Thursday, December 29, 2016

That "Safe" Spot

If you're anything like me, you tuck important things away in, well, what you think of at the time are "safe" spots. It might be an important document, one you know you are going to need later, but don't have, say, the correctly labeled file folder for at the moment. It might be that newly updated  password, or combination for a new lock you haven't customized yet.

And, if you are anything like me, that safe spot is the safest place in the world to keep things from... me. The "Where did I put that?" can plague you for months, years, or as long as  you are willing to keep hunting and never finding it.

What doesn't count is that thing you never thought you'd need again in your lifetime. I got married back in '67, divorced in '81. Best forgotten, as much as possible. Papers "lost" on purpose. I know who I am, so does the government when it's time to collect taxes, or keep track of my eligibility for Social Security. I have an original birth certificate, issued way back when it was thought important to know whether I was legitimate or not. For you younger generations, that translated to whether my parents were married before I was born. But I hear lately that if I ever want to fly again, I need documentation to prove not only that I am who I say I am, but I am who I was. My name changed. It'll be a major document hunt, involving two states I no longer live in, but I have to trust that those proofs are in a couple of government files someplace, that is, in truly safe spots, and only a migraine full of work will be involved in securing copies. So that doesn't count.

The real heartbreaker for me was when I noticed a prong was missing from my Mother's ring, and rather than chance losing a very nice sapphire, I chose to remove the ring and put it in a "safe spot." No, that safe spot was nowhere within my jewelry chest, logical as that may have been. Face it, if you throw in a touch of paranoia, that would be the first place a thief would look, and that ring is one of the two only truly valuable pieces of jewelry I have ever owned. Why would I think it was safe in a jewelry box? It also had a lot of sentimental value. My youngest had given me the three birthstones, and they are richly colored and sizeable. It was custom designed, nickle-free gold since I had just found out about that allergy, and just-for-fun I had taken a bunch of small diamonds from another, old piece of jewelry and had them channel-set around the birthstones. I turned in several pieces of old gold, including a tooth crown, so my out-of-pocket at the time was affordable. Replacement now? Forget it!

The other valuable one was a dinner ring that I had made using my engagement diamond plus a few other smaller stones. Both rings had been appraised and insured, and for years, both worn every day. The half carat diamond got to seem a bit showy, and having managed to lose the other one, I decided to pass that along to the child I had picked to inherit it before something happened to it too.

I never put an insurance claim in on the other ring, as I "knew" I was responsible for putting it somewhere, and claiming anything else had happened to it, despite encouragement from others, didn't sit well. Some day I would find it again. But where?

I could picture myself sitting on the side of my bed in Arizona when I noticed the missing prong. My memories come that way. Important moments come with pictures. But then what? I will confess to looking through that entire jewelry chest at least five times over several years, unwilling to admit I'd done the job well enough the previous times. I checked out my suitcase pockets and my purses, because I had it stuck in my head that I would be returning to Minnesota and would be taking it to get repaired at a reputable jeweler I knew there. I emptied and refilled all of my camera cases, thinking I might have stuck it there. I looked through the laptop bag. I checked my files boxes because at the time I was still working and tax documents traveled back and forth. I even started looking through jacket pockets, nic-nacs, pottery pieces... everything I could think of, multiple times.

Steve and I had even discussed finding a hypnotherapist to locate that memory, but it seemed a lot of work to find one every once in a while when we thought about it, when I have no idea if I'm hypnotizable. Not to mention possible cost. Still, I wouldn't let it go.  Even tonight, with nothing much on TV and a bit of cleaning and sorting begging to be done, I decided to start with that old jewelry chest "just one more time". Until the next time. It wasn't there, of course.

There were a few storage bins on my shelves that needed some  sorting and tossing as well. I found a couple pairs of nail clippers that I knew had to be somewhere. Chapsticks too. Glasses cleaner. Old safety pins, padlocks, vitamins well past date, and a tube of athlete's foot cream that I haven't needed since I retired and go barefoot much more than shod. That tube was in a plastic bottle and looked like it had been oozing out the bottom and turning dark.

