Best Fall Story!

My Introduction

I would like to introduce Dr. Fred Levit to you. Dr. Levit was my first dermatologist when I moved to Chicago a long time ago. One March day, I had a skin irritation near my eye and I called for an appointment.  Dr. Levit, being quite an active man, was away spring skiing. I was given a list of three other dermatologists in the area and I picked out one named Dr. Charles Zugerman.  Somehow, we connected, perhaps due to a closer age difference?  I really liked Dr. Levit, but never returned and stayed on as a patient of Dr.Zugerman.  I have to add that fifteen years later through happenstance, I became engaged,and later married to Dr. C. Zugerman.   Today, we are long, happily married, I have two s- children and we have two wonderful granddaughters.

                        Dr. Levit’s Vignette 26  (copyright Dr. Fred Levit)

                                                 “I Take A Fall”

Dr. Levit and his wife Lolli retired and moved to the Bay Area a few years ago.  We keep in touch through phone calls and receiving his Vignettes.   Vignette 26 was so hysterical I have to share it with you. Please read it below and feel free to make comments.

I discovered recently that I am now an old man. I am now eleven months past my 89th birthday, which puts me just one month from my 90th. I have been aware for some time that I am weak and unsteady on my feet, but it was brought home to me with a thump  when I fell last week.  I was going to walk home from the corner of Seminary Drive and as I started down the street I suddenly had to urgently urinate.  I was only two blocs from our apartment building and there was nowhere near enough for me to find a toilet.  I noticed that there were bushes within a few steps of the sidewalk, so I stepped over to them and unzipped my pants, with my back to the street, and emptied my bladder.

As I tried to turn back I discovered that the bushes concealed a steep slope, and I missed my footing and began to fall down the slope.  I slid down partway, then fell on my back and came to rest with my head down the hill and my legs pointing up the hill.  I reached out to grab the bushes but found them to be covered with sharp spines and thorns.  I could barely move my legs because the bushes were pressing on their sides.  I soon realized that I was stuck and could not get myself out. The street was not a busy one and had few people walking on it. So I shouted “Help” several times, and kept it up for about fifteen minutes when a young man came by and said he would call the fire department.  I asked him to just reach down and pull me up, but he said “Let the professionals do it.”  But he offered to let me use his phone.  I accepted and he dialed Lolli’s number for me and  I told her what had happened and asked her to come up to where I was.  I was still upside down when the fireman arrived  Lolli showed up just then.

One of the firemen, a sturdy fellow less than half my age, walked down the slope and put his arms under mine.   He lifted me up and walked up the slope carrying me.  I was physically unhurt and got into the car that  Lolli brought and was driven home.  

My main felling when I got home was anger. I was furious at myself for having been unable to get myself up after I fell.  I was embarrassed that the fire department had to be called.  Lolli said that she was grateful to the fire department for having helped me.  In fact, she baked a cake which she took up to the firehouse the next day and thanked them. They asked how I was and she said that I was fine.

i have gone over and over that episode since.  And my feeling remains anger at myself.   But there was no help for it.  I was trapped and could not move.  I am grateful that there was someone available to pull me up.  My anger will probably dissipate in time.  At least I hope so.

Happy 90th to a still active man both physically and mentally.   Keep on keeping on Fred.   Keep on sharing your stories with us!


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Dragonflies Help Create New Vision for Eyes! Who Knew?

WSJ Reports From Sydney, Australia

This article captivated my attention for a couple of reasons.  First, my mom before she passed away almost 14 years ago bought me a beautiful dragonfly for my coffee table in my condo. Not one to tell me what to do, she merely dropped hints and let me think it was my idea.  So, I’m a slow study,  and recently have become interested in dragonflies.  Secondly, sight impairment is always top of mind for me since I’ve been myopic since I was seven years old and my dad suffered from age related wet macular degeneration. I realize I have digressed, so back to Sydney!

The WSJ reports on Tuesday, October 6th that Australian researchers have been studying the dragonfly which they also claim is called the Tau emerald!  The research they have been conducting is for the purpose of helping out people with blindness and more currently making driverless cars more effective?

What I Now Know About Dragonflies

I learned that dragonflies are of a high order in the insect kingdom due to their wide eyed view of things!  This quality of having large and wide eyes enables them to be highly attuned to movements and be expert trackers of enemies when among a huge group of what they may consider to be friends.

What’s Happening In Our Country With This Research?

  1. A company out of Sylmar,California, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., is using this research to develop a bionic eye!  Apparently, according to this article it has “regulatory approval to market its retinal prosthesis in the U.S. to treat a certain kind of blindness”  The team in Australia decided to research the dragonfly because it’s brain was easier to understand, neurologically speaking.  The article mentions the original research was funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and subsequent research was funded by grants from the Australian Research Council.
  2. Dr. Wiederman, a neuroscientist at the U of A( University of Adelaide) was the original team leader who recognized that the dragonfly has a visual system that is “well suited” to prosthetic devices like the bionic eye.
  3. The article claims that researchers have expectations that someday this technology could be useful in driverless cars by eliminating the chances of hitting any moving objects; people, animals or anything in their purview!

Its so interesting to me that the dragonfly and my interest in maintaining my eye health as I am growing older seemed to intersect in a fascinating way!   Please comment on your thoughts about anything….eyes, dragonflies or just plain karma!