Monthly Archives: April 2016

Mine Eyes Have Seen

Books

My latest finds.

I was browsing through a bookstore the other night. The very act of walking through the aisles and by tables full of books, while being free to linger my hand lovingly upon them, is almost erotic to me.

A bookstore is like a candy store full of beckoning treats, or a bakery full of savory scents luring you inside. Thrilling delights for the eyes. Everywhere.

Books have been my companions, my buddies, always there to fill my needs. I coveted and collected them, all types finding a happy home with me, until the usurper’s (RA) unwelcome arrival forced me to give up reading hardcovers.

Their unyielding weight hurt my hands and my wrists, and robbed me of my pleasure. How could I escape into my story if the pain formed a blockade around my brain?

A self-admitted book addict, I switched to strictly paperbacks to feed my passion. They were softer, more pliable and lighter, and they didn’t hurt my hands or wrists as much. But on some the print was a little too small, and my bedroom lighting suddenly seemed too weak. I found it a strain to read myself to sleep at night, as had been my ritual since forever.

The magic of Kindle came to try to save the day. I could enjoy my stories once again at any time of day or night, albeit with a tiny light attached. If I held it in a certain way, I could avoid having the glare bounce back from the screen directly into my eyes. But still, I missed the feel of a book. I longed for the aroma of its silky pages. And I missed having those actual pages to turn. I’d enjoyed flipping back to reread a passage, or forging ahead for a sneak preview of what was to come.

A backlit smart phone followed. I could read without any other lighting even though the screen had shrunk right before my eyes. My husband berated me for straining my eyes by reading on that tiny device. He solved the problem by surprising me with a tablet one Christmas, nine inches of backlit screen with adjustable fonts. Awesome.

A second, more powerful tablet followed that one. And then one New Year’s Eve morning, half the screen went partially dark. I wake up as I go to sleep, reading. At first, I tried blinking the blur away. I wondered if perhaps I was still asleep, dreaming that I couldn’t see all the words. But no, I really couldn’t.

I learned that I’d had a “stroke in the eye.” There was a blob of blood obstructing the vision in my right eye. The cure they said, or rather the treatment, was injections. Injections into the eye. Now I’m no coward when it comes to what life has thrown at me so far, but a needle in the eye? Come on, man!

Nevertheless, I psyched myself up for it, or rather, them (plural). I mean, how can I live without reading? In the past sixteen months, I’ve had four shots and, no, it doesn’t get easier the more you do it. You don’t get the hang of it and it doesn’t become second nature. It’s sort of like dealing with RA, whom I should probably blame for all this. After all, I blame everything else on it.

But let me tell you, thank goodness for modern medicine, and thank goodness for doctors who stay razor sharp. The blur is almost gone, so tiny as to be insignificant.

When this first happened, I went and got prescription readers. Till then I’d resorted to the cheapie drugstore kind. I had a pair in every room of the house. At that point, the optometrist could only do so much for my right eye.

Last month, I went for my checkup and got a new pair of glasses, a progressive intermediate and reader. Neither the OTC glasses nor the old readers were really helping with my computer work.

Well, night has turned into day. I can read real books again. Because not only has my vision improved, but so have my hands and wrists. And during this window of time, I’m grateful that I can indulge my passion again. That I can browse and touch and feel, and accumulate to my heart’s content.

 

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Life Happens

Remember the saying life happens when you’re making other plans?

So true.

I have mentally blogged many times in the past month. So many little life episodes that I have subvocalized as if I had a tiny, invisible stenographer sitting on my shoulder. Alas, I do not, and as our nursing mantra goes: if it’s not written, it’s not done.

A lot has happened.

We had another anniversary, 35 if we go strictly by the calendar. That’s a freakishly long time. I remember seeing a documentary about George Harrison after his death. His wife of 23 years was asked how you make a long marriage. Her answer was striking and it has stayed with me. It’s simple, she said, you don’t get divorced.

So, so true. In 35 years you collect a lot of reasons to get divorced over.

But you also collect, or can collect, many reasons to stay together.

This year we celebrated by going to D. C. I’d always wanted to go, just to soak up the history. The place is so alive, you can inhale the adrenalin. It has a vitality that defies explanation or description. In short, we are going back.

We decided to drive, so that gave us four full days in enclosed proximity. If anything is going to drive you batty in regards to another person that will certainly do it. But the whole trip left us with nothing more than pleasant memories.

Except for one other thing. Within five days of our return my husband was complaining of UTI symptoms. I confess my initial reaction was: Been there, done that. But his being a man meant that his symptoms were far more complicated and unendurable than anything women might go through.

Of course.

We saw a kindly urologist. I’ve rarely run across a doctor so personable and I’ve run into many. Along with giving him some prescriptions, he suggested we buy a couple of books. One, he said, is called How Not to Die by Michael Greger.

I admit I laughed when he mentioned the title. Advice on how not to die seems kind of facetious. Snake oil, anyone? I mean, does anyone live forever? Does anyone want to?

Its subtitle, however, is: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. And I am nothing if not a sucker for anything that has been scientifically proven. So we shall see what it’s all about when I delve into it, because I know he won’t. He’s symptom-free now so that means it’s all so yesterday.

The book will have to wait its turn, though. Right now I’m knee-deep into the Konmari Method of tidying. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her initial advice: “Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely.” And she advocates keeping only the things that “spark joy.”

Hmm . . . . That reminds me of the woman who said she got rid of 175 pounds all at once.

She got a divorce.

Cherry blossoms

Me among the cherry blossoms