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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nov. 11, 2014
Well, it is now Tuesday the 11th of Nov. and here is what has been happening. Not much earth-shaking, just ordinary stuff.
     I made an appointment with my urologist for Nov. 27th, it is the once a year prostate checkup. That means I have to get a PSA, e.g. a blood test to see if there are any cancer cells in my blood (I think). That also means I have to go to a lab to have them poke my finger and suck out a vial of my precious blood (I don’t have that much to spare), which I did, at the insistence of Sr. Amanda, CPS, who ran the clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital for about 40 or more years before she retired. So she got a nurse to give me a poke, and then went to the lad downstairs to fill out the form that I got from the doctor (you have to be referred by a doctor). But it was the wrong form. My doctor uses a different lab for his stuff than the hospital here, so I had to go to Crompton hospital in Pinetown where his lab is and get them to send it to the lab, after which the results will be sent to him at his office. Complicated. I have to go to collect the bill now, and I am scared!
     I finally phoned the mechanic whom I asked to give a quote how much it would cost to redo Mike Pillay’s engine (he is our leader at Savannah Park for our Sunday services and he usually used his old beat up junk to ferry old people to the hospital or to bring them communion or whatever, until he blew a gasket and his junk just died.
     He got a back yard mechanic to help him and he only made things worse. (more smoke comes out of his tail pipe that incence at a benediction). We managed to get it to a mechanic whom I know and trust and I got the quote from him  R14,000.00 Ouch, but it will be worth it. So I used some of my scio-pastoral money (R10,000) to get things started and promised that I would find the other R4000 somewhere (maybe some Christmas gifts will come in.)
     I have been getting up early in the morning to cut the grass. I usually start by 5am and go till about 6:30 when I clean up a bit, say my morning prayers and have breakfast. If I am more or less free, I continue again after breakfast from abut 9 to 10:30 after which we usually have Mass (11:45) Then lunch, and, if it isn’t raining I go at it again from abut 2 to 3:30, after which I take a shower with my head covered in a genuined Pick N’Pay plastic shopping bag since I am not supposed to get water in my new eye.
     As I mentioned before, I have to keep remembering to put in 2 different drops in my right eye 4 times a day and that can get tricky since I can’t always keep the same time if I am out and about.
      On Thursday, the 6th, I wanted to get my driver’s licence renewed, and I wanted to do it early but I realized that I needed a few things first. 1) a photocopy of my ID—I went to the repository about 8am and they kept turning out dark black copies until they finally found out how to tone it down so that it was readable. 2) Then go the Fr. Henry who has the authority to stamp it and make it official 3) then to the provincial to take a letter for him which led to a long conversation  4) then finally to the traffic bureau (only 7 minutes away by car). But by this time it was already after 9am and by the time I got there there was a queue from Chicago to Denver. I grabbed a form and forgot , in my rush, to bring a pen, and someone was kind enough to loan me his pen. But, when I had almost finished (many people had in the meantime skipped in front of me) I realized that I would probably be there till about 5pm and just left to plan better another day.
    On Friday, after the morning grass cutting, I got Bishop Lobinger to make me a color copy of the material I was asked to get for the sisters in Mthatha.  They are running short of money to keep the convent going so they have the old timers making school uniforms to earn some money to keep the place going. There are two colors. One is navy blue—sister cut me off a sample, and the other, she had no sample, so , being a clever guy, I took  a photo with my cell phone. But then I needed a color printer which, happily,Bishop Lobinger supplied.
     I took this to my friend Estie (who makes delicious curry) who had already found a shop that would supply the navy blue, but only now could I bring the color copy of the other sample (kind of robin’s egg blue). Then, of course, I was forced to test some of her delicious curry. I happily survived. I let the sisters know that we would be going this week on Thursday to bring the other sample and to get a quote as to how much it would cost to have 400 meters of navy blue and 200 meters of robin’s egg blue. At R35 a meter it is going to be quite expensive and I doubt if the store owner will spend so much money ordering so much material unless it is sitting nicely in his bank account. So we will have to work on that next.
    I cut some more grass (weed eater) in the afternoon  and again most of Saturday morning, but this time with a mower. It is actually harder to push that mower around than to swing the weed eater.
    Saturday evening I was invited out for a supper by my friend from Germany (he works for Pfizer), Reinhard Maier, and another friend, Silungile Mokoena, who is a fashion designer. (her work room and office are about the size of a medium sized closet but she makes lovely things. I want her to help Sinovuyo from Landsend to learn more about sewing and we are working on that.
    Sunday, was busy at Savannah Park, my outstation. I took Fr. Macarius along, who is totally blind in his left eye and only 10% in his right eye. He was also just operated on to improve his vision a bit but it doesn’t seem to be working well. He will be returning to Zambia next week after his final checkup with the eye doctor.
     Then we had a nice curry lunch prepared by Mike Pillay’s wife, Net (Annette) and came home to rest a bit.

