Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Progress Report...and A History Lesson

Well, things must be going o.k. so far; here we are, halfway through the medical procedures, and I'm already back blogging. Actually, we're two-thirds of the way through. The left-eye surgery and colonoscopy took place last week [what fun!], and the right eye gets done on Wednesday (In a related note, celestial high-fives to Paul Baines, regular reader/visitor/commentator, for his kind vibes from the UK. By the bye, Mr. Baines is also a world-class purveyor and creator of street art, as well as an insightful observer of the art scene. Don't believe me? Well, who does? Check for yourself).

There's really not much to tell about the colonoscopy; as with most people, the prep is the truly ugly part [no need to go into detail here: just understand that the preparations involve taking a two-week supply of a popular laxative in about an hour, followed by four stool softeners, twice the normal dosage. Draw your own conclusions]. They found a couple of polyps, but, pending further review, they're believed to be non-cancerous.

The eye surgery [cataract removal, along with a lens insertion], on the other hand [or eye], turned out to be rather interesting. First of all, my opthamologist used sound waves to break up the offending growth [being in radio, I find that somehow appropriate]. Then, some kind of teenie-tiny suction device [I'm sure there's a medical term for it, but I'll be damned if I know what it is] removes the particles. Then, a plastic lens [folded, somehow] is inserted through the incision. It opens up on the eye and, shazam, improved vision. And it really is improved vision, in my case. I'm severely near-sighted, and the left eye, worked on first, is much the worse of the two. It's truly bizarre to be able to see reasonably clearly out of it after 40-some odd years of wearing glasses. Of course, I now need to wear reading glasses for "close work". Complicating this is the fact that the right eye is still severely near-sighted. At first, I was switching between the reading glasses and my old prescription glasses. For the last day or two, though, I've settled on the reading glasses when I need them [like right now, for instance] and no glasses at all otherwise. This gives me what I call the "Popeye effect": clear sight from one eye, while squinting out of the other [hence the famous squint-eyed sailor at the top of this post].

But enough about me. Speaking of Popeye, did you know he's celebrating his 80th birthday this month? He first appeared on January 17th, 1929, in an established comic strip called Thimble Theatre, by Elsie Segar. The feature had spent a decade telling stories of the Oyl family, especially Castor, and his sister, Olive [She, in the pre-Popeye days, dated a friend of Castor's,Ham Gravy]. A story line sent Ham and Castor out on a boat, operated by Popeye. Reader response to the character went through the roof, and soon poor Ham was written out of the strip [making him the Pete Best of the cartoon world]. Popeye and his sea-faring adventures soon became the main focus of the comic, and Segar became a rather wealthy cartoonist.

So, happy birthday, one-eyed sailor with the strangely-mutated arms! No less a Superman expert than co-creator Jerry Siegel claims he developed the Superman-Lois relationship based on Popeye's [frequently] unrequited love for Olive [Siegel was also smart enough to make Lois a much hotter babe than Ms. Oyl ever dreamt of being]. Sometime I need to take a look at the whole Popeye-Olive Oyl-Bluto triangle. Why these two guys, who frequently seem friendly enough, need to fight over a woman who has a pickle for a nose raises some intriguing questions:

-Why Olive Oyl? Hey, they could certainly do better. Unless OO has some undefined skills in, shall we say, intimate moments [Cleopatra was said to be rather plain, yet she nailed down two key figures at the founding of the Roman Empire. Was it in how she nailed them?].

-The Popeye-Bluto rivalry; their battles frequently break down to contests of strength. Strength implies superiority, or power over another. Is this all just a struggle over who's on top during those long, lonely nights at sea?

-Repeated struggles: do Popeye and Bluto have an "Olive Oyl" in every port? Does Bluto beat Popeye consistently in any of them? And, more importantly, do any of them look like Lois Lane [or even Lana Lang]?

But that's for another time. Again, thanks for the prayers and good Karma. Please keep it coming. Another surgery awaits...

-Mike Riley


Sue said...

My husband is doing the colonoscopy preparation right now. I'm quietly sitting in my office out of his way.
And I'm afraid to go to the bathroom!

Mike Riley said...

Be VERY afraid

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