Cataract Surgery Report

Lens ImplantIn August and then again in October, I had eye surgeries to replace aging lens element in my eyes with artificial implants designed to eliminate cataracts and to correct visual acuity.

Image: Lens Implant similar to those now in my eyes. Alcon© AcrySof™ Click to enlarge.

My guess is that millions have had their cataracts replaced but this is my story and observations. The surgery is quick and painless with perhaps a small amount of discomfort that quickly abates afterward.

In my case, as I grew older, I became nearsighted and had to wear glasses to fly, drive and do anything that required distance acuity. I removed the glasses to read and work with things close-up. Kind of a pain in the ass without bifocals, and I hated bifocals so I did without. This was before progressive lenses were available.

After a while I wore a contact lens in one eye only so I could see distance, but the uncorrected eye was perfect for reading and working on the computer at home and work. No glasses other than shades were involved. This technique is called “monovision” with one eye corrected for distance and the other used for close work.

Then, about 23 years ago, I had Lasik® surgery to fix my right eye only in order to eliminate the need for a contact lens. Still monovision, but now independent of corrective lenses. I had glasses made for driving where the correction fixed the nearsighted eye and corrected for astigmatism in both eyes. I eventually added progressive corrections so I could seamlessly switch between the distance view and the instrument panel or GPS. That was the status quo up to the surgeries this year.

The left eye surgery was a standard lens replacement while the right eye was a bit more complex, which I will describe below. After the left eye was fixed, one of the first things I noticed was a rather pronounced difference in color perception between the fixed eye and the unfixed eye. With the left eye, white looked white and with the right eye, white looked yellow-ish. Blues were vivid in the left eye and dull with the right eye. I guess I underestimated how big an effect that cataracts have on your vision.

I mentioned that the replacement surgery in the right eye was more complex. When I had Lasik® in that eye I had no idea that it would affect the cataract surgery in that the cornea became distorted. To correct the cornea problem, a second procedure was needed. Before the lens replacement process, they put me under a machine that made contact with the cornea and fired several laser blasts to reshape it. Immediately after that the lens replacement took place with an additional measurement to determine which lens power to use. The surgeon then selected the proper power and completed the surgery.

All the follow up appointments with the ophthalmologist went well. I was now seeing 20/20 with the right eye and the left eye was suitable for close work and reading. This month, I ordered two pairs of prescription glasses - one pair of shades with progressive lenses for driving and daytime outdoor use and another single-vision clear pair for watching TV and other night time use.

Damsel and I were out the last couple of evenings watching the ISS fly over. As a bonus, the crescent Moon, Jupiter and Saturn were gathering together in the southwestern sky in a gorgeous asterism. And Stars! So many Stars all now brightly focused and brilliant. I can SEE!

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Veterans Day 2020

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Armistice was declared for the conflict of World War One on November 11, 1918. That day became celebrated as Armistice Day to commemorate WW1 Vets (Bless ‘em All). Since that time, Armistice Day has evolved into Veterans Day to commemorate all American Veterans who have served in times of peace and war. Today is no exception and we resolve to honor those whose service has been given to our country.

Our family has a number of veterans in our lineage, some alive and some passed on. I did some genealogy work recently and discovered a number of ancestors who served. Several ancestors showed service in the Revolutionary War. Some were in the US Civil War (on both sides) and a few in the Spanish American War. My Grand Dad, Leonard, was in the Navy just after that war.

Damsel’s Dad, Bill, served in the US Navy (Aviation) assigned to Patrol Squadron 26 as a crew member on the PB4 Privateer Aircraft with missions around the Mediterranean after WW2.

My Dad, Jack, was aboard the USS Brooklyn during WW2, sometimes in the African theater of operations and also in the Northern Mediterranean supporting Allied forces in Europe.

What is now the senior generation of veterans in our family consists of me. I was in Naval Aviation and served in the capacity of Radio Operator Crewman and Avionics Line Troubleshooter at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, CA. Our mission was to provide airborne targets for the Pacific Missile Range. Those were some fun and interesting times not to mention somewhat risky working around whirling propellers and jet engine intakes and flying aboard some pretty vintage military aircraft. Think Lockheed P2V, Sikorsky SH34, Grumman S2F and various other Convair, Martin, Douglas and Lockheed Airplanes in support of RangeOps.

