Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just Learned Something Interesting About Cataracts

I realize that many of you already know this, but I’ve found that when I’ve told friends, there are lots out there who don’t know it, so here goes.

I’m scheduled, mid-September, for a trip to the Ophthalmologist for a consult and arrangements for cataract surgery. I was supposed to go in October but they opened a closer office and were able to get me an earlier appointment. I’ve known for over six years that I had slow-growing cataracts. I’ve been having the most well-known effects for a while.

I have not driven at night for the past two years because of the glare from oncoming headlights and halos around lights. I have also had more and more difficulty seeing things across the room. Not large objects. Just smaller things like the hands on the clock on the wall, subtitles on the TV screen, things like that. Part of that is also due to the fact that I’m six-years overdue for my normal change in glasses, as well.

But something has been bothering me for about six months. It is my color perception. I crochet and do crafts - a lot. Lately, I’ve had trouble deciding whether yarn or ribbon or thread is pink or peach, white or yellow, blue or green. I have tried many types of light bulbs - daylight, brights, and everything in between. But I still make mistakes and only find out if I look at the items outside in broad daylight, at the right angle.

Yesterday something made me wonder about it. I’ve been blaming the lighting in the house. I did a search on “do cataracts affect color perception?” Wow - they sure do.

Short story - they said that with cataracts past a certain stage, you could walk out of the house thinking you were wearing black shoes only to find out they are purple. Or, you could have trouble discerning the difference between blues and greens.

This probably goes back even longer than six months, come to think of it. I remember an order from a dear friend for half a dozen light blue plastic canvas ribbon crosses, about a year or so ago. After she got them, she thanked me but said they were mint green but that she was all right with that. I was embarrassed, and made some more, in the right color. To be sure it was right, I took the ribbon outside on the porch and looked at it out there.
So, just in case any of you are having this type of problem, and you are also aware that you either have cataracts or are at risk for them, maybe these facts will help.  

Love - The Great Energizer

I’ve been thinking about how sometimes we don’t even realize how much we can do until we are challenged to do it.
I have a friend who is going through some really tough times, pain-wise. She has two male loved-ones in her home. She isn’t much younger than me. Somehow, she manages to do all that she usually does for the household, including her “guys.” Somehow, she pushes herself to do what she has to do.

I know that feeling well. I’ve been a care-giver big time. When I look back, I do not know where the strength and stamina came from. 

I suspect that love drives us more than we realize. Love energizes us. It fills us with unbelievable strength and perseverance and patience.

I worry about her. She has been battling this pain for two years, going through this test and that, seeing this specialist and that. Hopefully, within two weeks, she will finally find out what is causing the pain and what can be done about it. Meanwhile, there was one day when I was afraid for her to drive home - I was just about ready to drive to her home, get her DH, and bring him back to drive them both home. Fortunately, her hip/leg kicked in and she said she could do it. 

The thing is, the treatment could be costly in time and energy. She is going to worry, I know, about how her “guys” will manage. I know it will work out. Things always do. But I suspect that a few prayers would help.

Father, you know who I am worried about. Please bless her with everything she needs to get through the next weeks and months. And bless her loved ones, too, so that they will easily offer moral support as well as household support, when and if she needs it. She has been good to others; I pray that they are good to her, in return.  

Getting Things Under Control - Re-Training Myself

I’ve tried to keep myself busy so that I do not worry over my finances. At the end of the month, that’s when I face my $400 a month shortfall. I finally got the $104 break from Medicaid’s paying my Medicare premiums, but that means that next month, I still have a $300 shortfall. At this time of the month, I face either stalling “this” payment, or renewing “that” loan, or begging for payment arrangements, or whatever. A few weeks ago, I was without internet and TV for two days. Next time, it will be for a longer time.

Anyhow, that’s what I’m trying to stop thinking about.

So, I did finish sorting the charity crafting items that our team has made this year. Normally, I would have distributed to several places, several times by the Fall. But with my recent car worries, I kept holding off.

Now that I know I can drive safely for a while, I need to get these things into the hands that need them.
I began sorting on Thursday, and finished yesterday. Every Friday, I come home from our 2-hour meeting with whatever each of us has made. I come home with a bag filled with a variety of hats, scarves, gloves, lap covers, shawls, and baby things. The number varies. But I’ve been distracted with the money problems, so I have just been tossing the bags in a corner in the back bedroom. Now I had to get all those bags in one spot, dump them, and make piles of where each item was destined to go. I’m so glad I happened to have a stash of Hefty lawn bags left from the box I bought last year. I have at least half a dozen stuffed-tight of those, with tags as to contents attached. And I also have at least half a dozen smaller bags, but still sizable and stuffed.

Hopefully, I will get these to their “homes” this coming week.
In the meantime, I have been trying to re-train myself.

For years, it seems, I was involved in 24/7 care-giving.If you’ve ever done that for an extended period of time, you know that the needs of the patient come first, and housekeeping is last (except for cleanliness, laundry, food, of course). So, as I retrieved bags from this corner or that, I took anything else in that spot and plopped it into several boxes: Park Wide Yard Sale, Safe Nest, my Etsy shop, and trash. I was so proud of myself. I also immediately re-stashed anything else into its proper place. I am so far behind in this task that it will take me many months to completely de-clutter, but I am so satisfied to know I am doing it more easily and more often now that I’ve lost weight and my joints are not screaming at me at every motion.

