Flue Shots

My mom does not have any medical insurance, because she is only in the country for two and a half years, and when somebody comes on a sponsored green card, they are not eligible for Medicare/Medicaid until they are in the country for five years. She is enrolled in a charity program for Chicago Northwest suburbs called Access To Care, which allows her to see an assigned family doctor and takes care of some of non-emergency needs.

As for the vaccination, the coverage varies. One year, she had to pay twenty dollars for a flue shot, next year they said they will do it for free if we come to one assigned pharmacy, located extremely inconveniently for me. So I ended up taking her to Jewel Osco and paying seventy dollars (she needs a stronger vaccine since she is 86).

This season, the Access To Care sent out a newsletter where they said among other things that they encourage everybody to take a seasonal flue shot soon, in order not to add it to corona, and that you can do it in any pharmacy for free, if you present your Access To Care card. The good part is that when mom sees any mail from Access To Care she takes it as an order :).

On Saturday, we went together to Walgreens (which is, by the way, way more friendly to uninsured people than CVS) and got our season flue shots. I had it as well, since because I won’t get to my annual checkup until a month from now anyway. The funny story was, that she got it for free and I had to pay ten bucks 🙂

Something Good I Never Mentioned

I wanted to end the day with something good because my only post in two days sounded like “life is horrible,” and it is not at all! Sometimes during the day, I stop for a moment and enjoy this feeling – everything is great!

Perhaps, it’s a strange feeling during the pandemic, but I feel that there are so many things going well in my life, despite the pandemic, no matter pandemic or not. I feel lucky in so many ways, to the point of being guilty of being so lucky.

One good thing about which I was reluctant to write for a while is that I can walk substantial distances without major discomfort. It was already so many times after my back surgery that I felt things are better, and then they turned for worse again, that this time I was taking time to make sure they are better indeed.

I attribute this time’s progress to the two factors. One is that I am doing my stretches and rolling twice a day, no matter what. The other is that in May, my physical therapist told me that she thinks that my left leg is a little bit shorter than my right and that this might aggravate my problems. She suggested I try the heel elevator, and I did, and it worked, and I was putting them in all my footwear since then. Gradually, it worked a miracle.

Make no mistake, I will be aware of my back for the rest of my life, but I can’t even describe how much my quality of life improved in the past couple of months.

BIking Accident

I just saw that I forgot to hit “publish” on my yesterdays’ post. Now there will be multiple in one day:), because I am still going to publish that one.

So, for the last two hours, I am trying to write down what has happened to me today. It’s embarrassing, but here is it: I had a really bad bike accident this morning. And it was not even the long ride. It was my shortest biking routine, the one I do these days after the strength workouts – just to add some cardio. It’s less than 30 min ride. 

I am still not sure what exactly happened. I was going downhill, probably faster than I should have, but the hill was not that steep. There were some small branches from the Monday storm on the ground; they didn’t look dangerous; I rode over similar small branches a lot in the past several days, they were everywhere. And the next moment, I felt that I am going down. I tried to brake and tried to put my feet down on th ground, but I could not fight gravity. 

My next thought was that my whole face is smashed, so I was delighted to find out that I had only a couple of cuts on the face.

Unfortunately, I wore glasses. These days, when my vision is tons better than before, I usually put the contacts in after the shower, and do my exercises in glasses. But this morning, for some reason, I was intensely thinking: maybe, I should put the contacts in before my bike ride. And I didn’t.

If I would, my new glasses won’t break. And I won’t have an extra puncture of my skin close to my right eye. 

There was a lot of blood, and also my bike chain got off, so I had to stop the blood at least a little bit, and fix the bike, and then get home. I did it all, and I am very proud of myself. 

The injuries bother me, however. First, I thought that I hit my right shoulder but turned out it was just a massive scratch of the skin. And the same goes for all other parts of my body. The cuts are not deep, but they are everywhere – hip, leg, knee, hands, elbows, fingers. Annoying like I do not know what. 

I so-so-so hope it will heal soon!!!

Flying Back

There are way fewer international flights than normal these days, and the ones who are operating are pretty crowded. At least, the European ones. 

My flight to Frankfurt was at 6-30 AM. Usually, I am trying to avoid that flight, because it is way too early, but this time it was the only option. In normal times, Boris would insist that there is no reason to arrive at the airport before 5-30, even if I want to shop duty-free, and even if I need to drop off the luggage. Oh, and about the luggage. I had a “light” airfare, which means – carry-on only, and as I’ve mentioned, I came to Helsinki with an almost empty suitcase. I thought that even if I buy some clothes, it will still fit. But then, I ended up buying more for my girls. It was a gradual process. First, I was not even sure whether I will do any shopping, then I did some, and then I thought that god-only-knows when I would be able to come again, and then I thought that I could buy en extra luggage :).

Boris favored that idea, and we ended up buying a very nice duffle bag, which could be converted to the backpack. I used it to pack the clothes, and also some yogurts. I started to smuggle dairy products from Finland in my luggage some time ago, which worked great.

I tried to check-in online, and as expected, got the message that the boarding pass could be issued only at the airport. We agreed that we will plan to be there at about 5-10. That meant getting up at 3-45 and taking a cab, but that would be unavoidable in any case. 

When we entered the terminal, we saw a huge line. People were trying to maintain the distance, so the line became very long and spiraling. 

