Last week’s column makes me wonder if I should quit writing while I’m still ahead. Why? Because the subject caused more response from readers than almost any column I can remember — including toilet paper and fruitcake. Actually, there were two subjects last week. One was on admitting how scary it is to be losing my sight, and that segued into our universal addiction to technology. If you didn’t read last week’s piece in this newspaper, the following comments from readers may or may not make sense to you.
A Midwest mom wrote: “The lesson of the smart phone definitely touched me. I am quite often guilty of spending too much time on the computer and telling my family ‘just a minute.’ Your column is always uplifting or inspiring with wisdom.”
This from an Arizona reader: “Ironically, our Wednesday paper had an article about some U of A researchers studying the effects of cellphones on relationships. And there was a letter from a grandma in the ‘Ask Amy’ column about grandchildren being ignored by their cellphone obsessed parents. Amy’s answer was pretty much like your column.”
This from a reader in Palm Springs: “What a great lesson! I’m so happy I get to read your wise words each week. I’m sending this one to a dear friend who has macular degeneration.”
By now you get the gist, like this email from a local reader: “The Friday column is a double lesson on life at its fullest, no matter what age or challenge. The first is letting go of denial and humbly accepting information to enhance your life. Nathan and his timely tools for improving your toolbox for writing is a double bargain for you and your readers. The second lesson is that of the little guy writing ‘My Wish’ and the intrusion of the smart phone into the fabric of his family — truly a lesson and reminder for all of us. Most of all, your ‘no BS’ is one more reason loyal readers look forward to your Friday column. Thank you for today’s valuable lesson.”
I can’t resist sharing a rather extreme message from the east coast about some folks who entertain often and this is their rule: When guests arrive, they are asked to put their (silenced) cellphones in a basket.
This column so far has been way too serious for not only me, but for those readers who hope for humor. Here is a day brightener from my seasoned citizen file.
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Funny Old Lady (author unknown)
I have sure gotten old. I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement and new knees. I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, and I take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded and subject to blackouts. I have bouts with dementia, poor circulation and hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. I can’t remember if I’m 82 or 92, but thank heavens I still have my driver’s license!
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Kind of scary, huh, but that lets me respond to the reader who asked if my sight is limited to peripheral vision only. I need to clarify, especially for any local folks who know I’m still driving. Since so many of you said you were sending the column to people with macular degeneration, here is some information that might be helpful. Whatever the diagnosis and whatever our age, I believe in being a proactive patient (if possible) because there are often things we can do to help ourselves.
When I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) 14 years ago, I asked Dr. John Haines for any ammo I could use to fight this disease. His answer, other than eye vitamins, was food related, and I immediately loaded my diet with greens and blueberries. After five years of Swiss chard, I switched to kale, but almost anything in the greens family can be helpful, and every summer I stock up on blueberries. Perhaps my diet has been a big factor in slowing down the disease.
I get my eyes tested every three months and also see my retina doctor. Medical science is moving rapidly in the race for a cure whatever the problem, and I honestly think it’s smart to find physicians who are on what I call “the cutting edge.” When I see Dr. Haines, I hold my breath waiting for him to reassure me that I’m still legal to drive, daytime only, of course. So far, so good!
Just to give you an example of how cautious I am, when it comes to driving, my car is now 11 years old and has less than 20,000 miles on it. I know you don’t care about my car because you are still thinking of that east coast couple who make guests put their cellphones in a basket.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]