last revised January 2008
I'm [as of January 2008] working for peanuts as a grant writer for Nonprofit Technology Resources. It feels good to be raising money to give free, refurbished computers, with free, Internet dial-up service, to needy folks - mostly kids from low-income households.
But I'd swap that good feeling in a heartbeat for that out-of-debt, own-my-own-home, secure-in-my-job feeling I've been seeking for so long.
Lucky I am though to have relatively good health, a mom that has helped to keep the wolves from my door, and especially a sweetheart that makes all my hard work worth while.
I've had a couple of setbacks since wrapping up my Drexel studies in the summer of 2006. I finished my requirements in June for a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Computing Technology. That August I suffered a retinal tear that caused my left eye to cloud up so that I could barely see out of it. And in October I failed the Oracle DBA certification exam that was supposed to be my ticket to financial security.
Uncertainty over my medical condition and my availability for work led me to defer the job search I'd planned post-graduation. After my failure on the Oracle DBA, I decided to ease the pressure on myself to study - and just get myself healthy.
I have passed 6 of the 7 computer industry certification exams I've taken so far (prior to the Oracle DBA). Still don't have Linux+ or the MCSA. I took one course on Windows 2K Pro at Drexel, and 3 units on Windows 2K Server. One of these days I'll finish the hands-on lab materials in my textbooks, and get certified in Win 2K or 2003 Server.
In the meantime, I can call myself Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate, CompTIA Security+, Server+, Network+, and A+ Certified Computer Technician.
My eye doctors have ruled out all the scary medical conditions that often lead to eye problems. I'm relieved to know that I'm not diabetic, nor do I have blood pressure problems. All I seem to have is a simple retinal detachment in the left eye which has always been much more near-sighted than the right. I really didn't need it much as it turns out.
My doctors tell me I can drive legally with one eye. Not an issue for me at the moment since I've been too cheap to operate a vehicle for over a decade. Good to know I can drive if I should take a job that I can't get to without a car.
I've deferred my job search for over a year, but am expecting to get serious again about finding a new job in the spring. One of the reasons I've been reaching out to old friends lately, and doing things like building my LinkedIn network.
I'm expecting that my next eye operation, probably within two or three months, will be my last for the foreseeable future. The surgeons need to intrude on me one more time to remove the silicone oil they inserted last summer to keep my laser-blasted retina flat against the back of my eye while healing.
My left eye vision had returned to normal a month after my first surgery, but a few weeks later it clouded up again. It's been blurry ever since they first put silicone oil in the eye in Nov 2006. I just have to put up with the blurriness until I've healed enough to do without the oil.
I've had 3 operations on the retina and a cataract replacement (a normal result of retina surgery) since Sept 2006. It's been a major nuisance, but luckily there has not been much serious pain involved. Nothing like my inguinal hernia repair (1981). Or my gall bladder removal (1990). Or my right shoulder repair (1995).
What caused my eye trouble? It's not clear, but most likely it was a whack to the head suffered many years ago. My optometrist detected a floater in my left eye more than a decade ago - a condition that often presages a retinal tear and/or detachment. At that time, I thought it might have been caused by a hockey puck to the mouth-guard around 1980. Or one of several volleyball spikes I blocked with the bridge of my nose in the 1980s. Or one of the unremembered mishaps of my hard-drinking, distant youth.
At any rate, I am grateful that my medical problems are not nearly so bad as my doctors had feared, that I have supportive family to help pay my bills, and that I have a sweetheart who has stood by me through hard times.
last revised January 2008