James Burns' detached retina
June 30, 2005 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Detached a gorgeous comic based on the author's experiences with having a detached retina and going through eye surgery.
posted by mathowie (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Spalding Gray's excellent monologue, Gray's Anatomy, tells the story of his macular pucker eye surgery
posted by matteo at 10:55 AM on June 30, 2005

I was thinking of making an FPP of this myself. In case anyone was unaware, this comic is by MeFi's own jpburns.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:31 AM on June 30, 2005

This is great!

Doctors have told me that due to my incredibly poor vision, I'm at risk for a detached retina, and just the threat of it is absolutely terrifying. "I don't want to worry you son, but medical science says that your eyes could basically explode at any time, with no warning, don't forget to get a lollipop from the receptionist on your way out".
posted by Capn at 12:09 PM on June 30, 2005

Maybe I'll check it out later when the server's not getting hammered so hard. I got one time out and one half loaded image on the front page but I liked what I saw.

And having had eye surgery last week, I will almost certainly be able to relate.
posted by fenriq at 12:49 PM on June 30, 2005

I send this link to friends of mine who have to get retinal surgery often. It's wonderful. You do know that it's done by our own jpburns, right?
posted by jessamyn at 1:23 PM on June 30, 2005

This jpburns, it vibrates?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:27 PM on June 30, 2005

You do know that it's done by our own jpburns, right?

I do.

(Calling out jessamyn! Oh, no, I di'n't!)
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:29 PM on June 30, 2005

jpburns, if you read this, I can mirror some content if you suddenly need to for some reason. [sorry for not catching that you linked him already FoB]
posted by jessamyn at 1:30 PM on June 30, 2005

[sorry for not catching that you linked him already FoB]

No problem. :)
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:35 PM on June 30, 2005

I'd love to read this, as a family member just went through the ordeal of double detached retinas. Unfortunately, the site is being hammered. Took three minutes just for half of the front page image to load. *bookmarks*
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:42 PM on June 30, 2005

Back on topic, this is seriously a wonderful comic. I can't properly praise the writing, the art or the design/layout without feeling like I might be coming off as condescending and/or sarcastic (sometimes I hate the Internet), so I'll just say that I highly recommend it and look forward to reading the rest of jpburns's material on his site. I knew he was a cool MeFite, but I never knew he was such a talented comics author.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:45 PM on June 30, 2005

Thanks all, and sorry for the lack of bandwidth. I use a friend's hosting service, but he's not used to being "MeFi-ed," and he's doing his best to keep it up and running.

If anyone cares to mirror, feel free. It's actually pretty compact and while it relies on a buncha JavaScript, it's fairly standards-happy stuff... I can send a stuffed or zipped archive for your convenience. My email is on my profile page...

Thanks Matt for posting this; now I don't have to pimp myself here every chance I get...

Thanks again everyone for your kind words. This was my first comic, and I'd like to think I'm a little better, drawing-wise nowadays, after drawing a weekly comic strip for the past year ("Grumbles," on the same server, alas...) for the Sunday Paper here in Atlanta.
posted by jpburns at 2:15 PM on June 30, 2005

Yeah, I agree with FOB here. I had no idea it was jpburns, or that he did such great work. I really love the classic comic style of it all.
posted by mathowie at 2:16 PM on June 30, 2005

What a beautiful way to tell this story! I especially like the timing, and my favorite panel might be the overhead shot of his daughter watching TV as he rests on the mattress.

I can relate to the story, to a degree. Last year I had laser surgery (the spot welding) to reverse the effects of lattice degeneration. The laser makes a little burn on the retina that then scars up. It's this scar tissue that creates the bond that will hold things in place.

I still had a bad case of the "what-ifs" beforehand and had a nice quiet little freak-out after the second procedure, when things went dark for me in that eye. And yeah, it's definitely a little weird to be not-quite-middle-aged and hanging out at the retina clinic.
posted by gismonda at 2:43 PM on June 30, 2005

This is a problem I have battled since I was 15. About that time I woke up and everything in my right eye was underwater green, and despite surgery I lost vision in that eye. It wasn't until I started having problem with my other eye that it freaked me out. All told I have had seven eye surgeries. As of now my remaining eye is stable (10 years now) but it is a real possibility and quite likely, I shall be completely blind in my lifetime. Not something you dwell on. It is perhaps because of this that I enjoy photography so much at this point. I could go on about other things related to the process, but that is enough for now.

good work jpburns
posted by edgeways at 2:56 PM on June 30, 2005

My mom had a retinal detachment about 8 years ago with immediate sucessful laser surgery that corrected it quite nicely.

A couple months ago, I was informed that I had a hole in my retina, and lattice degeneration. I was referred to a retinal specialist, and he looked more closely and found many small holes, a medium sized hole, and lattice degeneration all over the place.

He offered me the surgery if I wanted it, but stopped short of actually *recommending* it.

I did some research and found I had a .37% chance of a detachment. This, for me, is not enough of a worry to warrant major surgery (the surgeon would have wanted to put me under general anesthesia, which carries some not-insignificant risks in itself). Sure, I'll be on the lookout for floaters or other signs that trouble is afoot. But the point is lattice degeneration (even with holes) is not necessarily bad enough to *require* surgery.

I kind of feel like I'm being mean, but the comic struck me as being overly melodramatic, and I didn't finish it. Hate me if you must.
posted by beth at 5:54 PM on June 30, 2005

I can see where some might think it was overly melodramatic. As someone who could be considered a worrier (I like to think that I am hypervigilant, really), I could totally relate to it. Wonderful comic, great story. Glad that there was a happy ending!
posted by kamikazegopher at 6:24 PM on June 30, 2005

I realized about halfway through chapter 2 that the mystery of a true life autobiographical story of whether or not a man will lose his eyesight is someone diminished by the fact that it's in comic form.

Kind of gives away the ending.
posted by Bonzai at 6:55 PM on June 30, 2005

Thanks for this, James and to Matt for posting it. Beautifully done in one of my favorite comic styles, really nice.
posted by fenriq at 7:17 PM on June 30, 2005

I know an artist who would like this, as he also is suffering from the problem. Unfortunately, he lost his other eye in childhood, so the detached retina means he's all but blind and could barely see it. Sucky thing to have happen if you earn a living from graphics. :(
posted by -harlequin- at 2:56 AM on July 1, 2005


Yeah, I was being a little melodramatic, but that's how I felt. By the way... I didn't just have lattice degeneration, but had an actual detachment (a tear), thus the name of the comic.

Thanks again for all the kind words...
posted by jpburns at 4:10 AM on July 1, 2005

By the way... I didn't just have lattice degeneration, but had an actual detachment (a tear), thus the name of the comic.

Yeah, I know. I wasn't talking about you, I was talking about gismonda's comment:

Last year I had laser surgery (the spot welding) to reverse the effects of lattice degeneration.
posted by beth at 6:41 AM on July 1, 2005

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