Harrison Happenings: What would we do without friends?

If you've got friends, you can conquer anything says Observer columnist Ruth Altendorf

The year had been good to me so far and I was looking forward to the month of October when my grandson, Andrew, would be getting married to his bride, Khristi. My daughter, Yvonne, had left for Vancouver already and I was prepared to follow a week later. There was only one follow-up visit to the eye surgeon left — or so I thought.

When he looked at my right eye, however, he discovered that the retina had started to separate and the alarm bells rang. It was about 5 p.m. when I had my marching papers in hand, scheduled to see the retina specialist at the Surrey Eye Center the next morning, 10 a.m. sharp.

As one can imagine, I was quite distraught and, as soon as I came home phoned my friend, Pam.  Without hesitation she told me that she would be at my house at 7:30 a.m. and take me there. So she was and off we went, fighting pouring rain and morning rush hour traffic all the way.  When we arrived at the center, the waiting room was already filled with people, all having similar problems.  When it was my turn, the eye surgeon took one look at my eye and confirmed that the retina in my right eye was “falling off” and had to be “fused on again”, the sooner the better. What about tonight?

Actually, this question was not directed at me, but to the assistant who had to find out if the operating room at the Surrey Memorial Hospital was available. It was not and I was glad because I had not eaten since the evening before and was feeling faint. We went home, I took a hot bath and then we had dinner at our favourite restaurant. When time gets tough, you have to be good to yourself!

The next morning the phone rang and I was told that the surgery would take place the following day, 10 a.m. at the Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Eye Center. In other words, I had a day off!  The next morning, same time but no rain, off we went again but to the hospital this time.

The Surrey Memorial Hospital, currently under serious reconstruction, does not make it easy for anybody to find their way. With the help of some “insiders”, however, we found the Eye Center which lo and behold, was a beautiful and calming place in all the chaos!  I would have been in and out in three hours if they would not have had to “bump” me due to two emergency cases.  As it was, we came home by about 4 p.m. in the afternoon, where Trudy, the “night nurse” who had been brought to the rescue by Renate the day before, was waiting.

I went straight to bed in order to get up at 4 a.m. the next morning to be ready for pick-up by friend, Ken, at 6 a.m. for the follow-up check on the operation. We were lucky there was no rain, the roads were clear and I was the only patient at a very elegant Eye Center in New Westminster. The surgeon was happy (apparently she liked what she saw), I was happy and Ken was happy because we did not have to wait around.

It was a good situation. It was also the day of my grandson’s wedding!  So, when we came home, I gathered up my friends who had been so helpful and we went out and had a toast to the young couple at exactly the time of the ceremony!  All that is left now is a follow-up visit to the Abbotsford Eye Center – Oops! I think I said something like this once before but hopefully, this time it will work.

I would also like to thank my neighbors, Elizabeth and Frank,  who kept a close eye on us throughout the ordeal. The world is full of surprises but if you have friends, you can conquer everything!

P.S.  Yes, it is the same surgeon working out of four different eye centers!  She is amazing!

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read