Saturday, September 17, 2011

I get to keep driving

Had to renew my driver's license, another big worrisome hurdle for me, as it's been 7 years (I got an extra extension because of my perfect driving record - ha!), and this time I would have to take a vision test.

I put it off as long as I could.  I was pretty sure you can still drive with only one eye - Peter Falk drove that old beat-up station wagon around, didn't he? - but I was just so worried that they'd yank my license, I procrastinated like a coward.  I drive all day in my job.  No driver's license, no job.  Worry, worry, worry.

I went to the little DMV office near my home, and the wait time really wasn't that bad.  I gave the nice man behind the counter my old license. 

"Any changes?" he asked as he typed entries into his computer.  "No, everything's the same" I told him.  "Still at the same address?" he asked.  "Yup, still there" I said.  "Okay fine, now I just need you to look in here and tell me what letters you see" he said, pushing a big plastic box across the counter to me.  "Just read me the top four rows all the way across, left to right."   I read out the letters: two columns, four rows.  There was a third column, but it was blank.  To me it was blank.  A blank white column.  Empty.  No letters in it.  Not hazy, not indistinct - completely empty.  Weird. 

The nice man frowned slightly.  "All the letters, please."  he said.  I read them again, loudly and firmly.  I could see them nice and clear.  "Please read the letters in the right hand column" the nice man said.  "I don't see any letters in the right hand column" I told him.  He looked surprised.  "Are you having trouble with your right eye?" he asked.  "Yes, I have a tumor on my optic nerve" I said, very matter-of-fact.  "Oh!"  he said.  Pause.  A beat.  My stomach got very nervous.  "Oh, well, okay, I'm going to issue you a license, but there'll be some restrictions on it" he said.  Restrictions?  Who gives a flying fart about restrictions?  I get to keep my license!!!!    WOO HOO!!!

"You must always wear your glasses or contact lenses" he said  (no problem - I don't think I could find my way out of the house without them!), "and your car must be equipped with side rear-view mirrors.  On both sides!" he said sternly.  "Oh, my car has those!"  I assured him.  Oh, gracious.  Is that all?!?  Piece o' you bet yer sweet bippy CAKE, man!!!!  Yippeee!!!

Didn't I say he was a nice man?

So there we go.

I get to shoot the rifle.

I get to drive a car (or truck).

I get to keep my job.

What a relief.       

Monday, July 12, 2010

The blessing wall

This is a project of sorts that my friend and I have been working on for the past few months.

The angel, not the graffitti.

Here's my new blog about it:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I get to keep my job

I'm supposed to qualify on the rifle range a few times a year in order to be allowed to do my job. It's a mark of how much of an afterthought we are that we haven't had any range time scheduled for the past 3 years: almost exactly the period of time during which the vision in my right eye has been seriously deteriorating. And I am right-handed, which means that when shooting I close my left (good) eye and aim with my right (nearly blind) eye. A friend who is a Marine vet told me to always keep both eyes open, but I tried that, and I missed the target altogether.

We have a new guy, and he had to qualify at range, so we all finally got scheduled to go in and prove we can hit the side of a barn for the first time since this all started for me. I was sweating bullets (ha ha) over this. I've been worrying about it ever since I noticed my vision starting to go. I thought, the next time I'm at range I will just flunk, it's that simple, and then I will lose my job, and then what will I do?

I pushed these worries to the back of my mind, but now I realize what a load it's been on me for the past 3 years.

I got to range. I tried to shoot right-handed, as I always have. I failed miserably. I don't own a gun: I don't ever practice: I'm a terrible shot the best of times. I've always shot barely well enough to qualify. Now I couldn't even do that.

The range master was really nice, and very patient. "Try again" he said. "My left eye has always been stronger than my right" I told him (perfectly true - I've been wearing glasses for nearsightedness since I was in 6th grade), "and recently it's just been getting worse" I said. (Also true!) He was very understanding, as we are both of a certain age. "I don't know what to do" I confessed. Then all of a sudden, a somewhat obvious idea hit me. "What if I try shooting left-handed?" I asked him. He shrugged. "Why not?" he said.

I shot left handed. I aimed with my good left eye. It felt very very strange, but it was totally doable. To qualify we only need to score 75%. I managed to get 86%.

I get to keep my job.

I didn't really realize what a burden of worry I'd been carrying for the past 3 years until I left the range. I think my knees actually buckled a teeny little bit. I wanted to lie down somewhere and do some deep breathing. Or take a nap.

But since I get to keep my job, I had to run right out and keep doing my job. Which I did.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Health care reform

Two words: pre-existing conditions (hereafter referred to as "PEC's").

I am currently able-bodied, gainfully employed, a contributing member of society. But I am one easy job loss away from being uninsureable, just because I stopped ignoring my vision loss and went to a doctor to get it diagnosed.

Does the recently-passed health care bill change that? Does anybody know? I keep hearing about children with PEC's and how they can no longer be denied coverage, which is great, but what about non-children?

Weirdly, if I hadn't gone to a doctor but had instead just continued to live with my symptoms and worries in ignorance, I think it would have been a non-issue, insurance-wise. Even though a slow-growing, non-malignant tumor must have been there for years anyway. But as long as it wasn't official, it wouldn't count as "pre-existing". Even though it did exist previously.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Been a while

I'm still fine. Isn't that nice?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

YAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No growth, no change, "remains stable". "Not significantly changed in size", "within normal limits", "no new abnormalities", "stable size, appearance and extent".

No surgery!


We now return you to your previously scheduled life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

3 month MRI

Oh, the irony. Friends and family kept offering to take me in for my MRI. I had to keep telling everybody over and over again, "No, thank you, MRI's don't bother me, no really they don't, no really, really, REALLY! I'm fine by myself, no really, really, REALLY! No, I don't need a ride to the MRI center, thanks so much, I'm fine, REALLY."

Then my car broke down.

Well, I had to scramble at the last minute to get there in time, but I got lucky twice and made it there only a little bit late, and back home safe and sound. But how funny is that? All those offered rides, and all those "no thank you, I don't need it", and then lo and behold, I did need it. Hear that faint giggling in the background? That's the Universe, laughing at me.

The MRI still didn't bother me. I got the same technician I had my first time, the one with the feather-light touch. I listened to the spacey sounding noises and napped a little. But there was more irony in store. The MRI center has changed its clothes policy since I filled out my comment card that first time , and this time the nice technician just asked me "Does anything you're wearing contain any metal?" I was already prepared with my metal-free comfy clothes. Except that it was too cold to wear my thin cotton elastic-waisted pants outside, so I wore regular pants (with a zipper) en route, and carried my comfy pants folded up under my arm. But one of the folded corners of my comfy pants somehow got wet, so that when I went inside the dressing room to put them on, they had a big wet splotch nicely repeated eight times all across where they'd been folded. So I had to wear those horrible oversized men's open-fly hospital pants anyway. Horrible, horrible, horrible pants. But I heard more of that faint giggling, and this time I laughed along, instead of getting all bent out of shape about it.

Of course none of this matters. What matters is whether or not my little upstairs visitor has grown. I'm on my own finding that out, as my esteemed neurosurgeon can't see me for nearly a month. Here's hoping for good news.

And oh yeah, there's all that way cool stuff going on down in Washington DC today. I've been listening to the radio all morning. Let me just say this: