Good morning and what a beautiful week we’ve had (well, up until Friday, that is). Bright, sunny skies, for the most part, and exceedingly moderate temperatures. Not quite an Indian summer, I guess, but certainly very, very acceptable. Toward the end of the week, however, the temperatures began to plummet (winds from the Arctic, of course) and brought us the sort of Autumnal weather to which we have grown accustomed in years gone by. One might also describe it as “crisp” which is certainly an adjective which could be used to describe Autumn temperatures.
So, there I was, sitting on the sofa on Monday evening watching the baseball when I noticed a few white flashes at the edge of my left eye. “Hello,” I said to myself, “I know what this is. It’s Posterior Vitreous Detachment (or PVD to those of us “in the know”), just what I had three or four years ago in my right eye while visiting Lake George with Mom and Dad. No need to race to the emergency room this time – I’ve not got any red blotches or “curtains” descending across my vision. And last time they said just go with the flow. Still, it would be best to get it checked out anyway, I thought, so on Tuesday I rang the optician to fix an appointment, the earliest of which turned out to be first thing Wednesday morning.
Off I go, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the early morning appointment. The optician takes a photograph of my retina, squirts some puffs of air into my eyes and casually asks, “Did you know that you have a hole in your retina?”
What answer is one supposed to give in that situation? When was the last time you examined your retina for holes or other abnormalities? “Oh, yes, I knew that. Actually, I thought that my retina could do with a bit of ventilation so I stabbed myself in the eye with an ice pick.”
“Well, you need to get yourself off to the Oxford Eye Hospital, post haste!” (He didn’t actually say “post haste” but he certainly intimated that I should make my way to the hospital with no delay.)
It’s Sod’s Law that emergencies of this sort always seem to crop up at the least convenient moment. I had two other appointments/meetings on Wednesday and another meeting on Thursday. Still, when someone tells you there’s a hole in your retina I guess you should probably take it seriously.
So, with Ms Playchute in the driver’s seat, off we went to the Oxford Eye Hospital. After the usual four or five hour delay common in any accident and emergency department, we were seen by the specialist who confirmed that I do indeed have a hole in my retina. However, she said that the hole had been there for some time as there was pigment around the edges and although they love to laser people’s eyes, they wouldn’t be doing so on this occasion as the hole was in very close proximity to where many of the eye nerves pass by – she described it as a motorway of nerves. In any event, she was able to confirm that what I was experiencing was indeed another round of PVD which was nothing to be concerned about. Just “keep an eye on it”.
After that bit of excitement, the rest of the week was singularly uninteresting and non-eventful. As always, though, I have run across a couple of bits and pieces which piqued my interest.
Firstly, an article in the Guardian providing a really simple explanation of why leaves turn red in the autumn. The article was ideally suited to an idiot like me and comes with the news that this year’s colour (in the UK at least) should be outstanding due to the combination of cold – but not freezing – nights, dry weather and bright, sunny days. I can feel an outing coming on in a week or so.
Secondly, there were innumerable articles about the “farce” of the badger cull ordered by the government to combat bovine TB. This was always going to be a controversial initiative. Proponents of the policy argue that TB in badgers spreads to cattle and one way to deal with this is to cull 70% of the badgers in a TB-infected area. Opponents argue that culling 70% of the badgers in an area won’t eradicate the disease in cattle and, more importantly, perhaps, if badgers are being shot at in an infected area, they are more than likely to scarper, potentially spreading the disease into areas which were previously unaffected.
One thing is clear – the quality of intellect demonstrated by the government minister responsible, Owen Patterson, the Environment Secretary. The other day he announced that the cull had been a success by every criteria. This was at the same time that those carrying out the cull were asking for an extension saying that they hadn’t killed as many badgers as they had anticipated. So, having killed fewer than 70% of the badgers (at least according to their estimate of the number of badgers in the affected area) and having no evidence of a decline in bovine TB (because it is far too early to tell), the minister pronounced the policy a success on every score.
When opponents suggested that perhaps this wasn’t quite the case, Patterson announced that “the badgers had moved the goal posts” which, I suppose, is a round-about way of conceding that perhaps the badgers had indeed moved into other areas. You couldn’t make it up!
And, speaking of mortal coils, the good news of the week – the massive growth on Molly’s undercarriage turned out to be benign. Looks like we have to put up with her a while longer.
Love to you all,