Due to the response in my weekly column in our local newspaper, the Ionia County Sentinel Standard, and our church newsletter I feel inclined to reach out further to give ways to simple inexpensive and natural ways of healing and caring for ourselves. About 8 years ago I started writing articles and recipes for our church newsletter, in fact, the church secretary at that…
American history comes alive in the Grand Rogue Encampment
By Sarah Harmon
EW Emma’s Writings
Anyone who says time travel is impossible has clearly never been to a living history event. This weekend was the 28th annual Grand Rogue Encampment in Belmont, MI where you could see American history come to life from 1755 through modern times. The focus was primarily military, although there were plenty of civilian re-enactors as well.
Each morning began with the unmistakable drone of bagpipes, followed by the deafening explosion of a British six pounder cannon fired by gentlemen dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers. After the smoke cleared and you regained your hearing, you could chat with one of Roger’s Rangers, a group that worked as scouts through the wilderness during the French and Indian War. They’re happy to explain exactly how our own George Washington’s mistake caused that war to ignite on this side of the Atlantic.
In between watching demonstrations of how rifles were loaded and fired during the Civil War, a stop at the French Voyageur’s tent was a must. While there, you could try on a real beaver fur top hat that cost a man six months’ wages in the 1800s. Next to the hat, you could find actual pipes used by Michigan fur traders 200 years ago. Similar artifacts were in a recent exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, although here, you are allowed to touch them instead of seeing them through glass.
If you’re a parent or a teacher, you’ve probably heard kids whining that history is boring and they don’t see why they need to learn about things that happened so long ago. Admittedly, in a text book, World War II is hardly exciting. However, a teen boy is certainly not going to tell you he doesn’t want to learn about the Allied forces when he’s able to sit in the driver’s seat of a WWII armored transport vehicle. For those who are less enthralled by watching old styles of rifles shot, they could watch the blacksmith heating coals with an enormous set of bellows and forming metal into functional works of art. The kids were also welcome to try their hands at a traditional Native American game or to help power the hand cranked wood lathe. Little girls loved watching brightly dyed wool spun into yarn on an old-fashioned spinning wheel and dancing to live Colonial era music.
No matter your age, if you were at the Grand Rogue Encampment last weekend, you learned a lot and had fun doing it. If you missed it this year, it is an annual event, so make sure to mark your calendars for next September!
Note: This is the second part in the mini-series about Emma Palova’s journey from near blindness to new eyes with 20/20 vision. It is a story about cataracts that cause blurred vision.
The first part “Eyes set on Dr. Verdier” was published on EW Emma’s Writings http://emmapalova.com on Sept. 6.
Grand Rapids, MI – I was in at the Verdier Eye Center for an evaluation of the cataracts on July 11.
“Sweet,” said Dr. Nate Schlotthauer as he examined my right eye after dilating it with eye drops.
He called in a technician to look at the “perfect” cataract that plagues younger people than 60. Hereditary factors play a role in the fast-moving cataracts, as well as exposure to the sun, and birthdays, according to Schlotthauer.
I could not read the chart with rows of letters during the examination.
“It’s like looking through a foggy window that gets foggier as more layers are added,” said Schlotthauer. “Only a surgery can fix that. If you live long enough, you will eventually develop a cataract.”
I looked around me in the dark room with the expensive optical equipment and I wondered where the surgery will take place.
“Dr. Verdier will come now to see you,” said Schlotthauer.
Smiling Verdier with curly blonde hair walked in fast. I slightly remembered him from the story interview almost 10 years ago. Little did I know that I would be needing his eye care.
“I can’t drive. I can’t write and I can’t see myself in the mirror,” I described the fast progression of the cataract in the right eye. I have trouble seeing you doctor.”
Verdier examined the cataract nodding his head.
“We’ll fix you up. We’re going to do the right eye first,” he said. “Don’t worry. But remember, you still might need eyeglasses. Look at me.”
A technician flooded my right eye and performed measurements of the eyeball for the future lens implant that will replace the natural lens with the cataract. She also made me an appointment with the family doctor to make sure that I was fit for a surgery.”
“Okay, you’re all set for July 22,” she said.
The Verdier Eye Care office center is located on the main floor of the 1000 E. Paris building. It is a network of hallways, examining and waiting rooms, almost like a glass house labyrinth. Technicians in Cherokee blue uniforms were running around.
Boards with blinking lights showed which rooms were occupied. Clearly there was a system and an order underlying the chaos.
I got my Patient Information booklet about the upcoming surgery. My husband picked up the prescribed Polytrim ad Prednisolone eye drops for me. I was all set.
About the featured photo; This is what objects seem like with a cataract.
Lowell, MI- On May 16th, my world dipped into a blur. The white fuzzy ball in my right eye turned into fog that surrounded me.
As I turned on the computer in the morning I couldn’t see the Google logo on the screen. I panicked. I drove to the eye doctor in town, but I couldn’t see the signs on the road.
“What brings you here on a Friday morning?” asked Dr. Holzer.
“I can’t see,” I said with tears in my eyes.
After the exam, Dr. Holzer said, “I see why you can’t see. You have cataracts in both eyes.”
I was diagnosed with a fast-moving cataract in my right eye two years ago. Unlike the cataracts that most elderly people eventually develop, this one strikes younger people at a fast pace.
“You will need a surgery in two years,” said the doctor exactly. “I cannot correct your vision to 20/20. This is worse than I expected.”
I cried that fall as I walked to the newspaper office. I could barely see the sidewalk.
The new eyeglasses helped somewhat, but the right eye was useless. I started using the left eye straining it further. Now, the fuzzy ball was also in the left eye.
I couldn’t see from the treadmill my beautiful garden. Everything became a chore. I had to use the magnifying glass on top of the eyeglasses, and still the letters were dancing in front of me somewhere in deep 3D. I had to guess where everything was or used to be.
So, here I was two years later sitting across from Dr. Holzer by the optical equipment in the dark.
“You’re going to need a surgery in both eyes,” he said.
“I want Dr. Verdier to operate on my eyes,” I said.
“You know Dr. Verdier?”
I did know Dr. David Verdier from a story for the Grand Rapids Magazine and Advance Newspapers about his surgeries aboard the Orbis airplane in China. Orbis is a well-known organization among eye specialists, and Dr. Verdier is a renowned eye specialist.
I was well aware of Verdier’s specialization both in corneal disease and cataracts, and about his practice. Verdier Eye Center, located at 1000 E. Paris Avenue in Grand Rapids. That’s where we did the interview for several stories.
“You’re going to have to wait, but Dr. Verdier is worth waiting for,” said Holzer. “He can also correct your vision during the surgery so you won’t need eye glasses.”
The initial consultation was scheduled for Sept. 22 to evaluate how far along the cataracts were.
In the meantime, my eyesight was getting worse by the minute. On the night of the first Summer Sizzlin’ concert, I was blinded by the setting sun as I walked out of the Sneaker’s Restaurant. That was at the beginning of July.
When I was shooting the Riverwalk parade on July 12, I could not see the floats or candidate Lynn Mason marching in the parade. I was shooting into the fog. My son was standing by my side with baby Josephine and I could hardly make out their contours.
On Monday, when I walked to the Franciscan Sisters I couldn’t see my neighbors doing wood on the other side of the gravel road.
“Hey Emma, we’re here,” Karen shouted.
At the Sisters, I couldn’t see the nearby school from their Canticle House on the hill.
Finally, I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. I picked up the phone.
“I have to have the surgery as soon as possible,” I cried. “I can’t write, I can’t drive. Tell Dr. Verdier that I know him.”