Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cataract Chatter

I'm down in Spokane with my mom, who had cataract surgery on Monday. It's turned out to be a fun experience (for me, not my mom). I went back with my mom to the area where patients are prepped for surgery, and while the nurse was working with my mom I pulled out my travel sock to knit on. Within minutes another nurse walked by and asked if I was knitting a sock.

She told me she used to raise Icelandic and Blue-faced Leicester sheep, and still had bags of the fibre sitting in her basement. When I told her those were both great to knit with she asked me if I wanted it. She assured me she isn't a knitter or spinner, and the wool had been taking up space in her house for a long time. We've arranged for me to pick it up on my next trip down. I wonder what kind of response I'll get when I phone the Spokane Eye Clinic and ask to speak to a nurse about some fibre? They'll probably tell me I need to talk to a gastroenterologist, not an ophthalmologist!

Right after the fibre discussion another nurse walked by, and it turned out to be someone I knew when I was growing up. We reminisced about people and events from our shared small farming community roots. When she told me how much she used to love coming to our home for a visit, and how she especially loved the zip line in our backyard, the nurse working on my mom looked up in surprise and said, "You had a zip line in your backyard?"

I assured her it wasn't like modern zip lines. It was a rather modest affair that my dad had jerry-rigged. It started high up in the big old cottonwood tree at the back of our farmhouse. The actual ride down wasn't nearly as thrilling as getting on it. First you had to climb partway up the tree, then you had to somehow balance yourself as you manoeuvred onto the splinter laden seat. Then you had to be careful not to hang onto the rope in the wrong place as you pushed off or you would get horrible rope burns. Childhood used to be much more hazardous than it is now, but I think it also used to be way more fun!

I will be here for a couple more days, driving my mom to appointments and getting her cupboards and fridge stocked with things she will need in the next week or two. The idea is to keep her off the road while her eye adjusts after the surgery. I fear this may be a losing battle. She is already insisting she can drive herself to her doctor's appointment this afternoon. The vision out of the eye that just got repaired is quite blurry. When I pointed this out to her, and said it wouldn't be safe, she countered with the argument that the office she had to go to wasn't that far away.

When she had her previous cataract surgery I was horrified when I called her just a few days post-surgery and discovered she had driven several blocks to the local grocery store. I asked how it was even possible since she had just been complaining that she couldn't even read, and she said it wasn't a problem. She just drove with one eye closed. Given that my mom's driving is fairly sketchy with both eyes open, this was not something I wanted to hear.

I can assure the drivers of Spokane that the roads will be safe at least until Friday morning, which is when I head back north. My best advice after that is, if you see a squinting, grey-haired lady whose head barely shows above the steering wheel weaving her way down the road, steer clear.

The winner of a copy of Ting Ting (links now in side bar) will be announced this weekend. The Kindle edition is now available. The paperback version has now sold out at Amazon, but will be restocked within a few days. Thank you to everyone who has ordered a copy of my book. It's all quite exciting!


31 comments:

  1. Well that certainly was a trip and a half wasn't it. How lovely that you'll have all that sheep wool to pick up on your next trip. Aren't people kind, especially as you only just met her? And fancy meeting up with someone else who you'd known as a youngster, it's such a small world. I do hope your mum has a speedy recovery. I had two cataract surgeries within a year of each other and I certainly couldn't drive for at least two weeks. It sounds as though your mum might get her own way when you go home! I wish her well.
    Patricia x

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    1. Patricia you are right, most people are very kind. I wasn't sure I should take her up on her offer, but she insisted she would never do anything with the fibre herself.

      I hadn't realized you had had cataract surgery. Thanks for letting me know you weren't supposed to drive for two weeks after each one. I will pass that info on to my mom. Not that she will listen! :-)

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  2. Some mothers are just beyond control....mine was as obstinate as possible after her cataract op though I wonder how much of that was hermdetermination not to admit to having any problems.

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    1. This made me laugh! Yes, some mothers are just beyond control. Ha!

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  3. Your mom must really appreciate you, though it sounds like she's a handful at times. :) I remember when my mom's father was told to give up driving. He wasn't having it. He used to take me with him so I could navigate and point out obstacles. I'm lucky to have lived to tell the tale, based on the kind of driving I remember. Yikes. I hope her recovery is easy. I think that's really cool about the nurse; you seem to make friends wherever you go! :)

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    1. Yes, my mom can be a handful at times. It makes for good blog material. :-)

      Those rides with your grandfather sound like they were pretty scary! I'm surprised you mom let you ride with with him. Yikes!

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  4. Great story, yes life was much more fun when we were allowed to take risks and experience fear! My dad recently had his eyes done and did just as your mom, he said how were they to get about if he didn't drive, get a taxi was my suggestion. Don't think we will change them now

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    1. I have tried suggesting a taxi to my mom on several previous occasions, and it didn't go over well. There is no way she would consider paying someone to drive her somewhere! :-)

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  5. Ruth in Ontario, CanadaNovember 6, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Sounds like you hit the fibre jackpot. I hope for your sake that the fleeces have been washed, although I suppose one can't look a gift horse (sheep) in the mouth. If as you say you were a bit reluctant to accept them, just think of it as good karma for looking after your mum...happy spinning!

