Very Brief Status Update

On top of all the thins which affect everybody in the world, my laptop battery decided to stop charging. And as you can imagine, our company tech support was busy with making sure everybody can work remotely, and they didn’t have time to figure out my computer (they were already working 24 hours a day!)

Fortunately, there was one new computer coming, so today a got it (thanks for our senior devops, who brought it to my house in the evening!) However, now I have to set up all the apps and then carefully transfer stuff from my time machine. Which will take, as I estimate, the big portion of Sunday.

I have at least five blog post in my queue:), but not sure when they will materialize πŸ™‚

My First New Year’s Eve

Since Christmas was forbidden in the Soviet Union and later partially rehabilitated in the form of New Year’s celebration, I can’t tell, “it was my first Christmas. ” Instead, it was “my first New Year,” December 31, 1963. The New Year was especially a big deal in our family because Aunt Kima’s birthday was on January 1.

I cherish these pictures because they are atypically live for that period, and none of them are staged photos. I believe my Mom never printed the pictures from that roll, which did not include me, so until we scanned the film, I didn’t know what a treasure I have in my possession.

I have some memories from that day, in part because Mom showed me these pictures often.

I just started walking and preferred to stay close to the walls:)
Continue reading “My First New Year’s Eve”

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.

Continue reading “Post-surgery Day”

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.

Continue reading “More Details on the Second Eye Surgery”

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 πŸ™‚

Getting the First Job After College in the Soviet Union

This is the last post related to the story of higher education in the Soviet Union: how graduates would land on their first jobs.

Since it was happening in the Soviet Union, all colleges and universities were state schools, and there was no concept of the private educational establishment. I’ve already mentioned that the cost of education was zero, which did not mean that students’ life was easy. But there was still a price student had to pay upon graduation. This price was called “a distribution of specialists” or simply “a distribution.”

The Soviet Union had a “planned economy.” That meant that the government planned ahead how much of everything had to be produced in any given year, including the number of graduates of all educational establishments. And all employers: manufacturing plants, research institutions, Department of Defence, schools, hospitals, etc. had to plan how many graduates they need to fill in their positions. Since the Soviet Union did not follow the same educational standards as the rest of the world, we did not have Bachelors’s and Masters’s; everybody had to study for five years (some professions – longer). And everybody would graduate as “specialist,” not B.S. or B.A. or M.S.

The graduates were called “young specialists,” and a couple of months before graduation, they had to be “distributed.” The organizations which wanted to hire somebody had to place their requests with an educational institution. In my case, it was the Leningrad State University. There were about 300 students who would graduate the same year as me from the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics. The University would accept about 300 requests for young specialists, including those who could continue their studies as post-grad students, and including those who will become TAs in the University.Β 

All students were ordered by class rank, and on the day when the distribution commission was held, they were called into the room in their rank order. 

Continue reading “Getting the First Job After College in the Soviet Union”

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 πŸ™‚


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:)

More on Summer 1963

I found more pictures form summer 1963, the same summer, the same place, the same people. Just wanted to keep all these old photos at one place. When I was a child, I didn’t think of them more than just “these are my baby pictures, ” but now I view them as historical documents, since they’ve captured so many signs of the epoch πŸ™‚

With Aunt Kima. It strikes me, that she is only 39 years old on these pictures.
Continue reading “More on Summer 1963”

Summer 1963

The first summer of my life. Since I remember myself from a very early age, and since I liked looking at my pictures even when I was a very small child (and that’s why, perhaps, I still remember it so well!), I could not believe I didn’t remember that summer! It felt unfair that I was in Estonia, looking at these beautiful flowers, and all of it was gone from my memories!

My aunt Kima is holding me here; I am six months old
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Eye Surgery Details – Part Two

Once again, way too many details, mostly for my real-life friends.

I forgot to mention that right after the surgery, I was allowed to put my right contact lens in, so after I came home, I was able to put the old lens on. After three weeks of glasses, it felt great. The left eye was still foggy, and also there were random dark “bloody” spots floating around, but for those, I knew they would go away.


I also knew that my operated eye might still change, but not significantly. So when I woke up Wednesday morning and took my eye shield off, I knew right away that that was not -2 or -2.5
My appointment was st 8-45 AM, and again in a distant location. Vlad came to me in the morning and drove me there.

When the doctor’s assistant was trying to measure my vision, I told her that I see nothing on the screen, no matter how big it is, that the screen and the wall are blurry. So She stepped closer and measured the max distance fro which I could see things clearly.

After a while, the surgeon came in, and I told him it must be -6 or so. He checked it, and it turned to be -4. I said: doctor, let’s discuss what can be done now. He started again about Lasic, and I told him: forget about Lasic for a moment, I need to understand how I am going to function in the next four weeks.

Continue reading “Eye Surgery Details – Part Two”