Getting an Eyeful…

…Of medicine for macular degeneration — that’s what I’ve been doing today. I had my bi-monthly appointment with the retinologist this afternoon, and received another injection in my left eye.

Today’s injection, unlike the previous two, brought with it the Dancing Air Bubble, which always makes recuperation take a little longer. It’s kind of like “follow the dancing ball”, only you can’t follow it — when your eye moves, the ball goes with it.

That’s why posting has been light today. There will, however, be a news feed before bedtime.

Apropos of nothing: while I was out today, I saw a bumper sticker (pink background, black foreground) with two stylized cats and this text: “The Pussy Whisperer”.

Eyeballing It

I went to the retinologist today to have my eyes scanned and get an injection in my left eye to prevent further damage from wet macular degeneration. The doctor said the scan looked good, with no indication of any further vascular eruptions, so I can go seven weeks this time before I get the next one.

It’s somewhat difficult to work at the screen right now, so posting will be light this evening. To tide you over until I get back up to speed, here’s a recording of a lovely young lady named Elisabet Wimark playing the “Little Fugue” in G minor (BWV 578) by Johann Sebastian Bach on the organ in Sollentuna Church in the suburbs of Stockholm (recorded and edited by Anders Söderlund).

This is possibly the most exquisite piece ever composed by Bach. It’s short, and densely packed with the fully-developed counterpoint at which the composer was so adept. This isn’t the best rendition of the Little Fugue that I’ve ever heard, but it’s fully competent, especially for an organist so young:

I chose this performance for a couple of reasons:

1.   You can see the organist’s hands and feet clearly and thus get a feeling for how the piece she is playing is structured; and
2.   Sweden is facing an important historical moment in the parliamentary election coming up next Sunday.

This is to remind our readers that there is another Swedish culture — a civilization, if you will — besides the lunatic asylum that we see in the news reports featuring metastasized feminism, rampaging political correctness, and an absolute surrender to aggressive immigrant invaders.

That other Sweden exists. It trained and mentored this young woman (in a church, of all places). It appreciates her work and comes to listen to her performances. She’s far from alone; just do a YouTube search on J.S. Bach’s organ works and you’ll find dozens of Swedish organists right there alongside the Germans, the Dutch, the French, and the Hungarians.

That other Swedish civilization may well be in its death throes. Its citizens may be largely unaware of what is about to happen to their country, which makes their plight even more poignant. So we should do all we can to celebrate and promote the existence of that other Sweden.

For the next few days — before, during, and after the election — I’ll ask readers to refrain from nasty, spiteful comments about Sweden and Swedes, as if they could all be lumped together as simulacra of Mona Sahlin and Fredrik Reinfeldt. They aren’t all like that, obviously. And we do them an injustice when we talk about them that way.

If we are witnessing the death of a civilization, we should pause to remember Sweden-That-Was, because that is what is in the process of being destroyed.

And don’t forget: Sweden isn’t fundamentally different from the rest of the West. It’s just a little further down the primrose path that leads to the Multicultural Utopia. We’re all on that same shining path, not far behind all those Swedes skipping gaily towards a doom they can’t even recognize.

Video Overload

Due to a death in the family and a (separate) family health crisis, Dymphna and I have experienced somewhat of a shortage of time for blogging during the past week or so.

I’ve mostly kept up with the editing of subtitles and the file formatting that I do to help Vlad with video production, but I haven’t posted all those videos yet. I have a backlog of more than a dozen waiting in the queue. In addition, Vlad has done several videos without my input, so there is a lot of material out there that you may not yet have seen.

I’ll gradually be catching up on those videos, but in the meantime, visit Vlad’s YouTube channel and the Vlad Tepes blog if you want up-to-the-minute material.

Good News and Bad News

I went away overnight to meet up with the future Baron and go see our relative who was in a very bad car accident last January. That’s the good news part of this, but let’s get to the bad news first.

