The Unexpected Present

Changing of the Guard in the End Zone

Eye drops

Two weeks ago we were at the TriState Eye care office in Milford for Yuri’s second post-op check-up with everything looking great. Then we get the news that the second eye surgery is bumped up a week from the Feb 8th to the 1st and the scramble begins – order refills for the eyedrops, start the drops for the next eye, continue lessening the number of drops in the first eye, make sure to take the one eye drop for both eyes. It doesn’t end there.

It meant an out-of-pocket cost for the lens he was getting sooner than expected. A lot of sleepless nights. A lot went on since the beginning of January. I relaunched a podcast site Film Festival reViews, edited and posted a show, reconnected with peers from the days of the film festival circuit and the industry players. I’m writing two-three chapters a day and start worrying over Nell who’s been doing the cat vomit in unreachable places. I was ready to take her to the ER but Yuri suggested a wait-and-see approach and soon she calmed down.

By the weekend, a bloated heaviness settles in my head, a squeeze as if put in a vise. Extreme fatigue comes over me at any given moment and I felt so weak. It finally happened. Not Covid. After ten grueling mental, emotional and physical months, I finally come down with a head cold keeping me laid up for most of the past two weeks. Exhaustion reigns, affecting my ability to perform any task sapping the little strength I could muster at the moment. I am a terrible patient. I hate being sick especially in the winter, especially when it’s so cold.

Yet regular physical tasks remain and I stay on point as long as I can making daily schedules for Yuri’s appointments, surgeries, in-office procedures, post-op appointments. The changing of the guard then happens and Yuri is my angel looking after me along with Nurse Nellie at my side. No fever. The only pain I feel is from the shoulder injury during the vaccination process. Using methods suggested by Kathy I breathe in the steam, keeping the lungs warm and lubricated, breaking up the logjam inside my sinuses. I just hope Yuri doesn’t get it from me before his upcoming surgery.

We go to see Dr. Woo on Wednesday, where an extraordinary in-office procedure takes place for Yuri –a long tube goes through his nose showing what is happening on the monitor while another snaking tube down his throat shoots steroid into his right vocal cord. The good Doctor is impressed with Yuri’s ability to hold still and subdue the gag reflex. The right side remains slightly red and we’ll know in a month if it works.

Thursday we make another visit to the Hudson Valley Ambulatory Surgical Center for Yuri’s fourteenth Covid test. I worry a bit but if we don’t hear from them by the weekend then it’s negative. A long four days to go. And nights. My thoughts go to a possible film project that I eagerly accepted despite being told upfront that the director couldn’t pay me but could give me a film credit. While it’s right up my alley and makes me feel I’m back in the saddle again, the nagging feeling of here we go again no pay, scope creep, and a demand for more than what I could give. I’ve paid my dues so many times in this way, I should be a lifelong member of Taking Advantage of Christina’s Good Will Club. I cannot do this anymore.

Tuesday morning 5:30 a.m. rising. It’s minus 2 degrees and we have to be at the surgical office by 7 a.m. Everything is run like clockwork and I find an open diner just a traffic light away. Continued physical weakness but keeping up the strength with protein breakfast, a best-tasting glass of OJ, and a friendly waitstaff keeping an eye on my slow careful movements. It felt like forever before I get the call that all went well and the doctor would like to see us at Yuri’s recovery station. Like all waits, I stay positive only this time, I nap a lot more.

Dr. Palydowycz is a busy surgeon and his staff has everything so well organized and so personally friendly and attentive. He stops by and explains how the cataracts were developing so quickly in Yuri but he was able to get at everything and the surgery went “perfecto.” Now Yuri needs to rest. So do I. We do the best for one another yet Yuri seems better at the post-op while I find my way back on the couch. It’s a quiet night.

Another early morning rise to be at the Tri State Eye care office by 8 a.m. The waiting room is filled with people with white eye patches. Dr. Palydowycz did eleven surgeries the day before. Everyone is being checked and given explicit instructions in post-op eye care. It goes very quickly and efficiently. People chat up about how happy they are under Dr. Palydowycz’s care. So are we. I’m happy I listened to Yuri’s concern with his vision and the immediate attention we received from this very wonderful surgeon.

An added love and gratitude goes to a benevolent donation for our out-of-pocket cost. Yuri loves seeing In Living Color again. We truly appreciate it! I can sleep at night. I’m feeling better. The days are warming a bit in the 30s. Yuri makes a killer chicken soup. He brings me tea and makes me take vitamins to bring back my strength. And as always, Nurse Nellie is at my side.

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