Monthly Archives: May 2014

 While wondering what good poison ivy does, I ran across this website: mailto:http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Poison%2520Ivy.html which did say that if you’re crazy and eat it, it could kill you, but didn’t say the only thing I thought maybe poison ivy was good for—making oxygen for us to breathe—and that confused me. Doesn’t every green plant make oxygen? Now Wildman Steve has a phone number I could call, but from the looks of his resume I doubt I would get to talk to the Wild one himself. He has done everything in every possible field of endeavor from science to art to chess tournaments. He doesn’t look that old in the photos on his website. I guess his youthful appearance comes from all the outdoor activities, what with searching for free edible wild food in the woods and Central Park to taking kids on birthday hikes and stuff. Walking and eating healthy they say are the way to keep fit. It appears to be working for Wildman. It is too bad I didn’t pay more attention when I was a kid about things like that.

 Oh, I knew about some wild things both good and bad. I definitely knew not to touch poison ivy. I am one of the 4 out of 5 people that are allergic to it. I knew early on what it looked like and not to touch its leaves or its vines any time of the year. I lived in the woods. It was everywhere. Apparently our woods were not old growth woods where according to the Man it doesn’t grow. And apparently our woods had lots of carbon dioxide where it grows more abundantly according to a Duke University study quoted by the Wild guy. I don’t guess he or the researchers ever got to our 10 acres of woods on Tooles Bend Road, but I could have shown them some major poison ivy vines. Most of the kids in my neighborhood were just as cautious of the stuff as I was, but there was this one girl who said she wasn’t allergic to it. None of us believed her. We didn’t know there was one in 5 who were somehow immune. She bragged and bragged about being able to touch it and we scoffed until one day she said, “I’ll show you!” and she picked it and ate it right there in front of us.

It is too bad for her that Wildman Steve Brill hadn’t grown up to be the Wildman he is today because if she could have read his article, she would have known that if you push it too far, you can get un-allergic! That is right. That girl ended up in the hospital. Her insides were allergic like crazy! Fortunately, she didn’t die like some of the people the Wildman told about in his book. You should really read that part I linked up there. Poison ivy is nothing to play around with.

But there are some really good things in the wild, if you know what they are. My daddy knew a lot about them and I should have paid better attention. There were blackberries, wild strawberries, black walnuts, muscadines, persimmons, and poke. Those were the easy ones, the ones we could eat and I did because they were delicious. You did have to get them at their peak and not before or after. Before, the persimmons would pucker your mouth closed shut for days. After, some parts of the pokeweed would poison you. You had to be careful with wild stuff. But there were other things I didn’t take notice to when Daddy took me for walks—at least not the close kind of notice you ought to if you’re going to remember what to eat or drink that’s wild and not poison. There were rat’s vein and sassafras for example. Wish I had listened more about them. It was something about teas to make for ailments of some sort, but I wasn’t sick and didn’t expect to need to know that, I guess. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could take another walk in the woods with my Daddy. Today I’d know to pay better attention.

Since I can’t, I am really glad the Wildman has written his book. Maybe there’s hope for me after all. And what about the oxygen I thought all green stuff makes for us—even poison ivy? I’m going back and read that link again. Could be I wasn’t paying as close attention as I thought I was!Image

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What A Beauty!

What a beauty? The shiner, I mean. I’ve never had one before, but I think I’ve got a pretty good one now. Best of all, it doesn’t hurt at all. If you’ve been following my blog, you may have read the post titled If someone says your face looks like a prune, please don’t take offense. If so, you know about my macular hole in my right eye, the one I got by means of aging, a risk I was not aware of when I kept having those birthdays. I still would have had them so a warning would have just worried me. I like birthdays and want to continue them for quite some time. Coca cola cake from Cracker Barrel is my favorite, in case you’re interested.