Luckily I took another quick look at it before I threw it out. That dark spot moved. It rattled. It turned into my missing Mother's ring, tucked away in a Safe Spot where nobody would ever be stupid enough to look for it. Especially not me.

Yeee Haaaaa!

Now, let's see: what else am I missing?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I'd Love To Say....

...That my extracted tooth isn't bothering me any more. I'll have to settle for gratitude that I kept several Oxy around after knee surgery. And that I don't seem to get hooked on the stuff. I suppose I should also be grateful that it only takes a little over an hour for it to kick in after the big near-screaming jolt when the previous pill wears off at 2:15 AM.

...That I'm not depressed and scared silly with each new announcement of The Donald's latest cabinet appointee. But I just am. That's when I look over at Steve and am thankful for the thirty years of great friendship and each additional day of loving and being loved. I hope whatever new species follow us on this planet deserve it more than we did, and can figure out how to take better care of it.

...That I've figured out how to leave a meaningful legacy behind that we as a species haven't already demonstrated how to obliterate, that I believed beauty and love would outlast ugliness and evil,  or that there were a way to avoid permanent heartbreak that didn't involve total amnesia.

I'd love to say....

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

They Just Keep Coming

There's nothing quite exactly like being so high on your painkiller of choice that you think the reason you couldn't drive was that you were going to be lucky enough to find a dentist who would put you under in order to pull that abcessed tooth out, and now that the only one who could take you today would only use novocaine, you figured you'd be able to drive yourself home afterwards.

Good thing that the logic in that thought hit you while your driver was the one backing the car out of the drive, and not you.

I had a few Percoset left after the knee replacements, saved for just-in-case, and getting a broken and abcessed tooth over the X-mas holiday defined itself in my brain as the proper in-case moment. Days, actually. It has been so long that I'm not used to them any more, and the result was that 5 mg. was enough to kill pain, mostly, ensure sleep through half the night until time for the next pill, and once awake, leave me high enough to be silly. Downright dangerous as a driver as well,  had I chosen to be that stupid.

Still am, for that matter. Give me about 5 more hours before I get behind the wheel again.

On the plus side, the tooth is gone, the pain isn't likely to return except in a minor form which will serve to remind me I can't eat anything interesting for about three days and ceretainly not on that side, and I've discovered that the closest dentist is one I actualy like.

Yes, like!


On the not-so-plus side, extractions don't come free. Medicare doesn't pay for them. Maybe they figure that by my age the teeth are all fake anyway. Maybe they're just cheap buggers. So I hope not to be going back anytime soon. There have been enough minor emergencies hitting the budget to hold me for a while. And I still haven't replaced those other three tires, hired getting the pine straw up off the back yard, fixed the bathrooms' plumbing, or gotten the roof properly insulated. Not to mention ...
oh shucks, I forgot whatever it was.

Time for a nap, anyway.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Makin' A List, Checkin' It Twice

Sending out holiday cards (aka X-mas cards if you insist, but not everyone in the family is religious) is a chore. Yes, it's one I usually enjoy. But it takes time, and work, and a lot of frustration when people move. That's the list I have to check twice. Maybe five times.

Some of you get lost. And it's not all my fault.

Let's start at the beginning. I have a tradition of sending out photo cards. No, not pictures of us, the kids, the pets, with the sole exception of 2012 when we sent out a wedding photo, all credit given to my son-in-law, Ben Zvan. Otherwise, the picture(s) sent out are whatever lodged itself in my brain during the year when I took it. They have a knack of saying,"I'm the one,"

Then it's a trip to Target, Walgreens, or Walmart. Somebody who'll take my photo and my idea of a message and print out cards for me. Many years ago that meant I had the option of creating my own message. Now I have to chose the message from a limited list, so no more clever "Have a Whale of a Good Holiday Season" combined with my favorite Alaska shot of a pod of humpback whales surfacing from bubble-net feeding.