Monday I got up very early, had some breakfast and took my filled in form and went off to the traffic bureau where I arrived at 7:40. I got in the queue that was already there (about 20 people in front of me) and at 7:50 they allowed us to go up to the rooms where the people sit in rows and rows of chairs, moving up one by one as one is finished. Would you believe it, I had my fingerprints taken, my eyes were already checked and OK, my papers filled in, my picture taken by their machine, and the bill paid (R250) and was out by 8:15. Holy Moses.
   Today, Tuesday 11th, in spite of a very light drizzle, I managed between the morning and afternoon cuttings to get most of what I wanted cut cut. In between I was able to catch a few winks, take another shower to clean up, do some pretty deep reading, get some people on Skype, etc. So it was a good day.
    My cousin’s wife, I found out by a Skype from my 97yr. old aunt in Chicago, who just had a liver and kidney transplant, that she was having a bad day on Sunday and they had to drain a lot of liquid out of her body which had collected while her kidneys stopped working before the operation. We are praying for her to get over all these obstacles. The operation was a success but there are so many things that can still go wrong Keep her in your prayers.

    Hey, that is more than enough for one sitting. It is time for me to put my eye drops in, brush my teeth, and hit the sack for an early start tomorrow. I love you all.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nov. 1, 2014

I just got back from the eye doctor (ophthalmologist) yesterday. I went in at 11am in the morning and my turn only came at about 3pm in the afternoon. He finished the job of taking out the cataract and putting in a new lens by 4pm. I left the hospital at about 4:30 getting a lift back here to our place, Mater Dolorsa, ugh! Home.
     In the meantime, I have been going to the outstation, Savannah Park, each Sunday.
It has been raining a lot and the grass (weeds of all descriptions) has grown. Finally, last Wednesday, Br. Conrad brought me a new weed eater ( some call it a brush cutter). By the time I got it together properly and read the instruction booklet (it is a Stihl—a great machine, made in Austria), I had no time left except to try it out a bit that Wednesday. However, on Thursday, I really got stuck into it and whacked those weeds for and hour and a half before breakfast (5 to 6:30am) and then again, after bkfst another hour and a half (9 to 10:30) and once more, after lunch another half hour (2 to 3:30). I got most of what I wanted to do done. The grass was, in most places, about 18 inches high and it took a lot of effort to chop it down. There is a section near the septic tank that grows like crazy and that was the area I tried to concentrate on. The rest is more or less easy.
    I didn’t want to overdo it the first time so I took in in small chunks. I am grateful that I still have the stamina to do that kind of thing and some look in awe on my ability to do that at my age. Yes, I am grateful to the Lord for pretty reasonable health, in spite of the normal aches and pains that go with ageing.
    Friday was the op day so I didn’t try anything.
    Today I go for an examination by the doctor as to how satisfied he is with his job. I am wearing a patch over my right eye and I don’t know if I will have to do that or not for a while. I have Mass tomorrow at the hospital and they will be laughing if I come with this patch, but we will see.
     He said that there could be pain, and there was something that felt like razor blades moving around in the right eye but I wouldn’t call it pain, exactly, but more like sharp irritation. But I  managed to get a fairly good sleep in any case.
     I am hoping that when I finish this update, I will be able to test my right eye and see how it is going In the meantime, I received this lovely email from a friend who is an ophthalmologist and who worked for some years in Guatemala training young Guatemalans to be Opthalmologists, only to discover that many of them forgot to help the poor but went for the big money in the citieis there. Disappointing. She has given her life to helping the poor to get decent eye care. Here is the email she sent to me. We were both participants on the sabbatical at CTU in Chicago back in 2012. She decided to do more studies in Theology but still continue as an eye doctor. She has been chosen by the Lord for something special which is still to come, I am sure.

