Friday 15 July 2022

I've had a hell of a month

Close up of Joel's eyes, the left one is bloody, swollen and dilated. He has a dark bruise under it.

It started with a speck in my vision, which turned out to be a stroke. But not caused by your garden-variety clot! No, I have cat-shit in my eye.

Well, that's what everybody thinks when I say "toxoplasmosis". Which is the likely culprit.

As it turns out, you don't only get toxo from the cat's litter box, you can also catch it from swimming water, badly cooked meat, or even in utero - some folks are born with this parasite swimming in their bloodstream.

Who knows where I got it? My antibodies say I picked it up some time in the past.

The Opthalmologist wanted to be sure that's the cause of my eye problems, so he took a tiny sample of my eyeball fluid for testing. But the lab got no result.

So now it's time for more drastic measures.

This week I've had a vitrectomy. He basically sucked all the jelly out of my eyeball and reinflated it with new goo. It left me with a great shiner, more blood on the eyeball, and a very dilated pupil.

This surgery gives the lab a lot bigger sample to work with, so they can run more tests.  And the material is from right next to the infection, so there's a better chance of identifying it definitively.

It also cleared the cloudiness out of my eye. I've had a soup of crud in there and a million floaters, so it's a blessed relief to see more clearly.

I have finally started on the toxo medication, which is quite a complex cocktail - 17 pills a day!

It took the hospital pharmacy a while to find all the drugs I need. One of the components is an old fashioned sulphur based antibiotic which has been surpassed by modern medications... except in treating this one disease.

It's rarely used and out of copyright, so very few drug companies can be bothered making it. The hospital Pharmacist found some packets in Spain which were imported (and translated!) especially for me.

You start with a superdose, so last night I had to take this massive amount of medication with dinner and it left me wired. I didn't sleep for a second.

It's the first all-nighter I've pulled in years. I'm still wired as I write this the next morning.

So yeah, a hell of a month.

July was meant to be a glorius mid-winter holiday for me; fishing with my son, writing some new chapters, working on my fitness.

Instead my boy got Covid and I got the evil eye!

But I won't let this crappy month be a complete loss. Today I'm publishing my new book. I've been sitting on it for weeks but I realised that there's absolutely no reason to wait.

Front cover of "Suddenly Super" by Joel Rheinberger. Illustration of an Asian teen wearing a jumpsuit, she is flying, surrounded by the outline of a fighter jet.

Please allow me to introduce Suddenly Super, a teen super hero adventure set in Australia. It's a really fun read and particularly suitable for the young adult in your house.

It's available now at the Kindle Store!

UPDATE 30/7/2022:

My opthalmologist has confirmed my diagnosis with the lab and the latest scans of my retina show the disease is retreating. So the medication is working and my eye is getting better! I may even get a little of my lost vision back again.

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