Continue reading “Flying Back”

Eyes And Travel

 do not think I wrote in detail about my last eyes-related updates. After my visit to the LensCrafters, things only got better. Fist, I got my multifocal eyeglasses. They work almost perfectly, which was especially important during my air travel. It was the first time I traveled without any worries about the contact lenses and them being in my eyes for way too long. The only thing I find slightly inconvenient with them is that the reading part of glasses interferes with going down the stairs and looking in the direction of the floor in general. 

Also, I tried the multifocal contacts, and that was a life-changing experience. It’s very close to what I was hoping to achieve after the cataract surgery. I still need the reading glasses, but only when I type or look at a really small print, and then it is +1, not +2.75. The doctor reduced the strength of both my glasses and lenses, which helped a lot. 

What it has to do with my travel? First, as I said, I was able to travel in glasses. Second, it is unbelievable how many more things I can see now! 

I am still learning to use my vision, still learning to look both further and closer. I was biking a lot all these days, and I was way more aware of my surroundings than before. 

Also, although I still have my double-vision, it is now localized to a very specific distance. It’s precisely the distance where I need to see the cars in front of me, so I still need my driving glasses. But first, I think that now the prisms can be reduced, a second – now I feel that this can be corrected. 

My all eyes ordeal started when I went to the doctor to correct my double vision. After all these surgeries, I thought that I do not want to do anything for a while. But now I think that it may be a good time to try to fix it. 

Air Conditioning and the Virus

Copying yesterday’s Tribune article – exactly what I was talking about for weeks. Source – here

There’s an invisible obstacle to reviving Chicago’s economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

Potential transmission of the virus through air conditioning and heating systems is the latest issue employers and building owners are focusing on as they prepare for more people to head back to office towers and other non-residential buildings, whether they’re office workers or school teachers and students.

Continue reading “Air Conditioning and the Virus”

More Optimistic Eyes Update

On Wednesday, I went to the two-weeks checkup after my retina surgery. My left eye is now better than before the surgery and is some aspects even better than the right one. However, the horizontal lines are still wavy, and there are some blank spots in the middle. I told the surgeon that I do not want to do the right eye, because I won’t be able to last with my left eye only for a week. He agreed to wait till October to decide whether I will do the second one. I am most likely not going to come back because I have lots of issues with that office.

Since my eye doctor is still not open, I decided to go to the LensCrafters in the city, who made my last glasses. Their location works perfectly for me, and I had an excellent impression of their office in general when they replaced a lense in my glasses.

I scheduled an appointment with them for Thursday, which is now my in-office day. I spent there two and a half hours and I felt extremely guilty missing time at work, but the results are very promising. The doctor fitted me with bifocal glasses, and also I tried bifocal lenses for the first time. He gave me a week to get to adjust to them. That’s a new experience, and I am excited to be almost a normal person. I could not see so well for a long time; I can’t even recall since when.

Hopefully, this all will work out!

Eyes Progress

I should have said, “one eye progress.” 🙂

Anyway, now I can see that the level od the fluid is going down. Last night, I re-read all the information about that surgery, which I read before, and I realized that I saw it all, I just didn’t understand what they meant. They talked a lot about “a gas bubble, ” but I didn’t understand what it means. I could not imagine that it was like having this ish tank in your eye :). And I imagined a very different picture when they would say, “your vision will be blurry at first, but it will go away in several days.”

Now I understand that I won’t be able to drive or bike until this bubble would go away entirely because while even a part of it is there, I still have blind spots. 

It’s hard to say, with what speed it will progress, but I hope it will be gone within a week. 

As for the travel ban, the only thing we can do is wait and see. Boris still does not believe me about “next year,” he still thinks that the ban is political and that something will happen by August. As of today, there are only these many hours-long connections in London, which I do not want him to experience. Especially when Finland is effectively virus-free. So no changes in the observable future. 

All of Today’s Negativities

First, about my eye surgery. The vision in the operated eye is non-existent; it’s as if I have an aquarium inside. I know that that’s exactly what I have in my eye :), but it looks like everybody expected it to be better. Plus, I am seriously upset with this surgeon and the whole office and the whole organization. Vlad, who took me to the post-surgical today, is equally upset. We waited for him for the whole hour, and he didn’t even say that he is sorry for being late, and he barely talked to us. I am also upset that although I’ve explained to him how important it is for me to know what to expect after the surgery precisely, he didn’t give me the correct information like he said I would be able to drive right away. Now I do not trust anything of what he said, including whether I indeed needed this surgery.

I need to come for a checkup in two weeks, and then in another two weeks to see the first surgeon. I hope that my regular eye doctor will finally start coming to the office because I need to consult with her about the situation.

And on top of it – the EU is banning all the travel from the US. Now, once again, same as in March, although Boris theoretically can come, It won’t help if the planes won’t fly. And I still can’t go there because of the current restrictions.

I’ve almost talked myself into some calmness because there is nothing I can do, and because Penelope waited longer and didn’t have Facetime :).

Today’s Eyes Update

I am back home from the surgery; they said it went well, but I can’t tell until later, because I have a patch on the operated eye and will be blurry for a while in any case. Although it was local anesthesia with sedation, it feels more serious than with the cataract surgery, I am still dizzy, and I still feel like half of my head is numb. So most likely, that’s all for today, and I will post an update tomorrow after my post-surgical.