Chapter one: Overture
I sat down at the desk and resolved to find out what on earth could be going on. I simply couldn’t comprehend the need for any further delay or diversion. It was a strange world; somehow I had to learn new words just to survive. Once again fate was going to intervene on my behalf in ways that were beyond my comprehension.
I decided that however scary things might be it was probably best to understand more about any threat. I started my internet search for `hydrocephalus` but at exactly the point when the correct page appeared, the vertical hold on my computer monitor went haywire. The whole picture started to jump up and down. I was furious; computers are wonderful, they only ever really fail when you need them. I said some rude words about Microsoft, Windows, and Bill Gates et al. I was no longer in a good mood. I was now getting motion sickness and starting to feel quite ill from all the screen movement.
I looked away from the screen to the bedroom wall to reduce the motion effect. But this did not help; the whole wall now seemed to be jumping up and down. It was a crazy strobe effect; you had a split second to focus on the image and then it jumped two feet into the air. But moments later it would then shift back to the original position. In my rage I had concluded that the computer was faulty, but now a solid wall was jumping like a kangaroo on steroids.
In those few moments it dawned on me that there was something quite seriously wrong; walls do not normally jump unless there is a major earthquake. Then I realized it was not the monitor, the computer or Bill Gates. It was me. My eyesight had now lost its vertical hold… I was in trouble. After a minute or so my vision returned to normal and I could read the screen again. I felt numbed and slightly nauseous, but there was no pain. There was a full page on the hydrocephalus condition and half way down it started to describe the complications. This was another piece in the puzzle and it was not good news at all. There it was in black and white in front of me.
“Vision disturbances, always treat as emergency as permanent blindness can result.”
You might guess I was in some shock. I had been under treatment for six months or more and now finally we had the answer.
As I sat looking at the computer monitor it became clear to me that some kind of pattern was emerging. At this time I had a flashback to a game of golf we had played just a few weeks back. During one particular part of the game I lost the ball under a bush and bent over to retrieve it. As I stood back up to my full height there were some very strange effects on my vision. More or less as I stood upright my vision in both eyes immediately broke up.
It became pixilated with sort of digitised black and white images. I could not see anything much beyond a series of flickering grey squares in front of my eyes. The whole process only lasted for about ten seconds and at the time I had thought no more about it. There had been earlier minor vision disturbances which I had put down to stress or simply driving too fast.
But the reality was, the simple disturbances had started about four weeks ago and the more general grey outs had followed a couple of weeks later. The description of the condition from the web page exactly fitted my own experiences so far. In my case, the condition had already progressed from mild to serious.
From this point, if untreated it would move to severe, then to crisis. I was very sick and would maybe become permanently blind soon. I would like to tell you how brave I was, how the stiff upper lip came into play etc. But it wasn’t like that at all.
Maybe ex-service veterans would be able to explain it; somehow you become detached from reality around you. It was a strange experience with no emotion, no feelings, just nothing. There was complete and utter silence. I gradually came back to reality. I was numb and disbelieving.
I was six months into a treatment pathway yet even now the medical services had no idea what the implications might be. I had jumped their normal MRI waiting list by six months, they knew I had a tumour, yet somehow I was still in trouble. All the pieces of the puzzle came together; there was no mystery now and it was not good news. The advanced hydrocephalus diagnosis explained all my vision issues, the black outs, the headaches and the failed taste function. The compression in my skull was building to critical levels and even now might lead to permanent vision damage. I had the answer to the riddle but I was running out of time.
I went down the stairs and told my wife, “I am not very well and will be in hospital soon.”
Authors note: People often ask me “Why Overture?” My reply – “This really was just chapter one, there were nine more after this and then it did get a bit scary; but that as they say is another story…….
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Links to the Book on Amazon
To Argue With Oblivion: A True Story of Catastrophe and Recovery – Kindle edition by Wright, Anthony. Health, Fitness & Dieting Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
To Argue With Oblivion: A True Story of Catastrophe and Recovery eBook: Wright, Anthony: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store