Category Archives: Vision

Only Child off to potential “death sentence” today

Only child ponders life, death and the root - bad health

Only child ponders life, death and the root – bad health

As mentioned in last week’s post I am off to the ophthalmologist today to get my eyes, particularly the left eye, checked for eye pressure and all that may be connected to that. I purposely left it to this morning to do an Internet search of eye pressure condition and all it entails.

Just as well I did. It is scary stuff. No cure but maybe can be stopped. The treatments – eye drops of varying kinds, laser surgery and surgery are some options. I definitely don’t want the latter two – they are connected with a specific type of this condition  of glaucoma, I presume. I hope I don’t have that particular type of glaucoma. And the drops – lots of side effects. As I suspected, my regular eye doctor, the optometrist’s answer to my question “what are the side effects of these prescription eye drops?” of “zero, ” was lies. I didn’t believe him even then. All drugs have side effects. Very occasionally an individual will not get side effects. When I had migraines back in the 1980s I was prescribed Inderol (a high blood pressure pill) to prevent the migraines. No side effects. And yes it decreased the number of migraines to once a month or once every month until I finally reached menopause. The latter is the only thing good about getting old. Also  I had no side-effects with an anti-fungal drug – Nystatin –  which I had to take a couple of times.

Those are the exceptions. The way my life has been going lately, especially my health in at least the last 10 months, is all downhill.

So, I am preparing for the worst. Quality of life is most important to me. But how to try to maintain it is also important. Taking action that make it worse than it is now, making life more difficult and scary,  doesn’t seem to be the answer. I have started (as they say) getting my affairs in order, including getting copies of legal documents to my son, letting him know what is happening, and clearing out/sorting the paperwork in my house.

Realistically I would like to live at least another 15 years – but my health must be good and better than it is now. If it deteriorates in ways unacceptable to me, if I have to take actions I don’t want to take, then I reiterate the ending of  last week’s post.  I will “pull a James Darren as in “Goodbye Cruel World” and I won’t be doing like Mr. Darren sang in his 1961 hit – “off to join the circus.”

Depending on the outcome of the ophthalmologist’s visit and diagnosis today. I would give eye drops a try and join a support group. I hope those are options still okay and open for me.

As for my regular eye doctor, the optometrist who didn’t follow-up last year – he is in big trouble, now much will depend on the outcome today.

Cheers.

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Only child, Opticians and Optometrists, Problems, Seniors, Seniors and Happiness, Vision

Only Child always living in survival mode

Only child ponders finances, health and the like

Only child ponders finances, health and the like

I am constantly living in survival mode and I’m fed up with it all. As I seem to get rid of one obstacle two more show up. So, here is more of my Why I Hate the World I Live In list. It is only partial, or we would be here until Easter.

1. The Federal Government has cut back on my Canada Pension Plan payments. They are saying I wasn’t making enough in my business to contribute enough, so from 2012 to now, they are cutting back each month. The cutback is only $1.00 and some odd cents a month and I’m not complaining about that. My beef is that they are deducting the whole difference for my May payment. That will cut into my meagre monthly food budget as I have nowhere else to cut. It’s the fault of these uncivil servants in the CPP department – they are supposed to be monitoring the situation but why every four years? I didn’t even know they could cut back and arbitrarily steal the money back. Not that it is much for me, but I am going to need every penny I can get (see points 2 and 3 below). I can dispute it and will do so formally but all they might do is spread out the amount they are taking back. And to call the CPP part of Service Canada, I had to go through my MP’s office and she connected me through the French line. Even she couldn’t get through even to wait in line for the next available person. At least the French guy spoke good English and gave me good information so I can proceed with my dispute, etc.

2. Problems with weather and animal-related (read “God” here) damage outside that will require repairs. Actually for the minor expense one, my handyman shares the blame with God’s windy weather. He didn’t put a new downspout extension in one spot or secure the old one enough, so it’s fallen off and I can’t get it or the new ones (yes, I did buy the new) on. He is waffling about when he can get here to fix it and no doubt take more money from me. The animal-God one. I will need new eavestroughs this spring because the middle of one on the far side of the house is bent out like a boat. So in heavy rainfalls (like we had last week and yes, some water did get in my basement from it) the water just p0urs off the side of the eavestrough there and onto the ground and seeps into my basement. The latter part is Nigel Applewaite’s fault for his faulty sealing job in 2011. But most of the blame is raccoons  on the roof and raccoons are nature, so from God. I talked to Mike about this last week. He was the one who found this problem late last fall when he was putting up the heating cables. Now I find out he doesn’t do eavestroughs and he says those who do usually don’t replace just the one side but do the whole thing. He said he would check with his colleagues on that. I told him to emphasize to them that I’m a senior living below the poverty level. My ex-husband would pay for half of this, and I might be able to manage half for one eavestrough side, except for No. 3 below.

