Monthly Archives: September 2010

20/20 Vision

A fortnight ago on a Wednesday, I felt as though I had something in my eye. No matter how many times I washed it, blinked or rubbed it, it persisted. At the time, I figured it’ll sort itself out and go away in a day or two.

Fast forward to that Friday and I woke up and my eye was quite red and it still felt as though I had something in my eye. After close inspection in the mirror, I could see a mark on the edge of my iris – which prompted a rather quick trip to the optometrist.

The optometrist that I had was great and confirmed what I could see in the mirror to be an ulcer. We went through the standard set of eye tests and one that that shot three bursts of air at my eye. I didn’t realise it at the time but it measure the pressure in your eyes – which I was happy that he checked since Jude came down with acute glaucomer many years ago. The optometrist also put a dye in my eye to get a closer look, it was absorbed into the eye instead of glossing over it like a drop of water, which indicated some sort of damage to the surface of my eye. He’d said that the mere presence of that behaviour was enough for an immediate referral to an ophthalmologist, which got me a little nervous.

I was lucky enough to get into the ophthalmologist that afternoon and fortunately Lucy was able to drive me in. When I arrived, I went through two different sets of staff – firstly another optometrist. He did a standard eye test, which I passed with better than 20/20 vision. That was followed by the first set of eye drops, which was an anesthetic to numb the surface of my eye. Second was a set of drops that relaxed the muscles in my eye to make my pupil expand. What a bazaar feeling that was, I was trying as hard as I could to focus on something and just couldn’t – hence Lucy chauffeuring me. Once the pupil expanded he had a really good look around and in my eyes. That was really hard on my left eye, as it was sensitive to light and he was shining a bright light into it at close range and I couldn’t blink.

Next up was the ophthalmologist, who put in another set of eye drops to numb the surface of my eye again. He also looked in the back of my eyes to make sure nothing was wrong, which there wasn’t thank god. The specialist however had a new instrument, something fitted to the front of his normal machine which literally touches the surface of your eye. Touching the surface of my eye was another way of testing the pressure in my eyes and he reconfirmed it was okay. Now for someone that hasn’t needed glasses or even a visit to an optometrist for as long as I can remember, I can’t tell you how strong the urge was to pull away from the machine as it got closer and closer to my eye!

After all was said and done, the ophthalmologist informs me I have something known as marginal keratitis. Keratitis is an infection in the eye, can be caused by any number of things and comes in various types and severities. In my instance, I was lucky as the infection was on the edge of my iris, so had no impact on my vision while infected and no chance of long term damage to my eye sight.

Treatment for it was quite straight forward, the doctor prescribed me with two different sets of eye drops which I had to take four times a day. Putting drops in my eye was a new experience as well, again not used to putting things that close to my eye and I was a horrible aim for the first few attempts!

A week on and I’ve now had a follow up appointment with the specialist and he is really pleased with how well my eye has healed in the week. In fact, the second appointment was nearly a non-event as I was in his office for less than 10 minutes and not all of that time he was in the room. I now have another week of using the drops but only twice a day instead of four times daily.

I have taken my sight for granted, like most people do, for such a long time. It was a frightening thought when I was referred to the ophthalmologist that it was that serious. I’m so thankful that the infection was minor and wasn’t going to impact my vision going forward.

Hugo & A Sunday Morning Treat

As a treat, every now and then I pop down to the local McDonalds on a Sunday morning and get some pancakes for breakfast.

The first time we gave some to Hugo, he wasn’t sure about it at all. After he saw Claire and I eating them, he grew more and more inquisitive. That led to him eating part of one pancake, to one and a half, to two. I now order three sets of pancakes and Hugo eats as much or as little as he feels like at the time.

Hugo started out eating them with his fingers and they were just plain pancakes. He then noticed the cutlery and subsequently, the butter and maple syrup. While he doesn’t eat them regularly with his knife and fork, he takes real delight in buttering them!

Hugo, Superhero

Last weekend we had Hugo’s second birthday party at a fantastic family oriented park in the Park Lake development at Maudsland on the Gold Coast.

Hugo was fortunate enough to receive a red silk superhero cape from his aunty Anita. While we were at the park, cousin Ben & Oliver took turns sharing the cape and running across the oval. After we returned home, Hugo decided it was time to give his shiny new superhero cape a turn.