Linda Novak
9:03 PM (10 hours ago)
to me
Hi Fr. Cas,I have been trying to contact you - and I thought that you were trying to contact me via "Linked In" however I do not do linked in - I sort of started but really I have been to busy other than to respond to personal emails.

I am at CTU doing a MA in Theology - I started thinking that it would be Bible and Spirituality and now it may be either a MAPS or an Mdiv.  The hard part is fitting this all into a ministry and whether I will continue with the student part from Loyola.  Altho I do intend to keep going there myself and actually I want to just do Ophthalmology there now that the technology will allow health promoters to go out to the villages and get a prescription for glasses and even do a visual field - which is a FREE App that you can put on your iPad.  I will give you the name of the app once I get back to my room.  We are having internet problems at 5401 - and have been for the past month.

We had an all building Halloween part last night - it was a huge success - something about Halloween brings out the fun in folks - that is one reason why I enjoy it.  We played telephone, Biblical charades and we had a ballon contest where everyone stood in a circle with a paper plate and had to keep a series of about 20 balloons getting passed onto the next person - drop the balloon and you are out.

The hit costume - and there were many - however the real hit was a thin priest who came dressed as a nun - very funny!!

With respect to your eye - I will say a prayer for the surgery - most likely the pressure will drop just by removing the lens - I don't know if he is also planning on doing a filter or putting in a tube.  If you do need a tube or something.  We can try and arrange something - - I have a dear friend - who just spent a few days with me at CTU - last week - who is the top Glaucoma person in New Orleans.  and we can see what can be done there - or else I will look for someone in Chicago for you.  

As a rule , cataract surgery in the face of glaucoma - does well.  Most important for you is to not lift anything heavy and not to rub your eye especially with an unwashed hand or unclean tissue.  The most common cause of post op infection - which is rare - is from microorganisms on the skin of the face and lashes - so stay out of the dust and dirt.
Also a shield for bedtime and sunglasses or eye protection during the day.
I would expect a positive result - so much so that you may desire to have the other eye done for cataract surgery in the near future.

Anyway lots to say - really I should call or figure out how to Skype you.
I believe Fran is coming to Chicago Nov 5-8 or so - I am really looking forward to seeing her.

Much love, many blessings and prayers for you and your community,
Linda - your next door neighbor

I just came back from the doctor and pharmacy. Have to clean my eye once every day and put it 3 different drops, do of them 4 times a day and one once a day in the right eye. The left eye still gets the drop that stops the pressure from buikding up (what caused the glaucoma in the first place). Dr. says I can that the patch off tomorrow but should make sure that I clean my eye with the sterilized water and the cotton pads every morning. The pad is to make my eye comfortable. But don’t get gunk into that eye. Hmmm!
     He said that I can continue to use the weed eater but I don’t want to take a chance of getting dust in that eye. Also, the instructions say that I should not lift heavy things. The weed-eating machine is heavy but not so heavy. But if I don’t do something, the grass will get uncontrollable.. So, a dilemma. I will probably have to wait at least till Wednesday to start again.

    Le me call it quits for now. I just had some eye drops put in (I need three hands—one to hold up the eye patch, one to pull down the eye at the botton, and one to put in the drops. We haven’t yet learned how to grow and extra appendage as have some of Gods’ Creatuers.