One Week to Go

At some point next Thursday morning, I will be in surgery hopefully only having a cataract removed.  There is the chance that I will also receive another corneal endothelial transplant (DSAEK, partial-thickness corneal transplant, endothelial keratoplasty, or whatever you want to call it.)  It is what I had done on 4 Dec 2008.

From what I gather, recovery time on the cataract extraction is about half that of the DSAEK (which is about four months.)  Seems like I won’t have to wear that awful eye shield as long with only the cataract coming out.  After the last surgery, I had to wear it for over a month.  Lets not forget the misery on the day after my last surgery.  My IOP went from seven to about 30.  I puked my guts up all day long from the dramatic change in pressure.  Showering was difficult too since I had to make sure I didn’t get any soap or water in my eye.  That was only for a few months.  Eliz will be shaving my head this weekend so that I only need to use a washcloth to wash my head.

I am very excited about the prospects of seeing more than I see now.  Maybe I’ll see well enough to go to the movies again.  I’d love to go and see a few Phils games, or even go see an Eagles game (you know, I’ve never been to the Link.)  If things go really well, maybe I’ll be able to throw a softball around with Jane, a lacrosse ball with Jake, or even read the mail instead of having someone read it to me.

Of course, there are risks and I do worry about something going dreadfully wrong.  I see only light out of my other eye, so any failure would dispose of the fantasies I’ve listed in the previous paragraph and make life a bit more challenging.  I have no idea what I would do then.  Lets just hope for the best.

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One Year Later

So, today marked the first anniversary of my partial cornea transplant (for those that need to know specifics, I had a DSAEK procedure, which is a partial-thickness corneal transplant that replaces only the endothelial layer.)  I guess this means that at least part of my body (a very small part on a rather large body) is 70 years old.  God knows I often feel like I’m 70…

When I had the surgery, I wondered how well I would see in the days and months afterwards.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, most of my doctors were pretty optimistic.  They all agreed that unless something went wrong, I’d get back to 20/200.  Some thought I could get to 20/100 or even better.  One year later and my vision is at 20/400.

Dreams of reading a newspaper, magazine, purchase orders, invoices (those that I create to send to a customer, not those sent by a vendor — Eliz can read those,) mail, and anything else printed on paper never came true.  Wild fantasies of tossing a softball around with Jane, hitting a tennis ball around with Jake, going to a Phillies, Flyers, or Eagles game (you know, I’ve never been to the Link) and enjoying it have all been placed back deep in the corner of my mind next to being a rock star, an action-hero actor, or a top chef.

As I’ve previously posted, none of my ophthalmologists know why my vision has deteriorated since June.  Maybe it’s from the mold at our business (we’ll know shortly, because we are vacating or current building very shortly.)  Maybe it’s age related.  Maybe it’s because I’ve gained weight.  Maybe it’s just supposed to be this way.

I have an appointment on 9 December with the cornea specialist.  Perhaps he will have an answer better than the last time I saw him, when he told me that he didn’t know what it was and it would be a hard fix.  I’ll post sometime after the appointment and let you know.

I do plenty of complaining, whining, and ranting here.  One thing I’m not sure I’ve ever done is thank the donor of the endothelia that now resides on the fifth layer of my cornea.  I don’t know who he or she was.  I only know that the donor was 69 years old when they died and without their cornea (even though they only used the endothelia, the whole cornea was available to me) I would almost certainly be much worse off.  Thank you sir/madam, I do appreciate your gift.

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Goodbye 44!

No, I’m not looking into the future and the 2012 presidential election.  I turned 45 the other day and, quite frankly, I’m hoping for a better year.  At 45, how many good years are there going to be?

There was a great deal of promise when I turned 44 last November.  I was having a very tough time seeing and surgery was scheduled for early December for a full cornea transplant or a partial cornea transplant (where only the endothelia is swapped out.)  The hope was for the endothelial transplant, but that was to be determined during surgery.  The surgeon was pretty optimistic that my vision would get to 20/100 or a tad bit better.

The result was the easier surgery, replacing only the endothelia, but vision that peaked at 20/200 in spring and then started going the wrong way by July.  I can now see 20/400 in my good eye and none of my ophthalmologists can tell me what the problem is now.  So the hopes and dreams from last Thanksgiving have been replaced by frustration and concern this year.

Then there is the business.  When I turned 44, I had absolutely no idea what was going to become of our business, Salon Supplies + Interiors (see the two previous paragraphs.)  Our lease at 1010 MacDade with the ganif (I am being too kind) was set to expire on 5 February.  Once my doctor informed me that the surgery was “a success,” we tried to negotiate a one year lease at a lower rent.  We were paying $3750 in rent, $1200 in taxes, and about $1100 for utilities on average per month.  (Utilities varied from $800 to $2000 and were billed by the ganif, not Peco.)

Now the question was to move or close.  I really wanted to launch ForYourSalon.com, which was suffering from massive delays (uh, yeah, my sight issues.)  Thankfully, Ken came on-board full time and got it moving again.  We looked at properties from the end of December to the third week in January, when we found our current location.  It was perfect!  It had a drive-in bay, a loading dock bay, and nearly 8,000 square feet.  This place could accommodate our cabinet shop, used equipment department, new equipment showroom, and beauty supplies department.  And the price was right too: $2,500 per month rent, no CAM charges, no taxes, and a utility bill that averages about $575 per month (highest was about $675 and lowest was about $350.)

We boxed all the supplies and moved everything in about five days.  We had everything setup in the new place in about three weeks, though we only closed for three days during the move (the last day at the old location and the first two days at the new location.)  The first few days at the new place were somewhat painful for me since we had so many different workers (moving temps, electricians, etc.)  While my staff knew to keep things off the floor and away from traffic areas, the others did not.  I walked into metal piping that was hanging out of the electricians truck by about three feet (the truck was parked in the warehouse.)  It literally brought me to my knees.

So our predicament is very similar this year.  Different building, different issues, with a move imminent.  This year there is greater worry.  The conditions of our “perfect” space began to worsen with every drop of rain that fell at the end of June.  As water poured in every day or two over the summer, the mold and fungus began thriving.  Samples taken by a mold remediation company in early November showed levels much higher than they should be.  We will be out of the space within weeks (hopefully two weeks.)

Besides my sight, my general health hasn’t been good over the past year.  I’ve had sinusitis multiple times since early summer.  Hmmm, I wonder if it has to do with the mold…  I am looking forward to evacuating that building and seeing if my health (and Eliz’s too) rebounds.

The immortal words of a great philosopher are always in the back of my mind, “It’s always something.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another…”  That said, I’m looking forward to a better year.  I’ll let you know right after I turn 46.

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