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18 posts from February 2007

My ophthalmologist, Dr. Kevin Liu says he's hopeful about my right eye vision

P2230011This is how I looked one week ago after I got home from the Michigan  Surgical Center in East Lansing.  My ophthalmologist, Dr. Kevin Liu, had just performed surgery to relocate a lens implant inserted six years earlier that was starting to move downward.

It was my first somewhat major health situation as a newly-minted sixty year old.  I was confronted face-to-face with some of the issues that I will face as a member of the first class of aging baby boomers. 

Here's some background:  About a week-and-a-half before I went to the ophthalmologist to get this checked out, I started seeing double for brief periods of time.  It would go away when I blinked my eyes or when I moved them.  Then I noticed that when I read content on the computer, it would blur out until I blinked or moved my head. 

I tried to talk myself into believing that it was my eye glasses prescription.  Then I started to believe I had a problem.  I called my friend Carnell, who has had eye health challenges and asked for his advice.

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My son's new blog: Oatmeal Stout -the Web 3.0 blog

I remember vividly when my son, Justin, and I, would sit on my lap in a spare bedroom getting to know a text-based version of the Net and then with the early AOL. He connected with it right away. Now more than a decade later, he's a web developer for a large government contractor.

He sees the social web. That's why he started his new blog--Oatmeal Stout--the Web. 3.0 blog. He's a 22-year-old thought leader. For the world-wide geek community, his new blog is worth checking out.

His last blog, the Confessions of An Undercover Geek, carried him through much of his undergraduate years at the Rochester Institute of Technology. There's lots of geek stuff mixed in with beer and movie reviews.

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Today's surgery day: My ophthalmologist will replace lens implant in my right eye

For just about two weeks I have had some pretty severe challenges with my vision. I started seeing double, spots in my vision blurred, but it would get better depending on how I moved my head or blinked.

When I called my ophthalmologist to be checked, he and his partner were out of town. I was referred to an on-call person in another practice.

Today, I was finally examined by my eye doctor who identified what the others had said that my lens implant had shifted position and needed to be replaced. In about an hour, my wife will take me to the surgery center to have that done.

It sounds very fixable, but with some risks. Throughout this process, I've observed a ton and I want to process those observations for other baby boomers like myself who are experiencing some kind of chronic or acute problem that needs attention. I can see clearly that patients today need to be informed consumers. And, as healthcare changes that becomes more of a challenge.

I haven't eaten anything since last night and will come home with a fragile right eye that will need healing. No snow blowing, shoveling, lifting the dog or stuff like that for two weeks.

That I can manage. I want to keep my vision in as best shape as I can.

Right now, the main man in this is Dr. Kevin Liu of East Lansing. I really appreciated his patience in explaining exactly what happened to my eye and how he wanted to fix it.

I will be back with my observations, what I've learned.

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Day three: My lens implant repositioned itself after cataract surgery

Late Friday afternoon, I discovered after examination by an ophthalmologist that the lens implant that I got after cataract surgery had relocated, using the term from the examining doctor.

It's day three since I learned this and I have noticed a steady deterioration in my vision. I'm having an increased difficulty in seeing things clearly. I voluntarily stopped driving until this is resolved.

Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist to learn how and when this can be surgically corrected.

I've learned the importance of learning to ask the right questions in this kind of healthcare situation. As a result, I have been doing some online research. So far I've found one article from that seems to be useful.

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Cataract patients: You need to know that lens implants can come loose; mine did

This past week and a half I noticed that my vision was getting worse. I couldn't figure it out. I went through a pretty comprehensive mental check list. Because of past cataracts and present glaucoma, my list is probably longer than most.

I would drive and I would notice a shadow version of the car in front of me. Then I would blink or move my head and it would be gone. I would be on the web reading an online newspaper or a blog post and it would fuzz out and then come back when I moved my head or blinked.

During the week I would take off my glasses and find some relief, but my vision lacked the detail that puts you in a comfort zone without straining my eyes.

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From Pastor Mark Batterson: The best I can do is the best God can do

I've been thinking about this post from Pastor Mark Batterson of National Community Church all week long.  He talked about the limiting side of trying to do the best you can do.  Think about that statement.