Resigned to settling for their choices of message, I sit before their machine-of-the-year and try to figure out how this one works this year. Every one is programmed differently from the previous year. You may or may not be able to crop, or move within the frame differently than how the machine decided you wanted to do it. Most have switched to touchscreens now, but some years it was click-and-drag, some years a choice of buttons to push, other years a different set that only pretend to do the same things.

I still have never sat in front of one of their machines without taking up about half an hour of whatever employee  could spare seconds here and there. I will say, most of them have been polite about it, forgoing the chance to dish out heaps of humiliation to somebody less tech savvy than they are.

One change for the better is the wait for the cards. You used to get a receipt with a date on it to come back and pick them up. Now they're printed right in front of you from the machine you just used. They make sure you pay because that's how you get your envelopes to match the cards. Another improvement is the quality of the color. It used to be terrible if the chemicals wore out because of the workload and nobody bothering to refresh them.

This year had an extra glitch before even getting to the  store. That new computer has no disc drive. I didn't feel like fighting holiday shopping traffic to go out and find a thumb drive, or whatever the current version of media transfer technology is. I didn't even care to have to answer that question, thank you. Luckily, the new computer doesn't wipe the SD card when you upload picture files, so I still had them on the card. And about the only thing wrong with the old computer, once I charged it up again for a few hours, is no Wi-Fi. So I uploaded the files into the old one, selected out the ones I wanted, and burned a disc.

As a side note, I had extra motivation to use cheap on-hand media rather than buy a thumb drive. Some of those pictures were shot at Crex Meadows. Crex has an annual summer photo contest, and one of the requirements is a digital file of submissions for their future use. If I still like those pictures next summer, I can just send that disc in with the pics, no extra fuss or expense.

Now we come to that address list. My new computer does not recognize my old HP1200 printer. It still works perfectly, but I have to hook it up via the old laptop. Last year's X-mas card list with last year's addresses is one of the stored documents on it. Of course I printed it out along with the x-mas letter, also written (yesterday) on the old laptop.

 BUT... that list was a year old. And the rest of my problems are your fault. Some of you died, but I recognize that scolding you is pointless. Some of you married, some moved, some even moved again. Some of you have never figured out that if you give your new information to Steve, thinking it'll get onto my address list, it's likely not going to happen. That's especially true if you're on his cell directory, in his email list, or he can connect with you on Facebook. I'm still trying to let him know it's necessary to save your holiday card envelopes if you sent one.

I can at least connect with my family and friends. Well, until abut 3:00 PM this afternoon. That's when my address book on my new computer crashed.


I'd go old school, since I still carry an analogue address book with me. But again, some of you have moved so many times that many pages filled up years ago. I really just need another one of those. The original is about 40 years old. A new one should last just fine. Especially if I invest in some White Out while it's still available.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Better Than New, Worse than Old

More tidbits for you. First, comparing the new vision to the old vision ... and lest I terminally confuse you, I mean the new lens in the left eye to the "normal" one in the right ... The new lens is already better, sharper, clearer vision than the other eye, and both used to have nearly 20-20 vision, just reading corrections. This is after less than a week, and the only other difference is that the natural lens has a bit of a yellow tint to it and the artificial one leans a tad bluish. Not a big deal, just interesting. I'm told the eye will stabilize in a few weeks, but if it stays just as it is right now, I'm more than happy.

The tree is up and decorated, as decorated as it will get this year. That always means bubbler lights, and we have three strings of the good old-fashioned kind, hooked up end-to-end. If there's going to be a tree, there have to be bubblers. If we don't feel like all the work of a tree, there will still be bubbler lights, somewhere. This year it meant that my craft table got moved, aka put away, and the futon got put in its place by the patio window, making room for the tree on the lanai with its lights shining in the dining room window. It also means Steve did the heavy work this year, since I wasn't allowed. Mustn't bump the new lens.

