Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Crazy-Glue, Glass Eyes and Flat Tires



The last of my spring appointments in the medical realm of my life was polished off this week with a trip to the eye doctor. He says my cataracts are in the “iffy zone.” If glaring lights at night and daytime sun is bothering me then the cataracts can come off otherwise we can let them go a year or two. I’m in no danger to other drivers on the road, he said, and I asked if there’s a chance he’ll retire before my next appointment. “Yes, but I’ll find a good looking guy to take over,” he replied. I told him that in today’s world he shouldn’t exclude the possibility of a woman ophthalmologist taking over. “Oh, I’m not.” he said, laughing. “If you were a man I’d tell you I’ll find a good looking woman to take over my practice.” I went home thinking maybe I should have the surgery this year because I trust my doctor. I’ve been going to him for over 30 years, since he treated me in an emergency because I Crazy-Glued my eye shut and more recently he gave my husband 20/20 vision after his cataract surgeries. When I brought this dilemma up with the Gathering Girls they all thought I should wait until I get a young doctor because, they reasoned, a younger doctor will know better techniques and have steadier hands. I hate dilemmas like this. My dad once had a doctor have a heart attack and fall on top of him while he was laying on a treatment table, so I get what they’re saying. 

And for the curious-minded who want to know how one goes about Crazy-Gluing your eyelid to your eyeball, let me explain that it involved a wooden dowel and a hole where I wanted it to go. I filled up the hole with glue and then with too much force I pushed the dowel inside and the glue splashed up and into my eye. Talk about ball-of-fire painful! I went into that mode where you think if you scream-talk people will understand that it hurt like the devil had pushed a hot poker in my eye and he was twisting it at warp speed. I called Don who found the eye doctor and off we went. It’s such a common thing to happen that his office keeps a solution on hand that undoes Crazy-Glue. A chemical burn on my eyeball resulted but it healed surprisingly fast with no permanent damage. To this day I have never used Crazy-Glue without first putting safety glasses on. Eye issues freak me out. A couple of times I’ve rubbed my eye and accidentally flipped the lid outside in so it looked like I didn’t have any eyelashes at all. They were all up inside! Oh, yes, my eye doctor has gotten me through some strange things with his calm demeanor and sense of humor.

One of my friends from The Gathering (for people looking for friends) has a fake eye, technically called an ocular prosthesis. She’s had it since childhood when a neglected case of Pink Eye turned into a serious infection that caused her to lose her eye. Recently, she had an appointment to get a new eye painted by the only guy in the state who does that kind of work. It’s long process of literally sitting in a room while the “eye artist” works on the fake eye while using your real eye as his guide. Not able to let this tidbit go by without googling glass eyes, I found out an ocular prosthetic can cost $2,500 to $8,300 and the first known prosthesis was made of gold and worn by a woman back in circa 2900 BC. By the 5th century fake eyes that were made out of clay were written about and by the 16th century glass came into use. WWII soldiers brought on a need for lots of fake eyes and plastic eyes have been the norm ever since. In the U.S. there are only 170 ocularists (eyeball painters) and it takes a five year apprenticeship to get certificated. On e-Bay you can buy just about anything including vintage glass eyes for sale from $30 to $100. Ohmygod, do you think people buy those for do-it-yourself health care projects! If they do, I hope no one gets the bright idea to use Crazy-Glue to hold them in place.

I spent the morning yesterday talking myself into going to the gym when I really didn’t feel like it. But I bit the bullet and went anyway. Part way there I noticed a warning icon on the dashboard and in the parking lot of the YMCA I looked it up in the manual. My car was trying to tell me that my left, rear tire only had ten pounds of air---twelve when I first noticed it. I turned the motor off and back on, hoping that would cure it---works on computers---but the icon was still there so I drove to the nearest tire store and got in their service queue to wait a full two hours! I was given the option to make an appointment for the next day but I was afraid the air in the tire would be entirely gone by then. It was a good call. My tire had a screw in it. Emergency avoided. Of the seventeen others who came and went from the waiting room, I was the only one without a cell phone in front of my face. I felt like a dinosaur with a real book in my hands but it was laugh-out-loud entertaining and the time went quickly. I've had that emergency reading material in the car forever and it finally paid off. ©

28 comments:

  1. Hmm. I don't want to be a bug-a-boo, but I would hold off as long as you can before having the cataracts removed. I went as soon as I could because DH had previously had lasic surgery and his vision was so good. I had remarkable vision right after surgery! Within a few months I was desperate for good reading glasses. Before the year was out, I also needed driving glasses, so I was back to wearing bi-focals. Now I probably need a progressive lens and stronger reading glasses. Colors are bright though ...

