Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

After my Sunday session with Randy I had a doctor’s appointment at Medcare Hospital. I’d had a chalazion under my left eyelid for months and just couldn’t get rid of it.

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I’d seen my GP and an ophthalmologist at the health centre where I’m registered. I’d tried creams and hot compresses and steroid eye drops but nothing worked. The ophthalmologist eventually referred me to an ophthalmologist elsewhere so I could get it removed surgically (they don’t perform surgical procedures at the clinic). I’d met her before I went to Vietnam and decided I’d do the excision when I got back.

I was nervous when I got there – more about the local anaesthetic than anything else! I was expecting to have a shot in my eyelid and then hopefully feel nothing afterwards. The injection was so painful – I wanted to cry. But at least the worst part was over with. Or so I thought! She gave me two more shots in my eyelid – the second one was quite close to the first so I didn’t feel it. The third shot was very close to my eyelashes and was the most painful of the three. Once the anaesthetic had taken effect, my eyelid was flipped back and clamped and the chalazion was cut out. I didn’t need stitches and it wouldn’t leave a scar as it was done from under the lid. It didn’t hurt but it was uncomfortable – I could feel a lot of pressure on my eyelid and I just wanted to get up and go home! (This is where the deep breathing exercises I’d learned in my meditation class came in useful!) The whole ordeal lasted about 15 minutes.

I went home looking like this:


I had to keep the dressing on until that night. When she taped the dressing my main concern was that my eyebrow didn’t come off with the bandage! I went home and slept for a while. I couldn’t do much else! After I took the dressing off (eyebrow intact), my eye looked a little swollen but it didn’t hurt:

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I took it easy for most of Monday. By the evening I was feeling well enough to go to the third History of Islamic Art talk (I missed the second one). The session was about ornament and calligraphy in Islamic art. The speaker first covered ornament:

  • The early Islamic period (Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates): the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (completed in 691), the Great Mosque in Damascus (completed in 714), Qusayr Amra in the Jordanian desert, stucco decoration in Qasr Mshatta, Jordan and Samarra, Iraq
  • Umayyad Spain: the fountain at Madinat al-Zahra on the outskirts of Cordoba and the Pyxis of al-Mughira (carved in 968)
  • Art of the Muslim East: the Minaret at Jam in Afghanistan (1194-1195 or 1174-1175), the Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, the Shrine of Ahmad Yasawi in Turkestan, Kazakhstan (1398); Masjid-i Jami (14th century) and Masjid-i Mir Chaqmaq, both in Yazd, Iran

Some of the things she talked about with regard to ornament were ‘horror vacui’ (fear of empty spaces/emptiness), the impact of geometry (symmetry or patterning), the ability to make any theme a part of an ornament (including script), and arbitrary-ness – the idea of impermanence and that decoration is just a shell.

She then talked about calligraphy and the following:

  • The Koran in the 8th and 9th centuries (in Kufic script – which was square and angular)
  • The Koran of Ibn al-Bawwab (Baghdad, 1000-1001)
  • Ibn Muqla‘s ‘Six Pens’
  • Bobrinski bucket, probably made in Herat in 1163
  • Shazi pen box (1210-1211), now at the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Earthenware bowls imitating Chinese porcelain (9th and 10th centuries)
  • The tughra (official signature) of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (ruled 1520-1566)

I had another piano lesson on Tuesday afternoon and worked the rest of the day.

I thought the doctor was exaggerating when she told me I wouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort after the surgery. I expected my eye to feel similar to when I had my laser eye surgery but I really didn’t feel any pain at all. The swelling had gone down by Wednesday and you couldn’t even tell I’d had my eyelid cut open 2-3 days earlier.

On Wednesday evening I had another meditation class. We started with an anti-anxiety breathing exercise done lying down: inhale slowly for 4 counts, exhale slowly for 4 counts, inhale slowly for 4 counts, exhale slowly for 5 counts, inhale slowly for 4 counts, exhale slowly for 6 counts, and so on (as far as you could go without straining yourself).

Our teacher then talked us through a visualisation meditation which I really enjoyed. It involved: walking down 21 steps, a key opening a door to a private room, French doors leading to a terrace, your own private garden, small forest, sand dunes and a private beach. I was so relaxed by the end of it!

On Thursday afternoon I had a follow-up appointment for my eye (all fine) and then went to a dinner party at NP’s house to celebrate her birthday. Apart from her and her husband (who I’d only met once) I didn’t know any of the other seven guests – but I had such a good time. The entire meal was gluten-free and the food was excellent. There also seemed to be an unlimited supply of wine and champagne! It was a lovely evening.

One of my cousins arrived on Friday morning – he was staying for a few days. The two of us ended up going to Wafi Gourmet for a late lunch and then wandering around the Dubai Mall for a little while.

That night I met a friend for dinner at La Petite Maison. I’m not joking when I say I’d been dreaming about the burrata all day. I got there at 9pm but due to a misunderstanding my friend was 30 minutes late. I had a Tomatini while I waited and studied the menu. We eventually ordered our food (burrata, crab and lobster salad, escargots, calamars frits for starters, and salt-baked sea bass and the baked gratinated potatoes for our main course). The waiter came back 5 minutes later to say that they’d run out of burrata. I thought I’d misheard him – because how could they run out of burrata?? Do we have to pre-order it now?? I was depressed. I looked at the plate of burrata on the next table – would they notice if I helped myself? We ordered the goat cheese salad instead but it just wasn’t the same. I then ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with the sommelier. ‘Sorry, we don’t have that,’ she replied. WTF? ‘Just joking!’ she then said. Not funny. Not funny at all. The food was great but we were full after the starters as we’d both had a late lunch – and we ended up cancelling the main course and went straight to dessert (cheesecake). After dinner we walked over to Roberto’s for a couple of drinks and then ended up at Zuma. It was a fun evening but I don’t think I really recovered from the burrata episode.

I had another piano lesson on Saturday (a make-up lesson from April) and came home and did some work. There was a beautiful sunset that evening.


That night I went to iKandy with a couple of friends. We had two bottles of wine and some food (the sliders at iKandy are really good). It was a really fun evening and I noticed that it was starting to get really hot at night – summer is definitely on the way!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

3 thoughts on “Dubai 2013: Week 18

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