My Dad is Home, Now for the Hard Part

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter (@davidbenj) or Facebook (facebook.com/davidbenj) you might not know what I’ve been up to the last few weeks. You may also be wondering why I haven’t updated my blog since Father’s Day. Here’s the story, and like my previous blog post it has to do with my dad.

On 30 June my dad fell and broke the fourth cervical vertebrae. He also sustained some wicked cuts on his forehead and the bridge of his nose. The doctors also thought he had a concussion. For the first 12 days, he was in the hospital, then he moved to a skilled nursing facility so he could do physical therapy. It has been difficult on all of us. Eliz, my mom, and I have spent many hours at the hospital and skilled nursing facility. At least one of us was with him from around 10.00am until 8.00pm. Some days a little more and a couple days a little less. Eliz has spent more time in the car, ferrying my mom to the hospital in the morning and taking her home at the end of the day. We’ve put about 1300 miles on the car since my dad entered the hospital, which is about 35% above what we normally average for a time period.

For the first week, my dad had a very restricting cervical collar and was unable to eat or drink. Even swallowing was extremely difficult. Once he received his current collar, he began eating and drinking again. Anything he eats has to be soft or pureed. Let me tell you, pureed lasagna is not pretty. Liquids have to be thickened. At the hospital and skilled nursing facility, this, of course, was all prepared for him.

My dad was discharged from the skilled nursing facility yesterday and all of us were happy, though my dad was a bit worried. “Who’s going to do all of the things the nurses did for me?” he asked. My mom told him she would. Eliz and I lend a hand too.

The toughest part is the food. Everything has to be pureed. Unfortunately, the normal food isn’t that great at Maris Grove, so my parents didn’t want to pay extra to have “special” food brought in for my dad. So my mom gives Eliz and I a list and we go to the market for her. I’m pretty sure I’d be living on fruit smoothies and protein drinks, because things like pureed chicken just aren’t appetizing to me. We also help my dad walk around the apartment, though with each passing day he is relying on us a little less. Today, he walked from the den to the kitchen, rinsed out a glass and then walked into the bedroom. He never called for my mom to help him. The physical therapist said he shouldn’t walk without having someone close by.

We only spent a couple of hours with my parents today after running to Fresh Market and Acme for them. My dad was in good shape today and seems to be getting stronger everyday. My mom is happy that he is home and doesn’t mind blending everything. Now I’m looking for a Super Bass-O-Matic 76…

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One Month After Surgery

Yesterday marked a month since my most recent surgery. It is somewhat ironic that over the past few days my vision hasn’t been great, with today being the worst of the last few. I was told by my cornea doc at my post op check up two weeks ago that things looked good. When I told him of my continuing sight issues, he told me he could run a test. The only problem with this would be he wouldn’t know how to correct any issues that the test might show. I just keep telling myself to deal with it and move on.

For the most part, I’ve remained focused on moving on. I double and triple check purchase orders before hitting the send button. I don’t want to send four Belvedere 8600 shampoo bowls to a customer that ordered a shear bracelet… When my sight is better, I try to get more done. There are days when I don’t want to go to bed since I’m not sure what my sight will be like the next day.

Of course, it doesn’t take much to knock me off track. If someone makes a comment or I run into someone or something, my focus is gone. Sometimes I simply miss a field in a form that cost time or money, like I did last week when I added some inventory to ForYourSalon.com and missed the weight field for a Jeffco 316t Ionic Dryer. When there is no weight, the item ships for free. That cost us between $25 and $30 on the one we sold over the weekend.

I’m trying to work around the issue. Currently, we ship more than half of the items we sell at ForYourSalon.com and our storefront on Amazon.com. I can’t pull or ship the orders that we ship (I can’t read the labels,) that is something that Eliz has to do. I do handle all the drop ship orders, which are usually shampoo bowls, shampoo bowl parts, hooded dryers, barber chairs, etc. We are trying to find additional beauty items to drop ship. We are also doing more in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is where we promote a product that is sold by someone else. If it sells, we get a commission. It is like when I mention the EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale in White that helped me to lose 80 pounds and keep it off. If you were to click that link and purchase it (or anything else from amazon.com) by using that link, we make a commission. We currently have several sites in various stages of development: a web hosting review site, a car insurance information site with quotes, a payday loan site, and several beauty related sites. The nice thing about affiliate marketing is that once a site is setup, the only thing left to do is market it. There are no customer inquiries, no ordering inventory, etc., unlike an ecommerce site. One of the best ways to market these days is from articles. So I’ll be writing, which is something I can do with or without sight.