I hope I don't have to tell you what all that heavy work did to Steve's knees, especially the one that got the big knock last year, the one that never was much good (oh hey, that means both, actually) but never really healed in the past year. Just as well then that today was his scheduled lumbar block. That means in-and-out , aka day surgery, with an injection on one side of the spinal column 'cause they can't do both sides at once. The point is to numb his knee to block the pain so he doesn't need painkillers all the time and can approach functioning on that leg.

We don't know if it worked. For some folks it does, some not. What I can vouch for is  that it took two of the medical staff to walk him out to the car and sit him down in it so I could drive him home. I can also vouch that while he was out from under the general anesthetic, he was higher than a kite for past the time we got home, and after a little supper, went to bed. High for Steve is a combination of motor-mouth and having to be persuaded frequently that when they tell him he can't drive for 24 hours they do NOT mean tomorrow morning when the procedure was at 6 PM! But at least for tonight he was literally feeling no pain.


One of the satellite TV networks has been offering what they call the "Battle of the Nutcrackers", where 5 different ballet companies from around the world put on their version of The Nutcracker and you can watch them all and pick your favorite. OK, I love the music, so I really could listen 5 times in 5 days. However, not a single one of them was up to snuff for me.

I have been thoroughly spoiled. I took the kids to see it in Minneapolis several times, back when they were little. Lloyce Holton (apologies if it's spelled wrong) put it on each time. It was charming, magical, perhaps a bit on the cute side with the little budding ballerinas in mouse costumes, but told a very distinct story that none of these supposedly "world class" companies managed to do, and showcased real talent. The children were children, not just short dancers, and acted as bratty as children can do at a formal adult party. Their Cossack dancers actually managed to do that squat-kicking  move throughout their dance. The Arabian dancers knew how to undulate rather than just wave scarves around.  The Spanish dancers looked like they knew something about Flamenco rather than just wore something-like costumes but did ordinary ballet steps. The toys weren't puppet shows but actual dancers in costumes, and it always opened with a scene in the magical workshop of Godfather Drosselmeier where he's making the toys before the party.

All of that is what the Nutcracker is to me, and everything else comes short. Maybe I should just settle for a good complete soundtrack and memories.

Meanwhile we've been enjoying upper 70s down here and watching the blizzards on TV. Eat your hearts out. Better yet, come visit!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Surgical Light Show

Yes, cataract surgery is finally in the past, and I'm recovering. Of course, you know me, and writing abut it is never going to be that simple.

First, the big lie. Both the doc's office, and the person from the Eye Institute who called the day before to remind me of the appointment ('cause I'd forget?) and to bring insurance and ID cards along with the extra $500 for using lasers, both of them assured me that I could do the procedure under a general anesthetic. I mentioned previously that I have/had a horror of having to watch surgery on my very own eye.

When I mention that during prep, they actually laughed at me for being so silly as to think I could get a general. I suggested they talk to whomever it is sending out the reminder calls to get their info straight. But I was there, the IV was hooked up, I really wanted to see again with that eye, so I figured it was too late to back out. But it was a passing thought.

I settled for reminding myself that the procedure was only supposed to last 15 minutes, and I've had worse times in the dentist chair. So really, how bad could it be?

I know, I know, never  ask that question unless you're ready for the answer. But it turns out that maybe the only good thing about a cataract as thick as mine was is what you couldn't see before, you also can't see during.

Except the light show.

They taped the good eye shut during the procedure. Thank goodness. They also had a shaped pillow to hold my head steady, and enough anesthetic that I couldn't move that eye around if I wanted to. In spite of that fact, they told me to stare at the bright central light. I could feel the eyelid spreaders, first pulling the top lid up then the bottom down, but there was surprisingly no pain.

It didn't work, of course, for me to stare at some alleged central bright light. The cataract made the whole field of vision uniformly bright giving me nowhere to look. Except... slightly up and left of center there was a light show going on, so I decided to concentrate on that. It was a fairly small circle, and nobody said they didn't like where the eye was pointing.