    Whoa, crazy glue on your eyeball. I feel for you girl!

    Good that you waited to get a tire!

    I think a lot of people like those old glass eyes for conversation value. Neat to stick in the spaghetti for Halloween.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All opinions on the timing of cataracts surgery are welcome. It's a big decision. You don't hear many people say they need glasses afterward. That's interesting.

      Okay, glass eyes in food---that would be fun if you had kids.

      Delete
  2. I have the old flip phone and it's fine with me, although I have been known to take my IPad to the car dealer😊😊 when it's a scheduled appointment.
    I had cataract surgery 7 years ago and it was great. Only need "cheaters" to read with now...whites are whiter and blues are bluer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny you should mention taking your iPad to the dealership. Since sitting in the tire store, I'm back to shopping for one or an Amazon Fire. I can pull up a lot of stuff on my smart phone but I hate that tiny screen.

      Seven years is a long time. I love the idea of colors being brighter. I think that explains why so many older women put on too much makeup---they need cataract surgery. LOL

      Delete
  3. My friends mother had a glass eye. When I was little, I tried not to let her see me watching her eye to see which direction it went.
    Hey--a good thing you decided to go to the gym or the next time you went out to jump in your car and go, the tire would have been completely flat! Then a call for the tow truck to come out and inflate it, $$$, and then a drive to the tire place. That scenario would have been much more frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do the same thing with my friend. I try not to look at "the eye" but I can't help it.

      I know! A flat tire in the garage would have cost me plenty and taking it in when I didn't cost me a penny.

      Delete
  4. Oh wow I bet that crazy glue in you eye did hurt, this will make everyone who reads your post keep safety glasses on hand from now on, I'm glad you didn't have any permanent damage.

    I'm in the same boat as you on the cataracts, only difference is I don't like my doctor and in the process of finding another, probably best for you to wait but since you like this doctor I'd ask him if it may be a good option to go ahead with it or not.

    I've also noticed that I am the only one not playing on a cell phone in waiting rooms, sign of the times as they say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gluing my eye shut was the most painful thing I've ever done in my life. I'm surprised I still buy glue.

      My eye doctor won't make the decision for me. I tried that. LOL

      Delete
  5. Jean :

    I think don't rush for your cataract surgery before they are due. I know mom went for it early & suffered lot of pain in eye I guess doctor must have done lot of puling or what not while trying to take them out, she had to do another surgery to fix her previous surgery boobos, very painful & she was not very happy person to be around at that time. So wait for young doctor to do your surgery when they are ripe & ready to come off easily.

    Asha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, you've made a believer out of me! "Ripe and ready to come off easily"---my new cataract mantra. Thanks for sharing your mom's experience.

      Delete
  6. You have made me a believer about glasses and crazy glue. Wow, never heard of such a thing and don't want to experience it. Thanks.
    I have heard about letting the cataracts ripen. I'd wait till the doc you trust tells you to get it done and count on his picking a new, good looking and young doc to replace him will also be competent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point. I do trust my doctor to pick out a replacement that is competent. But he/she can be as ugly as a grateful so long as he/she graduated top of his/her class. I have never heard about letting cataracts ripen, that is so good to know---takes the worry out of waiting.

      Delete
  7. The doctor who removed my cataracts looked like he was about 16 but he did a wonderful job. I think your friends make a good argument.

    I've heard about people super gluing their eye but I had no idea it was such a common event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess emergency rooms all stock the solution that makes un-sticks glue.

      Did you get both eyes done at the same time? All doctors are starting to look like they're 16 to me.

      Delete
  8. You certainly have had some eye experiences -- had no idea super glue in eyes occurred so frequently. Don't own any safety glasses but maybe I should keep a pair on hand for whatever might come up as I'm very sensitive about my eyes, too. I found your information about the oculists who paint the artificial eyes to be of special interest -- had no idea there were so few. I recall an older friend who had strabismus -- eyes pointed in different directions. I never knew which eye to make eye contact with when we talked -- was disconcerting, but he was used to others conversing with him having that problem.

