A couple of you have asked what is up with Hotter's eyes. To which I say: how long do you have to read this crap? Because it took one of the best eye doctors on the Eastern Seaboard over three hours to fully answer that question with all sorts of machines and instruments yesterday.
The Reader's Digest version is that diabetes is super-bad for the eyesight, and Hotter had many, many laser surgeries to "zap" bleeding vessels that were threatening his vision as a result of what the disease does to the circulatory system. He also developed cataracts at a young age. At some point the eye doctors treating him decided to remove the cataract from the "bad" eye and do a "vitreous fluid exchange" (don't Google that unless you have a strong stomach/aren't afraid of eye things) (I'm serious, it's the stuff of motherfucking nightmares) to restore as much vision as possible without risking the "good" eye. This left Hotter with a new "good" eye and a "bad" eye that wasn't THAT bad. All of this was done nearly a decade ago though, and after additional lasering Hotter has zero peripheral vision, a lot of blurring, "ghost"-type double vision (there are types of this, apparently), and sees everything very, very dimly.
So he's pretty much blind, bumps into stuff/falls down a lot, can no longer read standard-size print or menus, and has been getting increasingly frustrated by a visual field that apparently looks like this (copied from the eye doctor's drawing):
After over three hours' worth of tests (it'd been a while since Hotter saw an eye doctor, because Medicare doesn't care if you go blind or your teeth fall out--NO VISION OR DENTAL FOR YOU, POOR DISABLED PEOPLE!) subsidized by my employer's excellent medical coverage, the relevant expert said that he wasn't going to push us either way but he *could* remove the second cataract if we wanted to try and improve Hotter's remaining vision. He stressed that this stands a 50% chance of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from Hotter's end (although he did say that getting the cataract out of the way would let him see into that eye better to determine whether another vitreous fluid exchange or more lasering was necessary, so that would still improve their ability to safeguard the remaining vision even if it didn't improve any from this surgery itself), about a 10% chance of making things worse due to infection, scarring, "stirring up" the retinopathy from the diabetes (which Hotter may or may not still have as an ongoing thing--there's not a lot of data on former Type-1 diabetics' vision because pancreatic transplants are fairly new), etc. (if you or a loved one have a cataract, your risk of deterioration as a result of surgery is probably MUCH, MUCH LOWER--I am not a doctor and while Hotter's eye doctor is, he was dealing with Hotter's eyes in laying out these odds and probably your/your loved one's eyes are in MUCH BETTER SHAPE), and about a 40% chance of improving the vision anywhere from "it's a teeny bit better" to "DOCTOR, DOCTOR, I CAN SEE!"
Given that there is so little vision left in the "bad" eye, Hotter and I feel that a 10% chance of losing that vs. a 90% chance of the surgery doing at least SOME good (either immediately or by enabling better long-term care) makes this an easy choice: we've scheduled the procedure for mid-May in order to make sure I can be off work to drive and Transplant can check Hotter out in order to clear him for surgery (nobody will so much as trim Hotter's toenails without their blessing).
"But MFA Mama, won't that still cost you money you can't afford," I can hear some of you asking. Yes. Yes it will. But a) it's his EYESIGHT and b) what are they going to do if the check for the deductible bounces, repo his vision? I AM NOT SAYING I PLAN TO WRITE A BAD CHECK TO THE EYE HOSPITAL. Please don't think that. I'm going to sign up for all available overtime and do my very best to make sure we can afford this! But...well. It's his EYESIGHT. We have to make this happen somedamnhow.
And that is what is up with Hotter's eyes.