The Circus of Life: Part 1

I initially wrote this November 12th, 2010. And then the elephants came into the center ring. More on that later….

Please pardon my absence. Many things have happened on the last several weeks that became a “vampire of time.”

Most of the things that have been going are quite positive. I and an associate, Bill Lowe, are working with a group of middle school children from Blue Hills and Dorchester Boys and Girls Clubs in a program called Riffs and Raps. This is our third year under the sponsorship of JazzBoston and we have an incredibly challenging and intelligent group this year. I’ve also put up a one man photography show at the Gallery at the Piano Factory called Bompu: Ordinary Zen. About thirty five pieces on display, more than half of which have just been printed, framed, glassed and matted in the last month. We had the opening last weekend and I and my quintet played a couple of sets of live jazz to the delight of the crowd. Meanwhile, I’ve recently done a concert with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra and tomorrow I have another one with a small-big band called the Makanda Project. For the Gallery at the Piano Factory, which I help run, we have just completed elections for the board members. The above punctuated with several Dr’s appointments. All-in-all, quite a busy period indeed. One thing however has been troubling.

 A few months ago I wrote extolling the virtues of cataract surgery and for a few months after the surgery I was in visual heaven. My bionic eye was wonderful, crystal clear, perfectly sharp and a sheer delight. And then…

As I was in Framers Workshop, framing seven new pieces for the show, I noticed something annoying in my right eye. At first it seemed like a hair from my eyebrow or eyelash that was getting in my vision. Then it seemed like a hair on my eyeball only it wouldn’t go away. I shelved the feeling until I got home and was able to try flushing it with eye drops. Alas however, in the bright white of the bathroom tile and five lights it became clear or more correctly apparent. My right eye had a huge “floater”.

A floater is where some of the gel from your eye detaches and literally begins to float around in the eye. Replacing the bulging cataract lens with a nice thin manmade lens leaves a bit of space behind which can lead to a new floater like this. I should explain, it’s no fault of the surgery and it doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s the old “Nature hates a vacuum” thing. Once detached, filaments that formerly tethered the gel to the retina now drift like hairs dancing in front of ones eyeball. Mine was/is particularly alarming as it scans back and forth directly in the center of my line of vision along with my eye movements. Worse still my floater, which my ophthalmologist named Cassiopeia, seems to have a little more density at the left edge which literally makes my vision ripple as the edge goes by.

I’ve been told that in time my brain will simply learn to ignore the floater and that I won’t notice it unless I go looking for it. Timeline for my brain to remap? Probably three months, or so I’ve been told. Another medical source mentioned that eventually gravity will pull down the floater until it is below my line of vision. Both of these scenarios at least give some promise for a literally brighter future however there is a certain amount of unavoidable disappointment at this new imperfection that has spoiled the pristine clarity of the post cataract eyesight. I guess one must always keep humility in the palm of ones hand and perhaps gratefulness in the other. After all, there are those who cannot see.

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December 2010

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All Photographic Images ©Arni Cheatham, Segami Images and Eyes and Ears, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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