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I went for my annual skin check this week, and when I say annual I mean the second one I’ve ever gone to. The first was after I read a scary skin cancer article in Women’s Health, and this time was the “annual” follow up that I accidentally waited two years to schedule. What can I say? Um, time flies?
Skin checks are such a strange situation in that your entire body is being inspected. Meticulously. Top to bottom. It’s the sort of strange, standing-under-fluorescent-lights-naked-while-someone-assesses-you–top-to-bottom situation that’s only otherwise occurred in my worst sorority hazing nightmares (What, like you don’t have those?). I honestly don’t think anyone has ever—or will ever—look at my body so closely in my entire life, and I’m perfectly happy with that. To make matters even more awkward, as I was in the midst of getting the total body inspection the doctor and I had this conversation:
Doctor: You have a concerning level of sun damage for your age.
Me: Really? Yikes, well yeah, I grew up at the beach…
Doctor: (pouncing) Oh really? Do you go to the beach a lot?
Me: Well, um, my parents still live there so I try to go as much as I can.
Doctor: Mmm-hmmm. Well you know that you should NOT be laying out at all, right? Laying out is very bad under any circumstance.
Doctor: Laying out even with sunscreen can cause very serious damage, do you understand?
Me: Blank stare.
Doctor: You should not be laying out, do you understand?
Me: You mean I should sit under an umbrella or something?
Doctor: No, I mean you should not sit out in the sun under any circumstances.
Man, whatever happened to getting your daily dose of vitamin D?
P.S. Thank God I didn’t tell her about this!
What can I say, I’m a sucker for Pat Conroy. So much so that Scott’s taken to referring to his books as various volumes of The Great Santini. I believe he called this one volume 35, which was an exaggeration. Conroy’s only written 10 books so far, but if he writes 35 I’ll read them all.
My favorite parts of South of Broad:
But color, smell and music have always opened the rose windows, blind alleys and trapdoors of the past in ways I find astonishing…My memories seem evergreen and verdant, so I am always comfortable walking through the front door of my past, confident in the shape and certitude of all that I carry from those days.
He brought me news from my own interior.
I discover that you can dream to waken yourself. I never knew that.
There is good luck in the high tide, a rightness about it that every man and woman in the Low Country knows in their bones, a completion, a summing up, and a good place for an ending.
It is simple, I tell my gathering of friends. We understand the power of accident and magic in human affairs.
Things I learned this weekend:
- A dog brings a lot of love into a household.
- Playing Bananagrams is a great way to spend an evening. Especially if wine is involved.
- Be careful when cutting lilies. They may look pretty, but they stain.
- This man is crazy. In honor of his 27th birthday, he ran 27 miles—in the rain—to our house, then promptly took not one, but two car bombs before we all took off for his birthday party. Impressive, but like I said, crazy.
- A dog brings a lot of craziness into a household.
What did you learn this weekend?
Guess who I’m hanging out with this weekend? Oslo, you’ve got competition.
Have a great weekend – see you back here on Monday!
I was making my Christmas list last week (yes, I am one of those people) and was a little surprised when I found that the biggest thing I’m craving for my closet right now is blouses.
I used to think blouses—both the word AND the article of clothing—were old-fashioned, but lately I’ve been drawn to their breezy, feminine feel. Here are a few of my favorite blouses this fall. Tell me, do you think blouses are frumpy or flattering? What fashionable things are you lusting after right now?
A long overdue trip to the boardwalk, in all of its kitschy, treat-filled glory. I’ve always been a sucker for the boardwalk—I worked in the ice cream shop above during high school—but I have to say, it’s even more fun when the chilly weather makes it less crowded, giving you a great bench spot for people watching.
Running on the beach in the chilly, windy weather–now that’s a totally different story. And I have the sea foam-stained sneakers to prove it.
This is the second part in a two-part series on getting my eye health in order. To read the first part, go here.
I sat my eyes down and had an intervention. Their actions had affected my in the following ways and it was time for them to go to rehab—aka the local Lasik doctor. When that doctor told me that my eyes weren’t in good enough shape to get Lasik, I went to another (actually more renowned) doctor, who took a quick look at my eyes and booked me on the spot. I ignored the nagging feeling that a dry-eye inducing surgery probably wouldn’t be so great for my already dry eyes and focused solely on the fact that, for the first time in almost two decades, I’d be completely free of glasses and contacts. No more carting saline solution around at all times! No more ducking around corners when I ran into people wearing my huge glasses (or worse, yanking them off and then trying to have a conversation without seeing their facial expressions)! No more heinous eye infections! Imagine the possibilities!