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    1. I'm a little worried about that very thing Ruth - have those fleeces been washed? I've dealt with the non-washed kind before, and have promised myself never again. :-)

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  6. I think Anton is responsible for the out-of-stock notice...it appeared after he ordered the book. :)

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    1. I won't hold it against him, especially since he helped get the link in my side bar. :-)

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  7. Not that far!!! Well, I know that's not good, but I really can't say anything about your mom driving when she shouldn't. I suspect I'll be doing similar things someday. Or maybe I already have! :) That's quite a score on the wool. What are the odds you would be the first knitter she encountered? Very good timing!
    You're right, childhood was absolutely more dangerous and fun than it is now. I feel bad about the experiences my kids didn't have--including climbing trees.

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    1. Hopefully you're a few years away from following in my mom's footsteps. Ha!

      My kids never got to climb trees either, but it was because the opportunity never presented itself. By the time my kids were born our old farmhouse had been torn down, along with the big old cottonwood tree with the zip line and treehouse. They found other ways to live dangerously though, mostly involving fire. :-)

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    2. Fire! There must be a few good stories there. Our only brush with fire was my daughter's little kitchen mishap last summer.

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  8. Hi Kristie
    Good wishes for a speedy recovery for your mum, especially as she doesnt seem to let anything hold her back!
    Congratulations on your book - I was waiting for the e version, so I will be ordering it soon. I loved the Q&A about the book. I know a 3 year old called Tongtong. She is as cute as a button and really smart, I love hearing stories about the things she says. She is at a Dutch kindergarten and speaks Chinese at home. Her mother has just realised that she also understands the dialect that she speaks with her mother - no keeping secrets from Tongtong.
    Anyway, huge kudos to you for getting your book out there. I am really looking forward to reading it.
    All the best
    Dawn

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    1. My mom has lots of determination, that's for sure! That's a cute story about Tongtong. It sounds like she is following in Ting Ting's footsteps. And you could be the first Kindle edition purchaser. I don't even have it myself yet! :-)

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  9. Oh dear, Kristie, ageing parents can be a worry, can't they. Your Mum sounds very determined, so I imagine she will continue driving quite a while yet, despite what anyone says. My Dad continued to drive, probably long after he should and it was safe, and has never forgiven the doctor who finally called time on him, four years ago when he was nearly 90!

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    1. VERY determined. Ha!

      I think the whole driving issue is one of the toughest ones to face with an aging parent. Even when they know themselves they really shouldn't be driving they are reluctant to give it up. It means losing a lot of their independence. My mom isn't a terrific driver, but she hasn't got to the point yet where we have been forced to make those hard decisions. I'm glad in your case the doctor was the one who told your dad and you weren't left having to do it yourself.

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  10. I hope your Mum is making a good recovery and doing what you say! I'm glad it was a fun experience for you with meeting up with an old friend and being offered lots of wool. I will look forward to seeing what you do with it.
    Sarah x

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    1. She's making a great recovery, Sarah. Much easier and faster than the last time she had this surgery. As far as doing what I say, not so much luck there. :-)

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  11. Hi and tanks for stopping by my Blog, I do hope your mum is on the mend now, I looked after my mum when she had her eyes done.

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    1. You have a lovely blog Greenthumb! My mom is doing really well, and I am heading back home today.

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  12. I had my cataract surgeries one month apart last year. I found the laser surgery method quite entertaining, and the recuperation period extemely boring! Not being able to put your head down for a whole week pretty much restricts all activities except watching TV, and one can only stand just so much of that! Don't tell your mom, but my doctor lets his patients drive after one week. I suppose we'll be safe on the roads down here in Texas with your mother driving up in Spokane, unless she takes a wrong turn and heads w-a-a-a-y South!

    Mary G. in Texas

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    1. That's interesting that you couldn't put your head down for a week, Mary. My mom was told not to do lots of bending over kinds of activities (they used gardening as an example), but they didn't say she couldn't put her head down.

      As far as not letting my mom know about the one week rule, it's too late. She has already driven. Be thankful you live in Texas. :-)

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  13. Your mum sounds as independent and ornery as my dear mother-in-law, Kristie. :-) She has wonderful sight for her age, but her memory is failing, yet she still insists on driving herself everywhere she needs to go! I've been told I can't drive until my consultant says so, because I didn't have sight correction and will need new glasses, which won't be until he tells me everything has healed.

    The fibre windfall is a wonderful bonus and what fun to meet up with a friend from your youth. One of the nurses caring for me was the organist in my local church many years ago and we had great fun catching up, though it was hard to reconcile the young man I had known with this middle-aged grandfather. :-)

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    1. You are wise to be a compliant patient, Perpetua. I wish you could sit down and have a talk with my mom. :-)

      I'm so glad your surgery was a success. Having one of the nurses be someone you knew must have helped ease your nerves. It's kind of scary seeing someone we knew years ago and realizing the picture of them we have of them in our minds needs some major adjustment, isn't it? Worse yet is realizing they are probably thinking the same thing about us!

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    2. LOL, Kristie! It's 27 years since he moved away and that's a lot of change for us both. :-)

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  14. I laughed aloud at your Mom's antics, or rather at the way you relate them, and I really shouldn't be laughing I've discovered ... it hurts my tooth extraction site!

    Some wonderful stories in this post :)

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  15. You're right, childhood was much less safe and much more fun in our day. I'm so glad I'm not growing up in today's tech-focused culture.

    P.S. Wrote about Ting Ting on my blog today...http://natureismytherapy.com/. I hope you like it.

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  16. Loved this Post. Hope your Mums eye has recovered well by now - she sounds very feisty (in a good way!). Now I need to buy a copy of Ting Ting before the next batch gets sold out :-) x

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