I came across this photo the other day. It was taken in Fair Oaks. My friend Dianna led a group of us in a session where we got to cut with a Japanese blade. The others were veterans. I believe it was my second or third time doing this. The point of this is that I was doing this essentially with one eye. At that time(October of 2008) I had cataracts in my left eye that allowed some light in and yet everything was essentially a blur from that side. There were a couple of incidents driving that led me to the conclusion that I needed to get the problem corrected with surgery. You can compensate for not being able to see out of one eye. But one eye can focus on what is essentially half a field of vision. So when you are focusing on one, you are neglecting the other half. So on November 4th(which was election day, coincidentally), I had the surgery done. You can read the details in an earlier blog dated November 5th, 2008 surgery blog .
It has been over a year since the surgery. The good news is that my left eye for distance is actually better than my right(formerly my strong eye). And it is a different world when you have a full field of vision. Colors are brighter. Shapes, spaces are more dimensionally full. So my life has been much richer this last period.
The not so good news is that my insurance does not look like it is going to cover the surgery. I switched carriers to get cheaper rates and at that time I was told that an eventual surgery would be covered. But the condition was pre-existing to the time I switched companies, so the present company is currently refusing to pay the surgeon.
I tend not to pay myself a whole lot through the dojo. But I do get benefits through the dojo, one being health insurance and medical benefits. So what this means is that the current situation puts an economic strain on the dojo during what is a very slow period. With a pre-op visit and surgery, the amount due is around $4,000. My sister loaned me the amount to cover the surgery, so the length of time needed to pay the entire bill has been extended. But it must be paid.
Aikido instructors tend to not have great health care. My friend Mary Heiny was fortunate to have the support around her to have her recent hip replacement surgery covered. In my case the amount due is not in that league. A couple of us have tossed around possible vehicles for a fundraiser. Some years past Linda Holiday sensei had a dojo cookbook to raise money for her Santa Cruz dojo. My thought along those lines is to use the holidaze dvd for that purpose. You can check the whole thing out at dvd fundraiser . Now the webpage is very self explanatory. For any donation of $20 or more, you get a dvd. That means 200 donations and the whole thing is covered. There is a button where you can do the whole thing through paypal. Dvds are available in the dojo office, or, if you e-mail me an address, I will mail it to you.
Now this is a touchy thing for me because this concerns outwardly my interest in music. Which is for me a very private thing. Even before the fundraiser I gave some copies to some friends who were very encouraging. A couple of them were very close friends of Chet Baker(whose music I study very closely). And it is very difficult to be objective about oneself. It is very difficult for me to record and listen to myself. I feel the music is good, stands on its own merits apart from the fundraiser angle, and reflects mainly someone who is in the process of developping and growing. Which is all any of us can really do when we undertake anything. And I think visually the piece "Blade Horn & Wolf" is very engaging. I found out that James Gauer, who shot the piece, has studied film professionally.
So please check out the above link to the dojo website and also the dvd. Seth Spitzer has done a wonderful job on the page, and has put excerpts from youtube for the pieces on the dvd. The following piece was done immediately after the surgery. I am wearing shades to protect the eye: