Thursday, August 29, 2019

BETWEEN INTERMISSIONS: The Call (untold eye stuff)

(The following falls between INTERMISSION No. 2 and INTERMISSION No. 3 in VISION BENT)


13 tubes of my blood were being tested 200 miles away as I continued waiting.  Waiting for a phone call to hear what was wrong with my left eye.  Waiting to hear if it's vision could be restored. 

The specialist had easily diagnosed the grey blob slashing through my right eye.  It was old damage and whatever had happened resulted in Optic Atrophy, a thinning of the optic nerves.  It was permanent and that alone ended my driving days, even if vision could be fully restored in my left.   

So, I hoped, which is something I don't do well.  Too many times I had seen hope shattered by reality, but I tried to stay positive.  I hoped my blood would show something treatable, like a virus.  I hoped a pill or surgery could reverse the loss I was experiencing.  I hoped I would be able to read my favorite books again.  I hoped for so many things that would be possible if my left eye could see again. 

The phone rang and my sister glanced at the caller ID.  It was the eye specialist. The phone rang again and I took a deep breath.  All of my hopes and all of my fears spontaneously flashed through my mind as I let the phone ring one more time.  

I answered the call and was disappointed to hear it was not the specialist, but her assistant instead.  I supposed doctors were busy, even when life-altering news was on the line.  In the end, it didn't matter to whom I spoke to because the news would be the same from either messenger.

The specialist's assistant started with a recap of my right eye, which made me want to scream.  It was old news and the results of the multiple blood tests would have nothing to do with it.  I bit my tongue because my heightened emotional state would've made it dangerous to speak out of frustration. 

The call finally reached its purpose as my patience was about to reach its breaking point.  The specialist's assistant informed me that the 13 tubes of blood revealed nothing, which lead to one conclusion.  She rattled off a three word diagnosis and then proceeded to explain it was a loss of blood flow event, most likely caused by high blood pressure.  I was informed that the damage was untreatable and then was asked if I had any questions. 

My mind was empty.  My vision loss was permanent.  Untreatable.  Irreversible.  There was nothing to be done.  All I could see was hope shattering before me.  What could I possibly ask? 

Somehow I found enough words to ask if she could spell the diagnosis.  Such a question seemed utterly ridiculous to me, but also of the utmost importance.  As the specialist's assistant spelled it out for me, I spelled it out so my sister could write it down. 

Ischemic Optic Neuropathy 

I thanked the specialist's assistant for calling.  She probably mentioned if I had any questions to call, but I don't remember.  All I remember was sitting in silence, hearing nothing but a hollow sound echoing through my mind. 

This was it.  There was no going back.  Even as I sat there, trying to process the information, I could feel how easy it would be to close the curtains and bury myself under blankets.  Withdraw and shut out the world until there was nothing left of me.  

I finally spoke.  Quiet.  Stilted.  As if my mind and voice were disconnected from each other.  Shoving my emotions down my throat, I told my sister what was going on with my left eye.  There would be plenty of time later for crying or withdrawing or however I needed to react to my new half-blind normal. 


I conducted a Twitter poll to see what I should blog about next.  There was a tie and this untold eye stuff is one of the winning choices.  Here is a link to the other winner...a very short story...

Freak Out, 

P.S. A very short film...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

IN THE SHADOWS (a very short story)

He stands motionless in his neighbor's living room, staring out the ornate front window.  The gentle evening sun casts crooked shadows over the bloodied walls and furniture.  Scattered behind him, his neighbor is no longer screaming in terror.

A distant siren penetrates the whispering trance he is under.  Other neighbors must have heard the commotion, but that was to be expected.  He knew the act would be violent and loud because the shadows told him so.


I conducted a Twitter poll to see what I should blog about next.  There was a tie and this very short story is one of the winning choices.  Stay tuned for the other winner...Untold Eye Stuff!

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S. A longer short story from 2014...

Saturday, August 10, 2019

freakboy muses music: GO, JOHNNY GO! (soundtrack)

I spent most of July house & dog sitting for Sister No. 3 in Omaha, Nebraska.  It's a city I am familiar with because I used to live there, specifically in the downtown area.  So, of course I had to hop on a bus to visit my ol' stomping grounds of The Old Market.  One business I wanted to visit was Homer's, a new/used music store! 

daytime freakboy on bus

Thankfully, in this age of downloading and streaming, Homer's is still in operation!  The location may have moved up a block and the CD selection might be a smidge smaller, but it's still the same atmosphere.  I felt like I slipped backwards 15 years and landed at home. 

I spent quite a bit of time flipping through the compact discs at Homer's, with special attention on soundtracks.  Some of my favorite albums are soundtracks, probably because I love movies so much.  I'll even listen to a soundtrack to a film I've never seen, which this downtown excursion proved. 

While rummaging through the soundtracks, with my Mad Scientist Glasses on, one album kept drawing my attention.  I picked up the yellow CD a few times, but put it back.  I even wandered away to other sections, trying to avoid temptation.  The CD was new and I wasn't sure if I wanted to splurge on an album I knew very little about. 

The yellow may have caught my half-blind eyes, but I wasn't exactly sure what kind of soundtrack I was looking at.  I could only initially decipher GO, Johnny  Go! and IT'S WAY OUT!  I didn't know if this was a soundtrack to an old movie or a new movie with a retro vibe.  I even considered the possibility it was a soundtrack to a stage musical.  After slow and painstakingly intense study, I was relatively certain it read MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK.  All the other words were lost to me, even with my MSG on and focused.

In the end, I purchased the CD because I desired to know what the hell it was.  Plus, I wanted a memento  from my solo bus ride adventure to The Old Market.  I didn't listen to the mystery album until the next day because I was hot and tired after my downtown visit, which involved more walking than you might think.  

I popped in the disc during breakfast the next morning and was still unsure what I was listening to.  The first few tracks sounded like music from the late 1950's/early 1960's, but I couldn't decide if these unfamiliar songs were authentic or new songs meant to sound like that time period.  Then "Johnny B. Goode" started playing and I said to the dog, "That's Chuck Berry!" 

As the disc continued spinning, my curiosity continued growing.  I was immersed in a fun, danceable world and I investigated the origin of this soundtrack as soon as the last song ended.  I discovered that GO, Johnny GO! is a 1959 film made to showcase the Million-Record recording stars.  The flimsy plot about a record company's search for a new singer to make the bobbysoxers swoon was just a terrific excuse for Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, The Cadillacs and many others to perform.  (There is a weirdly edited version of the film on You Tube which is worth watching for the great music.)

I enjoyed the whole album, but there are two songs that stand out for me.  "Playmates" by Sandy Stewart is a swinging little number that I think is full of bizarre sexual euphemisms.  "Please, Mr. Johnson" by The Cadillacs is a fun song about kids trying to get a little credit at the candy store.  

In conclusion, I have no regrets purchasing the soundtrack to GO, Johnny GO!  It's a cool collection celebrating the early days of rock 'n roll, with a few bonus tracks from a different but similar film.  The best way I can describe this CD is that it's a rockin' soundtrack John Waters wishes he had for one of his films! 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S. The weirdly edited version of the film...

The Collective Eye for August is wide open...