3. One of my repeat editing clients needed me to edit her latest book. We agreed that because I was meeting a publisher’s submission deadline with my latest Beyond mystery book, that I would edit her book in March – as long as I finished by the end of March. I finished the Beyond book a few days early and when I emailed her about the edit, her reply was she had already had her book edited by someone else. At first I said I was glad that she got her book manuscript edited. Now, it’s a different story. I’m mulling over what I will do here besides keep trying to get more clients to start work with now. I have some for April on.

4. This one is a health issue. According to my optometrist I could lose the sight in one eye – because he didn’t tell me the whole story at the year before’s eye exam and didn’t follow up. All he told me back then was some pressure in the left eye and may need eye drops, so he wanted me to come back in soon. I decided to wait until I got my new glasses and got used to them. Then I got busy with other stuff and forgot. He should have had his receptionist or whatever her title is – phone to remind me a month or so later if it was so important. Would I have gone in then? Yes, if before late June last year when all the other health issues came at me, overlapping. End of this January when I went in for my annual check-up he chastised me for not making an appointment and included that I would have seen a specialist then. Excuse me. He never mentioned going to a specialist back then. I was too shocked and worried to give him hell for that, but I probed and probed about what it was all about and why couldn’t he prescribe the drops. Optometrists can do that. He didn’t give me an answer. So next Tuesday I’m off to the opthamalogist’s to get my death sentence.

Because if I lose any of my senses (and I have partial hearing loss in my left ear, but can manage so far with that), I’m ready to do a James Darren. Well, not Mr. Darren himself, but some of you may remember one of his first big hit in 1961, “Goodbye Cruel World.” Unlike him I won’t be joining any circus. Hey, I may not be able to see the tightrope, let alone the non-existent safety net in this world.

The odd thing here about my sight is the actual vision is exactly the same as last year when I had to get new glasses. So, my glasses have helped here.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under Eavestroughs and dowspouts, finances, God, Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Only child, Opticians and Optometrists, Poverty, Vision

Only Child tries to tame time

One of Only Child's teddy bears sits on time to tame it

My late father’s obsession with time has passed down to me. Unlike Dad, I don’t obsess about taking my watch in to the jeweller’s to get it regulated. Like him, I keep looking at my watch and the many clocks in my house (four in my office if you include the two on the computers and the one on my wrist. I refused to put the battery in for the digital clock on the stereo). Lately, this obsession has me trying to tame time, or rather tame what I am doing in my business and personal life.

Right now I’m reading Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. (http://peterbregman.com/). The first part is about finding your vision, including what you don’t like doing. Been there, done that. However, when he gets down to the nitty-gritty of time management on page 100 about Creating Your Annual Focus, he has me hooked. Without a focus you can’t plan your day. He suggests dividing your year’s focus into five (more or less) categories and use that as your daily planning guidelines. If it doesn’t fit in, don’t do it. I have four categories: Self, Family and Friends, House and Property and Career. I have to watch I don’t overload any one of them for any day.  Bregman has another category which I just love and started to include: an Ignore list. That list gives you so much power and makes you feel justified for example, refusing to waste time chatting with friends (phone, email, Twitter, in person) during business time. And because last month I obsessed and spent so much time dealing with administrative snafus caused by others in both business and personal, my ignore list has that on it – with one exception – the one administrative snafu I may decide to deal with that day.

So, from what I’ve read in Bregman’s book and elsewhere, from personal experience, here are some suggestions for taming your time.