And, then think about doing the best that God can do.

We all have stuff to do.  We all face challenges.  Do we try to do our best or do we try to do the best God can do through faith in him?  Big difference.

I wonder how Zig Ziglar would feel about that.

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It's time to refire my political blog: Politics Through Michigan Eyes

I've taken a two-year hiatus from any heavy thinking or lifting about politics.  Sure I'd read the online papers and I'd bore my wife at the dinner table with my thoughts about what was happening at the state and national level.

But, I had lost the fire to be involved in any way other than voting.  I became fatigued and disheartened by the level of rhetoric from both sides.  It has seemed like bickering and backbiting has replaced honest debate.  All the political trash-talking just plain turned me away from the process.

I feel the need to jump back into the political arena as a citizen, rather than an operative.

That's why I'm jump-starting my political blog, Politics Through Michigan Eyes.  It's a place where I will share opinions, ask for opinions, try to gain understanding, share what I've been reading and provide insights gained from years of working in the process.

I will also practice being transparent in what I'm thinking and feeling about the process, the parties and its players.  For most of my life, I've been limited in all those areas because I worked inside the political system.

I don't anymore.  I'm retired from it.  I invite you to visit and join the conversation on Politics Through Michigan Eyes.

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What would have Jesus done with Michigan mentally ill inmate Tim Souders

After watching the 60 Minutes story last night about the death of Michigan inmate Timothy Souders, I felt numb.  Something is horribly wrong in our state when something like this is allowed to happen.

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Michigan faces future as an industrial backwater if politicians continue to bicker and grandstand

Reading Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh's words in this morning's paper felt like sticking an ice pick in your eye. 

They are not fun to read, but they seem to hold much of the hard reality that Michigan needs to face up to if it doesn't want to become a Third World state right here in our country.

As the auto industry tries to reinvent itself Michigan is doing heaves into the toilet.  It seems like everyday there's news of some auto related employer moving or shutting down.

The result has been devastating.  The state of Michigan, according to Walsh, has built in expenses that make it live way beyond its means.  He points to what our state pays to public school teachers, corrections officers at state prisons and other public employees.

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Must see video: Country singer Rodney Atkins sings about the power of a dad

I just watched this You Tube video of country singer Rodney Atkins singing about the power that dads have over their kids.  Kids, especially sons, want to be like their dads.  They follow the pattern set by their fathers.  I know this from experience. 

I remember when my son, then a toddler, took his socks off, put them in his hand went into the kitchen and put them under the table.  Why?  Because that's the way I did it.  I wonder if he still does that at his own home.  What other things has he and his sister picked up from me?

This link is from the National Center for Fathering in Kansas, a great group that deserves a look by any guy wanting to fine tune his fathering skills.

New book: The Blogging Church by Brian Bailey

I just noticed this new book--The Blogging Church--by Brian Bailey--on the blog of the pastor--Mark Batterson--at the church where my son attends in Washington D.C., the National Community Church.

The pastors at my church blog and I know a lot of other pastors are thinking about it.  But, I know many are quizzical about what it would accomplish and they have little idea about how to do it and what to write about.  I'm going to look at this book more closely.  It might help.

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Journalism students need to read Naked Conversations and The Corporate Blogging Book

After speaking yesterday to an advanced news writing class yesterday at the Michigan State University School of Journalism about blogging, I left with a whole lot of questions about how future reporters were being trained.

In an almost two-hour give and take about the new versus the old media, I left with the impression that these students had very little background about how the world of information has changed because of the web.  Mainstream media is being held in a death grip by change that's happening without a whole lot of notice.

The way people receive information--especially news--has changed dramatically.  Newspapers are on a death march to either extinction or irrelevance.

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Take a guess: How many Americans die each year from cigarettes?

Every morning I do a quick scan of the headlines out of Iraq about the undeclared civil war in that country.  I look at the casualties on all sides.

But, I wasn't prepared for the casualty count about another civil war taking place right here in this country between smokers and cigarettes.