While I was at dinner with our son and that relative, another close relative — this one older, Dymphna’s son and the fB’s half-brother — had a massive heart attack. So I had to turn around and hurry home. He had surgery, and two stents were put in. He is lucky to be alive — they think his heart was not beating for 7-10 minutes. Fortunately he got CPR before the ambulance arrived. He is also lucky that his brain didn’t get anoxia or whatever you call it — it managed to get enough oxygen, and there’s no brain damage. So we are guardedly optimistic.

Also (and I haven’t mentioned this before) yet another close relative — this one considerably older, Dymphna’s brother — died a few days before all this happened. So it’s been a rough week.

With all this going on, I will be in and out, depending on what happens. I intend to maintain the news feed, at least, and will do other odds and ends when they come up, as time allows.

The good news: The young man who had multiple broken bones and severe brain trauma last winter has made a miraculous recovery over the past four months. He is almost completely back to normal functioning, although he will remain in rehab for a while longer. He has a slight limp on one side, and the arm on the same side doesn’t quite extend all the way, but that is a result of neurological damage to the brain, and not damage to the limbs themselves. His speech faculties are fully restored; he sounds just like he always did. He says the damage messed up his memory to some extent, but I can’t detect it.

It was great to see him so completely recovered — it was like the sun coming out from behind dark clouds for me.

That would have been a wonderful dinner the three of us had last night, if it weren’t for the grim news about our mutual relatives.

Eyeless in Gaza (NOT)

This afternoon I visited the retinologist for my monthly examination and injection to treat the flare-up of wet macular degeneration in my left eye. This is the fourth such treatment since the symptoms recurred three months ago.

The doctor says the eye is doing very well, so I don’t have to go in again for another six weeks. If I continue to do well, the treatments will get further and further apart, and hopefully cease altogether for a while, like they did from July 2014 until this past April.

As eye-pokes (that’s what I call them) go, this one wasn’t too bad. No annoying dancing air bubbles this time, which makes the aftermath much easier to get through. I can’t say I’m back to normal functioning yet, but at least I can read the screen fairly well.

Every time I get an eye injection, I console myself by visiting a nearby retail outlet that has some of the best deals around on wine. They have an astonishing selection of French wines at very low prices. For example, their Mouton Cadet (a lowbrow Bordeaux) is $9.99, whereas you normally pay at least $12-$15 at other stores.

I spent a while cruising around with my shopping cart, squinting at the labels. I got a 2014 Corbières and a 2015 Bordeaux for under $10 apiece.

I love that place! It kind of eases the heartbreak off of having to get a needle in the eye.

Looking at all that wine reminded me of a project that Vlad and I undertook some years ago (his idea, my execution).

Click the image to the right to see the full-size bottle of Château Kafir White Infidel.

The wine in the original bottle that I based the image on is gag-provoking stuff (by my standards). I wouldn’t want to drink it. But the digital version looks quite tasty to me, especially with the piggy on the label to remind me to have some pulled pork barbecue to go with it.

That’s about it for this evening. There will be a news feed, but probably nothing else before tomorrow.

Eyeball Update

I went to the retinologist this afternoon for my monthly examination, and received another injection in my left eye (for wet macular degeneration). Everything went as expected.

I’m a little bit worse for the wear and tear, so posting will be somewhat light this evening.

I’m also cheerful and filled with gratitude, because just fifteen years ago there was no way to treat wet macular degeneration. By this point I would have been well on my way to blindness. A needle in the eye every now and again seems a negligible price to pay in the larger scheme of things.

Ocular, Not Jocular

I went to the retinologist’s today to get a shot in my left eye, the latest in a series of treatments for last month’s flare-up of wet macular degeneration.

It’s not fun, granted. But the symptoms receded a few days after the first shot, and haven’t recurred. So all I have to do is endure one more in a series of monthly injections, and then the doctor will assess whether I need any more, or can have a break for a while.

My eye is sore, but I feel pretty good, all things considered.