  1. Have an annual focus and divide it into four, five, six categories.
  2. Use those categories to plan each day – your “to do” list (the night before – that 18 minutes works fine) for business and personal. Bregman says not to worry if one or two categories are much shorter. If one item on one list conflicts in time with an item on another list, Bregman, says to choose. He gives the example of two family birthday celebrations conflicting with the time when he was asked to speak about his work. He chose the family celebration.
  3. Have a daily ignore list and list what you will not do that day.
  4. Follow your “to do” list and your “ignore” list. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done on your “to do” list.
  5. Set regular times to check and answer email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, phone messages and stick to it. Turn your Blackberry or iPhone off and put it in a desk drawer. Do a voice mail message letting everyone know when you are available (be positive, rather than negative here). Check your messages – two or three times a day maximum, not every five minutes.
  6. Use the four D’s (I’ve changed the categories slightly) – Delete, Dump, Delay, Don’t Do. Delete email but Dump things you do that you don’t want to do or that don’t fit in with your annual focus. Delay some tasks that do fit in but you can’t get to right now. And my favourite – Don’t Do. Don’t join that committee if you don’t have time for meetings, etc.
  7. Make the word “NO” a big part of your vocabulary and use it.
  8. Spend time with your family and friends – but don’t let them monitor your time. For example, don’t let a whiney friend take over your work time or family time or your personal time to complain about his or her latest problem.
  9. Don’t forget yourself. You need to be in the category list. Your health is important. Alone time where you can just read, meditate, etc. is important.
  10. And try not to feel guilty about doing the other nine suggestions. Focus on the sense of mastery, achievement, connecting more with your family and self, and just plain not letting other people and things take over your time. And take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief.

How do you manage your time?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Delete, Life demands, Only child, Peter Bregman, Time management, Vision

Only Child on aging eyes and writers’ healthcare

Only child struggling to read while wearing those old glasses

Last week I got the green light on my eyes. In December I  had finally, after six years, had my eyes tested by an optometrist. It’s not that I hate wearing glasses. I inherited both Mom’s and Dad’s bad eyes – the duo of myopia and astigmatism and have been wearing glasses since age 21. You see, when you get into bifocals (add the reading glasses part) the cost of glasses increases. As a freelance writer, editor and writing instructor, I am faced with a dilemma – I need glasses to see to work but I also need the money to pay for them. With house repairs, new computer equipment, professional organization fees, and other bills pouring in, eyes and glasses hit the bottom of my “must do,” list.

Until late last year. When I stood up in front of other Canadian Authors Association Toronto branch  members to read from my novella (Fire Underneath the Ice, co-authored with Rene Natan under the pseudonym R.S. Natanevin and yes, available at amazon.com) and had to remove my glasses to see to read, I knew it was time. I could no longer function with these badly-designed glasses (the reading part covered only one-sixth of the lens at the bottom and the left lens was scratched). So, I got new glasses and cool sunglasses which did wonders for my sight but not my purse. However, the optometrist found something disturbing – white clouds in the cornea or cornea opacity in both eyes. He arranged for an appointment with an opthamologist but the earliest date available was March 28, 2011. Three and a half months to worry about whether I’d need laser surgery, pills, prescriptions or a corneal transplant. And listen to some of  my friends’ opinions, including I needed to see an opthamologist now.

We freelance writers getting up there in age have to consider our health – and what will pay for it. When my father had his surgery for lung cancer in 1958, there was no healthcare in Ontario, Canada. Mom had to foot the bill for his surgery and hospital stay. Today, there is healthcare in Canada (since the mid 1960s). Coverage is supposed to be universal across Canada but isn’t. In many provinces, some medical options once covered have been kicked out. Some, such as eye examinations kick in again when you are 65, but not the glasses – they’ve never been covered under universal healthcare. And if you have feet problems, forget it. Orthotics are expensive and visits to podiotrists add up. There are supplemental insurance plans, including for freelance creative people, but have you looked at the premiums? And the coverage is only 80 per cent. Everything is a la carte and when you tally up dental, eyes, feet, back, etc. you might as well do what my dentist once said, “The insurance is too expensive. Better to visit the dentist and pay the cost once a year.” That was over five years ago and the dentist is on my “health waiting list,” waiting as in when I have the money or hit emergency – whichever comes first.

So I do this looking-after-my health in levels based on biggest need. I have nine  health problems (the ninth is stress over the other eight). The latest biggie, the eyes, I had to face last week. And I was scared. Many times I considered cancelling or postponing the appointment and when I lost the opthamologist’s business card I wondered if that was a sign to do so. But I’d bookmarked her biz info on the Internet, so a quick call to the office  confirmed time, date and yes, it was covered by OHIP. So I showed  up – late – I got lost (that’s another story for another post) but despite the crowded waiting room and the ranting patient ahead of me to sign in, I decided to keep my politeness – unless I got bad news.

