Friday, April 25, 2014

A few random thoughts

Breeze across a pond

Just a few random thoughts before I depart to Santa Fe and the eye surgery which will restore great sight to my right eye. If there has been an upside to this ordeal it is the support of friends. And also the opportunity to share experience, strength and hope with others.

I think we all are on some level afraid of going blind; especially as we age. And of course the medical/insurance complex fosters this and fans the flames. I was frankly shocked that following the insurance reforms with ACA, which put many of the 'Wellness" tests for medicare subjects ahead of the deductible and sans copay, that seeing an eye doctor yearly did not fall into that category. And cataract surgery patients still had the copay. At one time blindness was the leading cause of death in third world countries because that person was useless once glaucoma ruined his vision or cataracts forever clouded his vision.

And certainly when it comes to the cost of supportive care of a visually impaired individual swallowing the copay upfront is a pittance. But I have also been surprised at the number of friends on disability or medicare who did not know cataract surgery was covered at all. While such surgery is done in mass in places like India by charitable organizations here we have to go through the eye surgery mill(40 a day at Eye Associates of New Mexico), pay for expensive medications, use of facility up front, round up friends to drive us, stay overnight at a hotel, etc. In India you get to walk home with no followup instructions and no guide.

Frankly, I have been shocked at the number of forms and instructions I have had to read and fill out and sign again and again. And on colored paper and small font. I guess I should be thrilled they are not in braille. But I have had to have a reader and person to point where I sign as my vision got worse. With the decreased cost of e-readers maybe they should translate to that format so we can adjust font size to make them readable.

I used to teach adaptive skiing which included a whole range of disabilities along with blind skiers. Part of my training for that was to ski blindfolded  with a guide calling the turns. It is an awesome experience. And it allowed me to think outside my narrow box. I had expected more compensation for their visually challenged customers than I have seen as a whole so far. Would care and handling improve of every employee had to run the examination gauntlet with clouded glasses obscuring their vision?

It will be an interesting day. And I will get to do it again very soon. But I am grateful I have been put to the front of the line as it were because of the rapidity of the growth of my cataracts. I advise all my friends o not assume they have years before they have to worry about it. And to be advised it will take four months or more once you begin to worry about it.

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