Readers and members may have noted that I was off sick the last days of April and early days of May. Here’s what happened. If you want the executive summary: I was in hospital, I’m mostly better now, I expect to be able to continue to write and publish erotica, but I have some long-term impacts that may make me marginally worse/slower at some of the job. Buy my books to help (link).

Okay. So on Wednesday 27 April, while writing, I suffered a sudden headache. At the same I saw what looked like a drop of water on my computer screen. I tried to wipe it away, but it wouldn’t wipe away – and then I realised it moved with my vision, regardless of which eye I was looking out of.

I called a medical service at that time, who seemed fine to let me sleep it off based on the absence of other serious symptoms. But when it hadn’t resolved by Friday morning, I went to my GP, who then referred me to the hospital emergency department. At the hospital they found I was hypertensive (high blood pressure), and a CT showed evidence of an intercranial haemorrhage (brain bleed).

In simpler terms, I had a stroke. A basal spasm (tightening of a coronary artery) had led to a haemorrhagic stroke (a bleed, as opposed to a clot) in the occipital lobe of the brain, which controls vision.

After several days in hospital, I’m now back home again, with medications to help control blood pressure.

The dead spot in my vision – which is about the size of the aforementioned “drop of water on a computer screen” – is still there. It may heal. It may remain as it is (which is the most likely outcome). There’s a small chance it will get worse.

When I’m doing normal things, such as walking around, interacting with normal-scale objects, the dead spot is completely imperceptible. I can do all those things just fine. It only shows up when I’m working with detail – such as writing or reading text. It’s located just down and left from the centre of my vision, and impacts my ability to take in the detail immediately around the point I’m actually looking at.

This means that I’m a little slower to read, and a LOT worse at spotting typos. Sorry, but I’m probably going to have a few more typos going into the future, particularly of the kind where I type, for example, “litttle” instead of “little”, because counting repeated similar characters is particularly tricky for me now. (Luckily, these are the sort of typos that a spellcheck can help with, so hopefully I’ll catch most of them.)

The brain is a wonderful thing, and even over the last few days it has adapted to intelligently “fill in” the dead spot. This includes giving me a guess on what should be in the dead spot from surrounding context (one of the reasons I can’t see it at all in most contexts), and what I guess I could call “overscanning” – ie. moving my eyes quickly back and forth to see what’s behind the dead spot, in contexts where normally I could have seen everything without moving them.

That last one has the unfortunate effect of making my eyes get really tired, really quickly, when dealing with non-moving detail – such as, again, large blocks of text. So it’s likely that when I’m working with words, I’ll need to take rest breaks more often.

I already have a fair amount of space in my existing work plan to pace myself and work around difficulties, so I’m hopeful this won’t substantially affect my output or deadlines. I’m still working out what impact all this is going to have.

Luckily, I’m in Australia, and my hospital stay and everything in it was entirely free – covered by Medicare. However, I still missed four days of work (coming on the back of the scheduled holiday I’d had just before), and while my GP and medication were subsidised by Medicare they weren’t entirely free. Also I’ve had a few other costs, including a blood pressure monitor for home.

So what I’m saying is now is a great time to buy some of my books (link). (Sorry, but I’m over a week behind on hustling, so I need to remind you all where the shop is!)

In terms of the forward work program:
* Free queues have been running while I’m away and will continue running a while yet without further input.
* Immediately after this post I’m going to work on the May Premium Library refresh.
* Then I’ll put up an Early Access post for members for each day I’ve been away, until we’re caught up.
* Then I’ll restock the free queues, and maybe put up some old chapters on sites like CHYOA or ROM.
* Then I’ll get to work on new writing.

I don’t know what my pace for all that is going to be, or how much rest I still need. I’m obviously not going to push myself. I expect that the Premium Library Refresh will definitely happen today, and hopefully much of the rest, but if it takes a couple of days to catch up, that’s why.

Thank you all for your care and continued support.

– All These Roadworks
3 May 2022

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