It's a bit hard to describe accurately, and not just because it came into sharp focus, got a bit blurry, then a lot, then returned to sharp. The colors when in focus were blue and white, blurring into the background brightnes when focus was lost. The background was a nice deep blue, just a touch more faded than indigo. Inside that were vibrating white shapes that could be described as gears, stars, or pointy amoebae. They didn't move relative to each other but they moved, giving me something to focus my attention on, to study other than the actual procedure. I was surprised retinal fatigue didn't seem to come into play. Shouldn't things get dark occasionally, colors reverse?

The light show didn't block my awareness of the procedure, of course. The Doc was telling his female assistant what was going on while she was commenting on things like how hard it was to tell how deep to cut with the laser with such a solid cataract. Occasionally she commented on his doing a good job - how reassuring -  and he pointed out how well the pieces of cataract got sucked out of the eye. Oh, there was another tiny one.

At that point I wondered if I should be seeing anything different, but no. Not till the big ring began appearing. My first impression was it was a rubber or a diaphragm, but wrinkled with darker lines radiating from the outer ring in towards the center like spokes in a bicycle wheel. Was my vision going to have lines in it like that? It went away for a little bit, then returned without the spokes but with bits like dust and microbes coating it. Were those just "floaters"? Did they forget to clean it properly? Couldn't they see it was dirty? Or maybe were those teeny bits of the cataract that hadn't been removed?

In no time after that surgery was finished. I couldn't see a thing but generalized light, a bit of a disappointment as I hoped for some kind of vision now. More eye drops, a pad over the surgical eye held by a stretchy band to avoid my tape allergy, the good eye's pad removed so I could see again for the shift off the gurney onto a chair to make sure I was good to go.

While the bandaging was happening, I peeked a bit but saw almost nothing. Not until the eye was closed. Then I saw general pink, with a horizontal deep red center figure 8 radiating spikes out all over, tiny needles on interconnected balls, the left one being smaller. I guess the tranquilizer they gave me before surgery was really working, because I wasn't freaking out that my vision might be like this.

Once the bandaging was complete, I found I couldn't keep the left eyelid completely closed, as a ring of white light around the bottom kept informing me. I finally decided to just keep both eyes closed unless absolutely necessary, like, say, walking to and from the car. It reminded me of back when I had Bells Palsy and couldn't close the eye properly. As it turned out, I couldn't do it now either. I was so numb, I found out later as feeling slowly returned, that the numbness included not just the eye, but the brow and forehead, one side of the nose, and the upper lip. Kinda like a trip to the dentist, just without the drill. And as each bit wore off, the area newly unnumbed hurt, whether it actually did or not.

They gave me water and crackers since it was late afternoon and I hadn't had food nor drink since before midnight. Of course they also shot me a pageful of instructions during this process. Some were the same as both the general handout pamphlet or the typed handout from the Doc, some different.

So... I guess take your pick. Which drops how often? One set of instructions had every four hours for 3 meds, one had two meds 4 x day but 1 only 2 x day, one added artificial tears every hour to avoid irritation. Then there was the pill for after supper (which schedule? mine where 4PM was breakfast? or theirs?) that kept me up all night peeing so there wasn't pressure buildup inside the eye.

The light show wasn't anywhere near over. While the light pressure bandage was on it, I had a center of bright dancing purple lights, shaped much like NASA's space pictures of noctilucent clouds,
 but not in blue. Simultaneously with them were flashing pinpoints of light in red and yellow, about 2 or 3 at any time. Both went away when I pulled the bandage slightly up off the eye for a couple seconds.

The eye patch  stayed on for 5 hours until it was time for the first drops. That was when I could actually see something real out of that eye for the first time in weeks or months. I forget now just how long it's been how bad, especially as it got worse a bit, then better, then worse. I found out that wasn't at all unusual for cataracts from the prep nurse while we had a bit of time.

Hey, nice that something about me resembles normal, eh?

For bed, after the last drops, I covered the eye with a rigid curved frame which I'll use at least a week for sleeping protection, held on by reusing that elastic strip and a safety pin.

