Ed the Limo Driver and Reasons to be Thankful Today

I’m pretty thankful tonight. For some time, a friend, his wife, and his doctor feared that high PSA numbers were evidence of prostate cancer. His extensive biopsy results from Monday came in today — there is NO cancer. None.

Lots of prayers were said. I absolutely do believe in prayer, God, and the power of Faith. I believe that prayers were answered. Had the report not been so wonderful, my faith says that God would have provided strength and wisdom for my friends to get through what they needed to. I praise God for that.

About four months ago, I became completely blind in one eye. I won’t pretend I flung myself on the Lord’s mercy and begged him for my sight to be restored. Actually, I was not really happy with God. (Yeah, like my retinal problems were a direct result of Him zapping me for amusement.) I had a “Really? God? Me? What next?” kind of moment.

In spite of that inward prayerful tantrum, God responded graciously.  His voice and message were clear.  Strangely enough, the response came during a conversation with a limo driver named Ed…a Vietnam vet.

Ed said, “I tell those fellows in the Wounded Warrior program, ‘Yes…why not you? If you feel sorry for yourself, you will be the only one who does, no one else gives a $h1t, buddy. And, it CAN get worse; so get up, get moving and do what you can with what you’ve got, because in the long game, the day-to-day is up to you. You can be happy, or you can be pissed off…if you are pissed off, you are going to be pretty darn lonely.’ “

I refuse to say, “It’s h3ll getting old!” I like to think that I am blessed because I lived long enough to have age appropriate ailments and because medical science, while not perfect, has progressed to the point where almost every condition is curable or a person can usually be made more comfortable while enduring a health problem.

Today is a good day. If this was 50 years ago, my friend would have few alternatives to be cured of cancer. It would be terrifying. I’ll bet that he feels younger than he has in years. I know I did after my retinal reattachment was successful. My life was back on track…a slower track, but at least I can see the track!

Today, I know that I am very blessed. 50 years ago I would be completely blind in one eye and living in fear of the second eye following suit. I don’t have to fear that. My retina specialist is monitoring my left eye closely.

Today, I can look forward to seeing another doctor who will set up a date for a second surgery in June that will restore more of the sight that I have lost. Scar tissue (a cataract) will be removed. It won’t be perfect, but it’s going to be better.

Age is only a number. Like my friends Kelly & Jim say, “These are good years. They are more carefree…like college days…but, with more money.”

Yep…I wouldn’t know about it being “h3ll to get old.” I just know that while I can somewhat better afford to have enough fun to kill myself, I am almost smart enough not to do it. God is wise. He slows us down and makes hangovers really, really painful after 50 when being a bit carefree might be a license to have too much fun.

I believe that I will celebrate with an early bedtime and an episode of Fargo.

Spigen Case for my Note 3

Finally, a case that doesn’t cause my fingers to cramp when I adjust the volume!

Colorful rubber or plastic cases are pretty, but my Spigen is comfortable and classic.

Spigen SGP10453 Neo Hybrid Case for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Retail Packaging – Satin Silver

From Amazon, “The Galaxy Note 3 Neo Hybrid is an assembly-type case with a TPU back cover and a polycarbonate frame. The Neo Hybrid is form-fitted to effectively protect your device from external impact. The Galaxy Note 3 neo Hybrid is designed to highlight the curves of the Galaxy Note 3. It fits precisely onto the phone for a natural and sleek look. The Galaxy Note 3 Neo Hybrid is a 2 part case that can be dissembled into a TPU back cover and a polycarbonate frame. The Neo Hybrid uses premium TPU material for extra durability. The TPU back cover will not sag or expand due to heat from the device.”

50+ Kids: Take care of your retinas!

In January, my sight was fine; I wore mono vision contact lenses and no cheaters.  Today, I struggle with significantly diminished sight in my right eye; my left eye is now officially under watch for retinal detachment.  As my doctor says, I am “prone” to the condition.

Current condition

Although seeing anything at arm’s length is still difficult, I am so much better!  My right eye took care of the “arm’s length” stuff and right now it is covered with a thick cataract.  I can see little with it.

My left eye is my distance eye.  I wear very strong contact lenses and very strong cheaters to do close up work.  But,  anything more than a foot away from my face is blurry with my cheaters on.  Without cheaters, I can see distance like nobody’s business (with my left eye) but nothing from my face to three or four feet away.

The good news is…

-With my new 27” HP monitors that the boss at work allowed me to purchase, I can see to work at my desk for long hours.  Without them, I could not work for more than a few hours a day.

-I can now drive fairly comfortably relying on my left eye.

