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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Had Tree in My Eye

So in mid-December, the city left us a little nasty-gram that said we had 14 days to prune our trees out front or they were going to charge us $143 fine and send someone to do it for us for a fee. They wanted me to trim the tree to clear 13 feet above the street on the street side and 8 feet up on the sidewalk side. For the record, these trees were planted less than 3 years ago and are not 13 feet tall. So I called and said that I couldn't comply because I wouldn't be home during daylight until after the 14 days had expired, and that it's the wrong time of year to prune trees, and that I can't prune it up 13 feet because it's not that tall.

The guy who answered was pretty understanding and gave me 30 days and said to prune, and to do what I could and they'd come and inspect and make recommendations.

So, on the Thursday after Christmas I donned my coat and headed out with pruning shears and made a bunch of cuts to the tree, thinning rubbing branches, cutting off some of the low hanging monkey tails, and generally shaping them and making it so you could safely walk under them on the sidewalk or park under them on the street. During this process, I was using the long handled pruning shears and looking up to see what I was doing. Two things I learned: 1. I need new long handled pruning shears because these come together when you cut through the branch and smash your knuckles; and 2. wear goggles to prune a tree. I got a bunch of tree in my eye. I came in to wash it out, try to find eye drops, but couldn't find any in the bathroom or in the Things box from Fezziwigs and finally gave up and figured my eye was watering sufficiently to work it out and it would feel better when it stopped hurting.

But the next day I realized that I still had a black spot on the inside of my lower eyelid. I figured it was a scratch and would heal. I concentrated on not rubbing it. Several days later, it did not further change size or shape and I realized it wasn't a scab, but a splinter. I continued to concentrate on not rubbing and finally called Kaiser after New Year's since it was clearly not getting better on its own. The advice nurse sent me immediately to Opthalmology, where I talked to a less than fully helpful receptionist who said I couldn't have the 4:15 appointment on Friday because that was reserved for same day emergencies. Tree in my eye seemed kind of like an emergency or at least urgent situation to me, but I said I'd call back on Friday morning regardless. And I continued to concentrate on not rubbing my eye while all the while hoping it would work it out on its own. By Friday, I'd gotten a full slate of meetings and couldn't make that 4:15 appointment even if they'd let me have it.

So I called back Monday morning when I got to the office and managed to get an appointment for Thursday at 10:30. I explained the situation to the nurse, and then the doc came in and I showed him and he said, "I have no idea how you've tolerated this for so long. Most people would be in the same day." Yeah, well, patient, I guess. He numbed the eye with a few drops and picked out the bit of tree with some fine-tipped tweezers. I've got to put antibiotic drops in 4 times a day for a week, but then it'll be all done. It already feels so much better, but I'm still concentrating on not rubbing my eye for a few more days.

The city better be happy with my tree pruning.


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