I was dreading, absolutely dreading a medical procedure. It was the last of a long series of medical procedures prescribed by my Alberta physician to establish a base line in order to ensure my chronic conditions were being adequately treated and there were no signs of cancer or other degenerative illnesses. I had passed each and every test with flying colors – the mammography, the blood tests, the stool sample. the bone scan, the EKG but one remained.
By the way to “pass with flying colors” means to be extremely successful, to achieve something that is difficult, to excel.It derives from when ships would return home with their “colors” (another word for flags) flying to show they had been victorious.
But back to my eyeballs. The eye exam was not merely routine as I had suffered a TIA – loosing the sight in my right eye for some time. Do not recall the exactly when this happened but I pieced it together with sone clues. I was living in San Francisco at the time, was texting a fourteen year old young woman in Qatar when I suddenly went blind in my right eye. My deductive reasoning places this to be early spring of 2020 – residing in San Francisco, before the pandemic, and was still communicating constantly with a Qatar family I had met in London. In my panic I asked her to contact her father – she did, he said that he was concerned but did not know what he could do. If you knew who he was you would a) not believe me or b) if you believe me did faint from shock. By the way, contact with the family has ceased.
Back to my eyeballs. I had preliminary testing at the Allin Eye Clinic and was so impressed. The machines, expertly administered by staff, are incredibly complex. The testing is thorough – exhaustingly so. The preliminary testing took place on a hot day – could not continue as I was so tired. The final test required that my pupils be dilated resulting in temporary blindness.
Me: I am sorry! I cannot do that today. I am too tired and scared.
They: That is fine. When the glasses you ordered arrive we can schedule an appointment with the doctor for the test. You can pick up your glasses and undergo the last procedure.
Me: Thank you. That will work perfectly. Thank you so much for your consideration !
My new glasses arrived, I called them and the dreaded day arrived. Here is the definition of anticipation from Wikipedia. “Anticipation is an emotion involving pleasure or anxiety in considering or awaiting an expected event. Anticipatory emotions include fear, anxiety, hope and trust. When the anticipated event fails to occur, it results in disappointment (if positive event) or relief (if negative event).” I would add this to the Wikipedia definition: when the negative event is over one also experiences relief.
The staff and I discussed this phenomena. The anticipation of the eye drops was worse than when it landed, although my dilated pupils made everything fuzzy I was far from blind. Could not read but with sunglasses in place it was not painful.
The physician was the best ever! She explained the results of the test, their importance and their significance immediately – showing me photos of my retina, the blood supply to my eye. There was concern that the TIA would have caused the loss of necessary blood supply resulting in atrophy. But no, everything was fine. I have some early signs of macular degeneration but it is early and my annual exams will trace it and I can receive early treatment, actually specific vitamins. In the meantime I am to wear sunglasses on sunny days and take an omega vitamin. I purchased a three month supply of omega vitamins, will take them daily and wear sunglasses on sunny days.There is no history of the disease in my immediate family. A cousin has muscular degeneration , I do wonder if she had regular eye exams, took omega vitamins and worse sunglasses. Probably not. A distant relative mourns the loss of her mother who died of colon cancer. I most probably will not as I had colonoscopies that found and removed polyps in the precancer stage. There are so many things that can be done to avoid death, some simple. If the former Princess of Wales whould have been wearing a seat belt she would not have been thrown from the car, landed on her head and died. Those Dianamania folks, still posting on her image on Instagram fail to recognize that. She is less of an icon if she is seen as careless, not taking care of herself. Back to me, I have mild cataracts but this is not affecting my vision at the moment as long as I do not drive at night (I do not drive at all, day or night, so no problem).
I was SO relieved, so very relieved that I ordered another pair of glasses. These a beautiful shade of turquoise. We actually had so much fun, the Allin eye clinic staff and Alexis.
She: You are my favorite patient! You are so much fun!
Me: Thanks! In all modesty would say that I am everyone’s favorite patient. You make it easy for me as you are so professional, caring and compassionate. But my positive attitude helps this interaction take place.
She: You are so right. Most people are so negative and demanding.
The appointment over, grabbed my new red glasses, called Yellow Cab, one arrived immediately and we sped home to my apartment where good fortune followed. WOMAN greeted me, she was at the door – actually accidentally. I thought I was going to be blind and she was going to be there for me and ‘babysit’ but it was not necessary as I could see. She took me up to my apartment, opened the door. We laughed and chatted. She gave me the greatest of news.
She: I can drive you to West Edmonton Mall on Wednesday so you can shop for more winter clothes. I will pick you up in the morning and then when I bring you back I will do my weekly cleaning.
Me: That makes me SO happy. Then I will have all my winter clothes so that I can anticipate winter fully prepared! I am happy, happy, happy.
More about anticipation from Wikipedia, it can apparently serve as a defense mechanism.
“Robin Skynner considered anticipation as one of “the mature ways of dealing with real stress…. You reduce the stress of some difficult challenge by anticipating what it will be like and preparing for how you are going to deal with it”. There is evidence that “the use of mature defenses (sublimation, anticipation) tended to increase with age”, yet anticipation of negative events itself tends to decrease with age.”
So I did prepare for the eye exam by wearing sunglasses, setting my iPhone alarm to alert me to prayer times prior to the procedure, having the Yellow Cab number at my finger tips, having a fun time with the wonderful Allin Eye Clinic staff and requesting the ‘babysitting’ services of WOMAN.
Today shall be a busy day. Breakfast and library at the Legislative building, grocery shopping, and banking.
One photograph is the result of a new routine I have established. Most mornings I go to the Legislative Building for breakfast, then go to the Legislative Library. The library has newspapers from all around the world. I read the news of the day from The Edmonton Journal and others. One photo is a page from the Edmonton Journal. You may not be able to read the caption, it chronicles the events of the day before yesterday, to be spoken about on a later blog at some length. “ MEMORIAL CEREMONY. Police and peace officers take part in the 24th annual Police and Peace Officer’s Memorial Day ceremony Sunday on the south grounds of the legislature in Edmonton to honor the 101 men and women who have died in the line of duty in Alberta since 1876.”
When attending the ceremony I could not understand why the names spoken aloud went on, ‘oh so many’ names. Bewildering, could not imagine that many Alberta men and women could have died in one year in the line of duty. It was comforting to read that those were the total Alberta deaths since 1876. Still that is definitely too many notable lives snuffed out – protecting the freedoms of generations to come. More about this stirring memorial comparing it to the evil of a so-called “Freedom Rally’ which I also stumbled upon on the Legislative Grounds.
The other photograph a ‘gift’ given to me by a gardener who was digging up the flowers in preparation for the winter frost. She gave me the marigolds. I took them home, arranged them in two vases, and placed them with my Quran on a table. I truly feel blessed – the flowers, the Quran and my faith – all a gift.