Jim had his surgery last Thursday and so far as we can tell, he’s recovering well. His vision is still significantly worse than it was the morning before the operation, but that’s to be expected; they took all the fluid out of his eye so they could repair the retina — which they did using a microscope, tiny manipulators, and a laser — then replaced the fluid with gas before sealing up. The index of refraction is different, so until the gas disperses (which it will do on its own, slowly) and the eyeball refills with fluid, his vision is going to be messed up. His surgeon — who was awesome — said that he should have most of the improvement within about a month, but that it might keep improving a bit here and there for the next year, so we won’t have the final word for a while.
His vision has improved noticeably since they took the bandage off the day after surgery. That’s a pretty low bar — he could only see high-contrast light and dark, or large-scale movements at that point — but still, any improvement is encouraging.
The big goal here is getting back to the point where Jim can read books. He can watch TV and pick up enough to enjoy it, and he can use the computer, leaning very close and with the text size cranked up. He can’t read paper books, though, and never being able to again would be bad. We’re both major book junkies, we have thousands of books around the house and spend a lot of time reading. If we have to, we could get him a tablet and switch him over to e-books, so he can enlarge the text and still have more than five words on the screen. That’s only a partial fix, though. Even now, only a fraction of the books he likes to read are even offered in electronic editions, and most of those are published by the big, New York houses who charge ludicrous prices for them. Having to pay thirteen or fifteen or eighteen dollars for a book that only costs eight dollars in paperback would definitely curtail a lot of his reading.
We’re hoping it doesn’t come to that, but at this point all we can do is wait and see.
PS — if anyone’s writing a character who has retinal surgery, I can tell you all about it from the patient’s POV. [wry smile]