in sight

may i state for the record, with as much eloquence as i can muster, that migraines suck ass?!

it seems that lately i’ve become prone to monthly cycles of what feels like attempts to poke my eye out from the inside. if you hadn’t guessed it, it’s not pleasant. though maybe it has something to do with my very crap, and very likely, worsening vision.

when i was growing up, the library was my baby-sitter. i would spend hours surrounded by row upon row of words; visas and passports to a wonderful escape from what happened when the lights went out at night. at the time, my library cards were probably my most prized possessions. i would finish at least one book while at the library and then devour the one i took home with me even before the library closed for the day. sometimes i would beg my mom to let me go back and get another one and she’d say,

“no, you’ve had your book for the day!”.

she’d send me to make the bed or do some mundane task and half an hour later she’d call to ask if i was done yet. invariably my reply would be,

“uhm, almost…” as i instead turned the page, eager for another paragraph, unable to release myself from the spell of the words creating other worlds right here under my gaze . to me, books are like a journey i embark on and once i’ve taken that first step, i’m unavailable till that journey ends at the very last word on the very last page.

no wonder i required glasses by the time i was 12. i remember a series called “petrocelli” which was showing here in south africa at the time. imagine my shock the first time i saw it after i got my glasses. the actor playing the lead had suddenly acquired an obvious scar under his eye which he’d never had before! made me wonder what else i’d been missing!

now i’m getting to that age where my arms are no longer long enough and my contact lenses no longer deal too well with my astigmatic take on the world. i’ve (gasp) acquired my very first set of (mumble) “readers” – which i now need when i read. yet i’m slowly watching the world fade again. i usually have my eyes checked on my annual trip back to l.a., but i went to india instead this past year, so that didn’t happen.

now nothing is ever entirely clear. at night lights refract and reflect and i feel a little like i’m in one of those video driving games. things shift. edges transmute. and no, it’s been a while since i indulged in any recreational self-medication, so it’s not that. maybe it has something to do with the fact that shortly after my return to south africa 4 years ago, while driving down the road, i had a chance encounter with a stray shot gun pellet. a statistic once more. said pellet, all these years later, is still lodged mere millimetres from my right eye. it’s left me with permanent damage to one quadrant of my retina and subsequently, impaired vision.

and as i’m writing this, i realize that the migraines i have now, started sometime shortly after.

hmn… i need some time to digest that realization.

riding shotgun

riding shotgun

so ok, that’s it folks! here ends today’s tour through my head.

here’s the last.

word.

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guns don’t kill people

it’s people with guns, who kill people.

today’s post could also be called, shot in the eye – the aftermath

saturday 18 february 2006

this morning i’m driving in traffic, probably going 15-20 miles an hour. next thing there’s a huge bang next to my car and a blinding pain in my eye. ooh, slow reaction time – it takes a second before i realize that it’s probably a gun-shot. i duck down, coming up shortly after, to what seems like ringing silence. my glasses have come off and i’m still trying to figure out what just happened when i look in the rear-view mirror. in it,  a trickle of blood is slowing oozing down my face. i’m in so much shock, that even though i try to drive on,  the car somehow jerks to a halt in the middle of the road and i stumble out. 
seems it was a shot-gun blast. the cars behind and infront of me are hit as well, though i am the only one bleeding. no one seems to have any idea where the shot came from or why. 
some people from a car dealership call the police and give me some sugar-water because by now i am shaking like a leaf. even worse, i start having difficulty seeing out of my right eye. they eventually decide to drive me to hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. 
so. i have a shot-gun pellet lodged in my head, one centimetre shy of my eye and the doctors think it might do more damage to remove it than to leave it there. the external injury actually doesn’t look bad at all. it’s a little swollen and there’s a tiny hole, but the scary thing is that the vision in that eye is very impaired. i’m referred to an eye-surgeon who thinks that i am hemhorraging behind my eye.  i can see broad shapes, but no detail and i’m wearing an eye-patch as it’s too much of a strain trying to focus an eye which just can’t. so now i do a good imitation of captain hook and i wait. we hope that the blood will drain out of my eye and that my vision will return to normal over the next few days. 

monday 20 february 2006

i find out why i cannot see out of my right eye. it seems that there was a car theft underway in gauteng on saturday morning and as the robbers were making their get-away they tried to run down the security guard who then fired his shot-gun into the air – i just unfortunately happened to put my eye in the path of one of those shot-gun pellets. how silly of me!

this morning:

i get a call from my lawyer. he’s spoken to the lawyer representing the security company responsible. apparently they do not deny employing the security guard. they don’t deny that i exist (which they did originally), they don’t deny that said security guard shot me or that i still have shrapnel lodged in my face or that i have permanent damage to my vision. they don’t deny any of this, but they aver that, in the current climate of lawlessness in south africa, security guards can be expected to discharge their weapons from time to time and can not be held responsible for any innocent by-standers who are hurt as a result. !!!!!!!!!!! according to this line of thinking, the man who a few days ago,  just round the corner from my house, shot after a fleeing cellphone thief, but instead managed to kill a 4 year old at his day school, is not responsible either. 

i can only shake my head in disbelief. 

so we go to court. it’s been almost 3 years since i’ve been shot and will probably be 2 more before we get a court date, but i cannot wait to face them down. imagine that vision – a little blurry in my right eye, but still! one i cannot wait to see.