Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bill's Eye Appointment



This morning I took Bill to see his eye doctor.  This appointment was for an eye examination for a new eye prescription for Bill so he could get new glasses. For the past year Bill's eyesight has deteriorated significantly.

Last year Bill had cataract surgery. That was quite an ordeal.  But after his cataract surgery Bill still had trouble seeing.  Like really a problem, he couldn't even make out the top big letter on the eye exam chart which is E.  

Back to the eye doctor.  After several examinations it was determined that scar tissue had formed around Bill's replacement cataract lenses. That scar tissue had to be removed by more laser surgery. Then this I take Bill back for yet another eye examination.  Yes, dilation fluids, waiting in the waiting room, and all that.  

Back to the eye chart.  Bill still can't see the top letter on the eye chart.  His doctor comes in, examines his eyes and discovers that Bill has macular degeneration.  Yes, Bill is slowly losing his vision.  His doctor said he had "dry" macular generation which isn't as bad as "wet" macular generation.  Still, at age 90, Bill is losing his sight.  

Bill as often said if he loses his sight he doesn't want to live. He's being very dramatic of course but still, losing one's sight is a serious matter. I guess I should be thankful that Bill doesn't have dementia or other serious physical ailments like diabetes or worse. Bill still mows the grass and performs handyman work around the house. I think his activity is what keeps him healthy. One of my biggest worries these days is that I will die before Bill.

Yesterday when I woke up I was very dizzy and disorientated. I couldn't seem to get my balance. Then waves of nausea swept over me.  I felt like I was drunk.  I laid down to steady myself. When I got up again the dizziness came back with the nausea.  I was scheduled to go to work. I called in and said I couldn't go to work the way I felt. I laid down again and had a good sleep for about two hours. When I got up I felt fairly normal again. I called into work and said I could go in.  Now the whole point of this narrative is that my condition caused me to think, what if I died before Bill? That's my big worry these days folks, especially after today's diagnosis of Bill's eye condition. 

Having said all this, today was a beautiful spring day. We're enjoying each day, together. All part of life folks, especially the part of growing older. Even though we're running into more problems at this time of our life, we still have a good life and are very fortunate. Could be a whole lot worse.

13 comments:

Travel said...

My brain goes into problem solver mode - many years of working in this field. It is helpful to think, but not obsess of the what if's. Planning is a key. Are there any family or friends that would help Bill retain his independence, privacy and dignity? If not, there are private services that would help. Yes, they are expensive, but at 90 years old it is okay to spend the life savings, reverse mortgage the house, and live out his days as he wants to live. From what I have picked up, he is very independent and private. He would want just one or two people that he could develop a trusting relationship with, and then only the minimal amount of interaction to help him with what he couldn't do alone (like going to the store, setting up meals he could eat independently, monitoring finances.) Life is uncertain, enjoy everyday.

Ron said...

David,
There is no way anyone else but me will take care of Bill. No reverse mortgages, no in house help, no assisted living. Just me and Bill the way it's been with us for the fifty-four years. If I die before Bill already has his solution. Bill does not want to live without me. What is the point? Likewise, my life without Bill may ne seriously compromised. That's a decision I will have to make at that time. I have a good friend in Pat but we will always live apart. Reverse mortgages, assisted living, et al is also not an option for me either.
Ron

Anonymous said...

Ron,
I really regret the news about Bill and feel deeply sorry for you and what you are facing.
My wife and I have been married for 56 years (come June 29). We have lived in the same house for 45 years. But we know that at our age we will have to move, at some point not too distant, into assisted living, much as we don't want to do so. We accept that we must move while we are still active and before one of us has a stroke or other debilitating health problem, imposing an intolerable burden on the other. Selling the house will provide all the funds we will need for sheltered housing.
Bless you both,
Roderick

VRC-Do You! said...

Sorry to hear about Bill's setback...Maybe we can get someone in to assist you...You take care of Bill BUT push a little off your plate...I am sure you have contingencies...Worse case scenarios...In the meantime let's push forward one more obstacle...Speedy recovery Bill...We do have to get him back to his routine/schedule...

VRC-Do You! said...

Sorry to hear about Bill's setback...Maybe we can get someone in to assist you...You take care of Bill BUT push a little off your plate...I am sure you have contingencies...Worse case scenarios...In the meantime let's push forward one more obstacle...Speedy recovery Bill...We do have to get him back to his routine/schedule...

Travel said...

Just trying to offer suggestions, including how to pay for them, that would allow the survivor to retain dignity and independence. I have seen too many people end up in a nursing home, because no one thought about options that would allow the person to live the way they want to live.

Ron said...

Roderick,
Assisted living works for many people. I do not discount that option for some. However, for us, after visiting our friends Bob and Jim in their assisted living facility, I was struck by how much their living arrangement seemed like prison, albeit a gilded prison, to me. Ironic too that my late friend Bob ended up in an assisted living arrangement because we had often talked about getting older and what we would do. It was gradual with Bob and when it was too late, he tried to escape several times only to be strapped down to his bed to urinate on himself. That's not fate I want and will do everything to avoid. This is my personal attitude towards my end of days, I do not disparage anyone who chooses such an arrangement. Most of the people I saw in Bob and Jim's assisted living facility appeared to be happy. I wouldn't be.
Ron

Ron said...

David,
I definitely won't end up in a nursing home. And I'm not going to turn over all my assets to a profit making assisted living facility. I saw my aunt go into one of those. Once they ran through her $400,000 plus funds, they shipped her off to a state run facility and Medicaid. She died shortly thereafter. I appreciate your recommendation but that's not the path I will choose.
Ron

Ron said...

VRC-Do You!
We have good neighbors. They look in on Bill when I'm away. Plus Bill is still able to take care of himself. We'll manage.
Ron

Travel said...

All of this leads back to the points that have been suggested. Think about what can be done for the two of you to live out your days and die at home. Spend every penny if you have to, to stay where you want, and receive the help you need to do so.

Don't dismiss suggestions to help retain dignity, autonomy and privacy.

Ur-spo said...

When I was at school I mesmerized the eye chart which got me out of glasses well past the due date.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo
I don't think I've ever seen you wear glasses. Contact lenses?
Ron

Ron said...

Travel (David),
Bill and I will stay in our home. Assisted living isn't in our plans. May work for others but not us. Just today when I was out in our back yard I was reminded again at how much I love our home. I do have plans should the worst happen and I couldn't stay here because of my health. I would go to a co-p[ much like my friend Don McK. who lives in one in Philadelphia. In fact when Pat and I visit Philadelphia twice a year (first week of June and November), we stay in the guest suite. Many old, enfeebled people live in that co-op. Short of having a stroke, and being completely comatose, that solution is my fail safe plan. I do appreciate all advice and I thank you for yours. I know you're sincere in trying to help. Of course you also have thought about your own situation as most of us "single" men have to do, since we don't have children to take care of us.
Ron