Three weeks

I returned to the Doctor today for my 3 week post op checkup. All looks good (sorry for the pun.)

I’ve cracked the 20/30 line on the chart. I was able to see two letters on that line with a little blinking and concentration. The people in the office continue to use phrases like “that’s great,” “looks excellent,” and other superlatives. I can only assume that things are going very well.

I’ve been cleared to exercise, bike riding, walking, etc. No lifting that “makes you grunt.” That’s clear — the sit ups will have to wait. But, I will get to do some more activity.

I also asked about driving. Dr. Carson said that legally my vision was good enough, but I should only drive in the best conditions. That’s fine, I haven’t actually had any situations where not being able to drive was a huge problem.

My driver’s license vision test is early next month. Bad timing. We will have to see what happens. Might be a little awkward if I’m asked why I haven’t driven for a month. “Oh, I haven’t trusted my vision, but I should be able to pass this vision test.”

Nickel and Dimed

On Saturday I picked up the  book Nickel and Dimed written by Barbara Ehrenreich from the library.  I am currently in the middle of reading it.

The book was conceived, researched and writtne between 1998 and 2001.  If you will remember this was boom time in the US and the time of the Republican Revolution in the House of Representatives.  On of the very common topics then was that welfare mothers should be encouraged to work.   Encouragement was a euphemism for forced.

In that atmosphere the author decided to see if it was possible for a welfare mother to get an entry level job and “make the rent.”  So she picked three cities, and traveled to the city and looked for an apartment and a job without leaning on her actual work experience, education, etc.

I’ve finished the second chapter about her month in Maine.  I have been thoroughly engrossed by the book.  To be honest it is a piercing story and makes me feel completely lazy.  After all, here I am in writing about a a book I’m reading in the middle of my work day.

I have had a great concern for the situation the poor find themselves in, which is why I picked up the book, but it has opened my eyes to more of the reality of their situation.  One of the deadly things about our culture is the insulation we have from each other.  It is this insulation that is critical to the success of the whole enterprise I think, but it makes us all less human.  We are unable to see each other and our situations.

I haven’t finished the book and don’t know what I will do in response, but rest assured that it will have lasting impact on the way I live.

I also wanted to share my sadness at the portrayal of the church in Maine.  Not because I think her portrayal was inaccurate, but precisely because of its truth.  There are caveats that could be argued in the church’s defense, but ultimately we, speaking for my fellow Christians, need to own up to our blindness to the poor.

Honestly, I am a Christian because of Jesus.  There are so many layers to that, but a big part of it is the way he treated the poor and his promise that in the coming of his kingdom the social order will be turned on its head.  Maybe I said the backwards, it is because the kingdom will be upside down that he cared for the poor.  And he commanded his disciples to “Follow Me!”  I want to take that command seriously.

First Week Back In Review

Well,  I’ve finished a week back at work.  I think I am getting back into the flow of things.

I can truthfully say that I have not felt my eye for large portions of the last few day.  I really can’t believe how quickly my eye is healing.  I am still not supposed to excercise yet.  I hope that that will end at my next doctor appointment next week.

I can’t wait to get some new glasses.  I am very hopeful about how I will see with new glasses.  I am hoping that I will be able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chong after my appointment with Dr. Goodman.

Back to work

I started back at work yesterday (11 days after surgery).  Things went very well.  The biggest problem was that the part of my mind that I use for programming has gone soft.  I spent most of yesterday getting back going and only today do I feel like I am am starting to move forward.

As an aside, putting drops into my eyes every hour has given me a sense of how long an hour is?  Very short.  Everytime I look up it seems like it is time to put a drop in.  I am still missing them.

Today I went to lunch with my friend Matt and while I was at Yerba Buena Gardens without my glasses on I realized that in the middle distance I have very noticeable double vision.  Seems worst when looking across the street.  At that distance I am seeing two distinct images for each pedestrian or parking sign.

Covering my eyes it didn’t seem to correct it.  It was noticably worse with just my right eye, though. Now with my glasses on I don’t notice it.  That is a symptom of Kerataconus.  I will check up on this in the future.

Of King and Lost Values

Since my surgery last week I’ve been doing a lot of listening. Mostly to “books on tape” but also to some sermons. I was loaned a set of CDs called A Knock at Midnight. It is a collection of 11 recorded sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.

These are the recordings that were transcribed for the book of the same name that I read last year. It has been great to hear the sermons this time.

In the first sermon a young King takes on the reason for the world’s fallen state. That is a shorthand for why there is crime and bad things happening around us in the world. Actually a very contemporary subject, even 50 years after the recording.

King sites those who say that the problem is lack of knowledge, or lack of understanding — a lack in what King calls our “scientific genius,” but he rightly points out that we (even in the 1950s) are more advanced in knowledge of science and philosophy than at any time in history. Yet there has been no indication of the problems nearing an end.

He rather points to a lack in our “moral genius.” King claims that there are moral laws, just as binding as the physical laws. He says that there are other laws that are just as binding as the law of gravity. No one questions that there is a law of gravity that must be obeyed. But we do question whether there is absolute right and wrong.

And yet there is. God created the world and set both physical and moral laws into governance. This seems to me to reach right to the heart of the problem. King gives two alternative to moral laws that we believe instead: that right and wrong is relative and that right and wrong is practical. Or said another way, we believe the the majority determines what is right (the everyone’s doing it morality) and that what works determines what is right (the I didn’t get caught morality).

This may seem a tangent, but I think it is bound up in this. Wednesday I listened to part of “Your Call” with Jonathon Simon as guest, who has been thinking and writing on the way America believes that the answer to most problems is to declare “War on ….” As examples there have been wars on cancer, heart disease, terror, etc. His particular interest was the “War on Crime” and it’s pillar of incarceration. Particularly here in California with our “Three Strikes” law. His premise was that incarcerating a generation of youth and young adults actually perpetuates the problem because the family’s of those people become bitter — continuing a bitter cycle. This bitterness results from long prison terms for three non-violent crimes, and because people are not getting paroled when their terms are served. There is a breach of trust with a generation.

So where does this fit with King’s sermon. It fits in at the point of violence. Violence is wrong, was wrong, and always has been wrong, no matter who is wielding it. Whether in the commissioning of a crime or the tearing apart of a family violence is wrong. The “War on Crime” mentality places all the blame on the criminal, for the crime and for tearing apart his family. But can it be this simple. If you believe that it is a war? Yes. War is us against them. If you believe that we are all God’s children? No.

There is no “them.” Only an “us.” Violence is wrong no matter who wields it. So do I have a solution. Hey this is a blog, I don’t need to have a solution. Well, seriously I don’t have one. But I do have a starting point. It comes from King. There is also a law of Love. What would happen if we started not with the premise of war but of love? There would still need to be prisons. People do commit crime that requires rehabilitation and maybe even punishment.

But if we actually cared for our brothers and sisters it would hurt us to incarcerate and would never seem to be a victory.

20/50 after a week!

On Wednesday, I had an appointment with Dr. Goodman. We started by reading the chart with my left eye. I was able to read another line. So the eye has improved to 20/50. Dr. Goodman looked at the eye and said everything look “excellent.”

He found a “fiber” in my eye and removed it with tweezers/forceps. To be honest it was good that it happened. It has reduced my eeriness about having the sutures removed in 12 months. He put numbing drops in my eye and I felt nothing.

My next appointment is in two weeks, and I will be returning to Dr. Chong for a new prescription sometime in the fall.

I also plan to go to work on Monday. I will need to be mindfull to make sure I do not overdo it.

Otherwise it has been pretty uneventful. I call that a good thing.