Tag Archives: Vision

Only Child says beware the silver lining

How I may have to view my garden - standing up on the patio

How I may have to view my garden and eating outside – standing up on the patio

Silver linings are used as something to look for in times of trouble. For me, it seems to be a weird, perhaps perverse variation. When a silver lining event happens, always an underlying troubling event or events (to put it nicely) connected to it happens. And 95 per cent of the time the bad event comes from out there. So no control at my end.

Here are a couple of recent examples.

You probably gathered from recent postings that I am in dire financial straits – this month especially because all my regular bills are showing up to be paid. But if I can stick to my strict budget, June is supposed to be much better because – drum roll for silver lining events – I have three writing, editing and/or teaching writing gigs coming up. The first one is for a client I already have. He informed me last week we could meet to get going on what he wants me to do (writing and editing) the week of May 24. A few months ago he paid me a retainer (long gone on paying bills), so I can’t exactly ask for more money until I work through this retainer.

Starting June 6 I am contracted to teach a four-session (every Monday afternoon) Memoir Writing gig at the North York Central Library branch in Toronto.

And this Friday I meet with a potential editing client for a possible manuscript evaluation gig – but it won’t start for two weeks until after she returns from holidays.

So, while June looks good (I also don’t have to pay a property tax bill in June), May is turning into the month from wherever.

The opposite to the silver lining under all this good fortune is something I never expected to happen. I had done my homework and saved enough money over the previous months to get some necessary tree pruning done. Job done very well and so I paid. Way after  the guys left (and I had another set-back that sidetracked me here. Coming to that shortly). ‘Without my permission and without even telling me, they had moved my patio table a metre and a half or so on the patio. This was supposedly so they could get the ladder up against the wall to go up to do some trimming of the walnut trees from the neighbour’s which were hanging over my roof. It was not necessary for them to move the patio table – the fellow who cleans my eavestrough doesn’t and he gets the ladder in there behind the patio table and to the right of it. The arborists could have done the latter. They also did not put the patio table back to where it belonged. I don’t usually allow it to be moved because it has a hole in the top to match up with the hole in the cement so I can put in the umbrella. I even waited to do this because I knew the umbrella would be in their way.

So what’s the thanks I get? When moving the patio table, nails on both ends joining the seats to the rest of the picnic table, came out. I phoned and called them on it and got “well, it was okay when we moved it.” I don’t think so. As soon as I lifted the table to try to move it back, I could tell something was loose.  The fellow said they would swing by and check on it (and hopefully hammer the nails back in and move the table back to where it belongs) either late Sunday or late yesterday or possibly today.

No show Sunday or yesterday. So, I left a vm message this morning and while I was polite, this time I mentioned why I don’t usually let the table be moved and could they please clarify if they were coming after 4.30 p.m. today or in the alternative, same time Thursday.

I cannot afford to pay a handyman to fix these arborists’ screw-ups. They did a good job with the trees (and I told them that) and were courteous enough to check with me after they did part of the job (before they were in the backyard) to see if it was to my satisfaction. I already paid them with a cheque and am contemplating putting a hold on it at the bank until they fix the patio table damage. But they do deserve to be paid for the tree trimming. Too bad you can’t hold part of the cheque amount back.

The other big silver lining is last Thursday at the ophthalmologist’s, after the eye exam, I got really good results, better than either of us expected. My good eye – the right one was seeing letters smaller and better. Even the left eye was too. But the best news was the double content prescription eye drops are not only stopping the pressure behind my left eye, but the pressure has gone down from 33 to 18 (whatever the measurement is for that). And the drops aren’t supposed to lower the pressure, just keep it at bay.

The shit in this silver lining? Saturday, besides gardening and having the arborists here, I was doing some laundry. What I didn’t hang out went in the clothes dryer. When transferring towels from washer to dryer I felt something fall from my glasses into the towels.. I figured it was the frame handle (again, it was glued on temporarily last month) from the sunglasses. Being in and out of the house a lot I sometimes keep the sunglasses on.

Uh, uh. It was my regular prescription glasses, the more important ones. One of the lenses had popped out. This had never happened to me before. I managed to get it in most of the way, but it still required a fast trip right then (I did eat lunch first) to the opticians. They popped it in, no charge, but while there I decided to order the new pair of sunglasses before the frame handle fell off again. I had enough left over from what I had saved for the tree trimming, so I picked out the glasses; the optician measured for them, and put the order in. The warranty for the original sunglasses  was only a year so is gone. I paid cash.

Then I went home and found the patio table situation when I went out back to do some garden clearing.

There are many more crappy incidents in the silver lining, but these are the two biggest ones – all unexpected. Before all this I had already cancelled me going to two events that require a fee and also postponed another event until next month.

What do I do now? Stop eating, or at least buying food, the middle of the month?

So, when people thinkI bring this stuff on and/or I create it – not true. Most of the shit coming my way; most of the things going wrong, I don’t cause them. And no I’m not going into the God stuff here, I’m saying that a lot of it is other people’s mistakes.

Is it something in the air or the water that makes people so stupid? Or are they just naturally careless?

Sheesh!

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes (and yells a lot lately)

 

 

 

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Filed under Arborists, finances, Good and Bad Luck, Home and Garden, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Silver Lining, Snafus

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 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