the work of parasites, devils, slave-masters, thieves, and nannies.

Because we're insane now.

The government built the Hoover Dam. The private sector drank the water, flushed their toilets, and irrigated their crops.

Good for them.

The Hoover Dam doesn't crash quite as often as privately invented Windows or require a valve job quite as often the 1985 Caddy, but it works pretty well, for what it was supposed to do.

Private contractors even got credit.

I need a sedative.

Which hopefully will be developed by the private sector with Federal oversight and testing.

I'm not sure telcos could have ever developed something like the internet.

I'd agree with that. They'd all be very busy trying to implement some kind of proprietary scheme to marginalize their competition. That the telecoms didn't start the Internet, though, doesn't negate that they largely grew it to where it is now.

O.K. that's very cool and now that you've done some of the early risk-taking by letting brilliant Federal scientists and some university lab types take this hair-brained scheme to a stage that satisfies our risk-adverse investment model, we'll take it from here and develop and commercialize the technology with our brilliant scientists, engineers, and MBAs.

And of course by acquiring some of those selfsame scientists and putting them to excellent use, and probably even better pay. Vint Cerf has worked at MCI since before the word "Internet" was ever tossed around.

It's not as if I have a really coherent point to make, here. My point is more that the Internet is not all one thing or the other, and probably wouldn't be nearly as pervasive as it is now without either of government or private industry.

And probably if you tried to do something else like that on purpose, you'd wind up with a bunch of crap, because some crafty bastards would see it coming and try and steer it where they, personally, wanted it.

Nor would the government have given us something like Google; probably not even something as good as Yahoo search was before Google showed up.

More eye thread material:

Goat Boy redux, or, do you believe me or your lying eyes?:


Whomever invented this thingy, good for them, because you can be talking about thing here, and drop in on a conversation about the same thing over there, in this case:


Vint Cerf's name comes up.

My point being, I can invoke the nameless "some people" who hold absurd, ignorant, damaging points of view and lo and behold one of them, in this case, Gordon Crovitz of the WSJ editorial page, like an idiot, identifies himself.

Someone, I don't know who, mentioned chickens up above and I've been pondering what a gay comeback in the manner of Dick Gregory's "I'd rather have the fried chicken anyway" (in response to the civil rights era: "We don't serve Negroes here") would be in the case of Chic-fil-a's now fully public stance against gay marriage and the ensuing brouhahahahaheehee over Jim Henson's Muppets deciding to end their plush puppet agreement with the restaurant chain (not that Miss Piggy ever boycotted the barbecued pork rib joint down the street), when I ran across this:


The sign is great but I'm holding my fire until I believe it's not photo-shopped, and to save you the trouble of reading the comments, the best line therein is: "Show us on the chicken where the Muppet touched you."

It's only Tuesday and I've already met uly's quota of bloviating, so arrivaderci.

Without Waco, Texas and Broward County, Florida, nothing would ever happen in this country:


Yeah, I know, it's only Tuesday and I was gone.

Sorry to read of your troubles. Eye problems are so scary.

Heal up well.

My point is more that the Internet is not all one thing or the other, and probably wouldn't be nearly as pervasive as it is now without either of government or private industry.

I wouldn't dare dispute that. But I think the point Count was making, and that I applied to the internet, was the government piece, the piece some people like to deny or ignore, which is still only a piece, of course, but it's there, and there probably wouldn't be any other pieces without it.

What really jumped out at me was the phrase "but not commercialized." We certainly wouldn't be having this on-line conversation without the private-industry commercialization of the internet, but there wouldn't have been anything to commercialize without government laying the foundations.

By way of (imperfect and not infinitely extendible, so let's not play that game) analogy, the government doesn't truck goods all over the country, but you can bet your sweet ass said trucking wouldn't be happening on anything approaching the scale it now is if Uncle hadn't built the interstate highway system. (Don't tell Walmart.)

And then there's Mitt's little getaway. Get it?

P.S. Can whoever's in charge of the English language just pick either "able" or "ible" and stick with it, rather than making me look up stupid words like "extendible" because I'm not sure which one it ends with?

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