Having trouble viewing the embedded video, watch Hugo Lattimore, Superhero on YouTube.

Hugo, 2 Years Old

Hugo chasing bubbles on his second birthdayLast Saturday Hugo turned two years old and we celebrated in our usual fashion, beginning with presents first thing. After getting Hugo up, he ran down to to our bedroom like normal and was greeted with a red beanbag chair with a number of little presents piled on top of it.

After our early morning festivities were over and done with, we worked our way toward the Park Lake estate on Greenway Boulevard Maudsland on the Gold Coast. Beside Andrew Baildon’s Superfish Swim School, you’ll find one of the best family parks on the Gold Coast, with a mid-sized oval that is used for kids soccer, an abundance of play equipment for all different ages of kids along with a couple covered bench tables with electric barbeques.

Hugo's second birthday red bean bag chair filled with presentsIn attendance, we had Claire’s brothers, sisters and their other halves along with their respective kids. Also there were Andrew, Belinda & Ben, David and Karen, Lorraine and Great Grandma Colls and Kylie, who used to teach with Claire and Lucy.

While it was forecast to rain on Saturday and Sunday, we were very lucky. I arrived at the park at about 8:30AM to reserve a table for the party and it was overcast and a little windy. It continued to get darker and more threatening until at about 9:45AM, the clouds started to break and the sun started to shine! Someone was definitely looking after the weather, as it started raining lightly half an hour after returning home from the park.

Hugo's 2nd birthday barnyard cake, complete with cupcake animalsClaire put her creative thinking and cooking hat on and decided that a barnyard theme would be fantastic. That led to the creation of a barnyard cake, complete with double doors, a loft and a thatched roof. No barn would be complete without animals and what animals are most common in a barn, well sheep, chickens and pigs of course!

Hugo was spoiled beyond belief by our amazing family and friends, with more than enough love to last until next year and so many presents that we’ve put some away for the moment. Oliver and Ben had a great time ‘helping’ Hugo with his presents, especailly when it came time to unwrapping them. It was pretty funny actually, birthdays aren’t normally a communal activity but when you’re only small – you don’t know any different and the three boys had a great time.

Thank you to everyone that was able to come to our little morning tea birthday party for Hugo, we really appreciate it. Hugo was absolutely abuzz for the entire day, which was just fantastic to be a part of.

See you all this time next year!

Comparison Shopping Websites, A Consumers Best Friend

Claire & I have recently been on the look out for a new compact digital camera, to replace our aging Canon Ixus 65. During our research process, we’ve looked a countless cameras on the internet, via the manufacturers’ websites, consumer electronic web sites such as cnet and read countless reviews.

When it came time to actually buy a digital camera though, we were going to buy it in person at a local Gold Coast retailer such as Harvey Norman, The Good Guys or similar. What we found was, while they had prices that were better than the recommended retail price by the manufacturer and some were going to be flexible on price, they were still quite expensive.

Inevitably when people start researching online for a product, they’ll start with a search engine with looking for the best compact digital cameras. The results will yield sites such as a digital camera product round up on cnet and a number of companies will be paying for advertising on Google & co. as well. While possible, it was going to take a lot of time to sift through all those sites to find the best deal and this is where the comparison shopping websites become the consumers best friend!

Comparison shopping web sites crawl over literally tens or hundreds of different ecommerce web sites, cataloging what they find and how much each product costs. Of course, the comparison shopping websites aren’t just for digital cameras – you can buy all manner of things via them from fridges to perfume, pet supplies to furniture, there aren’t a lot of things you can’t find. As a consumer, you enter the product name or product category into these sites and see dozens of different companies selling the same product, with wild variances in price.

In Australia, the three most prominent shopping comparison websites are probably:

  1. Getprice
  2. Shopbot
  3. My Shopping

They all have a similar feel about them, however the interface and how the products are cataloged and organised differs by site – which makes some easier to use then others. In the case of the Canon Ixus 200 IS digital camera we purchased, it retails for approximately $600 for the bare camera chassis. Claire bought it via Shopping Square, a massive online store that we’d never heard of before but discovered by the comparison shopping sites. For less than half the retail price of the camera on its own, we managed to get the camera, a 16Gb memory card & prompt postage.

Next time you’re looking for a product that you can buy online, I highly recommend that you do yourself and your wallet a favour and visit one of the above sites before you spend a whole lot more money than you need to.