Wednesday, December 8, 2010

8 December 2010 Here comes sunshine!

Today is forecast to reach 29°F and to be partly cloudy. Tomorrow, 38°F and sunny. Tonight, is expected to be 13°F, brutally cold but at least the winds are projected to be light. Three days of sunshine before a rainy weekend should brighten the attitudes of many people. This early cold snap is going to drive up the demand for firewood. However, while it is being called “early” I noticed that the record low for 7 December was set only four years ago, just after we moved in and well before we had managed any serious acclimation or installed our wood stove.

Yesterday’s VA optometry reports were good. I’m being treated for glaucoma. The visual field exams that test for and record loss of peripheral vision were essentially unchanged. The intra-ocular pressures were both recorded as 12 mm/Hg, very acceptable in a patient under treatment.

These pressures are measured by using a tonometry device. Several are available and such pressure checks should be provided at every eye exam. (more than most will ever wish to know.

Glaucoma is one of the insidious-onset disorders that can arrive and do great damage before the patient has any idea of the loss of peripheral vision. I was diagnosed during a routine exam for contact lenses. Fortunately, I found a good ophthalmologist who confirmed the diagnosis and initiated treatment. The VA system is good about following up and monitoring treatment. I use two different topical ophthalmic drops every day and don’t miss doses.

Even with thorough treatment and commitment on my part to not miss doses, I am aware of a decided loss in peripheral vision compared to what mine once was. I’ve had to increase the amount of caution I use in crossing streets on foot or in driving into cross traffic or changing lanes in traffic. This really bothers me. In the late 1990’s I spent quite a lot of time in the ophthalmology office. I was quite often the only one in my age group and it hammered home the nature and severity of the disease while making me feel older than I was. Now, my age has begun to catch up to my infirmities.

I met the professor who will be teaching the course on volcano logy. He seems interesting and I think I will enjoy hearing what he has to teach. He provided me a basic physical geology text to help me ramp up my knowledge of geology. We wound up comparing back injuries. He isn’t that old and I tend to ignore mirrors.

The Novocain component of the steroid injections into my shoulders has worn off and hauling wood up onto the deck and inside reminded me that anesthesia is not a cure.

Tonight we will dine on grilled chuck eyes and home fries with onions and mushrooms. The home fries will take the place of shredded potato latkes. We’ll celebrate the final night of Chanukah with something fried in oil, observing tradition.

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