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Three score and ten or more

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One more dang thing done

It is over.  I spent most of the last two days getting my second cataract removed.  The surgery didn’t take much time, but the eye practice operating room got a little clogged.  I think half a county must have been there for eye surgery, so we spent a lot of time waiting, both on Monday and Tuesday.  We didn’t get home until pretty late in the evening on Tuesday. 

The surgery went fine. I have no inflammation and I can see pretty well.  The eye tested at 20/20.   The only problem is getting used to it.

I have been near-sighted as long as I knew I was sighted.  Basically I have lived in a world where, if I could touch something, if it were within arms reach, I could see it.  If it happened to be out of  my arms reach, it was blurry and I needed my glasses to see it clearly.  

If someone has big bucks, it is possible to get a cataract removed and the lens replaced with a built in bifocal.  I don’t have big bucks so I had to have a single focus lens.  This results in a world where, I can touch it, if it is within arms reach, it is blurry.  In other words, after 77 and a half years of being near sighted, I am now far sighted.  It is wonderful to see things far away clearly, and the colors are so much brighter, but it is confusing to be in a store, and without putting on some reading glasses I don’t know the cost of anything.  Of course, if I don’t take the glasses off, things get really distorted.  When you are three score and ten or more years old, that is downright confusing.

I will get used to it, and the vivid colors and clear vision in the distance make it worthwhile.  (Even the colors are so vivid that I invested in a good pair of sunglasses.  Seems self defeating doesn’t it?  I ought to be satisfied with the world as it comes---Right????   I neve have been before.

Tomorrow I go into the hospital to get a shot, or two, in my spinal cord that is supposed to remove enough pain in my back and left leg that I can walk upright like the rest of the world.  I promise that if it even HALF successful, I will be thrilled, and will not complain about it even if it is different.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Things are looking up (maybe)

I go in the morning to get my other cataract removed.  It was a fairly comfortable procedure the first time and I hope it will be tomorrow.  It is about time something went well.

I have been in –really more pain than I remember at almost any time before since I had the EMG tests last Monday.  I go for my first spinal pain shots on Thursday.  I never thought I would look forward to shots.

It was a little embarrassing this morning at church.  Every one wanted to carry something for me, or carry me, I can’t decide, but I was really hobbling.  Janet says I looked alike a really frail old coot, and I  think I may be becoming what I look like.

This led to a really interesting and sweet experience yesterday.  I was feeling a little better and we wandered around to a few garage sales and moving sales.  At one moving sale, the seller was a very sweet elderly woman (eighty six years old last month, just en years my senior)  She had a lovely home and a lovely yard, and I enjoyed looking at, and purchasing some outdoor items.  She noticed my movement, and volunteered that she was handicapped as well.  The she looked me right in the eye and asked me if I have Jesus in my heart.  I told her that I did, that I had committed my life to the Lord in my youth.   She asked me if I had a church home, and I told her that I am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Things got a little cool. Sometimes those in Protestant Churches, particularly those of an evangelistic sort regard Mormons as non Christians and sometimes as absolute heathens.She started to break of the conversation, but then asked me if I had been a Mormon Missionary.  I told her that I had, and I had serve in Pastoral situations about eight times over the years.  She smiled, took my hand and said that if I would simply ask Jesus to come into my heart, He would do it.  I assured her that I had done that many years ago, and in several different situations.  I then went about purchasing some stuff, and as we were about to leave she called me over and asked if she could pray for me.  I told her that I would be honored if she did, and she quickly took my hand as and we both bowed our heads  she prayed a very strong healing and blessing prayer.  Before she could let me go, I prayed as well, asking the Lord to protect her on her journey (her son had come and was going to take her up to live near him since she was eighty six and had no local family.) and to bless her for being a blessing  to those around her.  We were both pretty tearing eyed by then.  She release my hand and told me I had a sweet spirit and I told her the same.  

It was a very moving and encouraging experience.  I do hope her journey is a good one, and I think her prayer will help mine to be better.   

Thursday, June 21, 2012


In my latest tale of woe I failed to mention that in this same period of time I went to have the cataract removed from my right eye.  (I did talk about it on facebook)

Ir was an interesting procedure, not really painful at all and it helped improve my vision a lot.  I will have the other cataract removed  next Monday.  The experience brought something to memory that had a similar result. 

I went through my childhood without any hint of vision problems.  I never occurred to me that any one could see better than I.  When I was a sophomore in high school, I was taking Geometry (the one Math subject that I really loved and did well in==something about the way rules are set up etc.).  About six weeks into the class I found myself changing seats each class period, sometimes asking my teacher to change my seat, because the glare from the sun in the window was making it very difficult to read what was on the chalkboard. (This is really very important in geometry>)   After severa; seat changes my teacher came to sit by me, then stated that she could read the board clearly from my seat, and she suggested that I might consider asking my parents to send me for and eye exam.

