Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

I have always had dismal vision in my left eye and a few months ago I started to notice a blurring of my vision in that eye.  We eventually went to the opthalmologist who, after giving me drops to dilate my pupil, had a good look around and discovered that I had torn my retina.  No idea how that happened but there it was and he booked me in for laser treatment first thing the next morning, which was a bit worrying.  It was in fact no problem, although he said that apart from a horseshoe-shaped flap which had torn, there were myriad holes to be patched.  The blurred vision was a blood clot which was floating around in the fluid of my eye, and which he said would dilute and go in time.  The treatment is to fire a laser at the tear and weld it back into place.  All very high tech and painless, a bit like a video game.  In fact I began to suspect that the opthalmologist thought he was playing Space Invaders.  After a few miutes firing shots with the laser into my eye, I asked him if he was trying for an extra game and warned Carmen not to stand behind me in case he drilled clear through my head and she got lasered as well.  He needed two hundred and seventy shots to patch me up and I left feeling none the worse for wear.

I had to go back a couple of weeks later to see how things were progressing and went through the same dilating process and after a good look around the opthalmologist declared himself satisfied.  Going outside in the July sun of a Granada afternoon with my pupils still dilated was excruciating and I borrowed Carmen´s sunglasses and skulked along in the shadows, squinting like Clint Eastwood about to gun down Lee Van Cleef and causing the Granadinos to give me a wide berth.  We passed an ONCE kiosk and I remembered that I had a ticket in my pocket that I wanted to check.  The ONCE is a charity lottery for the blind which I always patronise, as a kind of insurance.  It is manned by people that generally have major problems with their vision and are unable to work elsewhere.  In this case the chap in the kiosk was wearing a pair of bottle bottom glasses, so was obviously visually challenged.  I produced my bar-coded ticket and he ran it past the electronic reader he used to check them, and said something that I didn´t  hear very well, the kiosk being on a main street.  He spoke again and I still had problems so I told him that I was a bit deaf and have problems hearing when there is a lot of background noise.  So he picked up the ticket reader and showed it to me.  Then I had to tell him that I couldn´t read either as my eyes were not too good at that moment.  He looked at me bemused and I think for a moment he was going to offer to swap places with me as I was obviously in a worse state than him.  I saw the funny side of this and began to laugh, and obviously relieved he gave me my five euros winnings.  I sloped off into a department store and didn´t feel really comfortable until I was in the dimly-lit underground car park, like Dracula returning to his dungeon.