So how was my first look at the world through the new lens? Blurry. Red. But visible again. Unless of course I looked at a light, like the dining room chandelier. Every light turned into a shimmering black blob for as long as I looked at it. I kept rechecking just to see if the effect was real. It was. I just had to hope it was simply another version of the light show artifact from having my eye messed with so drastically, and indeed, it hasn't reappeared, nor any of the other bits of the light shows, since morning. The blur is still there, but it's better. The whole eye is vampire red, and recolors my vision a bit, but that's all supposed to get better.

Steve drove me back to the surgeon's regular office this morning for my post-op check, and he - the surgeon -is happy. The eye chart already shows my vision restored to 20-50, and he expects it to become very close to 20-20. I'll still use trifocals because there's no near or middle distance correction, but that's my old normal.

I'll take it!

Oh, and there's a completely different schedule of which drops when, plus a new drop to replace the final of the 4 x a day ones before bed.  Damn good thing it's all printed out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Couple Weird Tidbits

No, I'm not talking about Trump's announced cabinet picks. Their weirdness speaks for itself.

The first weird thing tonight is a new use for Botox. It got its whole couple minute segment on the 10 PM news. Apparently the stuff's not just for facial wrinkles anymore. And migraines are old news as well. But tonight's newscast could have been straight out of The Onion. Only it's apparently not.

They are calling it Scrotox. And if you think about it a sec, that's exactly what it's for. Men are getting Botox injected into the scrotum, or "below the belt" as the newscaster tried to euphamize it. They claim it has a couple of uses, and we're not talking protection against a good swift kick. Although I wonder....

The first use is to drop the testicles to reduce sweating.  Uh, hey, guys, showers? That's the best cure for stink. Trust a woman on this. Plus they're much cheaper, and  useful in other ways too. Although I could see dropping them to cool the testicles to increase fertility. Too much heat impairs sperm. Don't rely on it for birth control, however.

The second use is also about dropping the testicles, in order to increase the apparent size of "certain other parts" in the, uh, foreground.

And they said, "Vanity, thy name is woman!"

You hear us laughing?

The second weird tidbit is an apparent side effect of my getting ready for Wednesday's cataract surgery. If you recall, the last vision check had my eye down to distinguishing light and shadow in very general terms, and some retention of the color red. I'm now on a regimen of two different pre-surgery eye drops, taken two and four times daily respectively. Tonight in mediocre lamp light, some high-contrast shapes are a little more defined, green and yellow are back, and blue in a cloudless sky has reappeared. So far as I know, the purpose of the eye drops is to rid the eye surface of infective microbes. Why my vision is improving is a mystery: weird, but I'll take it!

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I freely admit it: I kinda enjoy mentally insulting other drivers that I consider idiots while I'm out driving. It's mostly a mental monologue. I seldom actually say anything unless whatever boneheaded thing they just did is particularly egregious, and very rarely swear.

Oh wait: is "asshole!" swearing?

Anyway, I'm usually pretty calm behind the wheel, even in stop-and-go rush hour traffic. I listen to public radio, classical music, or work on mental problem solving as a way to get through it all. I never forget there are a whole lot of idiot drivers out there. After all, you only have to get 70% of the questions right at the time of the test in order to get a license. That can leave a whole lot of ignorance and stupidity behind the wheel, not to mention non-sobriety, texting, fighting, whatever.

So while mentally insulting my fellow drivers is a tool for keeping calm, I still stay back and stay wary.

This afternoon, returning from a lunch with friends, I was just over a block from home when suddenly a big grey SUV appeared in my rearview, then pulled out into the oncoming lane and passed me. My first reaction any time I'm passed is to check my speedometer. I might be being given a "subtle" hint to speed up to the limit. Not this time though. I was doing 30 in a 30. He was speeding.

Not only that but we were coming up on an intersection, 105th Ave. It's one I normally slow down for simply because it has a big dip in the center, enough to hurt Steve's back if he's along and I don't slow. It's become habit.