-I will have scar tissue (cataract) in my right eye removed in June; that should restore a great deal of my sight in that eye. (But, I have permanently lost a significant amount of sight; how much remains to be seen.)

-My right eye looks normal again. (I am vain. I admit it.)

-I am under the care of a retinal specialist.  That means I can be proactive against having a complete retinal detachment in my left eye.

What I want all of you 50+ people to do

Go to an ophthalmologist and have a check up.  Find out what he or she knows about retinal problems.  Ask your ophthalmologist if you should have a retinal emergency, what steps he would recommend that you take.

My problems happened on January 31, a Friday, at 1:00 pm. I started trying to get help. That day I was in two emergency rooms, had an ambulance ride to Houston, and still did not get help.  On February 2, I went to a great ophthalmologist, but he could not help me.  He could not even help me get in to see the local retina specialist because said specialist would not take me as a patient until I appeared IN PERSON (having to ask a friend to take me) with my insurance documentation.  Once I did that, I could not see the retina specialist for three weeks.  Before that appointment, my retina completely detached.  I called the retina specialist on the day my retina detached and he wasn’t available.

Don’t be without the right medical contacts should that happen to you.

Here is what happened to my right eye…

As we age, we all experience vitreous detachment.  Think of the vitreous as a bowl of Jello.  When you put Jello in the fridge, it full of water.  When probed with a spoon, the Jello slips away from the bowl leaving no residue.  If the Jello sits in the fridge for a month, it dries up, gets sticky, and it takes use more effort to separate it from the side of the bowl.

Aged vitreous WILL detach.  We will still see, but it happens to everyone, usually in their sixties or seventies.  I am quite myopic.  Therefore, my eyes are shaped like footballs.  The vitreous is detaching early from the elongated ends of my eyeballs (for lack of better words) and the vitreous is “tacky.” It will not slide away from surface of “the bowl” like fresh Jello would.

In January, my vitreous detached and caused tears in my eye.  Bleeding started.  I lost sight from the blood, and the blood flowed for days around and under the retina.  It loosened the retina and it detached.  Scar tissue formed in my eye during the 18 days it took for me to get competent medical treatment. Fortunately, I found a great surgeon, who, in spite of the fact that he looks like he is 15, cares about his patients and knows how to fix these things.

Once the retina detaches, the likelihood of repairing it to perfection is impossible.  I was aware of this and prepared by my doctor that there could be the possibility of a complete hole in my vision, but I do not have that.  I have lost clear vision, but at least I have vision that is useful in many areas. It will be better when the cataract is removed, maybe even good enough to drive in the daylight hours in familiar areas.  But, it will not be enough to cross stitch, read a normal book, or see many things within my arms length, even with corrective lenses.

Left eye problems

The vitreous in my left eye has started to detach.  I have experienced a few new floaters and a few flashes of light.   I went to my son’s house on Sunday, April 27.  Gramercy Hospital is closed on Sundays, but a doctor on call met me there and examined my eyes to make sure my left retina was intact.

Vitreous detachment has started in that eye.  I followed up on Friday, May 2.  My doctor scanned my retina and said that we are now going to need to watch it every three to four weeks until the vitreous completes its detachment. If I see excessive floaters or more flashing lights, bleeding may be next.  The problem will be fixed at that time. I should not lose any sight at all.

The vitreous should complete its detachment in another six months.  If I make it through that without tearing, I should be home free.


I’ve been working on this blog for some time…

Writers write.  They cannot help it. Writers who are age 50+ may find (like me) that they are becoming less diplomatic in real life and creeping toward being outrageously honest.   I say things now that I would have never said five years ago.  Sometimes, blogging about those kinds of things help.  Unfortunately, being 50+, widowed, and still sort of needing to work at a job where I have medical insurance to cover my retinal problems doesn’t give me the freedom to blog quite as openly as I would like.  (But, I am planning on hastening that day, baby!)

Nonetheless, throughout my day I make notes on things that tick me off or tickle my funny bone.

I am always making notes.  I do not record things that will help me be a better person or that will be useful for income tax time. No, that would make sense.  I record things that make me smile or frown…actually, I try not to frown, but I do record things that would make me frown if I wasn’t worried about wrinkles.

Here’s an unhelpful twist on my notetaking.  I am over 50 and I am also postmenopausal, which is the same as saying “I am attention deficit.”  I was attention deficit before I was postmenopausal, so I am doubly cursed with attention deficiency.  For me, the bad news is that I can seldom find my notes.  For those who provide fodder for my blogging, the good news is that I can seldom find my notes.