My two late brothers were also in the Navy; my older brother became an officer under a program where he got a college education at Purdue University in exchange for a career assignment as an Officer. My younger brother, like me, was in for a limited time and served as an Aviation Equipment Technician at NAS Miramar, near San Diego.

Both of my older brother’s kids were in the US Air Force; the older daughter became a linguistic translator for covert operations during the cold war, and his younger son worked as an air traffic controller who, incidentally, went on to make a career as ATC working for the FAA (and still does).

We’re proud of all our family, past and present, who served. We are equally proud of all service men and women that have served, are serving and will serve in the future. May God bless them now and forever, Amen.

For Veterans Day, Damsel and I are going to celebrate here at home with a special dinner planned. We hope you have a happy and safe Veteran’s Day as well.

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Accessorizing the ARs - Red Dot Optics

at3-leos.pngLast week on a whim, I ordered a couple of AT3™ LEOS® Red Dot Sights with Integrated Lasers for both of our rifles. Yesterday, I mounted them on the upper receiver rails of the rifles and tested them out - both units seem to work just fine.

I have to mention that I am a little disappointed that these were manufactured in China. We generally avoid buying products from communist countries if we can help it, but the items are here and we’ll try to make the best of it, I guess.

The next step is to take them to the range and boresight them to the rifles. AT3 Tactical supplied a procedure for this, but we are going to consult some videos on YouTube™ and other sources to get a feel for how we’re going to go about it.

The image below is of my rifle with the new optic mounted with both dust covers flipped up. The laser on/off button is on the little control panel (forward) and the three red dot controls are brightness up, brightness down and on/off. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Retirement Life Events

Yesterday, we had the second surgery to correct the cataract in the right eye. This was a bit more complicated than the first surgery (which was a simple lens replacement) in that there were additional measurements and a second laser process involved to fix the astigmatism in the right eye cornea. There was yet another measurement made during the surgery to determine which of four possible lens implants would be selected. I regret to say that the cause of all the additional processes could have been circumvented had I not had LASIK surgery on the right eye 22 years ago.

I went to the day-after follow-up this morning and the results pleased the surgeon (who kept patting himself on the back) as well as they pleased me since he had me reading the fine print on the eye chart even though the dilation in the eye was still set at F 0.6 or so (wide open). The eye will be considered completely healed and functional in a few days although the eye drop regimen will persist for about three weeks. I thank the Lord that all this is behind me and seems to have worked out.

A few weeks ago, I upgraded Damsel’s AR-15 with a forward vertical grip. I watched a video on the ‘Tube where some dude installed a vertical grip on the standard hand guard by using a rail section and a compatible grip. I did the modification to her rifle by following the advice I saw and when it was complete, I was not satisfied. The grip still had some wobble even though it seemed to be securely fastened. It was a workable kluge.

I previously reported on the hand guard upgrade on my rifle with a quad rail and a vertical grip. That worked out very well and I am still happy with it. I was going to apply that same upgrade to Damsel’s rifle but we got distracted a bit since she indicated that she wanted to get pink furniture for her gun. So, we abandoned the quad rail upgrade. Now, the pink furniture seems to be sold out everywhere. I am on waiting lists but nobody can seem to say when they will be back in stock.

Well, I didn’t want to wait to get her gun fixed and get rid of the foregrip wobble, so I ordered a Magpul MOE Hand Guard (which is the same manufacturer of the pink stuff) as an interim solution while waiting for the ultimate pinkness to show up.

Today, the hand guard arrived and I completed the mod to her rifle. The before and after pictures are below. The kluged verical grip on the standard hand guard (left) and the Magpul hand guard and vertical grip (right). Click on either image to enlarge.

Standard Kluge Magpul MOE hand guard and grip

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Eleventh Retirement Anniversary

eleven-red-rocks.pngThe last year seems to have gone by in a whirlwind despite the social and biological plagues of 2020. Since our Retirement Post Last Year, we have been busy with our everyday routines accompanied by some occasional deviations from the norm. We find things to keep us busy, I guess, as most retirees do, and that seems to make the time pass quickly.