The Wall Street Journal says this morning (requires subscription) that out of America's 45 million smokers an estimated 440,000 die each year.  Try to wrap your head around that statistic.  It's amazing.  Compare that to the casualty count in the Iraq war.  It's not even close.

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Introducing myself and my blogs to the Michigan State University newswriting class

Tomorrow when I speak to a newswriting class at MSU, I hope the students will ask certain basic questions about me.  As future journalists, they need to be able to decide whether I have credibility.  Do I know what I'm talking about?

My topic is blogging and, more specifically, I've been asked to talk about my blogs.

First, they should have a little background about myself:

  • I graduated from the MSU School of Journalism in the late sixties.  During this time I worked on the State News covering a handful of beats, including the Michigan Legislature.
  • After graduation, I worked at a variety of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Ypsilanti (MI) Press, Macomb Daily and Panax Newspapers, a chain of newspapers in Michigan and various other states.
  • I worked more than a decade at the Press Room Manager at the Michigan State Capitol where I served as a conduit between the media, the legislature, executive agencies and interest groups.
  • Since that time, I worked for three state senators, including the Senate Majority Leader and for a member of the first-term limited class in the House of Representatives.

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Sharing blogs with a Michigan State University news-writing class

What do you tell journalism students in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University about blogs?

I've been asked to talk about blogs and blogging to a News Writing 300 class where my friend, a former Associated Press (AP) reporter, serves as instructor.

She knows my background as a former newspaper reporter turned legislative staffer now retired and serving as a blog coach to the masses in mid-Michigan and anybody else who wants to start a blog.

I remember being a student at the MSU School of Journalism in the late sixties when change in the news media was fired by the Watergate scandal.  Back then, I felt like I had a special call from the Almighty God to help make our world better through journalism.

Times have changed and during the first decade of the 21st century, the role of the mainstream media is going through a devolution.  Massive changes are taking place in the way news is being covered and reported.

Newspapers face extinction

New media has moved in and is gradually replacing the channels of communication in mainstream media.  Old channels are being reduced to the point of insignificance.  How long before traditional newspapers become a memory and join other artifacts in archives of what life used to be like.

Are blogs the new media that will keep citizens in our connected world informed?  Maybe . . . but . . . first . . .

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Library of Congress website billboards Black History Month resources

Classroom teachers around the country looking to involve their students in Black History Month need to check out the Library of Congress website for a treasure trove of resources.  The materials are accessible, informative and useful for anybody wishing to learn about this oft neglected part of our history.

The online collections seem to be comprehensive from lesser known information to the more widely-known and contemporary figures in black history like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

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Michigan is not a child-friendly state, according to the Detroit Free Press

Michigan is not a child-friendly state for kids like Isaac Lethbridge who was murdered while being part of the state's foster care system.

There has been a steady line-up of very young kids in Michigan who have been murdered by their parents or their care providers.  They have all been under watch of the state's child welfare system in some manner.  And, along the way something was missed and their lives were taken.

Read this package of stories and the editorial from the Detroit Free Press which deserves the Pulitizer prize for its role in shining light on our state's child welfare system and showing the holes in the safety-net where these kids fall to their death.

Then if you're bothered and you feel there needs to be some answers .  .  .

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Finding encouragement to persevere in Michigan on a gray, frigid day

In Michigan, right now, it can be hard to find something to be encouraged about.

The weather is frigid to the point of being dangerous.  The ranks of the employed in the Great Lakes state are being thinned and thinned with less and less hope for those in the job market.

Our politicians seem like all they can do is blame the other side.  Headlines include more and more news about serious crime and about parents who beat and kill their children.

That's why I've changed my early morning routine.  I used to grab for my iBook and look at the morning's headlines.  First, the Detroit Free Press, then the Detroit News to be followed by the New York Times.

Now I hold church on my Lazy Boy couch.  While my wife gets ready for work, I go to the online Radio Bible Class where I click to their daily devotion, Our Daily Bread.  They've added another devotional by Dr. Joe Stowell called Daily Strength.  I usually meditate on both.

The nice thing is that you can click on the audio and have it read to you while you're reading the online copy.  For me that seems to open my doors to understanding a little quicker.

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