Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Close Call

It was as if a thick cloud was moving across Randy's vision in his right eye. He tried to ignore it (having no health insurance kind of does that to a person) but while we were in the temple yesterday morning, he had the distinct impression that he needed to see a specialist regardless of the cost. He called the one he had seen before --- out of town. The office referred him to another who was covering --- out of the city (as a rule, ophthamologists don't work on Fridays). Dr. Katzman was on the road back, however, and would meet Randy at the office in an hour or two.

He mentioned after examining Randy's eye, that he was glad he had not put Randy off until Monday. Another day and Randy's three retinal tears would be irreparable. Close call.

By now it was 5:00 in the evening. He rushed to see an eye surgeon at the Eccles Outpatient Center. They have a retinal surgery clinic; sixth floor, suite #630. Dr. Winward performed the procedure right then and there.

For you who might be interested:

A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always leads to blindness unless treated. The appearance of flashing lights, floating objects, or a gray curtain moving across the field of vision are all indications of a retinal detachment. If any of these occur, see an ophthalmologist right away.

As one gets older, the vitreous, the clear gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, tends to shrink slightly and take on a more watery consistency. Sometimes as the vitreous shrinks it exerts enough force on the retina to make it tear.

Retinal tears increase the chance of developing a retinal detachment. Fluid vitreous, passing through the tear, lifts the retina off the back of the eye like wallpaper peeling off a wall. Laser surgery is often used to seal retinal tears and prevent detachment.

If the retina is detached, it must be reattached before sealing the retinal tear. Pneumatic retinopexy involves injecting a special gas bubble into the eye that pushes on the retina to seal the tear.

Randy had the gas bubble injected yesterday and will have laser treatment on Monday if all goes well. He is to keep his head upright day and night for the next three days. The retina in eye number two has two holes in it and will need to be repaired to prevent tearing within a couple of weeks.

We are SO grateful for the miracle of modern medicine and for the kindness of two particular doctors who went beyond their normal call of duty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Last weekend's Utah Symphony concert was EXHAUSTING but oh, so fun! Here are a couple of "out of the ordinary" happenings that are worth remembering:

Latvian violinist, Baiba Skride, gave a an amazing performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto. On Friday evening, right at the climax of the last movement, the E-string peg on her Stradivarious slipped. She attempted to retune it, but us unable to in a speedy fashion, so she quickly exchanged violins with our concertmaster, Ralph, and resumed playing, ending the work in a glorious fashion. UNBELIEVABLE!

The most memorable event of the evening occurred after the concert. I had spotted President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the "box" seats during our performance; he is an avid supporter of the arts and I have seen him in many an audience. After the concert as I left the stage and entered the musicians lounge, he was being escorted through by the symphony CEO to meet the new conductor. He walked toward me with a smile on his face and we shook hands. Undoubtedly, he recognized me from my roll in the Orchestra at Temple Square; I was thrilled! I SO admire him. I told him how nice it was to see him, he expressed his delight at the excellence of the concert.