Thursday, March 13, 2008

What breed of dog are you?

Take this test!
No bones about it, you're a loyal, nurturing Collie. A sensitive breed, you're always approachable and very in tune with others' feelings — just like Lassie! Because of your empathetic nature, you tend to be the group psychologist to your circle of friends. Your faithful, easygoing, steadfast personality makes you a wonderful confidant; people love to come to you with their troubles. Bottom line? You're a star at interpersonal relationships and have a knack for making new friends and acquaintances wherever you go. After all, what's a Collie without a flock to look after? Since you're so giving, your buddies might not realize that you need them just as much as they need you, so make sure not to neglect yours truly. Everyone deserves some "me" time. Woof!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Kindergarten redux

You may recall back in January my post about what to do about Rebecca for kindergarten. It's taken a while and a lot of angst but we finally made a decision.

The winner is option #3. R is signed up for Kindergarten in the private school/day care's all day K program. On Valentine's day Jim and I visited the facility in the morning since my eye surgery appointment was scheduled for the afternoon. We ended up getting the owner as our tour guide. They have several locations but she happened to be at our location that morning to meet with work crews; there had been a water pipe outside that burst the week before, due to all this crazy weather we've had this winter. Owner is a trip; she's an immigrant who made good; came to the US and was unhappy with her son's day care experience so she opened her own. The facility is very nice; we were impressed with all that they do. They have music and art teachers, as well as a computer lab. They teach French and Spanish to the kids; R already takes a weekly Spanish class at her current day care so that will be good, and she knows a few words of French from ballet so hopefully she'll get more of that too. We got to meet one of the two K teachers, who is the one she will likely have. The teacher told us that if we were considering having R attend K at the public school to try to get her into afternoon K because they did the main academic stuff in the morning so it would be best to have her there for that part. Later the owner said it more bluntly, that we would be "wasting our money" if R attends morning K at the public school. We also asked the owner and the director about the "bus story" we had heard from a fellow parent at our current day care. She sent her older child there for before and after K but we heard that she had pulled him out right away, because she observed him having to walk down a hill through a crowded parking lot by himself. The owner was very disturbed by this story, but the owner remembered the situation well event though it had happened two years ago. We heard her version of the story which was a bit different.

After we talked some more to both the director and the owner, we went home to discuss. It seemed obvious to us that we should just spend the extra money and have R attend full day K there. The program sounds like it will be right up her alley; she is hungry to learn and has gotten bored in preschool. And, we won't have to deal with the bus issue. I called the public school to cancel our registration appointment and asked when I should contact them to register her for first grade. They don't know exactly when that will be for next year but told me to contact them around this time next year. Needless to say, there is a task noted for early Feb 2009 in my Outlook at work!

Our difficult decision was about what to do with Caroline next year. While we were there we also toured the day care to see about possibly moving Caroline to this place. We decided that we should move her to this facility when R goes. It looks like a good place, different from where she is in that even the little ones have more of an academic focus, but a place she could do well nonetheless. But then Jim started to have serious regrets about leaving our current place, where we love the staff and where the girls are loved so much. We talked and talked... I feel sad too but logistically I just don't see how it could work to have them several miles apart for drop offs and pickups. I wanted to make a final decision so we could get all of the necessary paperwork submitted. So I told Jim that we would have to be really organized and would have to split up the kids for drop off and possibly pickup to make this work. Then one morning C was an enormous pill; wouldn't do anything she needed to do, was very contrary, very TWO. Jim said That's IT! We're moving her to the new place. No way can we handle this and two places all together in a morning; we'll never get out the door! So on Thursday I dropped off the paperwork on my way to work in the morning. The director was there and said that we could start them any time in August, so they're in.

Unfortunately, I had not had the opportunity to talk to the director of our current place about the switch yet, because I wanted to wait until I knew there was a place for C in the new place. She knew about R because R has been telling everyone where she's going for K. Then I found out that R has been telling people that C is going with her to the new place, even though we hadn't decided that yet. I felt terrible that they were hearing this from her and not from Jim and me. Yesterday I sent an email to the director to let her know what our plans are. I sent it from work just before leaving early (thanks, blizzard conditions!) so I don't know if she's replied. Jim picked up the girls yesterday; he didn't see my email so he didn't know about it. The assistant to the director mentioned C leaving so he was further irritated that there was "gossip" going around, but I told him that I'd also copied her on the message.

Change is hard... we will miss these folks so much. But this is the best decision for our family. And it will be nice for C - she'll have to meet new kids now but she'll know them through K. For both girls, they may end up in elementary school with some of these kids so it's nice for them to start meeting some more "local" kids now. That was one problem with our current day care; since it's in a neighboring town, most of the kids there are from that town so R wouldn't be seeing them much longer anyhow. There is one in particular that we will continue to see; she is in R's ballet class and they are buddies, so that is nice. Plus her mom works for the Clinic and I've known her for 15+ years.

