Category Archives: Health

Not a great end for my week

It hasn’t been a real good end of the week. I got a message last night that my sister has more health issues that need addressing, although this morning it looks like perhaps not as serious as I had thought. But still worrisome and involving things I’ll have to follow-up on.

Then my quest to deal with cataracts hit a snag. I had an exam and consultation with one of Straub’s surgeons yesterday, and came away less than satisfied. I was given the impression they do not offer the full range of options in their cataract surgeries, aiming instead for the plain vanilla solutions that are mostly covered by insurance and avoiding the more specialized or premium options. That’s fine, except I really wanted to get a sense of the range of options available, so that I can then choose the one that offers the best in my particular case. Straub didn’t deliver that. So I’ve made an appointment with one of the other doctors recommended by several people in comments here, but that means another six week delay. I’m unhappy about that, but have to be patient.

I’m short of cat photos this week, so Feline Friday will be a bit delayed today.

And to top it off, the Interior Department’s announcement of the final version of its proposed rule on Native Hawaiian governance means I’ll have to wade through the fine print of the final rule to see what’s there.

In the meantime, you might want to listen to all or part of the Town Square program which aired last night on Hawaii Public Radio (“Media Coverage During Elections“). We didn’t get many calls, but our discussion raised quite a few interesting issues.

This week on Town Square, looking at how the media and reporters in particular cover political campaigns. Does local and National media coverage generally enlighten or confuse voters? Do reporters focus on things that help us make informed choices or do they just look for scandal and controversy? We’ll take up these questions with award-winning investigative reporter and columnist Ian Lind, long time Hawaii journalist Denby Fawcett, and Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube.

On the path to cataract surgery

I’m reporting to Straub Clinic and Hospital bright and early this morning for a “consultation” with one of their surgeons in preparation for cataract surgery.

After reading more about the procedure, and talking to other people who have gone through it, I’m anxious to get this done as soon as possible.

From what I’ve read and heard, complications are infrequent (I hesitate to say “rare”) and the benefits are suddenly brighter colors and, in most cases, freedom from eye glasses. It seems very clear that the benefits exceed the risks and costs by a wide margin.

Of course, I now have to get enough relevant information to decide whether Straub is where I want to have the surgery done. People have recommended other local surgeons with fine reputations. I’ll just have to see what kind of information I can gather. Your comments and suggestions are, of course, welcome.

In the meantime, as a photographer, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what I’ve been missing in terms of colors.

Here’s a typical posts from an online photography discussion board:

Cataracts develop very slowly so you are usually not aware of the changes in your color perception. I know that I was startled after the surgery on how much my color vision had changed. Yes, the sky was a brilliant blue again. In fact all colors seemed so much more vibrant.

And another.

Recently I have had cataract surgery on both eyes and had both good and bad news. The good news is that for the first time in seventy years I don’t need glasses. The bad news is that most of the prints I have made in the last few years were poorly edited for color. The problem is that as we grow older the lenses in our eyes become yellow rather than clear. This naturally effects how we see color. Many of my pictures emerged from PhotoShop with a blue cast. This was caused by trying to “correct” the white areas of my pictures — I saw them with a yellow tinge and erroneously shifted the blue channel.

I’ll have more to report after I’m done with this appointment.

Apologies for yesterday’s absence

Yesterday was one of the infrequent days where events stacked up enough that I never managed to post at all.

I spent much of the morning helping out my sister, who is back in her Honolulul apartment after stints in Straub Hospital and, later, a Liliha nursing home (for rehab). She’s able to be at home with the assistance of a couple of good friends who have stepped up to help, at least for the next five or six weeks or so. I’m dealing with paying bills and catching up with other financial matters.

Later, I stopped in at the main Straub Medical Center on King Street to find out whether the account information for my sister’s supplemental insurance as a retired City of San Francisco employee had been recorded in her records at the hospital.

I was ready for this to be a battle with the medical establishment. Instead, Straub made it a pleasure. At the information window, it was suggested that I inquire at the Admissions office. And the receptionist there immediately took me over to speak with a customer service rep.

After I explained the situation, and produced my power of attorney, the customer service rep got on the phone to the provider, spent quite a long time working her way through an automated telephone system on the other end until she reached a real person. She was then quickly able to confirm that my sister does have the supplemental medical plan coverage, got the current account number, and updated all the online records. And then she advised that we should ignore the bill that just arrived, and wait for a revision after it’s determined how much the SF policy will cover.

I walked out after 15 or 20 minutes with the problem resolved and a high respect for the Straub system of customer service.

Then I waited around until my scheduled eye exam, also at Straub.

I walked out with a new reality: Cataracts. Both eyes. I was advised years ago that there were baby cataracts lurking in the background that “someday” would likely cause me trouble.

Someday, it seems, is today.

It’s a bit spooky, although the corrective surgery is a procedure with a very high success rate.

If you’ve been through this and have any advice, I would love to hear it!

So the next couple of months will be a bit different than I had been planning! Luckily, our insurance will go a long way to cover the costs.

Thanks for sharing a graceful saga

A special shout-out to Jennifer and Ryan Ozawa, who are once again breaking new ground by sharing Jenn’s experience with a recurrence of breast cancer.

Four years ago, they created Jen’s Cancer Blog. It not only documented her fight with the disease, but gathered links to useful resources to assist others.

Earlier this month, after a long hiatus, a new post appeared.

“Season 2, Episode 1.”

The first time, cancer was scary because we had no idea what was coming. This time, it’s scary because we do.

Somehow, while coping with the cancer news, this amazing couple launched a daughter into a college career at UH Hilo, which Ryan somehow found time to write eloquently about in an essay posted to

Thanks to you both for sharing your story and your strength.

Cancer is becoming an all too familiar presence in our family these days as well, and your poise in facing the future is hopefully contagious.

Bad news and good news

Well, my sister has gotten bad news and good news.

And it’s the same news.

She has breast cancer. And it has spread to various spots. That’s the bad news.

She has breast cancer. And, according to her doctors, medical advances have given them many more tools to attack or manage this type of cancer than many others. That, they say, is the good news.

They’ve already launched her into a hormone therapy program, which I’ve just been reading about. At least one spot will likely call for radiation treatments.

But this avoids the physical toll of chemotherapy, which filled her late husband’s final time with the misery of terrible side effects. Bonnie is very clear that she doesn’t want to chase a few extra weeks of life in light of those side effects.

But knowing what she’s facing, and knowing that it’s far better than what we all feared, has raised her spirits.

Bonnie still has a long way to go, so keep your positive energy flowing her way.

And today we prepare for the arrival of Tropical Storm Darby.

Wish us all luck!