Alfie Evans and the Lethal Sympathy of Bioethics

This is a mirror of an essay from the website Studio Matters. Her questions concern the so-called “vegetative state” and at what point we may deem that any human being’s life is “unworthy of life”.

Maureen Mullarkey interweaves her writing with works of art which strikingly embellish and underline her points. Except for the first piece, the art she chose has been omitted to encourage readers to visit her page. As with all her essays, her choices of illustration reveal a thoroughgoing knowledge of art and its power to illuminate moral questions.

Alfie Evans is dead. Deemed unfit, the child was sentenced to death by dehydration and suffocation. We shun the term life unworthy of life but embrace its content. We mask the odor of it with smiling phrases like “end of life care,” cruel details dismissed in the “best interest” of the patient sacrificed to force of law. The act of killing is rephrased in the argot of compassion.

Language loosens constraint from the annihilation of life judged undeserving of the means to sustain it. With that language comes a sea-change in moral discernment. Our experts — lawyers, policy makers, opinion shapers, hospital administrators, doctors as well — have learned their phrases from the relatively new discipline of bioethics. It is the mental and moral vocabulary of bioethicists that provided the rationalizations at work in the sorrowful odyssey of Alfie Evans.

The lethal sympathy of bioethical theorizing has insinuated itself even into the conscience of clergy. British bishops, as a body, assented to those rationalizations. They wrung their hands but did not question the law’s refusal to permit Alfie’s parents to take their son out of the country. Not a single bishop demurred. While the child defied his sentence by breathing without life support, the bishops stayed safe and silent in their cathedrals. Worse, they challenged Bambino Gesu hospital to justify its offer to care for Alfie on medical grounds — as if clinical opinion trumped the morality their priesthood was pledged to protect:

It is for that hospital to present to the British Courts, where crucial decisions in conflicts of opinion have to be taken, the medical reasons for an exception to made in this case.

Required reading on the steady diminution of the ancient ideals embedded in the Hippocratic oath is “Annihilating Terri Schiavo,” a 2006 essay in Commentary by Paul McHugh, M.D., former director of psychiatry at John Hopkins. His early warning has gone unheeded:

“Contemporary bioethics has become a natural ally of the culture of death, but the culture of death itself is a perennial human temptation; for onlookers in particular, it offers a reassuring answer… to otherwise excruciating dilemmas, and it can be rationalized every which way till Sunday… The more this culture continues to influence our thinking, the deeper are likely to become the divisions within our society and within our families, the more hardened our hatreds, and the more manifold our fears.”

Looking ahead, he concluded: “More of us will die prematurely; some of us will even be persuaded that we want to.”

[McHugh’s essay is one of others on the limits of psychiatry collected in The Mind Has Mountains. The book is as pertinent today as when it was written.]

Simon Lancaster, writing in The Spectator, UK, spotlighted the term vegetative state. This was the wording at the core of Alfie Evans’ state-mandated extinction:

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The Eyes of the World

Well, I went almost four years without having to get a needle in my eye. That’s a pretty good run.

As most of you know, five years ago I developed a case of wet macular degeneration in my left eye. For more than a year after that I had to undergo the treatments for it, which consisted of periodic injections in my eyeball. That regimen worked very well, so that the condition improved and eventually stabilized.

But I always knew it was likely to flare up again someday, and last week it did. I noticed the telltale signs — expanding concentric areas of discoloration that resemble a visual afterimage — in the scar left by the earlier damage. So on Friday I made an appointment for this afternoon to see the retinologist.

The good news is that I caught it early, and in all likelihood I’ll only have to endure a few repetitions of the injections before it stabilizes again. I go back in a month to get another scan and a shot, and the doctor will see how things look then.

The bad news is that my vision is still pretty messed up from the dilation, the scanner with the horribly bright flashing lights, and the shot. I’m having a hard time seeing the screen clearly, so posting will be light this evening.

I’ll probably post at least one subtitled video before bedtime. And I heard about the vehicular jihad in Toronto, which happened just before I left for the doctor.