I didn’t. After waiting 45 minutes (I brought a book to read) I got in for the first check. Then the dreaded drops were put in my eyes and I had another half hour wait (this time not reading). After going through my eye history with the opthamologist and her checking my eyes, the verdict was some scarring on the corneal but it doesn’t affect my eyesight (thanks partially to those great glasses, no doubt). She figured I had some injury or infection – maybe as a child (I don’t remember) and that has caused the scarring. I have to see her every two years and the optometrist annually, but the rest of the “prescription” is to always wear my sunglases when out in the sun, wipe over my eyes with a wet washcloth each evening ( to remove any bacteria) and of course, keep the glasses clean.

Whew! Now, I have to save up to pay for the two pairs of glasses. I got on a plan at the optician’s; I have until December to pay. And they had a half-price sale when I purchased my glasses.

Some medical obstacles  you can work around. I’ve learned the importance of not giving up no matter what the chatter from others.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Health, Health Seniors, Healthcare coverage, Hereditary, Insurance, Only child, Vision

Only child looks at year-end lessons learned

Mom and her glasses

My late mother used to say, “My head never saves my feet.” She meant it literally. When she fell charging up the basement stairs to reach the phone in time to call in for a TV contest, she realized that an extension phone might be a good idea. In these day of cell and other mobile phones, this isn’t necessary, but it might be a good idea to think first before you act. For December 2010, I found this to be so true. Just consider these two decisions I made – or how I ran first and thought afterwards.

1. That so-called missing leather bracelet that I thought I lost at the Christmas Eve church service. The bracelet never made it to the church. I found it just before the end of the year in my fridge, in the veggie bin. No, it wasn’t my intent to make leather salad – the bracelet must have fallen in when I dug around in the bin for veggies and fruit. So, I had to phone the church again and leave a message I had found the bracelet. I also had bought a replacement bracelet of a slightly different design, but I’m not returning it. If I had purchased  it from a large chain or department store I would, but not from a small business artisan at a farmer’s market. Next time I’ll wait and the lost item might show up.

2. Getting my eyes tested after many years of not (due to finances – in Ontario, unless you have secondary health coverage, you pay for what isn’t under the provincial health plan), I got my eyes tested. First I checked out optometrists and opticians, including getting references from friends. I thought I had made good decisions until I started talking again to some of my friends. The optometrist I went to gave me a new prescription and I had it filled.  I could see so much better and no longer had to remove my bifocals to read. He also found some clouds in my corneas – the medical term is corneal opacity and referred me to an ophthalmologist. But I couldn’t get an appointment until the end of March. When I told one friend this she about hit the roof (the one over my head – I could feel it crashing). Oh, she says, I should get that attended to right away; I shouldn’t have gotten a new glasses prescription because it might change after the ophthalmologist gets to work, and then she slammed the optometrist I saw. This started me on a worry spiral – and I have a wild imagination (I am a writer).  It didn’t help that my eyes seemed to be hurting until I checked it out closely. The pain wasn’t in my eyes but in all the surrounding bone and drainage areas for sinusitis, which can be caused by allergies and I have allergies as well as a deviated septum. Even the optometrist said allergies could be the cause of the cornea condition. I won’t go where my mind went but suffice to say I had sleepless nights and worry-ridden days…until it finally hit me what to do. It helped to speak to a couple more friends who also had these cloudy cornea problems. One said, “They often just go away,” and another said, “Don’t get surgery whatever you do.”

So, the lesson here, is to sit back, do your research (I haunted the Internet); if you ask others for advice, consider where it is coming from; weigh the pros and cons, and then wait some more. Often the answer will surface in your head.  So, I will try to let my head save my “feet” and try not to think about my mom’s last ophthalmologist appointment. She never made it because her headaches were from an impending brain aneurysm. Looking back, I realize her headaches began after a couple of falls she had. I wasn’t present for either so I don’t know if she hit her head.

Another lesson here is to take precautions to avoid falls – something I’ve been rash about until now.

Happy 2011 to all.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Decisions, Health, Life learning, Only child, Vision