Back to my story, I am here to update you on what happens after the macular hole surgery. I had the cataract surgery so I wouldn’t have to be face down for a week or several weeks. Really my toes aren’t that interesting to look at. I don’t even paint them. Why not? Well, they just can’t breathe when I paint them. Neither can my fingernails. They suffocate. Really! I know you probably agree with my daughter that finger/toenails don’t breathe, that is the job of the lungs or so say disbelievers. But I am the owner of these particular toes and fingers and I know that my lungs begin to protest as though I am going to die slowly from the far extremities inward and upward until no oxygen can reach even one vital organ and then kaput, I’m a goner. So I refuse to decorate them in poison. Even though I love art and taught it for many years. Even though now days toes and fingers are being decorated with beautiful miniature masterpieces that would be very entertaining if even one of your eyes worked well. Just NO, I can’t do it.

So anyway, after the cataract surgery, which only brightened the colors of things I can’t see as well with my right eye, I waited 4 weeks dutifully putting the drops in my eyes several times a day so that would heal. Then I went for the macular hole surgery. First, though, I visited my brother who is having some health issues of his own. I had to travel to a higher elevation to see him and now after the bubble of gas/air replaced the vitreous fluid in my eye, I can’t go up. Or down. At least not up and down enough that my ears will pop. Ears have a way to relieve themselves when the pressure gets to bothering them. They pop when you swallow letting the pressure go, kind of like an ear burp. But eyes can’t swallow, so no eye burp occurs. Instead, pop goes the optic nerve. You don’t want that to happen.

Finally, last Wednesday I had my macular hole surgery. It went fine. I am hanging out here at home and I have plenty to entertain me. I got books on tape, thinking I might not see well enough to read, but really I see fine with my left eye so I can read. I have acrylic paint and canvases, watercolor paper and watercolors, clay and glazes. I shopped and bought all the nonperishable items I thought I would need that would be hard for my husband to find when he shops. So I’m set.

First I had this little cage that covered my eye for a day. It was hard to get my glasses on and I had to prop them catty-cornered so my left eye could do the job of both eyes for a day. But the next day I went back to the doctor and they removed the cage and that is when my lovely shiner was uncovered. The doctor said it was because of the low dose aspirin I take on account of my being a mutant. I told you about that, right? Not a teenage ninja turtle, but a blood clotting mutant. Just a little apparently. Enough for me to take baby aspirin, but not rat poison (otherwise known as wafarin or Coumadin) anymore. So any of you friends of mine who are watching me be the guinea pig for this macular hole surgery, don’t worry. You probably won’t get a beauty like mine. I hope you’re not a little sad about that. It is quite a beaut, I admit.

And in addition, here is a really cool part. Last night I was sitting out on the screened-in porch with the Christmas lights on it. I know you are supposed to take your lights down after Christmas or you will be considered redneck and especially if you are from the South where redneck originated and is revered in certain circles. I know, but they are so pretty and they lend such an atmosphere of festivity when I see them that, several years ago, we hung them and just couldn’t bring ourselves to remove them. We have replaced some of the strands when they’ve burned out—blank spaces might really say redneck, don’t you think? Anyway, redneck or not, I was sitting there playing scrabble with my hubby when I looked up with my right eye and I what I saw was amazing.

I already knew from looking through that eye that I see the same way Tom of the Tom and Jerry cartoons sees when his eyes fill up with ocean water and the fish swim through them. I even have a little bubble that looks like a jellyfish floating in the water. And I can see the top of the water, just like when I swim underwater and look up. There is light but the objects are blurry and out of focus. This is normal after this surgery and as the gas bubble dissipates, the water level will lower, they tell me, like the swimming pool slowly draining back into the river and out into the ocean.

I had been warned about the blurriness and the water level, so this didn’t surprise me. I don’t know if the doctor knows about what happens to Christmas lights when viewed through macular hole surgery. It is dazzling. I wish I could take a picture through my eye and post it here. But I can’t so I will try to describe it as I am not a good enough painter to paint it for you. The closest artwork I can think of is this street light by Giacomo Balla http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A311&page_number=3&template_id=1&sort_order=1 which you can find in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. But that is only one light. My Christmas lights have hundreds of tiny bulbs and so they sparkle and send flower-like blooms out each one of them. It is almost like I imagine snorkeling in an iridescent coral reef where round creatures live in colonies and grown brighter and more intense at their edges. It is just beautiful.

So friends, I’ll keep you posted as to whether I really can see better in about 10 weeks when the bubble of gas escapes and the pool drains into the ocean, but until then, you’ll find me on the screened in porch watching the lights.