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Almost Unbelievable…

As you’ve read here over the past seven weeks, I’ve been pretty frustrated and miserable.  On the way to my my cornea specialist, Eliz and I were talking about what I was planning on discussing with Dr. Ayres.  I was going to tell him how tired I was running back and forth to all these eye specialists who couldn’t really figure out why my vision had deteriorated to 20/200 (close to my pre-surgery acuity) after I was able to read most of the 20/100 line a week after the surgery.  I was also going to ask Dr. Ayres to ease off some of the drops.  I was up to about 8 to 10 per day, and after some, my vision was blurry for varying lengths of time, reducing my vision further.

So we’re driving down Lancaster Ave. after dropping Jane at softball camp at Villanova and we turn on Preston and Steve on WMMR (Eliz is a huge fan.)  They were talking about some guy who was trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records by singing the lowest note ever.  The discussion somehow turned to the Oak Ridge Boys and their hit Elvira (warning, don’t click the link, you won’t be able to get the song out of your head…)  They were talking about how deep one of the members of the band could sing, were making fun of the song and then mentioning that one of the members was from Collingswood, NJ (it is in southern New Jersey.)  I was laughing so hard I was crying.  Tears were streaming down my face for over five minutes.  When they finally stopped, we were just passing St. Joe’s on City Ave.  I grabbed a tissue and wiped my eyes and began to look around.  Things looked clearer to me.  We stopped at a red light and I looked at the trees and buildings and told Eliz that things looked better than before the tears flowed.

We were only a minute or two away (his office is on Presidential Blvd. in the Pagoda Building, just off City Ave.)  We sat in the car for a minute or two since we were early.  I looked at the building and the trees and things still looked better.  Once we walked in, things were still tough to see inside.  We took the elevator to his office and signed in.  Eliz grabbed a magazine and started looking through it.  I glanced at the front cover, but couldn’t make out the title, so I thought my vision was returning to its current normal.  After a few minutes, I was called back to Pod 3 (which I suggested on multiple occasions to rename EyePod 3.)  Tia was the name of the tech and she questioned me about what meds I’ve been taking and how my vision was doing.  Then she turned on the eye chart.  E looked clearer.  So did SL.  I was then able to make out the L first, then the P in the OPLB line.  (As I’ve mentioned before, I know all the lines down to DAO6, the 20/60 line, so I’m never 100% sure I’m actually seeing them.)  There is no alternative 20/100 line other then the OPLB line, like there are for the 20/80 line and better, so I was given credit for seeing the P and the L.  With the pinholes, I tried both the CAV8 (20/80) line and its numerical alternative without being able to read anything.

Dr. Ayres came in a few minutes later and I told him about what happened on the way into the appointment.  He then took a look and had me blink twice.  He noticed that my eye was losing the tear film in about five seconds (he didn’t use a stopwatch, instead opting for the technical Philadelphia, as in one Philadelphia, two Philadelphia, etc.  We always used Mississippi when we played football as kids.  You could blitz on five Mississippi…)  He then explained to Eliz and I that 10 seconds is the norm for the tear film to last after blinking.  I’m not surprised that my eyes aren’t normal.  Never have been, never will be.  He also mentioned that once the eye begins to dry, the visual acuity begins to fall.  He gave me more drops, over the counter lubricating drops for during the day, and a prescription for a drop to use at bedtime.  It is an antibiotic that evidently is somewhat thick.  It is used for infections in the eye, but I was instructed to close my eye and massage it onto the edge of my upper and lower lids.  I’ll let you know how that goes in a few days since I haven’t used it yet.  Dr. Ayres also took me off one of the steroid drops (two less drops per day) and Muro 128 (four times per day.)

Can it be that at least part of my current eye issues were discovered because of Preston and Steve?  Yup!  So, thank you Preston and Steve (and Kathy, Casey, Nick, Marisa, the Oak Ridge Boys, and that guy trying to sing the lowest note!)  Now I just have to hope that the new drop works.  Wish me luck (again…)

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