State of Mind, State of Health, State of Body, State of Finances, State of the State of Illinois

Today is May 1st, and the weather was gorgeous. I will do my best not to write about what I didn’t do today, but instead, to write about something I did :).

This week, I started to wear contact lenses again. On Tuesday, there were eight weeks past my second cataract surgery, and by all medical advice, I could start. I was freaking out because the implants are so close to the surface, I can see them. And I only started to wear soft contacts in October, and then stopped at the end of January, so I am not very skilled with them. Taking them off is the scariest thing because you almost scratch the eye. Besides, my eyes are still dry after the surgery, 

I started from just two hours on Tuesday and wore them for eight hours today. Some days, I can’t put on or take off one of the contacts for a very long time, but overall, things are fine. The only weird thing is that my close vision is way worse in the contacts than in glasses. 

Unfortunately, my eye doctor won’t start seeing patients in May, which means I won’t have a better prescription for a while.  

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Health Updates

It’s hard for me to tell whether the problems with my back have returned because I am working from home, or they just returned – after all, last spring, the situation was the same. It started to get worse when it should have become better. This time, it is all related to walking. Standing is fine, but walking started to be more and more painful again. On the one hand, it could be because I do not walk with my backpack anymore (it helps me to stay in balance); on the other hand – it still shouldn’t have been like this.

I do not like to go at length about “how exactly I feel unwell,” so I will stop here. I still had some leftovers from the last year’s prescription, but I had to use it often recently and was running out of it. I was not sure whether the orthopedics is considered essential, but I was hoping that I could get a prescription refill.

When I called the doctor’s office, they told me that they are open and that if I am comfortable with it, they would rather see me in person.

I went there last Friday; there was almost nobody in the waiting area, and I didn’t wait at all. They took the Xrays, and it looks like all the same problems I had a year ago, which does not go away, and which was not supposed to go away.

So I started everything again, as last spring: a steroid pack, already done, which, as usual, caused a short-term relief. On Wednesday, I started physical therapy. My usual place is in business, which means I do not need to travel far. Fortunately, I got my favorite therapist, who has scoliosis herself. Last year, she showed me a lot of great exercises which help me a lot, if done consistently. I already had two sessions with her and will continue for two more weeks. They all wear masks, and I wear a mask when I come in. They also have a box of disposable gloves, so when a patient needs to get on an elliptical or to do some other exercises, they put the gloves on. They also limited the number of patients they treat simultaneously.

Last week, when I was at the doctor, he said I might need steroid shots (which I refused the previous year), and that he hopes I won’t need another surgery. I hope so, too! It’s frustrating that I do not quite understand what causes the problem. All these “narrow exits” do not bear any meaning to me, and I can’t consider steroid shots being treatment, it’s just pain management.
Most likely (and hopefully), I will feel better in a couple of weeks, but most likely, it won’t be permanent. It might become my seasonal activity :).

About Politics

First, I hope that all the recent tragic events will help the people of the United States to understand that Universal Health Care is the only solution to our health care crisis. Nothing partial will work. Any other system will lead to a situation when either a doctor will need to play God and decide who is worth living, or to the situation which we have now when people are not left to die on the streets. Still, society as a whole pays for the care for non-insured, and it pays more than it would if Universal Health Care would be officially on place. 

I hope this will indeed happen. I recall that my republican friends would suddenly become proponents of Universal Health care the moment they lose their jobs. Now I hope that the twenty-two million newly unemployed people will finally realize that “keeping their insurance” does not work as well as they wished.  

Second, I find it ironic how Trump had to revert to the UBI at the time of crisis, and how for several weeks, some tried to explain that it is not a PBI :). 

Third, I am mad that the payroll credits for small businesses were rolled out so late after millions of people were laid off already. Probably the most important part of COVID stimulus, it was open for applications way too late, and it ran out of money way too soon… We are promised that more money will be distributed soon, but for now – twenty-two million. 

The rest of my complaints are minor ๐Ÿ™‚

Eye Surgery – One More Follow Up

That is one more report for close friends.

My eye doctor’s office is closed, which was a bummer, especially because many other eye doctors are open for emergencies (and post-surgical is considered an emergency). She arranged for me to see my eye surgeon instead. I called twice to make sure he will be able to give me new glasses prescription because they usually would not do it in the clinic. I had to take Uber because I thought that my eyes would be dilated (they were not) and because that’s too far for me in the less than perfect glasses. I haven’t taken Uber since the time of peace and was not sure how many drivers are still around, so I scheduled the ride for the first time. It turned out it was not necessary – there are plenty of drivers out, all looking for riders.

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Shelter in Place in Illinois

The maximum size of the gathering of people allowed got smaller and smaller every day last week, both by the state of Illinois and by the Federal government. If quickly went down from one thousand to ten people, and then on Friday around noon, somebody posted in work slack that the governor is going to announce the shelter in place order. In three minutes, almost everybody excused themselves from work and ran out shopping before even listening to the governor’s announcement.