    I'd always heard cataracts best be allowed to reach a "ripened" stage. Given your confidence in your present Dr. you probably would be wise to follow his recommendations about when to have the cataracts removed -- discuss pros and cons of when with him re now or wait. Perhaps you could get a second opinion. I was seeing stars around traffic lights, and other lights at night when I had my eyes done a decade or more ago. One eye seemed to develop cataract faster than other, but I deliberately chose to do only one at a time. My thinking was if the first didn't go well I might choose to not have the other one done at all. Don't know that this made good sense, but that was my reasoning. Also, now since living alone I would question the advisability of having both eyes done at once -- ask Dr. As the years have passed I have needed to use reading glasses for small print. My eyes are basically the same so Dr. said I'm lucky as can buy the "cheapie" glasses and I prefer the half-glasses (basically magnifiers) since my distant vision is okay as it had been before surgery -- hadn't used glasses much before. I keep glasses at key locations around my house, a pair in my purse so I they're readily at hand as needed. My husband had required bifocals, then trifocaLs before cataracts removed but continued to require glasses afterward, so each individual's results can be different.

    I was surprised how quick, easy, painless the cataract surgery was. Plus, I followed after-care instructions as directed and had no difficulties which I think is important.

    I sometimes carry my iPad Mini which I chose to purchase instead of a Kindle as I installed that app on it -- also can access free libraries. With known appointments I can carry iPad in my purse, then read books or magazines I've downloaded on it. This is preferable to me over a smart phone. I continue to use an old-fashioned cell phone, but mostly use just the basics and not all the features. Only family and select friends, certain others get my cell number, all others are given my landline number with its answering machine. I still prefer paper books -- often purchase used ones in excellent or very good condition without page markings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised that they still hand paint eyeballs. I would have thought there would be a color analyzer machine that could duplicate the natural eye and print it out. I suppose there isn't enough money to be made to developed that technology.

      I'm not trusting enough to get both eyes done at the same time either. It sure would be easier from the stand point of finding rides for all the follow up appointments. After the discussion in this comment section and a with a few people I know, I've decided to wait until next year. My doctor already gave me all the opinion he's going to give and I trust him when he says I can wait a year or maybe two. The whole concept of them needing to be "ripe" makes sense. Although he didn't say that enough others have. Thanks for all your input!

      I've been shopping for an iPad but just can't make up my mind. I do the same thing you do with giving out my phone number...only close people get my cell phone number and my landline has an answering machine feature. I do answer my phone, though. Yesterday was a great example. My husband's niece called from her nursing home and I didn't recognize the number because it was a new number.

      Delete
  9. I too was surprised by the handpainted eye or the fact that one has to sit while the good eye is copied. I would think PhotoShop would take care of this. I have an unusual color of enamel on my teeth. For years, if I needed a crown, I had to go to the ceramicist to have the color hand matched. Now, the dentist can do it in his office with PhotoShop. I even get a better hue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if the process is the same for all oculists. Interesting about the dentist, but whites would be far easier than eyes to color match, I'm guessing. Eyes are like fingerprints, no two people have the same exact eyes.

      Delete
  10. CRAZY GLUE and in your eye. Just shocking and I'm so happy that your eye is OK. When ever I use Crazy Glue or another type of material I always where eye protection even I wear hand protection. Once I by accident I had used Crazy Glue and stuck two of my fingers. Lucky I was able to unglue them but it took a very long time to eventually take the stuff off og my fingers. That's why I also wear protection material on my hands.
    I know about screws in tires. I had a very large screw in my Camero's front tire and they eventually took it out. I was lucky that the screw went under the tire and not on the side. If it had been on the side would have needed to get a new one and because I had special tires on the Camero ( extra size ) it would have cost me a mint.
    Have a great day my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've glued my fingers together, too. I believe in safety glasses for lots of projects. I need to add gloves. LOL

      A person in the waiting room the day I was there had a screw on the side and it couldn't be fixed, had to buy a new one. It's amazing how much damage a screw can do to a tire. I once had had a flat tire caused by a curtain rod of all things. I didn't even know I ran over one.