But, on occasion, I do remember what I want to write and I have been writing entries and entry ideas for some time.  Now that I have set up my blog, I will start compiling them.  It may appear as though I blogged fifty entries in one day, that I took half a bottle of my meds and compiled words into entries at the speed of light.  Not so.  I just have a lot of material lying around.

I carry little books with blank graph paper pages around with me at work.  I jot things down in them.  If I am lucky, I do not lose the book and have to reach in the drawer for a fresh one the next day.

The very best way for me to make notes is on my Samsung Note 3.  I don’t lose my phone.  I pull the little stylus out and up pops a place to make a quick note.  If I can ready my typically messy ADHD  handwriting later, I have been successful!

“Thanks for calling ‘The Bureau of Answers’…can you please hold?”

While I was asleep or not paying attention, I became the CEO of The Bureau of Answers in my world.

People think I am really smart!  Just kidding!  Only a narcissist would believe that.

Patrons who knock at the door of The Bureau of Answers have misguided beliefs.  Most of them assume that their hours are more valuable than mine. Some of them have actively cultivated the art of strategic incompetence.  Many are Millennials and require spoonfeeding followed by an acknowledgment of my gratitude that I was able to serve them in that capacity.

A great many patrons of The Bureau of Answers are simply lazy and manipulative, others believe the world owes them whatever they darn well want.  A few of patrons simply need to be able to tell someone else what to do.  Finally, there are a handful who just aren’t very able to figure things out.  I don’t mind patiently helping those.  My 81-year old mother and children under age ten fall into that category.

Before my little rant gets underway, let me be clear…

  • At work, my boss’s time IS more valuable than mine. You bet it is.  If the boss is wearing a watch and wants me to provide him/her the time of day, I am on it!
  • I moonlight and freelance doing projects that are based on information.  After five o’clock, anyone who pays me for my time gets full value of my time in return.  I am more than happy to use my time to answer questions, train others, write, or research topics and organize results, as long as there is an agreement for payment,  My time is money, and I sell it!  But, I don’t give it away.
  • If you are my friend, you are DEFINITELY NOT a patron of The Bureau of Answers.  You and I share a win/win relationship that involves love, support, and mutual respect.  You have probably given me more than I could ever give you.

Patrons of The Bureau of Answers ask for…

Information that I have already provided it to them any number of times.  I am thinking of a woman who is in her early forties. Betty (not her real name) and I worked together in a previous position.  She could never remember how to forward her phone.  After explaining it to her via email more than five times, I made a cheat sheet for her.

Betty called me and asked me to re-send the cheat sheet.  Of course she didn’t save it on her own hard drive!  What was I thinking?  I updated the sheet to read, “Step One – Create a folder under “My Documents; name it ‘How to Do Stuff.’ Save this document in that folder. Name it “Forwarding my phone.pdf.”  

I am fairly certain that because Betty had an impairment of one of her senses and she used that impairment to work the system at the office, my suggestion created a black mark by my name for not being helpful.  Never mind that I had helped her close to ten times! I dared to suggest she take ownership of her own job responsibilities.  I always found it interesting that Betty’s impairment never slowed her down when she was making posters and invitations for her children’s school activities on the agency’s color printers…it only helped her never to be held accountable for work. Bless her heart.

Information that is readily available for them to find for themselves, but they want me to find it for them (for free or by using MY time rather than them using THEIR time).  These patrons of The Bureau of Answers fall into several categories.

  • Standard Handbook Seekers – One category of friendly information seekers asks me for a answers in a handbook that is available for them on various government websites.  If members in this group used Google to search for what they need by putting in “gov ‘certain keyword’ handbook” the information would be number one on their search results.
  • Routine Document Seekers – This category of information seekers repeatedly ask for a certain document (or certain bit of information) one that they should keep in a personal file because they need it on a regular basis.  One of these folks would rather not be responsible for that vital document or bit of information; he or she wants me to be responsible for it.
  • Obscure Document Seekers – There is a subcategory of document seekers who believe that I have memorized the location of all documents in the world on the WWW, even though I have never needed to refer to them.
  • Would Rather Ask Seekers – Another category of information seekers could easily find the needed information quicker than by asking me.
  • Helpless Seekers – They are helpless and don’t know where to start to find addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, how to fix their own electronics, or 100 other topics that apply to their lives.

They don’t really want information on how to do something; they want me to do it for them.  Actually, in most of these cases, if I do it myself, it will take them less time than for me to explain them how to do it because they do NOT want to learn how to do it.  It doesn’t matter if their hourly wage is less than mine, or if this happens outside of work, these folks just can’t figure out much of anything on their own and they like feeling like they can delegate this task to me.

There’s more to be said on this topic.  Watch for these topics/tags:   Pet Peeves, Strategic Incompetence.