This and That

I’ve been waiting for this week since the end of January, because I’m going to see the retina specialist on Friday.  I’m hoping he can do a PAM test on me.  No, it’s not part of the Aunt Jemima treatment, it stands for potential acuity meter.  It will let me, and, more importantly, my team of eye specialists know how much of the “current” vision loss is due to the cataract in my left eye.  I would hope it would come back 20/200 or better.  If not, it might be time to rent a gun and buy a bullet.  (Relax, I’m only joking.  I’m worth far too much dead to take my own life.)  Even without a PAM test, I’m hoping that Dr. Garg (retina) will give the okay for me to have Dr. Ayers (cornea) takeout the cataract.  As much as I’ve loved the snow this winter, I don’t want it to foul up my 8:45am appointment in Bala on Friday.  I see Dr. Ayers on 3 March and I’d like to schedule the cataract surgery then.  I’ve gotta do something, it seems like my vision is getting worse by the day.  My frustration level is extremely high.

On Wednesday, I’ve got an appointment with my GP.  It was postponed from 10 Feb due to the little bit of snow we had (not to mention the lack of power and heat too.)  When I saw Dr. Rist on 9 Dec, she told me to lose weight.  Since then I’ve eaten only about 1500 calories per day.  On days that I did some physical work like shovel snow, move our store inventory, etc., I would eat more calories as a reward.  As of this morning, I am down 41 pounds.  I’m interested to see what she says.

Jake is spending the week living at school, something he will have to do for his junior and senior years at Westtown.  We dropped him off on Sunday and will pick him up this Sunday.  He was really looking forward to it.  Then, when we got there, he noticed a Super Nintendo game system (circa 1991.)  The seniors whose room he and his friend are staying in left them a note saying that they could play with the system.  We have a couple of games from the video store that Jake has always wanted to play, but we never had the system (well, we had it, but upgraded to something else before he was born.)  I’m worried that school work might not be first on his mind this week.  Eliz picked him up some candy from BJ’s the other day.  You know, BJ’s doesn’t sell anything in small amounts.  She got him a variety bag of candy bars (not the fun size, the normal size) and a bag with god know how many packages of Skittles in it.  He posted today on Facebook that he was selling the candy.  Prices were $.50 for candy available in the school store and $1.00 for candy not carried in the school store.  I’m interested to see what he does with the funds, though his intentions could be philanthropic.

Jane found her letters from Tabitha tonight.  Tabitha was conjured up when Jake literally lost his first tooth.  It either fell out onto the ground or he swallowed it with his lunch that day at Granite Run Mall.  He was disappointed because he was so looking forward to putting it under his pillow for the toothfairy.  That night, after he went to bed, I wrote a letter from Tabitha, a toothfair from the North American office.  I expected it to be a one and done sort of thing, but when he lost his next tooth, we was just as excited to get another letter as he was to get the money.  And of course, if you do it for one, the other has to have it too…  Jane actually got a letter or two before she even lost a tooth.  She would sometimes leave notes for Tabitha under her pillow.  Jane laughs at the letters now, but she had fun reading them tonight.  She said each one had a little education, like Sesame Street.  I also would include things that I thought would boost their confidence and nudges on nutrition.  One day I’ll post them or publish them.

It is amazing how easy 700 words comes off my fingertips these days…  So much for a short update.  More later this week on the retina appointment.

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Risk vs. Reward

As many of my friends and family know, I love sports.  My favorites are baseball, hockey, football, and the real football (you know, the one where a player kicks the ball a majority of the time — some call it soccer.)  Throughout my life, I have played organized baseball (Little League,) street hockey (intermural in high school and middle school,) and basketball (intermural in middle school.)  I’ve also played pick up games of the above sports, along with football, soccer, and tennis.  I have played these sports despite having limited vision.  I really enjoyed playing these sports.

I was told by my parents (okay, more my mom than my dad) to be very careful while playing.  My mom always brought up the subject to my eye doctor (who happened to be a family friend and more importantly a Flyers fan.)  By the time I was in fifth grade, I was told not to play football (which was usually Kill the Guy with the Ball) anymore unless it was touch.  When I began having additional trouble in seventh grade (more on that in a minute,) one of the specialists I saw at Children’s Hospital made this statement in a letter to my local ophth: “Unfortuneately, David seems to be athletic…”  It went on to say that I should stop playing most of the other sports I loved playing.

One Sunday while I was in seventh grade, I went across the street to play basketball with my friends Billy, Joe, and Kurt.  I was the smallest of the four, because I was the youngest.  The others were two grades ahead of me.  I didn’t mind playing rough, I actually enjoyed it.  At some point, an elbow may have been thrown.  There may have been a hard foul (it was 32 years ago, who remembers the trigger.)  Whatever happened, Kurt and I came to blows.  I was holding my own until Kurt landed one in my left eye (that’s the good – only – eye.)  I turtled quickly.  Joe and Billy pulled Kurt off of me.  Our afternoon of basketball was over.  Later that evening, when my eye wouldn’t stop hurting, we called our family friend.  He told us to come over and he’d take a look.  My dad ran me over to his apartment.  He took one look at my eye and said let head over to the office.  So, dressed in his PJs, Dr. Starer drove with us over to his office.  He noticed nothing damaged from the punch and said the pain was probably not in my eye but around it.  He then checked my IOP.  It was higher than normal (he always liked to see my IOP between 8-12.)  Thus began three years of instability in my left eye which ended on 20 May 1980 with my first trabeculectomy (it was my 11th eye surgery overall.)  I like to believe that without playing hoops that day and getting into that fight, it might have taken months to notice the increased IOP.

As my vision has worsened over the years, I play less and less sports.  I miss it.  The other night my daughter wanted to practice pitching.  She is trying to get the mechanics of windmill pitching so that she can pitch for her team at FCS.  I can’t see well enough to catch her, but I want to play…  I noticed that she is sometimes scared of hitting the batter.  I thought I could be the batter and try to distract her while she pitched.  Over time, my theory is, she would block out the batter and just throw to the catcher’s glove.  My wife was nervous.  My daughter was nervous, but she liked having me out there.  Since I wasn’t going to swing, I decided I’d square around to bunt.  I wasn’t sutle either.  I’d jump from my batting stance as I’d get ready to bunt, usually while she was in mid-windup.  I’d offer at pitches I thought were good, but I never laid down a fair bunt.  I did make contact with five or six pitches however.  Did I almost get hit?  Three or four times.  Two pitches came close to my head, but missed.  Did I have a helmet on?  Nope.  Was the reward worth the risk?  You bet!

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