My goal is to get a spot where I can come home every Friday and immediately put the completed items into a separate tote for each destination. Several years ago, I did that, before the care-giving, so I know I can do it again, once it’s under control.
All in all, I’m getting things done and keeping my mind from freaking out.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chili Day

It shouldn’t be long before you are all smelling the crockpot chili I just tossed together. My own crockpot “pot” cracked but a dear friend gave me an extra she had around her home. Hers is only a 4-1/2 qt and mine is a 6-1/2 qt, so I over-bought 2 cans (diced tomatoes and kidney beans) but they’ll wait in the pantry for the next batch. I filled this baby up to the top, allowing, under protest, 1/2-inch for breatheability. I can’t wait. I used up the last of my freezer stash two weeks ago and I’ve been craving it. This batch should make about 8 containers for the freezer plus one for tonight. Can’t wait to see what the final tally is.

I’m revved up this morning. Oh, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean I’m running around like a chicken without a head. I do like cliches, you’ll find. They are very handy. Unless I’m writing something special, I’ll grab a cliche whenever it works for me.

Anyhow, I’ve found that when I want to be physically productive, I must take a pain pill. I don’t really feel a lot of pain in the joints these days. After my nephew passed on (2/1), my food habits changed to a very healthy level and I also began Glucosamine with MSM on a daily basis. I have gone down from 192 to 170 in 6 months - that’s a nice gentle drop and still moving. I feel more energetic. I do not need my quad cane as much. I even find it easier to walk a downgrade, something that was getting to be very difficult.

Back to the subject. Even though I do not consciously feel the joint pain, I’ve obviously learned to deal with it and try to ignore it. When I take a pain pill, whether a Vicodin/Lortab 325 or Tylenol Arthritis, it’s not that I become pain-free, but it seems as though I find it much easier and welcome to get up and down more frequently, and do things.

I was thinking about defrosting the freezer while the chili is working, but I think I’ll wait until next week when I do a pot of chicken veggie soup. Today, while it is cooking, I really must count the charity crafting items we’ve accumulated over the summer and spring. It’s time to distribute to the local needy; time to get the things out of my home and into theirs.

So, now that I’ve had breakfast, put on the chili, cleaned up the empty cans and mess (little as it was), I’ll sit for half an hour, and then go into the back bedroom and start tossing things on the bed and into groups: homeless, babies, and hospice/care. I can turn on the old TV back there and still watch shows while I’m doing everything. By lunch, I should be done, or just a little later. I’ll shower, then, because I’ll need it.

And, this afternoon, I’ll spend some time finishing up the digital version of my self-published Busy Person’s Prayer Book and get it into my Etsy shop. It was my dream when I began that book to do a series and to make them available at very, very lost cost, to everyone who needed and wanted those wee prayers. 

Unfortunately, print-on-demand costs forced me to sell the paperback at $9.98 - that was way above what I wanted. Now I’ll be able to offer it for $0.99 per instant download. The only thing that still makes me feel disappointed is that only those online can get it that way - there are many in need of various published items who do not have, or do not want, a computer. I’ll have to work on that angle one of these days.

I also set out 3 large cartons of clothes that I gathered together in here yesterday, for Safe Nest to pick up later today. Even though we have our Fall Park Wide Yard Sale coming up (10/3, 4, 5), I rarely put clothes out a yard sale, except for jackets and special things. 

So, by the time I go to bed tonight, at least I can look back and see that I’ve accomplished something.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Passed My Driver’s License Visual Today

What a relief. I passed my driver’s license visual today. I have an appointment in mid-October with the ophthalmologist to schedule cataract surgery. They are slow-growing but I can tell that this must be the year to do it. I’ve procrastinated long enough, thinking my co-pay would be impossible to raise. Then I found out that I will have NO co-pay, plus I will get one free pair of glasses, if needed. I haven’t had my regular bifocals re-done in over six years, so I really need to do this.

Anyhow, you have to renew by your birthday of the expiration year of current license, and that is this year on Sept. 2 - I will be 75 and at my age, they only renew us for 4 years at a time. This is a relief.

I’m a cautious driver in that I will not be stupid in my elder years. I have friends who should not be driving who are younger than I am. And I have some friends older than I am who drive better than most younger folks. I’ve promised myself that if I see problems in my driving, I will admit them to myself.

Even though I have had no problem so far, I do avoid freeway driving now. I don’t want to test my reaction time at the wrong moment. I’m just as happy and comfy with surface streets.

The lady at the desk today had to “dumb down” the test screens in the little desktop vision tester, twice, but apparently I still see well enough to qualify with the stipulation that I must be wearing corrective lenses behind the wheel. Heck, there’s no way I’d get behind the wheel without them. I have trouble with far-objects, not close-up.
What a relief.   Can’t wait to see the new photo.  On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t be so anxious to see that - sometimes they are awful. The last one was so good, I wanted to hunt down the photographer and hire that one!