The Blind Leading the Blind

Last week, we invited my parents over for dinner.  Eliz was making ribs on the grill, which both of them like, and there was more than plenty for all of us.  (Jake ended up having a few, but Jane was okay to pass on them.)  Two full racks and we still didn’t eat them all (though in eight months ago I probably would have finished them off.)

My parents hadn’t been here in a long time, since we usually go to them (and my mother doesn’t like doing the drive) and my dad has been interested in seeing our house again.  He is becoming more forgetful over the past months, which even he recognizes.  I have been complaining (hey, it’s what I do best) lately about the state of our house and he wanted to see it first hand, so we picked them up and brought them over.

Since we’ve moved Salon Supplies + Interiors and ForYourSalon.com out of the now condemned rental space in Folcroft and work it primarily from our home office, our home has been overwhelmed with computers, beauty supplies, and even some salon equipment (hydraulic styling chairs make a unique second row of seating to watch movies or sporting events on the big screen.)  Anyway, as we receive orders from manufacturers and vendors, we bring them home, sort them, and add them to our inventory.  If I walked into our kitchen at this moment, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t at least a couple of beauty related items in there, if not a case or three.  (I had to look…  Only one item in the kitchen — a bowl bracket for a Belvedere 3100 shampoo bowl which we are shipping via UPS Ground to Hawaii.  I’m not sure how that works, but that’s another story.)  Within arms length of me at this moment, there is a sample of Fabulous Hair Argan Oil Plus (which we may start selling) and Ship-Shape Liquid Professional Surface Cleaner (which has to be added to our inventory on ForYourSalon.com.)

My parents entered through our garage (which up until yesterday, we hadn’t parked in since late March) and noticed some of our inventory which doesn’t need climate control temps, but sells well enough to not have to run to Springfield (where we have some leased space) and bring it back to ship it.  They also saw boxes of business documents from the past three or four years.  Through in a few of our personal items like bikes, snow shovels, gardening tools, toys — well, you get the idea.  Did I mention it is a three car garage?  Of course, most of what my dad focused on was inventory.  He was surprised.  We walked through the laundry room into the kitchen and kids greeted us.  The kids and my parents talked for a couple of minutes, then I continued to walk around the house with my dad.  We’ve been here 17 years and we are well overdue for some new paint, new rugs, and a redo for the hardwood floors, which, even with his diminished eye sight, my dad noticed.

We walked out the front door and he had a look around the front and side yards, which our lawn guy had just taken care of the past week, so it looked nice.  All along the way, I was near my dad making sure he didn’t trip over a root of a tree or into a flower bed.  It seemed funny, because it is just like what Eliz or the kids do for me when we are out and about.  The difference being that I’ve already stumbled on the root or into the flower bed or hit my head on a low branch and know where not to walk…  As we headed back in the front door, I point out the small step onto the landing by the front door and then the step into the house.

Back inside, my dad wants a look upstairs.  We go up the front stairs since there is two small landings (the backstairs is one long run and I wouldn’t have been comfortable heading up that way.)  He looked in Jake’s room, then Jane’s, then our “guest” room.  It really isn’t for guests, but has an elliptical machine, exercise bike, and four drying racks where we dry most of our clothes.  He recognizes the bureau in there from our house in Wallingford.  When we get to our bedroom, my dad also recognizes the wall units in the sitting area, also from our house in Wallingford.  As we head back down the stairs, I want to stay close to my dad, but not too close where I might bump him or kick him (I have trouble judging distances and am constantly reaching further than I have to for door knobs, light switches, etc. and jamming my fingers.)  We make it down safely, then eat dinner.

After dinner, he wants a look in the basement.  There aren’t any handrails down those steps since we removed them to get some shelving down there.  I walk in front of my dad and go down backwards so I can tell him where the landings are.  I show him the inventory that we have there on one side of the basement, but not the 17 years of “stuff” on the other side.  Eliz has the inventory side pretty organized at this point and my dad is amazed how it looks like a little warehouse.

We head back up the stairs, my dad, then me.  Again, I’m close in case he stumbles.  My dad is 92 and a fall for him could be catastrophic.  I start thinking that me leading him around and trying to tell him about obstacles was like the blind leading the blind.  Literally.

