The Short Version

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Back in March of this year, I was living in Silver Springs, Florida. I’d moved there in April of 2008 to do research on my second novel “Hog Valley”. Much of the story takes place in and around the Ocala National Forest, so that seemed to be a real smart move.

But that March the vision in my left eye started to go all wonky. It started out with a lot of ‘floaters’ in the eye and in a matter of a few days it just started raining floaters in what seemed to be several depths. Some seemed to be real close and others further out. I got scared when my vision became completely blocked and went to the emergency room. They sent me to Shands in Gainesville.

I love Shands. The initial surgery took place at the end of march. If you need a retinal repair, go to Shands. I’ll not afflict you with the gory details of the surgery itself, but I will say those were ninety very interesting minutes. I did try to get up and leave a few times, but the docs managed to talk me out of it. After draining the viscous fluid out of the back of the eye, the doctor cranked up the laser and stitched the torn retina. Then he filled the cavity with a silicon-based fluid.

Two months later I went back for what was to be the final operation to have the silicon extracted and the cavity filled saline solution. But there was a problem. When I went to the docs office the day after for the post-op visit we found that a large glob of silicon oil remained in the back of the eye.

So a month later I went back for another procedure to remove the oil, flush the cavity and fill it again with saline. At the post-op the next day I found that the vision in the center of my left eye was clouded. Somehow the cones in the center of the eye are ‘grayed out’. At first the doc thought it might be due to ‘photo toxicity’, or light poisoning due the the very bright lights they need to see what they’re doing way back there, but now the most likely culprit might be the silicon oil itself. Nobody knows why, or how, or even if for sure it is the oil. But they will figure it out.

So today I went back for another visit with the eye doc. I’m back on eye drops and I’ll go back to visit him in another two months. It seems that out of the thousands of surgical procedures he’s done, five patients, all in the last year, are reporting the same problem. The docs are working on it, and I have no doubt they will figure it out.

These folks are good, and dedicated. I have vision back in my left eye, and I am a happy camper. With both eyes working I do not notice any loss of vision due to the grayed out area. I am a happy camper.

But all of this to-ing and fro-ing to Gainesville, and the loss of the use of my left eye for extensive periods of time, and the resulting eye strain in my right eye have conspired to keep me away from my computer and my writing.

I am sorry for that, because if I don’t write you can’t enjoy my novels.

“Hog Valley” is in production now. It should be available near the end of September (in spite of health issues). I am back at work on “Twisted Key” now that “Hog Valley” is all grown up and out of the house, both of my eyes are working properly, and I am writing new material at a decent rate.

All may not be well with the world, but on the whole I’ve got no real complaints.

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About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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