Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

When 2012 began, it didn’t do so happily for me. Blind in one eye (because of surgery to correct a detached retina) and unable to see out of the other one very well even with glasses (mega-myopia), I was face down with my head in a holey Styrofoam pillow for two weeks and fumbling blindly for many more weeks after that. While I was stumbling around, unable to see properly, I managed to trip over some doggie steps and fell, splat, on my bedroom floor, fracturing my right pinkie finger in the process. It was a rough beginning. I had one semi-good eye (the right) and one more-or-less good hand (the left). Not particularly well balanced.

However, things are improving (including my attitude) with gusto. The surgeon (did I mention it’s a 400-mile round trip from Roswell to the surgeon in Albuquerque? Well, it is) said the retina is now fully attached, and he lifted all restrictions. That means I can drive—please swerve if you see me coming—and, more important, I can WORK again! Yay. That means I can make money to buy kibble for the wiener dogs. I have one last appointment with the surgeon in Albuquerque at the end of February, and then the local eye doc can decide what to do about the resultant cataracts. Did I mention that detached retinas almost always result in cataracts in the affected eye? Well, they do, and I’ve got one. I just hope I don’t lose too many more days of work and sight!

Then, just last week, I sold another book to Five Star. PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW will be published some time in 2013, which makes me very happy. Annabelle Blue will be finding dead bodies by the score in Rosedale, New Mexico, in 1923. She doesn’t mean to; these things just happen to her.

And then, to top off the month, my friend Lauren Fiedler, whom I’ve known for donkeys’ years, sent me two genuine, authentic, honest-to-God, vintage beaded dresses from the 1920s! These dresses are absolutely fabulous. Daisy Gumm Majesty might well have conducted a séance in one of them. I couldn’t make them hang properly, but I did manage to take pictures of them. Aren’t they wonderful? I’m going to pack them away and try to keep them as pristine as possible, but they’re almost a hundred years old and fragile. I just LOVE them!

By the way—and this is kind of a public-service announcement—watch out for the following symptoms, which might mean you have a detached retina. I had no idea a detached retina was such a big deal, but it is. If you let it go for more than 72 or hours so, you’re more than likely to lose the vision in that eye. So, watch out for: a funny feeling in the eye; not pain, just funny; sudden floaters (I kept looking to see where the fly was I just saw float by); and what they call a “curtain,” which is a blob in your eye. Mine was near my nose, so when I looked toward my nose, all I saw was a rounded bronze-looking patch. Be very careful. You only get two eyes, you know? I thought I was being hysterical when I called the eye doctor about my symptoms, but when I described them, I got an appointment for first thing the next morning, and as soon as it was diagnosed as a detached retina, I was told to pack a bag and hie myself to Albuquerque as they made arrangements for the surgery before I even left the office! Oh, and be aware that you’re going to need someone with you. I had to stay in Albuquerque for two days, but that’s because I live in the Middle of Nowhere. Sigh.

Here’s hoping the gas bubble in my left eye will go away completely pretty soon, and the year continues as it seems to be going. Mind you, one never knows about these things, but one can always hope.


  1. My father had a detached retina about 20 years ago. Had surgery to put in a band to hold it in place. Pretty gruesome looking til it healed. But it's great they can fix these things.

    And I LOVE 20s dresses!


  2. Yes, and the surgery is easier nowadays, too (although it's still icky). They laser the retina back into place, and then put a bubble of gas in your eye to hold the retina in place. I had NO IDEA it would take so long to heal completely!

  3. The dresses are beautiful. I got to see them in person.

  4. So glad you're better! I sent the third Simon book to Deni, and she asked who my editor was before...hope that means you're on her list!

  5. Aren't they, Ann? I'm going to pack 'em again tomorrow (I HAVE to clean house. Yuck).

    I know you did, Peg! Deni told me so today. I'm so glad!

  6. Sounds so gruesome, Alice. I'm glad your eye is better.

    The dresses are really cool!

  7. Thanks, Barbara. I don't recommend everyone have a detached retina if it can be avoided. Problem is, nobody knows how to avoid them!


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