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A Long Day

It has been a long day.  It started off with a trip to the retina specialist at 8:30 am.  We were a few minutes late, so only had to wait about 10 minutes in the waiting room.  Eliz had a cup of tea from the Senseo (or similar) machine, while I brought my own (my favorite Teavana mix: Queen of Babylon and Rose Garden Rooibos.)  I was called back into the first exam room, where I would (try to) read the eye chart and go over my eye issues.  Kelly asked about any of my eye problems and then noticed we were from Media.  She said she grew up in Wallingford.  When Eliz told her we did as well, she mentioned that she graduated from Strath Haven in 2002.  I told her I graduated from Nether Providence and Eliz from Strath Haven and Kelly asked if I went to school with her mother since I was born in 1954.  I laughed and asked if I looked 55…  I guess if there’s going to be a mistake, that one isn’t bad at all.  She corrected my birth year to 1964 and we moved on to the eye chart.

Again, I was unable to read any of it until I flipped the pinhole cover down.  Like magic, the E appeared.  I then said I know the next line is S and L, but I can’t see it.  She told me I was wrong.  What!?!  It’s not S and L.  Now I had to know.  I moved the pinholes all around until it was as clear as it was going to be for me.  I guessed O for the second letter.  Try again.  D!, I said next.  That was it.  The first letter (don’t ask me why I don’t read them in order) looked like it could be an O, G, or C.  I guessed G in hopes of it being the GD line.  No such luck.  C was my next try and that was it.  Kelly mentioned that this chart is made up mostly of similar letters that repeat often, so my usual deduction that I’ve got a one in 26 chance which increases with every letter doesn’t work.  I’m actually going to have to read them.

Once I was finished with the eye chart, Kelly took us to another waiting room, where Eliz read me the story of the Penn State mascot in a recent addition to ESPN magazine.  Before we could finish, we were called to see the doctor.  Dr. Garg asked me about my issues and mentioned that he had spoken to Dr. Pro about me.  He explained that even though my right eye doesn’t do much he still wanted to check it out.  Since my cornea is really cloudy and I have a pretty mature cataract in it, they would use an ultrasound to have a look.  He also explained a test they’d run on my left eye, to check for changes in the macular pigmentation.  Dye is injected via an IV (that’s iv, not roman numeral for 4) and pictures are taken.  After he mentioned the dye, I remembered that I had this test before.  The images are wicked.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a flash drive on me to get the images.

I went into another exam room to have the ultrasound and then back to the second waiting room to wait on the angiography.  After a 10 minute wait, Tom called me back to have the angiography.  He took a couple of images of my eye before putting the dye in.  The dye made me feel nauseous for about a minute.  Tom took more images and left to give someone an OCT scan (which took him all of five minutes — about 1000x faster than mine took on Monday.)  He then came back into the room I was in to get two more pictures.

I waited in the angiography room for a few minutes until they called me to see the doctor again.  He explained what he thought was going on.  He increased my use of one drop to three times per day and added another drop to try and get the swelling down in the retina and cornea.  He suggested that I wait on having the cataract removed until I see him again in six weeks.

After three hours, we were out of there.  We headed down City Ave to pick up Jane from school.  She called me just before the ultrasound and said she wasn’t feeling well, which I knew when she left for school.  I also knew we’d be right down the street from her and could pick her up after the appointment if she couldn’t last the day at school.

After I spent an hour, or so, at home (at which time I found out my mom had gone into the hospital — more on that below,) we headed over to Viva Salon in Springfield.  They’ve been having a problem with a hydraulic base that was still under warranty.  We swapped out the bad base for the good one that has been in our car since the move and headed to my next eye appointment.

I had scheduled this appointment with John Ruffini, another NPHS alum, to talk to him about the cataract surgery (and before I knew of any retina issues.)  He had a look at my still dilated left eye and we discussed my options and the problems that could arise from taking out the cataract.  He also thought it was best to see how the eye reacts to the increased drops and new drop.  I have put off scheduling the cataract surgery because of moving the business and the fact that it could undo the partial cornea transplant.  My left eye has endured seven operations over the years, with another one imminent.  I’m tired of going through these procedures and the recovery with mediocre success.  The risk/reward factor isn’t great, though I would do anything to preserve any sight I still have.

After leaving John Ruffini’s office, we made a delivery in Holmes and stopped by a salon in Milmont Park to look at a styling chair that needs replacing.  We returned home at about 4:00 pm and had an alarm company tech waiting to convert our system.  It took him about two hours (the whole story will have to wait for another time.)

We were finally able to head to Riddle to visit my mom.  She went to the hospital at around 8:00 am this morning because she was having shortness of breath and chest pains.  The doctor wanted to keep her overnight for observation.  She seems to be okay, though uncomfortable because of the shingles.  We are hoping to pick her up and take her home tomorrow.

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