I can't believe that in 5 months or so I'll have a Kindergartner... sniff sniff...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Seeing the world through new eyes

After an initial false start, I am now seeing out of my freshly-lasered eyeballs.
My LASIK appt was on Feb. 7th. We arrived on schedule and were in the waiting room for over an hour. I had decided that I was not all that nervous so I had not asked for any valium, which some people take prior to the procedure. As we waited, I felt a bit more nervous. Interestingly, Jim was very uncharacteristically chatty which was distracting me but not in a good way. It occurred to me that he was nervous too so I didn't say anything to him about it, though I wanted to tell him to be quiet.
When they took me back, they talked about what they were going to do, and got me comfortable in the procedure chair. It's a comfy chair, like a reclining dentist chair but more plush. The first step after numbing drops are applied is to make a flap out of a thin layer of the corneas. They let that settle, then they use the laser on the part underneath to change your vision. The flap is like an internal contact lens. I used to wear contacts but always had trouble with them. They often felt dry or itchy, and so I was constantly using drops. I was always aware of the lens in the left eye; it wasn't painful but I always felt it. Once I got a serious bacterial infection in my cornea; that was no fun.
Well, I guess my eyes didn't want internal "contact lenses" either. They applied a suction cup type thing to my eye as they started, but it lost suction. Three times this happened, luckily before they cut the eye, so they stopped. The surgeon told me to come back the next week and he would do PRK instead. PRK is the precursor to LASIK; it's basically the surgery on the surface of your cornea with no flap. It's a procedure that is prone to more pain and has a longer recovery period, but is still safe and effective. The doctor warned me that my eye was bloodshot from the suction and advised me to use steroid drops for the next several days. I went to use the restroom and "bloodshot" was an understatement. I had developed an almost perfect blood ring around my iris, with more blood on the outside part of the white of the eye. It was pretty gross looking, though it didn't hurt at the time. I went out to the waiting room to wake Jim up, and then took him out of the office to tell him what happened. I was disappointed and cried a little, but still wanted to return the next week for round 2. We went home and my eye was starting to hurt, so I took some ibuprofen and a long nap. The next day at work a colleague told me I had an eye hickey, which amused me.
I was rescheduled for the 14th, Valentine's Day. I knew that I would be much more nervous this time so I had requested a Valium this time. I've never taken Valium before but decided it might be a good idea. The nurse told me not to take it until I arrived for the appointment. When I checked in at 1PM, I asked if I should take my pill and was told to wait until the tech came to see me. They had told me that they wouldn't be actually taking me back until 1:30, and they came out on the dot. Immediately they walked me back to the procedure room. What about my Valium? I asked. Oh, you can take it now, I was told. Uh oh...
The procedure itself, I liken to painting a room, where you spend far more time prepping than actually painting. I was seated in the comfy chair, and my eyelids were cleaned with betadine. The surgeon then put a patch over my left eye, and numbing drops in my right eye. My eyelashes were taped back and an eye speculum was put in. It bothered me in theory that I couldn't close my eye but I didn't fight it as much as I thought I would. Then the doctor "roughed up" the surface of the cornea using some small tool. Once he was done, they started he laser procedure itself. I was told to stare at a blinking orange light. It takes 28 seconds which doesn't seem like a long time except when your eyeball is being burned! I smelled a burning hair smell briefly; that was my cornea. I had read about others having this experience so I wasn't surprised or particularly grossed out.

After the laser did its thing they put some medicine in my eye, removed the speculum and tape, and moved the patch from my left eye to my right. I thought I could feel him doing the "roughing up" a little more so he put in additional numbing drops, which made me feel less nervous because I was worried I would be able to feel the laser! While he was prepping it occurred to me; this man is scrubbing at my eyeball. If I could really feel it, I would be screaming in pain right now. So, the numbing drops clearly are working!
Once that eye was done, they sat me up and the tech gave me some directions along with my bag of "goodies". Each patient receives a small leather-ish toiletry bag containing: a bottle of antibiotic drops, bottle of steroid drops, pair of sunglasses and a pair of goggles. I didn't need the goggles since I didn't have the LASIK, but they have LASIK patients wear them to sleep in for the first few nights to keep from rubbing their eyes. A post-op instruction sheet was also included. They tucked into a side pocket a prescription for percoset.

And that was it. I was in at 1:30 and out at 2:00. Jim and I got the prescription filled, and then went to Friendly's for a late lunch. I took some percoset right away as my eyes burned some. I was sensitive to light so I kept my sunglasses on (a pair I had bought, not the ones from the doctor), a baseball cap on my head, and my head down. I continued to be sensitive to light at home for the next several days. Two days post-op was the hardest; I awoke at 6AM to a strong burning in both eyes. I took percoset periodically, interspersed with ibuprofen, and slept most of Saturday. Sunday I felt much better.
It was amazing how well I could see right away. I still have some blurriness at times, more so in the right eye than the left, but my vision is still quite good even when blurry. I do see a "halo" around lights at night sometimes, but not all the time. Driving has been fine. It took a couple of weeks to stop reaching for my glasses on my bedside table, and when getting out of the shower. I did try my glasses on at one point and it was weird to see how bad everything looked, especially knowing how clear they had made everything before. It does feel odd not to have clear and blurry vision, not to have my peripheral sight be as sharp as it is. I think I've mostly adjusted but my brain is still catching up in small ways.
Everyone seems used to how I look now, without my glasses. I'm starting to wear eye makeup again; I know I look washed out without it but it hasn't become part of my routine yet. It bothers me more to see my gray hair roots now. Apparently with glasses on they weren't so obvious to me; now I'm thinking I need to schedule my coloring appointments closer together. At my last hair appointment I got my eyebrows done. The woman who does them at my salon used a combination of sugaring and threading, and told me I'm pulling too many from the beginning of each brow. Who knew?Certainly not me, who is far from a fashion advertisement.
I still have some healing to do; the doctor says at six months out I will really feel the difference. But I'm pleased with it already, and am looking forward to any additional improvements healing will bring.