      Delete
  11. I spent a lot of time researching before getting my cataract surgery. I went to a famous eye doctor in 2013, the famous doctor insisted that I had premium lenses for my cataract surgery. Premium lense causes about $2,500 per eye above standard cataract surgery. Premium lenses can have more complication than standard ones.
    My friend parents' s friends had premium lenses, most had remarkable vision right after surgery! Within a few months they need good reading glasses.
    Please ask S.J. Quails what kind of lenses she has.
    Most people I knew had standard cataract surgery are happy.
    I shopped until the fourth eye doctor agreed to give me standard cataract surgery. Some eye doctor will try to push premium lenses on patients if the patients are not too old or too poor.(especially young patients, I was 61 in 2013, and 63 in 2015)
    Please google mini-mono vision...that's what I have. My standard cataract surgery(September 2015), still no need reading glasses or driving glasses.
    My former coworker Louise had premium cataract surgery in 2015, she spent close to $5,000 above me, and her outcome is not better than mine. Both Louise and I since retired and lost contact.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My gosh, you've given me a lot of information to think about and research. Thanks for that! I never realized there were different kinds of lenses involved or that I could even shop around for a doctor to do the surgery!

    Mini-mono. Going to google now. Glad you stopped by!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well... cataracts. My doctor told me for five years that we would know when it was time for the surgery. One day, I went in for my six-month checkup, and he said, "It's time." When I asked how he knew, he said, "If I can't see into your eye, you can't see out." And that was that.

    He's part of Houston Eye Associates, and didn't do the surgery himself. A specialist took me under his care for the surgery. We did one eye at a time. They will NOT do both eyes at once, no matter what.

    My own eye doctor told me that they might encourage multi-focal lenses, but to go with the monovision. That means that one lens provides close vision, and the other is for distance. You'd think it would be complicated for the brain to put all that together, but it was as easy as could be. The time between surgeries was a little complicated, with perfect vision in one eye and a cataract in the other, but I was able to drive, work, etc.

    With multifocals, each lens has "rings" for different distances. Many friends who's gotten those lenses have had problems, ranging from light flashes and shadows to difficulties adjusting. I haven't had any problems at all. In fact, it's been -- what? -- two or three years since my surgery, and I'm still 20/20 or better, and have no need for reading glasses, although teeny-tiny print on things like medicine bottles can require some extra effort.

    Of course I wrote about the experience -- you can find that here. It was fun for me to re-read it, and realize how blessed I am to have had the doctors I did, and to have been the recipient of such wonderful technology.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lady at my movie club has what you have and I wondered how that worked without confusing the brain. It sounds crazy. I'll go read your blog about your experience now. Thanks!

      Delete
  14. Funny post! And that eye thing....I am so glad to know all that fake eyeball history and it NEVER occurred to me that painting eyeballs was a thing. Wow. Glad you got that tire fixed. I once drive 25 miles on a flat that I didn't even know was flat. That seems impossible, I know, but it wasn't my car and and I just thought it rode rough. Duh. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll bet that tire was shot when you got were you were going.

      I'll be anyone who can paint eyeballs to match a real eye would be an accomplished artist on their off time.
      From what I read, it's kind of a profession/trade that tends to run in families.

      Delete
  15. Emergency reading material is important. I always have audio books on my phone, because I can't read more than a few lines before everything blurs. I do better on the computer because I can enlarge it. What a wild story about your Crazy Glue eye. My brother has vision in only one eye, but he does have both eyes. I bet 10-year-old boys would like those fake eyes on eBay. Ha! Talk about show-and-tell. I'm interested to hear what you decide to do about your cataract surgery. Mine are still in a holding pattern. Not bad enough to operate on yet. Maybe a couple of years from now.
    What bad luck with your tire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A guy I knew used to have a glass eye even though he still had his own eyes. He kept it in his pocket and when he had an audience of people who didn't know him he'd pretend to pop it out of is eye socket, keep one eye closed and freak a few people out. Sometimes he'd roll it on the floor and ask kids to find it while holding his hand over an eye.

      I decided I'm going to wait until next summer. That will give me time to research and figure out how I'm going to get to all the follow up appointments.

      Delete