More Medical Stuff and Sightseeing

We did not wish to say anything until the dust settled on this most recent round of events.  Blair had cataract surgery on both eyes during the past couple of weeks.  In a fortuitous event, Blair met one of the top cataract surgeons in the US a few months ago.  The Dr was on Blair’s dive boat and when Blair found out what he did, proceeded to ask a number of questions, which resulted in the Dr suggesting Blair come and see him once we arrived in Florida.

We had an appointment prearranged for mid January and when the cataracts were confirmed surgery was booked immediately.  Blair was fast tracked due to knowing the Dr personally and also our short window of time in Florida…..nice!!

How did this happen???  Over a year ago Blair was diagnosed with a cataract in one eye and told it was not a problem and there was no need to remove it.  After the follow up here in Florida, it appears it was a very fast growing cataract and had completely covered his eye.  In addition the other eye had a cataract and it was also expected to be fast growing.  All of this is good news because it means the surgery is done on “young” eyes which will recover very quickly.  With all that information we decided to get this taken care of immediately.  So here we are now with Blair having perfect vision in both eyes…..lucky him, no more contact lenses!!  In addition to removing the cataracts, Blair had state of the art lenses inserted, the whole thing was a marvel to watch.  The eye clinic encourages spouses to watch the surgery on a private TV monitor outside the surgical suite, while having every step of the procedure explained by a nurse.  I was reluctant to watch this for fear of ending up a patient myself if I fainted, but I managed to watch almost the entire event 🙂  The second one was easier to watch knowing what was being done.

With all that behind us we had time in between the medical appointments to get out with friends and do some sightseeing.

Going for a walk along Manasota Key beach

One of the eye clinics is located in Venice, Florida and nearby is Manasota Key, a long narrow strip of land filled with large, gorgeous homes overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  We took a drive down the key, stopping at the southern end for a short walk along the beach.  The weather was warmer than it has been recently which brought everyone out to enjoy the sunshine.  Continuing towards home we stopped in Punta Gorda for lunch at Laishley Crab Shack overlooking the Peace River which empties into Charlotte Harbor.

The view of Laishley Park Marina from the Crab Shack restaurant
Walking around Laishley Park Marina


Another day trip took us to Matlacha which is described as:

Although considered part of Pine Island, Matlacha technically occupies a smaller island in Matlacha Pass to the east. Until 20 years ago, Matlacha was an “old Florida” fishing community. But in 1992, a voter referendum led to a ban on net fishing designed to protect the popular recreational fish typically snared along with the mullet being targeted by commercial fishermen. Immediately following passage of the net ban, Matlacha’s fishermen shot holes in their boats and set them on fire. The pyre of burning fishing boats could be seen from Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, and it signaled the end of Matlacha’s existence as a commercial fishery.  Today, there’s still a few shrimp boats tied up to the working docks, and while everyone swears you can see the grisled, bearded holdouts from the mullet fishing days about town, Matlacha is now a highly-regarded artists community. Appropriately, the shacks and bungalows that the fishermen once called home are now splashed with bright funky colors and house art galleries, gift and island wear boutiques, seafood restaurants, rental cottages and small motels. Even the telephone poles have murals. Famous musicians like Jimmy Buffet drop into the local bar to toss back a few brews and play an unannounced set or two. And most of the fishing now takes place on the bridge from Cape Coral to Matlacha which has the strange nickname of “Fishing-est Bridge in the World” due to the volume of people who fish off it, night and day.

As the end of January approaches we will be packing up and leaving our lovely villa in Burnt Store Marina and moving in with our friends Gary and Barb for a couple of weeks.  Florida is packed with “snowbirds” during the winter months and we had trouble finding an affordable place to stay for February, so Gary and Barb kindly offered us their spare bedroom so we could extend our stay 🙂

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