Monday, October 8, 2012

Mick McKellar Update — Day +595/596

The Eyes Have It

Some may have noticed that my updates and other writings have become sparse and sporadic. The vision in my right eye has degraded rapidly over the last few weeks — most noticeably in the last two weeks. A visit to my eye doctor confirmed my suspicions: It appears that I now have two cataracts in my right eye. The old, yellow, nuclear sclerotic cataract is still there...slowly growing and gently pushing my right-eyed world toward sepia-toned sunsets. However, there is a new player on board. A fast growing friend for Ol' Yeller called (I hearing isn't too good) a posterior subcapsular cataract — most likely a side-effect of my long and close association with steroid medication — probably Prednisone.

If all goes as planned, I am scheduled for cataract surgery on October 23, 2012. There will be some tests ascertain that I am up to the effort and that my already somewhat abused body will handle the additional insult. An eerily similar situation occurred in 2001, when what we called a "white cataract" appeared with the slow-growing and docile yellow cataract in my left eye. It grew very quickly and caused numerous and dangerous problems with my eyesight. The doctor I saw Friday is the same doctor who removed the cataracts from my left eye eleven years ago. The vision in my left eye is still 20/20 and there have been no discernible problems or complications following that surgery. I am holding onto hope and praying for another success.

But, Can He Drive?

That question haunts me now. Even if the surgery goes well, and no additional treatments are needed, it will likely be at least four weeks before I will have new glasses — hopefully for reading and close work. The zinger in the Zeitgeist is another trip to Rochester, currently scheduled for November 14-16, 2012. Nine-hour drives on some rather lonely roads in potentially hostile weather conditions rides rather low on my list of Tolerable To-Do's. There's always a chance, with a bit of luck and a wink of God's eye, that we will find some decent weather in mid-November, but "the gales of November" are real and those Alberta Clippers sail through all winter long.

I'm also hoping that, with proper paste-ups and mechanicals...and the old snow tires back on the front...our 10-year old Focus will once again handle what mother nature and Lake Superior deign to send our way. It is a long and tiring drive in good weather, with lots of daylight. When the days grow short and Heikki Lunta grows restive, the drive may become reminiscent of an episode of Ice Road Truckers.

One can feel detached from the rest of the world up here, but seldom do I feel as alone as when plowing through blowing and drifting snow in the dark on M-26/US-45/M-28, en route to Ironwood and beyond. For most of that trip, I can't get a single bar on my old Tracfone. At one time, being "out there and out of touch" was a rush, and I really enjoyed testing my driving abilities against winter's worst. Now, tottering about in the white wilderness on those wacky and wonderfully slick winter roads can seem a bit extreme without sufficient cause.

The Numbers Game

My blood test numbers are all stable and look very good. My lung function numbers seem to be at a plateau and do not vary. My blood glucose numbers remain at or below 100, with a rare venture up to 103. My blood pressure, higher since we switched from the medication that caused a persistent dry cough, still remains in a comfort zone.

Still Intrepid, After All...

With few exceptions, I still walk my walk -- .75 miles each morning and more, when possible. A couple of days ago,  however, I was afraid the kids at their bus stop would shove a carrot up my nose and call me Frosty -- so plastered with wet snow from a lake effect squall was I. The early morning walks will grow more interesting as they grow darker and more slippery.

It remains for me to discover how well (and how slowly) I can participate in snow removal. Last winter, I found snow scooping a reliable resource for constant and aerobic exercise. Of course, I am willing to wait a couple of months to do the research...

I started this as an update for day +595 and I am finishing it as an update for day +596. It took four sessions to complete because my eyes get so tired trying to focus on the screen.

Now I need to get some sleep. I have an EKG scheduled for tomorrow. Thanks to you all for your prayers and good thoughts.

God bless and good night,


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