They did, and I had my eyes checked.  The optometrist checked my eyes, told me I needed glasses and that I should come in the following  Wednesday after football practice to pick up my glasses.  (He did show me a batch of frames and allowed me to pick one that I liked)

On Wednesday I went to his office and he put my new glasses on my head, then adjusted the frames a bit, and sent me away.   I will never forget the sensation I had upon leaving the building.  I looked across the street and could see the individual bricks in the wall of the store.  I noticed that I could see individual leaves on trees.   I had this insane urge to grab pedestrians on the street and point out to them the rows of varicolored bricks on the buildings. (fortunately I resisted that urge, realizing that these people who had been seeing these things all along would call a cop or something)   I will never forget that afternoon.  It was one of the most exciting days of my life.  I felt like Superman with x ray  vision.   It was late enough that I had missed the school bus and I fairly danced the five mile walk home.  Every intersection or block brought ne exciting things to see.

Holding my hand over the unoperated eye, looking around with my new lens was almost as exciting.  I didn’t dance around (I no longer dance around for anything unless I have to go really bad and the restroom is a long distance away), but I was newly amazed at the improvemnt in my vision.   I can hardly wait for my second surgery nest mondayl.   (I still haven’t successfully figured out how we are going to travel in July.) 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Still Around

It has been an interesting period.  About the time I wrote the last post, I was about as miserable as i have ever been, and Janet was about in the same shape.  We still had commitments to go to a time share in Florida which we love, and we had all kinds of other medical things going on.  We went to see the acupuncturist in Savannah and began some of our really crumby adventures. 

On the way to Savannah a truck ahead of us dropped a large piece of steel off the back (as an old railroad man, it looked like a three or four foot piece of rail track).  In spite of my best efforts, I ran over the dang thing with my “drivers side” wheels and knew immediately that we had blown two tires.  I pulled off the road to the center of the expressway, and stopped till I had enough break in traffic to thump across the road when we could be on the shoulder of the road.  I then noticed another car pulling off behind us, and discovered that they too had hit the steel.

I called AAA and waited for about two hours before the tow truck came (I don’t know what happened to the other car, but it was still sitting by the side of the road when we departed.)  The tow truck driver asked where I would like the car towed, and I said, “probably to your shop, I presume you will have tires”.

He replied that tires were not enough, that the front driver’s side wheel had been broken in half and we would need to go somewhere where they could get new wheels as well.  I had him take me to the Savannah Mazda dealer (we were riding in a 2005 Mazda, that we paid too much for)

We got to the Mazda dealership where we discovered that new tires (darn low profile things would be 250 bucks apiece and the wheels would be about the same (we bought cheaper tires than the original Mazda times.)  After missing the acupuncture appointment, by about six PM we were headed home in a rental car (a brand new Mazda)  The ensuing month has been one of the more miserable of my life.

My skeleton is a mess.  I have no rotator cuffs in my shoulders, (repairable with a “reverse shoulder replacement—just the kind of fun a seventy seven –going on seventy eight year old looks forward to).  No discs between the lower four lumbar vertebrae and when my hip started hurting whenever I tried to get out of a chair, I decided that a trip to our handy dandy orthopedist was in line.  I discovered that I now have arthritis in the rest of the spine creating scoliosis  (My hip x-rays were “pristine”) and I have been placed in the hands of a pain management specialist who, after some more tests, is going to shoot my spinal column with “heaven knows what” that will make my spine and hip quit hurting.  A couple of cortisone shots in the shoulders has fixe the shoulders enough that I can put on my shirt by myself, but in large it hasn’t been a fun month.  (They did get the car fixed and realigned after only two  and a half weeks and almost three thousand dollars (Thank Heaven for insurance)

We have committed to go to Washington for the farewell of my grandson who is going on a Mormon Mission to the Ukraine, and too a high school sixtieth reunion and to a family reunion (all of these out west in Washington, Idaho, and Utah)  We have also pre-paid for a cruise and a couple of bonus time share weeks in the next eight months.  I am feeling a little better and Janets thumb replacement is less painful but she is in pain everywhere.  It is really something that shakes us both up when only two months ago, after acupuncture etc,.we both were feeling better than we had felt in a couple of years.

Right now, we are trying to figure out if we can do any of those things.  One shouldn’t commit to things very far in the future when you get to the three score and ten, and more stage.  We are praying about it, checking  airline prices (We have mutually decided that if we tried to drve to these places, we would have to pack our orthopedist and some other doctors in a trailer and haul them with us, to survive.)

I am digging though my historical notes to try to fine something entertaining for my next post.  I think it may involve my son’s new  (well, newish) three legged dog which is a delight, especially if she comes to visit when Roscoe, my daughter’s basset hound is here for a few days.

I will avoid writing about my new kidney doctor, who went almost out of his office window when he discovered that, for my shoulders, I have been taking five hundred milligrams of Naproxen each morning and each night for over twenty years.  OH well, nobody is perfect.