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Trapped and depressed…

I’m now in the sixth week or so of being trapped in the house, unable to go anywhere, no longer living the life I had been used to. Even in this highly medicated, lonely situation I’ve had two smaller seizures which means I probably won’t be allowed to drive or bicycle or anything in 6 months as the doctors had specified (there’s a state law!) I have to go seizure free for half a year and they will assume the meds work.

They don’t.

“Don’t you have any friends who want to take you somewhere?” says my wife on her way to work. I make a couple of phonecalls, get answering machines, and still don’t hear from anyone. I used to be able to drive around Shepherdstown and visit folks at The Folly and at Mellow Moods or walking up and down German Street. Now I just sit and think about it.

A depressed man sitting on a benchIt is so depressing.

“Don’t you do crossword puzzles?” my Mother asked the other day. I don’t. I don’t want to. I read and write this blog and endured endless hours of news programs showing Romney’s gaffes – not as entertaining as they originally were.

So here I am waiting for my cell phone to ring, or waiting for e-mail to arrive or for someone to knock on the door wanting to see how I was doing. Unfortunately, I no longer think it will happen.

I have high praise for Superfocus’ Customer Support Dept.

Wearing my Superfocus Lenses

First, let me repeat what I have said before, I love my Superfocus glasses… if it were just for seeing what I’m doing on the computer alone (or, for that matter, doing NY Times crossword puzzles with their teensy-weensy numbers and clues) they would be worth it. But there is much more… it is easier to see when I’m driving, movies are a whole new experience and my neck doesn’t hurt from moving my head up and down like I did with bi-focals.

Now that I have the basic level of praise out of the way, let me give you a view of a customer service department that left an impression on me that I am not used to from other companies. They were pleasant, understanding and quick to solve my problem (considering I’m in West Virginia and they are in California.)

I needed my liquid lenses (the back lenses… too much to explain here… go to Superfocus.com and they’ll show you how these things are constructed) looked at and have some accidental scratches removed. I was worried that this would not be under the Warranty… but my wife was seeing the same problem with hers, and apparently it was how we were cleaning dust off the lenses.) I started by calling Superfocus and speaking with a representative who immediately said they’d like to have their Quality Control guy have a look at them and then they’d fix them They emailed a UPS shipping label and packing instructions to me. THEY paid for the shipping (that won my stingy heart right there) and I got a tracking number so I could make sure it got there.

Two days after they received the package they had looked at it, replaced the lenses and frames, and sent it back to me by priority mail I know, you are saying “so what?”… any company would do that on a warranty product. But let me tell you this, they were able to send me the completed job right away BECAUSE THEY STARTED MAKING ME A NEW SET OF FRAMES AND LIQUID LENSES BEFORE THEY EVEN RECEIVED MY ORIGINALS.

What’s more, they made a new set for my wife because I had mentioned she was having the same problem… and they shipped them before she even sent her other frames back (the also forwarded a free package label so she could do that now.)

Today, we both received our updated frames and liquid lenses and they were perfect… we also got a phone call and e-mail letting us know that everything was covered, fixed and on the way back… and they thanked us for being customers.

I couldn’t recommend these folks any higher (so I’m putting a copy of one of their ads here, on the house.)

Wow… I forgot to put in this title… sorry.

“Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the legs that go first, it’s remembering the word for legs.”
Larry Gelbart

Another problem I’m having as I get older, reinforced by my turning 65 last week, is the slow dissipation of my memory. It started a few years ago with the memory of names… first of television and movie actors who I would see on screen and know that I knew who they were, but I was unable to come up with the name. A couple of hours later, while driving home, the name would pop into my mind.

That was bad enough… but then I started forgetting the names of students when I was teaching, or actors that I had directed a couple of days after the play was over, or people who I had known for a long time. Then I started to forget certain words, while I remembered their definitions. Weird.

I don’t remember dates and appointments (but, then again, I never used to, either) so I am completely dependent on the Calendar app in my computer, which I check with regularity and update constantly. I often carry a little blank page book with me to write down things that come up in conversation that I want to remember, or ideas for projects I may want to do or articles for this blog. Taking notes becomes more and more important.

To try and hold off the increasing loss of what seems to be verbal memory (I have no trouble remembering how to DO things or how to get to places I’ve been before) I am dedicated to doing five or six crossword puzzles a week… and of those I take on the most difficult: reprinted volumes of NY Times Sunday Puzzles. This keeps me coming up with words and names and solutions to word puzzles, puns and the rare bottom-of-the-list dictionary definitions that don’t always fit the common use of a certain word.

Names are a problem for me on crosswords as well… but I find that gaining two or three cross letters pops a remembered name into my mind fairly quickly. If that happened in everyday life occurances (“isn’t that A___o_ K______?” says my wife. “Yes, it’s Ashton Kutcher,” I come back with) some of my problems would get smaller… but they wouldn’t quite go away.

And there’s the blog. As long as I keep writing and using words, no matter how many times I consult a dictionary or a Thesaurus or a copy of Stage Directions magazine, I keep them all somewhere in my head.

I’m told it doesn’t get better… but I’m working hard to hold off oncoming darkness.

A few non-bin Laden related updates…

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

Jack Handey, Saturday Night Live

The news this morning and into the afternoon has been fairly single focused and I haven’t had a chance to get back to some things I’ve been discussing in  the last week or so. I’m sitting over at Mellow Moods having a cup of coffee  and a vegan sandwich (black bean burger with fruit and salsa roll-up) and their wifi is working… so here goes:

4 Days into my SuperFocus glasses…

Focusing... a snap!

I know I bored everyone over the last few weeks with my enthusiasm and expectations for the SuperFocus glasses I ordered and have bee. waiting for. Well, they arrived late on the 28th and I’ve been wearing them for a hair over four days now.

And they are spectacular!

It took a little over a day to get used to changing the focus manually depending on what distances I was looking at. And I found out that, unlike my old bifocals, there were at least five regular viewing ranges I use regularly: reading, short distance, average distance, driving and very long distance. I’m amazed at how minimal a concern as my daily crossword puzzle now doesn’t require squinting and tilting my head to make sure I was at the close bifocal distance. And I can actually read road signs quite a way down the highway now.

I really like them. My wife got so interested that she just made an appointment with her optometrist and will be ordering her own soon (right now she wears trifocals and has great trouble with computer-use distances.)

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Getting Excused From Jury Duty

I got called up for a month of Jury Duty in June and I had to call my Doctor and get a note about my ischemic seizures which can happen at any time (the meds I take have them pretty much under control, but I’ve had at least one in the last few weeks.) It would be awfully embarrassing to go into a seizure while watching testimony… not to mention the fact that there’s a lot of driving back and forth and my wife is convinced I’ll have an attack at 60 miles per hour.

Anyway, my Neurologist’s office is giving me the note to attach to the form I had to fill out. Apparently they do this kind of thing all the time.

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I’m working this afternoon on the basis of my podcast. I’m still very unsure of how everything is done, but I’m doing it live at 10 AM tomorrow. If you listen to it then, or get it later, please excuse my early user mistakes. I’ll get better.