Challenge,  Misc

Coming Clean

Eye Issue…

Since I have mentioned this on a number of workshops and places, figured for a short post I would tell you all here.

Many of you know I only have one eye. Back right before I started this streak on this blog, about eleven years ago, I lost almost all the vision in my right eye to a stroke in the back of the eye. I caused it, and I have lived with the one eye ever since.

Well, about four weeks ago, I woke up mostly blind. (Now if that doesn’t twist you up, nothing will.)

I thought it was just eyestrain, as I have had a ton of times in the past, and just rested and it got a little better, but it wasn’t improving quickly, so off to basically the emergency room on a Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Stunningly good hospital, and after a ton of blood work and a cat scan, it was determined I was totally healthy except for the eye issue. Off to my main doc to look over all the blood work and tests and then he got me an emergency referral into an major eye doc.

It turns out I have a case of Optic Neuritis, which occurs when swelling (inflammation) damages the optic nerve. No known cause (comes with MS, at times, but I do not have MS.). Could be an allergy, a reaction, or whatever. I do know and neither do the docs. I do know I did not cause it. (Yay)

In most cases this clears up in 2 to 6 months. I am at month #1 and it is getting better by the week. No idea if there will be lasting damage until the end of that period.

So if some of you are wondering why I missed an email of yours, or haven’t gotten around to reading a story yet, that is the reason.

Kris has been amazing through it all, helping me read stuff, and calming me down in the first hour of the conference when I was surrounded by people and couldn’t read a sign. And most of all being with me through a billion doctors and nine hours of an emergency room. Thanks, Kris. A real partner.

So please, folks, no need to send me the “I hope you get better…” thing. Or tell me how to treat it. Or anything like that. Trust me, I can afford the best doctors and I seemed to have found them just fine. I am back driving and have only blown up this screen image a little bit to type this.

I’m going to work on catching up the stories I have missed and maybe some email over the next five days. Just wanted to let you all know why there seemed to be a few glitches in the systems over the last month.


    • dwsmith

      Even people with two good eyes should rest them at times. In hindsight (no pun intended), I have beat up on my eyes so much, it is amazing I can see anything over the years.That’s why not seeing for a day I thought was just eyestrain. Happened at times back when I was skiing (without goggles), golfing, and then in architecture after I would spend days at a time over bright white paper to hit a deadline. Happened a few times on hard deadlines in front of my computer back in the traditional publishing days as well. This one was different. I didn’t cause it. A lot more scary.

  • Linda Niehoff

    So wait a minute. You’ve been reading stories as you’re able, speaking at a conference, blogging, and doing 5K’s… all while dealing with THIS in the background?? Man, there really are no excuses – in writing or in life…

    • dwsmith

      Yup, no excuses… I’ve been doing all that at the same time, plus homework and editing work on Writers of the Future.

      Amazing how these modern computers can blow up a screen so I can actually see what I am typing. However, keep in mind that if you get something from me that suddenly goes… oilrf yodt… My fingers got off the right spot and I couldn’t see the result. (grin)

  • Joseph Paul Haines

    Damn. I mean, I already walked around in mad respect of you as it is and now you have go over the top of an already insurmountable peak.

    Yeah. Mad, mad respect, sir.

  • Wulf Moon

    I know you said you were having eye issues at 20Books, but I didn’t realize the extent of it, Dean. Wow. I’m glad Kris is there to read for you, and that you’re slowly recovering. Great to visit with you again–I miss those days at your place with friends on the coast. You made the best turkey! All the best to you and Kris!