I did not, because I detest the idea of hoarding, and because both my fridges and my pantry were far from being empty. Besides, I didn’t fancy the idea of being in the crowd. So I didn’t. I turned on WBEZ on my phone and listened to the governor’s announcement.

I think it was a very reasonable announcement. I am pasting below the whole video, but only the first 10+ minutes are essential.

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Post-surgery Day

Now about Wednesday. I already had some vision in the right eye even before I went to bed, and in the morning, I’ve realized it is now the same as in the left eye, maybe slightly better. The eye overall felt tons better than the first one after the surgery. I do not know what the surgeon did wrong the first time, and I am not going to try to find out:)

I had a follow-up in the morning, Vlad got into really bad traffic, and was late. But since now he is an excellent planner, we still arrived virtually on time. This time we didn’t have to wait for the doctor. My eyes were checked, and the right one appeared to be the same about -2.75.
Although this time, the surgeon sat with me and asked what questions I had, it didn’t feel like he was interested in me. I asked all I needed to confirm (eyes dryness, when I can resume my training, makeup, etc.) I will have a follow-up with him in three months, and the retina doctor follow up in four months, and endless visits with my eye doctor to finalize my prescription (which might take 4-5 more weeks)

I needed to take my mom to the same eye doctor for her annual, and I figured out I will make her appointment on the same day since Vlad will be there anyway. So when I realized I would need to adjust my glasses for the right eye, I called my doctor. They said they are booked 100% until Tuesday, “but let’s see what the doctor will say.” I also called the Lenzcrafters to see whether their lab person will be in, but they said he is in on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday only. Which meant I wouldn’t be able to get glasses that day.

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More Details on the Second Eye Surgery

Once again, tons of details, mostly for my real-life friends.

Probably the worst thing about these eye surgeries so far was these four days before the second surgery when I had to take my right contact lense out. I asked my doctor whether it will make any sense to take out one of my -14 lenses and put my -2.75 in the left eye, and she shook her head and said I wouldn’t be able to see anything. So I had to survive with one eye.

For some reason, when I was talking to the clinic staff in the fall, I believed them when they told me that I would be fine with one eye for two weeks “because people use one eye most of the time anyway.” I should have been skeptical since by then, I already knew they do not understand the severity of my situation, but for some reason, I believed them.

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Second Eye Surgery

On Tuesday, I had my second (right) eye operated. This time my surgery was very early in the day (we had to be there at 8-15 AM) and overall went much better than the first one. Since I mentioned to Vlad that I’d experienced some pain during the first surgery (and the only reason I’ve said it was because of my known high pain tolerance level), Vlad made sure everybody knew about that. He mentioned it to each of the nurses who appeared by me, and to the surgeon. They ave me more local anesthesia, and not only ai had virtually no pain at that time, but I also had fewer effects when it started to wear off in the afternoon.

The fog started to disappear earlier, and I had less “bloody spots” during the first two days.
I ended up being again about -3, which was expected, even with the different lens types.
That was after the surgery that we had ice-cream instead of lunch, and I got more treats from Vlad today.

This morning I realized that the surgeon’s mark was still on my forehead ๐Ÿ™‚

It Feels Better, When Things are Explained

On the topic of doctors’ orders for before/after surgery, I’ve realized that it is extremely difficult to follow the instructions when you have no idea what’s the underlying reason for these do’s and dont’s. I know that sometimes doctors are annoyed with all these questions, but not understanding the reasons produce even ore questions :).

For example, I was given the list of eye drops with a rather complex schedule of how many times a day they should be inserted, depending on what’s the week after surgery. Plus, there were instructions not to exceed the dose and what to do if you miss the dose.

Only when I got the second package from the pharmacy, each of them had a half-page of explanation in large print :), I knew which of them is antibiotic, with is anti-inflammatory, so you can at least get an idea of how important/not important is to keep the schedule. And it was only on Tuesday that my eye doctor explained to me why the anti-inflammation drops dosage has to be reduced gradually.

Or take this no-bend/no-lift over 10 pounds for a week. And what happens after one week? All of a sudden, you can lift as much as you want? What about the bodyweight exercises? How do they count? Or when I asked about yoga, they said – OK. But yoga poses may be so different! Some include mild bending, some – mode bending. What about a shoulder stand? Or a headstand? Also, you need to know what’s the average level of activity of this particular person, because each body would react differently to the same level of physical activity. You need to know what exactly is important for the operated eye to make a better judgment of what you can or can’t do. Otherwise, you would end up asking about each individual move. Or will do something crazy ๐Ÿ™‚

So I like it when I can get explanations. My doctor explained to me that vision is changing after the surgery because the inflammation goes down. Which may be obvious, but I didn’t think about it!
Now I am more informed, but now, surgery number two is coming. And it will bring new challenges:)