Wednesday, June 24

lack of distractions

Sometimes it seems like life just takes over and there's no time for the fun stuff. I mean, on a normal day (meaning most days before June) I had things to fill in the gaps, things that I did to entertain myself and take the edge off the problems in my life. Like knit. Or spin. Or go to see a play. But since we got back from Italy it's been all about unfun things, like going to the eye doctor again. Or getting a second opinion. Or moving all of our furniture so the contractors can work on our windows. It's so full of this stuff that I don't even miss knitting. That's how bad it is.

Our windows. I have mentioned on various occasions that they leak. Well, the leaks were supposedly fixed on more than one occasion over the past 6 months. June has been rainy and it seemed to have been fixed, so we gave the go ahead for our building to bring someone in to replace the rotten sills in our living room and bedroom.Christopher and I moved the furniture away from the problem windows, so it wouldn't get dust and grime on it. Most of the side tables and laundry baskets, the TV, our mattress all were moved into other rooms.

We were told it would take 2 days to rip out and replace the window frames.Thursday was a rainy day, and soon after the first frame had been torn off, water started pouring in from above. The contractor finished his destruction, cleaned up and left. There is no point in him putting new sills on until the leak is located. That was almost a week ago.Today, at last, the management company informed us that they finally got a hold of the people who had originally "fixed" the leak. Hopefully they'll come soon to "fix" the current leaks. I have little faith, since they have been here numerous times and still haven't fixed anything.

And in the meantime, since we are dealing with 3 windows that are oozing dust and mildew, we are living out of boxes and sleeping on our mattress on our floor. So depressing. I'm going away tomorrow, and then Christopher will be left to deal with this situation. I hope he doesn't have to suffer too much longer.


In eye news, I got a second opinion. The general consensus is that I should wait and observe it for about a month, and then possibly have surgery. I can't get a straight answer from the doctor's office about what the surgery entails, and I am hoping that they decide it's not necessary. But I won't know that until I get back in mid-July.

In more positive news, I am heading to Maine for two weeks for a quilting workshop. I'm super psyched to get away, though I feel bad about leaving Christopher with the mess of our apartment.

Tuesday, June 9

enough moping

I think it's important to remember that we had a good time in Italy, before we realized that we would have to leave early.

Proof:This is my friend Carlotta. I met her back when she was a senior in high school, and I was a college student studying in Florence. I lived with Carlotta's aunt and uncle (her zii- I love how in Italian you can just group aunts and uncles together into one word.) She and I took 19th century ballroom dancing classes together back then, which was really fun.

As you can see, Carlotta is pregnant. Her baby boy is due sometime in June. The exact date seems to be debated, at least by her. I think officially it's due around the middle of June, but Carlotta is sure that she will go into labor when the moon is full. I asked her to explain this logic but just could not grasp the moon-due date theory.

A month or two before we went to Italy, I consulted Carlotta about what she would like for her baby, if I were to knit something, and she said she'd like a little cotton cardigan for the summer, something the baby could wear every day. She gave me a lot of color choices: caffé macchiato, sage or sky blue. Or of course she also liked red and orange. It was a little hard for me to narrow it down until I found a big ball of orange cotton in my stash, and felt like it would work perfectly.Of course I didn't have enough orange for the whole sweater, so I had to buy a contrasting color for the cuffs, buttonband and collar. I really stressed over what would match, and only found a paler orange when I went to Stitch Therapy.
I think it works well, in any case. And Carlotta was estatic when I gave it to her. I should have gotten a photo of her holding it over her belly, which she did more than once. It's so nice to make something for someone who really appreciates and treasures it. I can't wait to see a photo of the baby in his new sweater, or his golf. (yes, that's really what they call cardigans in Italy.) I guess in this case it's a golfino, since it's a little cardigan. (What a great language!)Pattern: Offset Wraplan by Sara Morris (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Provence and Berroco Pure Pima
Needles: #6 US
Buttons: from a great button store I found with my mom in Philadelphia


I should give an eye update, since many of you wrote such kind notes. The long and the short of it is that the doctor wants to wait and see. There is some sort of bleeding in the back of my eye, almost like a bruise, and it can clear itself up apparently, though it might take a few months. Of course, it may also get worse. It's all about watching it.

Working on the computer is problematic, as is reading, though I am going to try going back to work tomorrow. I just need a sense of normalcy and routine. The doctor thought that my brain will probably adjust to having this smudge on my vision and compensate for it somehow. We shall see.

Thursday, June 4

an early return

As you might have gathered, I speak a little Italian. It's become rusty over the past 13 years, so being in Italy meant stumbling around a bit, trying to find the right words and verb tenses. I managed to add a few things to my vocabulary, however:

pronto soccorso: emergency room
oculista: ophthalmologist
gocce: eye drops
dilatare: to dilate
miopia: near sightedness
distacco post vitreo: vitreous detatchment
degenerazione maculare senile: age-related macular degeneration

Nothing is ever simple for the Brown-Walls, and within a few days of arriving in Italy, we found ourselves rushing to the ocular emergency room in Florence, accompanied by an Italian friend, Moreno.
The main issue was, and still is, that I have a spot of distorted vision near the center of my left eye. It is stuck there, making it difficult for me to read and do anything that requires me to focus close up, such as reading. Writing and proofreading this blog post is rather frustrating. (Interestingly, knitting seems to be no problem.)

The doctor there, a very matter of fact woman working in a dark and sparse room reminiscent of a third world country, made me throw away my contact lens (which was in fact disposable, but was supposed to last me another month), dilated my eyes and told me that I had a vitreous detachment. Which I know that I have. I'm used to little things floating around in my vision. This spot seemed different, but since she told me that it was no big deal (even though I was now wandering around with just one contact lens) we continued with our vacation.

Luckily, I brought my glassses. On Sunday, we went to the Accademia, where the David is housed. My doubts about the original diagnosis, along with the fact that looking at the David required a lot of effort, made me think that we should get another opinion. Sunday night we went to our friends' beach house on the Tuscan coast, and on Monday morning Carlotta's husband Francesco took me to their local emergency room.

This time the doctor asked me more questions, and had me look at a graph. After dilating my eye and examining it, he told me that I had macular degeneration and that I needed more tests and probable immediate surgery. He advised that we cut our trip short and deal with this back in New York.

Which is what we've done. It's highly unusual for someone my age to develop macular degeneration, though I do seem to have the symptoms. I'll see a specialist in a few hours, and hopefully have some better (and more positive) answers.

We are so sad to have missed the last leg of our trip, which would have included several days in Venice and short trips to small towns in northern Italy to see architecture and art. I can only hope that we can return sometime soon, to pick up where we left off...