The things James does

The things James does, Yet another Blosxom weblog.

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The WeatherPixie

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    Mon, 28 May 2007

    RIP Vilya

    Well, I had to take Vilya to the vet's yesterday as she had not improved over the past few days, and in fact, had become a little worse. At approximately 13:30 yesterday afternoon the vet administered a lethal injection to Vilya.

    Vilya was 4 years, 9 months and 5 days old.

    Paraphrasing Ingrid's email from yesterday afternoon -

    She had been deteriorating slowly and unevenly. We don't know how much longer she might have been able to hang on, but it was at the point where it seemed cruel to let her suffer. She didn't seem to be in much actual pain, but even minor exertion tired her out, she was clearly not comfortable, and often seemed really frustrated at her condition.

    She had hemolytic anemia, and was basically running out of red blood cells. She may have been ill for quite a long time, we don't know. Unfortunately as is typical with cats, it wasn't clear there was something badly wrong until she was essentially terminal. She'd always been small and scrawny, always been fussy about eating.

    It was also getting really stressful for us, swinging between optimism when she ate something or seemed like her old self, and despair when we felt how bony she was and how weak she often was, trying to interpret tiny movements - does she want to be somewhere else but doesn't have the strength to move, or is she just stretching?

    Vilya was an intelligent, well-mannered, affectionate and sweet cat. We will miss her.

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    LASIK Surgery Tomorrow

    Dear all, it's been 4 months since I last posted and I have done lots. Let's hope this post doesn't break PlanetPlanet or all my timestamps like it did last time I used Blapp back in February.

    So, it seems that my resolution at the start of the year meant very little, given that I have seemingly had little time to post amongst the many other things I've done. The most urgent of all is that I'm going in for surgery tomorrow. I am undergoing a procedure known as LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, which is the current best form of laser surgery for correcting vision. It'll happen at about lunchtime and is being done at the Laservision Centre day surgery clinic at Southport on the Gold Coast.

    I had recently decided that if I'm *ever* going to have the surgery done, now was the time, especially given my age and that I needed new glasses and new contact lenses. So... The week before last, on Wednesday, I rang and arranged a consultation for the following Tuesday. I went in on the Tuesday in the afternoon and had a whole series of tests performed whereby they took lots of pictures (using computers) which translates into 3D measurements and assessed whether I was suitable for surgery and which type. Luckily for me, it seems that both my prescription (-4.50/-4.25) is just about the ideal candidate for LASIK and my corneal thickness (~560μm) is more than one standard deviation thicker than average. This is a very good thing. Ingrid's sister Kirsten wanted to have surgery and was told that her cornea was too thin for the available forms (within the last couple of years - don't know if LASEK was available then or not).

    I've given much thought into having the surgery since I first started considering the option about 10 or so years ago. Back then, there was only Radial Keratotomy and talk of the Excimer laser (which was just being approved for use). With RK, the surgeon makes incisions into the eye with a diamond blade. I elected to not have surgery back then because my eyes were possibly still changing and the instruments and technology was rapidly improving, but now, this form of surgery, LASIK and its ilk, are common place with large numbers of people having it performed each week around the world.

    I also have a friend (hi Jamie) who had LASIK performed a few years ago now in Canada before he emigrated, who told me quite a bit about it and was able to answer lots of my questions. I've been doing a bit of reading and feel confident that I'll have perfect vision in no time!. By this time tomorrow night, I should be starting to see ok again, and by the time I wake up on Wednesday morning, I'll be able to see without my spectacles. If I'm feeling brave, I may even play squash on Friday morning (with protective goggles though).

    Wish me luck!

    <geek_content/>There's also this cool site where Scott Hanselman talks about having LASIK performed last year. On his Weblog he goes into significant detail about his operation, the outcomes and risks and how after having a prescription of -9.25 prior to the operation he comes out with 20/10 vision - better than average (20/20). There's also some neat footage of the surgery too. Apparently the machine that performed the operation was running Windows98 too! Someone does desperately need to push WindowsXP into the embedded space if they are going to stay with that platform.</geek_content>

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    LASIK Follow-Up

    Today I had my 1 month (5 week) follow-up appointment after my laser eye surgery.

    I forgot to actually write about the surgery itself, but suffice to say, apart from nearly fainting after I walked out to the waiting room after surgery, it was a textbook operation (so the surgeon said).

    At the 1 day (more like 28 hours) follow-up appointment, I was already driving comfortably and with 2 eyes could read the 6/6 line on the eye chart (20/20) and could read 6/5-1 (which means the 6/5 line on the chart with 1 mistake). I had a minor ripple in the flap on the left eye (I think) which means that I had a slight single eye double vision (overlapped text at distance). I was told that this would heal relatively quickly and probably be gone in a couple of months.

    I went to my appointment this morning and was asked to read the chart with both eyes open. I read the bottom line easily and thought that this was the 20/20 bottom line chart, not the 6/4 chart. Then I was asked to read the chart with my right eye. Again, bottom line, slightly easier to read if anything, but it was a very quick read with little, if any difficulty. Then I was asked to do it with just my left eye. Nearly impossible. I could make out the 4th bottom line ok, and the 3rd bottom with difficulty. It was at this point the optometrist told me that I was reading the 6/4 chart and my left eye was reading 20/20.

    After this I asked if we could measure the the prescription of my eyes with the magic computer that tells you the prescription with significantly more accuracy than the normal testing methods. It turns out that my left eye has a minor astigmatism and is slightly long sighted, however, it will still improve over the coming months. the right eye is nearly perfect and I'm seeing near at near maximum retinal resolution. In a few months, I shouldn't need to put eye drops in regularly and both eyes should be fully recovered.

    Verdict, if you've ever considered laser surgery, I would very highly recommend it. Don't leave too much after you've turned 30, otherwise you may miss out on the maximal benefit of the operation due to the onset of presbyopia which occurs in your 40s (hardening of the lenses with a normal person eventually ending up with roughly +3.00 vision in both eyes).

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    Vilya is very sick :(

    I took my cat, Vilya, a pure-bred, flat-faced Persian to the vet on Wednesday as she messed on the bed on Tuesday night which is an extremely strange thing for her to do. I had thought she might have a clogged bowel system as long-hair cats often get, and she had been a little bloated lately so was wondering if there was something about that too and that she might need some treatment to unclog her bowels, but instead was told some very bad news.

    It seems that she is a very sick kitty having cysts on one of her kidneys, something wrong with her liver and then discovering that she has an extremely low blood count. Now, even without the blood count, if the cysts on her kidneys turned out to be what the doctor expected, there would be little we could do for her. As it stands, her blood count is 7: a normal blood count in cats is 35-55 and if it is below 20 a vet would consider this very serious; if it's below 12, the vet, Karen, a locum vet, said that even with all the treatment we could provide, she still has a very little chance of survival. Oh, for those that don't know, a blood count is the percentage of red blood cells in the blood.

    So.. we chose to not do any treatment given the expense and likelihood of success and so far, in the past 2 days, she's even started eating a little more - well, eating period.. she hadn't eaten much for a little while and has now started eating something.

    Here's a photo of her lying on the back balcony (one of her favourite spots) earlier this year and a link to her gallery:

    Vilya on the back balcony

    I spoke to the vet this afternoon and told him about her eating a little and not visibly deteriorating and he suggested that I might want to use a syringe to give her liquid - Gatorade rather than water due to the electrolytes in it. It might not help her live but it might extend her life and definitely her quality.

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