Because of the overblown COVID-19 pandemic (or should I say DEM panic?), we have postponed any excursions in the RV to next spring and/or fall. We had planed a couple of trips for 2020, but stuff happened.

IMAGE: Numeral Eleven textured by the red rock gravel around our house where many people would have a lawn. We have to pull weeds once in a while, but no mowing in retirement!

During the past year, on two occasions, we have entertained overnight visitors in our home. The first visit was from a couple that we have known since the early 1960’s. They stayed a couple of nights with us and had a reunion dinner at our place with another couple who, like us, relocated to Arizona from Kalifornistan. The second visitor, also an old friend and former workplace associate, stayed with us a couple of nights in August while on his way from Colorado Springs back home to the Los Angeles area. Those were both nice visits that we enjoyed immensely.

October is going to be an eventful month. I have my second cataract surgery scheduled mid-month with pre- and post-surgery visits with the ophthalmologist plus visit scheduled with the proctologist for an exam and to schedule the next colonoscopy. I also have some more dermatology work to be done sometime in October. I also plan on seeing the orthopedic surgeon next week regarding knees, shoulders and hips. There’s nothing drastically wrong with those (I hope) but I have a recommendation from the family doctor to go to the ortho for x-rays and follow-ups.

So, here we go into our twelfth year of retirement. We’re praying that the widespread insanity diminishes enough for us to get back to normal and maybe hit the road to relieve our wanderlust.

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Arms Collection - Addition and Mods

Two weeks ago, we added a new AR style firearm to our inventory. We now have two of these. Our local arms dealership is going out of business due to poor health of the proprietor and we got the latest AR at a 10 percent discount from their posted price. We also acquired some spare 30 round magazines for 5.56×45 and a couple of other accessories.

Now that the smoke has settled from the acquisitions, we decided to upgrade our stock hand guards to a quad rail system. The units we bought are Leapers UTG PRO AR-15 MTU001 Drop-in Carbine-Length Quad Rail System. Our main motivation for this is to be able to install forward vertical grip handles on the rifles as well as addition of illuminators or other goodies on the rails.

I installed the first Quad Rail on the new rifle this afternoon. It went quite well as I followed the instructions from their You-Tube Video. I then installed the vertical grip on the lower rail of the new unit. Before and after images below. Click on either image to enlarge.

Before After

I tried to install the second Quad Rail on our older AR and had a problem with it. I think it may be due to a slight misalignment of the barrel nut (looks like a gear with teeth). If you watch the video, they mention that an “armorer’s wrench” may be necessary to correct the misalignment. Well, we ain’t got one of those and they are too $$ for a one-time use. I am going to go to the shop where we bought the gun and see if they can fix the problem. I’ll mosey on over to the shop tomorrow and see if they can help.

Meanwhile, the new rifle looks sorta cool with the rails and the vertical grip. We’ll get to the range soon and see how it feels with the grip.

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Fifteenth Blogiversary

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It’s time for the annual milestone to mark yet another year of blogging on CB&D. Our statistics for the past year show that we have posted about 52 times, or, on average, once a week. That’s nowhere near the “old days” when we made 300 or so posts yearly, but it’s not to bad (in our opinion).

Just because we’ve gone sort of silent on posting does not mean that we’re out of blogging in the reading sense. We have an RSS feed reader browser extension with some 27 blogs that we read daily (or as often as they post) several of which post many times a day. We think that we’re getting the news we need through them.

In the coming year, we will probably be doing just about the same as this past year, noting when there are special events or personal activity, not the least of which we hope will be travelling in our motorhome to new and interesting places as well as some old favorites. That may resume in springtime assuming this COVID-19 crap goes dormant and there are no riots where we’re going.

Lest we forget, today marks The Autumnal Equinox, a.k.a. “first day of fall.” Here in AZ we are still having what we call “second spring” with cactus flowers and our Pride of Barbados shrubs in bloom. We see bees, hummingbirds and butterflies regularly and will probably continue to have them well into winter months. What will disappear from our skies are the ubiquitous Turkey Buzzards who will soon be headed to Mexico for the winter. Happy Fall, everyone!

Thanks for keeping us on the blogrolls. Let us know if we’re not reciprocating.

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