Chronicles of New Adventures – Lake County Record-Bee

Reexamining the value of studying history

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In my 50s, I wrote a column called “What’s a Girl to Do?” It was an adventure story. I’ve driven race cars, jumped out of planes, learned to hand glide (only 16 feet from the sand dune), dived with sharks, flown on a trapeze, been flagman at the Long Beach Grand Prix (not an easy job). I drove a 40-plus-year-old RV to a gathering of stargazers whose telescopes were bigger than my bathroom and backed the juggernaut into a spot on the first and only try. Shark diving got me headbutted by a 7ft Blue Tip shark, in fact I woke up the next morning gasping, “Damn, I could have been decapitated!” There have been many, many other adventures and now that I’m well past 50, I’m writing another column. Maybe I should call this one, “What’s a spinster gotta do?”

The other day I went for what I thought was a routine eye exam. After a ton of tests (yes the letters I couldn’t see), sitting in a dark room with my eyes wide open, no more tests with the doctor, I walked out of the doctor’s office knowing I needed a cataract surgery in both eyes. What?!

Me being me, I scheduled both surgeries before I left the doctor’s office. Most likely, if I hadn’t scheduled them, I would put them off, lose the paperwork or forget everything and be like the people who said, “I should have had the surgery ages ago. years. Now it will be more difficult. ” Not me.

My mother was always proud of the fact that her father, my grandfather, was an eye surgeon. In 1902. More than a century ago. He died before I was born, but my older cousins ​​said he was a lovely man. Grandpa/Grandpa – who knows what to call someone you’ve never met – went to West Point and dropped out after two years to go to medical school; a healer not a fighter. Once I asked my mother, “What did he use back then for surgery, a sharp stone?” She hit me and if she hadn’t been so small, at 5ft 2in, she could have parried me. She didn’t laugh or giggle. His blue eyes pierced me. Needless to say, I never joked about Grandpa being a surgeon again at the turn of the century.

In fact, I wish my grandfather was still alive and practical. I knew his stellar reputation, I knew he was the head of a hospital in Detroit. I knew nothing about eye doctors in Lake or Mendocino County. As soon as I got home, slowly, with my dark glasses and my eyes dilated, I called a friend. Turns out he had cataract surgery from my same doctor and he couldn’t praise him fast enough; “Highly recommended, great reviews, excellent, moved to Lake County from Southern California to get out of the rat race…” OK, I felt better.

I asked the doctor if he was okay. Stupid question. What was he going to say, “I’m a hack.” No, he said he had been practicing for 30 years. I also asked if his hands were steady. He held out his purple-gloved hands to me and they shook up and down. Funny guy. At least he has a sense of humor, not something all doctors have.

While living overseas in Sri Lanka (think below India, think tsunami) for 14 years I sat in the government eye surgery ward (for some reason I can’t remember ) and saw streams of Sri Lankans coming out of the recovery area with an eye patch. So, I think to myself, how difficult could cataract surgery be if a government hospital in a third world country could perform it? Do not denigrate Sri Lankan hospitals. I was often told at the time that if a person had a heart attack or needed heart surgery, they should get to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka quickly, the best place in the region for problems cardiac. Also, I loved my doctor in Sri Lanka because he cured me of migraines when doctors in the US couldn’t. Not even with the $20 a pill they gave me. No remedy. I am still cured of it and Dr. S. and I are still friends on social media.

So get up, Lucy. Follow the doctor’s instructions and be brave. Don’t worry if someone cuts your eye, unless they’re holding a sharp stone.

Lucy Llewellyn Byard is currently a freelance journalist for the Record-Bee and various other publications. You can email her at [email protected]