If you want to see the wonder of modern medicine (albeit modern elective, some say cosmetic medicine), look no further than Lasik surgery. You show up at a doctor’s office, take half a Xanax (which let me say was NOT enough to calm these Type A nerves), squeeze a nurse’s hand so hard she starts awkwardly rubbing your head, look at a light for 30 seconds, go home, take a nap, and wake up with almost perfect vision. It’s a miracle to say the least, and to this day I don’t regret the surgery one bit. I mean, I CAN SEE! In the morning! In the shower! On long flights! It’s truly amazing. Except, well…
After the surgery my eyes were pissed. Not like, “I’m a little tired and cranky after surgery” pissed, but like, “you straight up sent me to rehab and now I’m divorcing you” pissed. They decided to just become so dry that it took nearly every bottle of eye drops at target to even put a dent in them, except that the eye drops made them itchy, and you’re not supposed to itch them so I’d just neurotically rub my eyebrows instead. Make sense? No. Next best thing? Yes. It’s kind of like when you had chicken pox and could only scratch the pox with oven mitts on. Except I couldn’t bathe in oatmeal or stay home from school sick.
You guys, it was bad. The dryness made my vision blurry all the time and super sensitive to any kind of light or wind. Heat vents drove me nuts. Ceiling fans were torture. Driving at night was a thing of the past. I went back to my Lasik doctor every month for 6 months, plus to a bunch of specialists he recommended. I tried every drop in the book (including steroids). I began taking Flaxseed and Fish Oil and drinking mass quantities of water every day. I had my tear ducts plugged, which is as grotesque as it sounds. Nothing worked. I exhausted all other options, and then I turned to Restasis.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the monotonous, disclaimer-filled Restasis commercial, let me just cut to the chase: it’s a dry eye medication. A dry eye medication that comes in eyedrop form, which is a little strange, especially when people unexpectedly stop by and come face-to-face with the dozens of empty single-drop vials that you lazily leave around the house No! I’m not a meth addict! That’s my medication!! I swear!
The other strange thing about Restasis is that is takes up to three months to start working. Um, hello? Buying groceries for the entire week feels like a big commitment to me when I’m not sure if I’ll WANT to have the salmon on Thursday, thankyouverymuch! Using a medication—one with SIDE EFFECTS—for three months without even knowing if it’s going to work blew my mind. But I was at the end of my rope, so I sucked it up and went with it.
One year and thousands of empty eye drop vials under my bed later, my eyes! They’re out of rehab! They’re even out of sober living! They’re doing well, taking it one day at a time, painting portraits and learning an instrument and exploring all the new possibilities that sobriety brings! Possibilities like driving at night and being able to focus for more than two hours! They’ve moved from their searing red stage to a lovely light pink color, and there’s even hope of returning to plain old white soon.
My eyes have gone from super dry to so fantastically tear-producing that any slight bout of laughter, sentimentality, or sadness has me weeping like a wishing well. Give me a compliment? My eyes get watery! Casually mention that you rescued a cat? I’ll tear up! Tell me a joke? I’ll laugh so hard I’ll cry!! I’m every comedian’s dream and every boss’s nightmare. And you know what? I doesn’t bother me one bit, because if I have to choose between blurry vision or teary eyes, I’ll take the old lady leaky eyes every time. Restasis for the win! Can’t you see it in my tears of joy?
Now excuse me while I go find a Kleenex.
*Disclaimer: I am not getting paid by Restasis, or anyone else, to write this blog. Although I’m totally open to it. Pay me! Please! Someone!
I didn’t get dealt the best hand in balance or general grace, but, my friends, I’m the first to say that I made out pretty well in the health category. And before you go all “you never know how important your health is until you don’t have it” on me, let me tell you that I count my lucky stars for it on the regular. I eat my peanut butter cup/apple a day and keep my fingers crossed and feel super grateful. Except for one, teeny, tiny, kind of super important thing. My eyes.
My eyes are like those insidious middle schoolers who are either so perpetually lazy or unimpressed that they end up in alternative school, walking around in small groups with a mean teacher and smoking cigarettes in the bathroom and not giving a shit about any of it. They’ve been giving me the middle finger for as long as I remember, and now it’s starting to get on my nerves. I’m considering military school for them. Or sending them to live with their father.
It’s just that they…well…don’t work very well. I started wearing glasses at the ripe old age of six, which I’m sure seems cute in the movies but in real life is a lot less fun, especially with the whole “keeping them on your face and not on the ground/your chair/somewhere where they can get stepped on, sat on, or kicked around” thing. (What can I say, I’m that kid who always broke her glasses and lost her retainer. At the Cracker Barrel. True story.) The constant breaking plus my annoyance at wearing them during basketball games inevitably led to contacts, which worked out surprisingly well in grade school but much less so in high school/college when, after consuming my weight in [insert light beer here] (hellooo bottomless red cup), things like “waiting two minutes to not burn my mouth on pizza” and “taking out my contacts” didn’t seem so important. See: heinous eye infections, followed by their close friend astigmatism.
I eventually realized that not taking care of my eyes meant poor vision and punishment from my eye doctor in the form of having to wear my titanic-thick glasses—in public, no less—and started being meticulous about my eye care. It worked out for a few years until they spontaneously decided that, you know what, being healthy wasn’t so cool anymore and it was much more fun to revolt against the machine (aka my body), meticulous care be damned. My eyes broke up with their convenient—and, I’ll admit it—somewhat vain boyfriend contacts, and six eye doctors, two years and eight different contact trial pairs later they still hadn’t reconciled. So I upped the ante.
Next up: part II. Because my eyes are long-winded that way.