FYI for you non-Arizonans out there, the dips are for rain removal. It doesn't happen often or hard enough to make it economical to put in storm drains, so dips are all you get. The really big dips are called washes, and come with warning signs, occasionally ignored by - you guessed it: idiots - never to cross when water is flowing through them. 105th, though, is just one of the bigger normal dips.

Back to the SUV. I'm guessing he didn't see the white sedan that ran the stop sign any sooner than I did. He'd just sped into her way while I hadn't. Her car finally made it across the intersection and came to a stop with its front end crumpled to about half its original length. The SUV, having been broadsided, rolled over, tossing papers all over through its open windows, and finally stopped right side up again against the curb about 4 houses past the intersection on the other side of the street.

I managed to completely avoid all flying debris from either car, and pulled over to a relatively clean spot along the curb to make a 911 call for both cops and ambulance. Within a minute, if adrenaline didn't screw up my time sense, I heard sirens from both east and west. I carefully drove the 2/3 block left to get home, not only to clear the area for the important vehicles, but because there was a piece of plumbing at home loudly calling my name. By now neighbors were coming out of their houses to lend aid if needed, something I was ill-equipped to do.

I did, however, walk back down after a couple minutes and give my eyewitness account and personal information to the two deputies who showed up, before heading home for the day. I'm ready for some fake adventure from the TV.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Daily Vision Changes

Well, I broke another machine. No, I didn't knock anything over because I couldn't see it or anything like that. I'm just one of those people in whose mere presence machines break down. Never get behind me in a check-out line of you're in a hurry: something will happen. This time, it was a machine in the eye surgeon's office. They needed a final exam, which is supposed to lead to a print-out of data on my eye. Both, actually.

The repairman has been called. It probably started working again soon after I left.

In the meantime they switched to a different machine in a different room. I didn't manage to break this one. The biggest problem for me, with both machines, actually, is I'm supposed to hold my eye open for about 15 seconds. I blink about every one to three seconds. Can't help it. I blame it on the antihistamines I take, but allow for the possibility it's an early stage of Shogren's. Another gift from Mom, if so.

I had plenty of time  to do nothing much while they were trying to get the information they needed, so I decided to see for my own "amusement" - or edification - how the cataract is progressing from my side. An unfamiliar room is a great place to compare what is visible or not from each eye. There are two major changes today.

First, bright lights, seen through the cataract, used to be blurs covered with black spots, evenly distributed tiny specks like looking through a thin machined filter. No more black specks. Colors have changed too. Today I see light or shadows in various intensities, and red. The red can vary from pink to reddish brown. Yellow, green, blue: gone. I only know they are there by checking with the good eye.

I haven't decided whether I find this interesting or frightening. Both, I guess, along with relief/hope that in a week all will be changed. Surgery is the 7th.

Oh, and there's a complication. I have - if I got this right - pseudo exfoliation. The term may not be exact, but I correctly translated it back to the surgeon as false shedding. There's a ring around the lens that sheds cells. Over time, it could mean that the implant loosens and falls back inside they eye, requiring another surgery to pull it forward back into place.  He told me to spend some time on the internet finding out more about the condition.

Hey, when does a Doc tell  you that? Usually it's to ignore all the misinformation out there and listen only to the Doc.

Anyway, there are two things to consider, besides a possible future second surgery. One is a choice between scalpel surgery and laser surgery. Lasers cut more exactly and with less movement applied to the eye in the process,  which could help postpone problems. Scalpel surgery -yes, it's still done! - applies more movement and could hasten a problem.

Seems like a no-brainer, eh? But the second thing to consider is there is a difference of $1,500 between the two procedures. And Medicare only covers the cheap one. They don't recognize there may be a good medical reason, not just a comfort reason since the eye heals sooner, for doing the laser surgery.

I opted for digging out the plastic to cover the better option. I took some time to think about it. After all, I'm only going for the simple new lens Medicare pays for and will continue with wearing trifocals. The technology exists for me not to need any corrective exterior lenses after.

Oh, I'm also promising myself that the first indication of blurriness from the other eye, fast as this one has been growing,  I'm heading back to the surgeon.