Friday, July 29, 2011

The Doctor Will Soon Be In

As if all this new seeing wasn’t good enough, another enjoyable aspect of cataract surgery was having The Sole Heir with me throughout. She’s a pre-med student, and Dr. Grundy and his staff were good enough to let her don scrubs and follow me all the way in and back.

Cataract 1

I found out afterward she’d watched my vital signs on the electronic monitors and received a running commentary of what was happening from Brian, the nurse anesthetist, as they watched on the monitor. She said later she was less nervous than she would have been sitting alone in the waiting room. I know I was less nervous during the pre-surgical down time, as talking with her was a lot more entertaining than wondering what happens if the doctor sneezes at an inopportune moment.

The staff fell all over themselves making her (and me) feel comfortable, and I think she learned a lot about what’s involved in minor surgery. She had a knee scoped a few years ago, but I’m sure the focus is different when you can step back and watch instead of being the guest of honor.

She drove me home and we ate lunch and watched baseball and she was at least as much of a Nazi as The Beloved Spouse about enforcing the doctor’s “don’t do anything today” edict. Most people think of surgery as cutting something apart, but it should also tie things together.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eyesight to the Blind

I knew the eyesight in my left eye was bad. Had been for years. My right eye carried the load as best it could. I rarely noticed my left eye wasn’t stepping up until something would come between them—say, a beverage cup—and half the world became as out of focus as the Tea Party’s deficit plans.

I knew the top letter on eye chart was E because I’d seen it before; looking at it with just my left eye, I couldn’t tell which way it pointed. I learned last month the left lens in my eyeglasses was clear, as there is only so much difference in prescription your brain can handle before it goes permanently off-center and your sense of balance is destroyed so badly you can only walk in circles that gradually veer to the right. (All right. I made that last part up. It’s still bad.)

Last Wednesday I had surgery to remove a cataract in my left eye, which was, apparently, 90% occluded.

Holy shit.

I’ve spent most of the past week going around looking at stuff. Taking my glasses off, covering my right eye, which is now the weaker of the two. I can watch television, see clocks from across the room, almost drive. I’d guess my vision is about 20/40 without correction now.

There’s a whole world out there to my left I’d been missing. Seeing all those overtaking vehicles over there makes me wonder how I got to be this old. My left arm does not suffer from an undiagnosed necrotic disease that sometimes makes it difficult to tell where it ends. Things that are closer to me actually look closer, as in three-dimensional. Who knew?

The whole procedure took about five minutes. I was awake and on the most excellent drugs so I was not at all disturbed by the fact a relative stranger was slicing a hole in my eye, sucking out the lens, and sticking a hunk of plastic in there. Fine, whatever. Put a picture window into my brain while you’re up there. It’s all good with me.

Now I can hardly wait until August 17, when Dr. Grundy will fix the right eye. That won’t be as pronounced a difference, but it will be nice to have a matched set for the first time since—oh, I don’t know—ever. Then I can get glasses to even up that whole nearsighted/farsighted thing, and I’ll be one  sighted motherfucker.

Better eyesight isn’t all cold beer and juicy steaks. I don’t know who lets that fat, unkempt asshole into my bathroom every morning, but it can stop any time now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Return of the Fox Follies

I watch as little baseball on Fox as possible. Listening to Joe Buck slip ever deeper into his mind-numbing monotone as Tim McCarver’s brainless banalities suck the life from everything within a fifty-foot radius like some black hole for lucid comment is too painful. They’ve become so bad I sometimes wonder if MLB keeps the Fox contract just to drive people to the and Extra Innings packages, where you can watch just about any game you want.

Last night’s All-Star game was my first tentative step in Fox’s den of baseball iniquity, and the Mid-Summer Classic found them in mid-season form. I came late, not settling into the Official Recliner of The Home Office until the top of the fourth inning, as Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez stepped in to hit. Buck droned on about how the left-handed Gonzalez shortens his stroke with two strikes and hits the ball to left. In the next breath he commented about how Gonzalez, a career .290 hitter, is hitting over .330 this year, and how it showed how much easier it was to hit with the protection of the Boston lineup around him.

Baseball analysts have studied the concept of one hitter protecting another for years. To my knowledge they have found no evidence it’s true. What Buck left out of his expert commentary was the fact that Gonzalez has moved from the worst hitter’s park in baseball (Petco Field in San Diego) into one of the best (Fenway), and that Fenway’s unique configuration makes him virtually impossible to pitch to, given the close left field wall and Gonzalez’s already described penchant for hitting the ball to left field.

That might have been enough to get me to turn off a regular season game, or at least to mute the sound on a World Series game. Given the constant line-up changes in the All-Star Game, I took my chances and left it on last night, in the masochistic hope that McCarver, the Einstein of Inanity, would say something that met his usual standard of insipidness. The Memphis Moron did not disappoint.

After a passed ball by Baltimore catcher Matt Weiters, McCarver, a former catcher himself (clearly from the days before catchers wore helmets behind the plate) excused Weiters with this: “You have to remember, catchers are more used to hitting pitchers than catching them.”

I think I know what he meant, but that’s not real close to what he said. Maybe it bothers me more than it should because I’m still in shock over the worst in-game interview in history, between Mark Grace and Justin Timberlake. (Decorum and my blood pressure prohibit exploring that topic in more detail.)

At least I won’t have to watch a Fox game until well into the playoffs. It’s a sad day for a man who grew up listening to the likes of Bob Prince and Jack Buck when Chip Caray and Joe Simpson are the announcers of choice. To paraphrase the late, great, Lewis Grizzard, Skip Caray is dead, and I don’t feel so good, either.

Beat ‘em, Bucs.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Another Inconvenient Truth

A little-quoted writing from Thomas Jefferson that seems to have slipped beneath the notice of those who claim to speak for what the Founding Fathers intended, especially along the lines of religious freedom:

"Whereas the preamble [of Virginia's Act for Establishing Religious Freedom] declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the words `Jesus Christ,' so that it should read, `a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;' the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination."

(Lifted from Peter Rozovsky’s award-winning blog, Detectives Beyond Borders.)

So let’s knock off this “Christian nation” shit, okay?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Family Resemblance

Exxon has to be not just the worst oil company in the world, but the lousiest corporate citizen. It’s not enough they pay no taxes and despoil the environment (their two most egregious examples being the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the current disgrace on the Yellowstone River), it turns out that at least some of their “independent dealers” are just as much miserable low-lifes as the mother company.

The Beloved Spouse and I are firmly convinced the finest fast-food sandwich made is the Blimpie Best. Unfortunately, there are no Blimpies along our normal routes of traverse. Today I decided to take advantage of having extended my July Fourth weekend to make a sojourn north of town to an Exxon station that has a Blimpies sign attached to it.

I drove to North Laurel Exxon at 15151 Sweitzer Lane and went inside, where I found no evidence of any Blimpies products. I asked the man behind the counter who I could see about a sandwich. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Who do I see about a sandwich?

He: We don’t sell those anymore. Look in the case. we make some already.

Me: Maybe you ought to take down the sign.

He: Yes, we should probably do that.

I realize you cannot hear his tone from this description, but I have serious doubts about his sincerity, or his intentions to do so.

I went elsewhere for our sandwiches. (Another Blimpies, farther away; it was worth it.) I also notified Mr. Blimpie in Arizona, and have called the Maryland Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Hotline. I don’t get past there much, but when I do, I’m going to check the sign. When I se it has come down, I’m going to walk in and ask if they caught any hell from either Blimpie or the state, then I’m going to point to myself and say, “I did that, motherfucker.”

Don’t screw with my sandwiches.