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Keeping my fingers and everything else crossed.

Peter's operation.

sunny

My husband's eyesight has been in decline for a long time. His main problem is he has glaucoma and this has severely damaged both of his eyes. Unfortunately, glaucoma damage is irreversible. He also has cataracts which, of course, can be operated on, but there's a much higher risk of things going wrong if you have other eye diseases, such as glaucoma. For this reason we have been reluctant to have the cataract surgery, but Peter's eyesight got so bad, we have now decided to have it. So far, we've only had it done on one eye.

We live far from the hospital where the surgery was being carried out, so we decided to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights for ease of going back and forward to the hospital. We stayed in the Novotel Century Wan Chai for three nights and went repeatedly back and forward between here and the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital in Happy Valley. Of course, this hasn't been a fun or enjoyable time, but we still tried to make the most of it.

We are Accor Hotel members and use their hotels a lot, so they often give us free stuff. This time they gave us a free upgrade to a suite, so we had our own living room, bedroom and bathroom.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

We passed some beautiful bauhinia trees on our way through Discovery Bay Plaza.

Our Living room.

Our Living room.

Our bedroom.

Our bedroom.

Coffee making facilities in the room.

Coffee making facilities in the room.

View from our room window.

View from our room window.

View from our room.

View from our room.

There seemed to be a yachting event on one of the days.

There seemed to be a yachting event on one of the days.

Night View from our Room.

Night View from our Room.

Cloudy skies viewed from our floor.

Cloudy skies viewed from our floor.

The Novotel Century has an unheated outdoor pool which stays open most of the year. We went in, as Peter won't be able to swim for a month after his operation. It was freezing, and I really do mean freezing, like swimming through ice. Peter was only able to use it on our first day. I used it twice. Both times required nerves of steel. The lifeguard didn't even bother to step outside the gym until he saw the potential swimmer could do a length. I think most people stick a toe in and run back to their room screaming. I lasted fifteen minutes on my first go and twenty minutes on my second go. The life guard sat huddled up in a chair wearing multiple layers of clothes and shivering just watching me. Fortunately, I didn't run into any trouble. I don't think the chance of the lifeguard jumping in to rescue me was very high!!! I reckon he'd have waited till spring.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

The swimming pool.

The swimming pool.

Peter going in.

Peter going in.

And he made it.

And he made it.

Me in, pretending to be warm.

Me in, pretending to be warm.

Trying to warm up afterwards.

Trying to warm up afterwards.

We weren't really there to enjoy ourselves, but our package included breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and snacks in the executive lounge. Due to the circumstances of our stay, we could not always enjoy these benefits, but we tried our best and did pretty well out of them.

Breakfast time in the hotel.

Breakfast time in the hotel.

Executive Lounge.

Executive Lounge.

Peter at afternoon tea.

Peter at afternoon tea.

Me at cocktail hour.

Me at cocktail hour.

Peter at cocktail hour.

Peter at cocktail hour.

Christmas decorations in Executive Lounge.

Christmas decorations in Executive Lounge.

Sports bar at the hotel.

Sports bar at the hotel.

Streets around the hotel at night.

Streets around the hotel at night.

The hospital where Peter had his operation done is in Happy Valley and the eye centre where we had to keep going for check ups has great views over Happy Valley Race Course. It's a relatively old hospital by Hong Kong standards, as it dates from 1922, and it had some historical photos on display.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Views over Happy Valley Race Course.

Old photo of the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital.

Old photo of the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital.

We were originally only going to stay in the hotel for two nights but Peter extended it to three so he could rest on the third day and I could do a little bit of exploring. I only did a brief runaround as I had to be available very frequently to administer medicine.

I decided to go and look for the Happy Valley Race Course Fire Memorial. I had never heard of this until recently when a friend gave me a book on heritage hikes in Hong Kong and it mentioned this site in one of the chapters.

The 26th of February 1918 was Derby Day in Happy Valley. Crowds flocked to the race course and one of the bamboo spectators' stands got so swamped with people that it collapsed and knocked over a cooked foods stall. Fire from this stall spread rapidly around the race course venue. Many people were trapped and could not escape the inferno. In the end more than six hundred people died either in the flames or in the ensuing panic. After this disaster Tong Yat-chuen, the Chairman of the Tung Wah Hospital Group, asked the Government to allocate some land on which to bury the victims of this calamity.

Later the Tung Wah Hospital held a competition for a permanent monument for the burial site and eventually Ho Sheung, a Chinese architect, won and was hired to make one. Funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Tung Wah Group of hospitals, the Race Course Fire Memorial was completed in 1922. The monument is very Chinese in style with two octagonal pagodas, a central plaque and two pavilions.

To get to the monument, go to Hong Kong Stadium, home to Hong Kong's famous Rugby Sevens. Walk past it and into the stadium car park. On the far side of the car park a sign shows the way to the monument. To reach it it is necessary to climb lots of stairs. Apparently, historically the hillsides around here were covered with shanty towns. There are supposed to be some remains of these, but I did not see any, perhaps they are covered over by the thick undergrowth. The monument is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. everyday of the week.

I have lost count of how many supposedly rare pawn shop signs I've seen recently. I passed this on the way.

I have lost count of how many supposedly rare pawn shop signs I've seen recently. I passed this on the way.

The Path to the Monument.

The Path to the Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

The Happy Valley Fire Memorial Monument.

Plaque on the monument.

Plaque on the monument.

View from the monument.

View from the monument.

Near the monument there are many sporting facilities such as the Hong Kong Stadium. There has been a stadium here since 1952. The original stadium could accommodate 28,000 people and hosted soccer matches, athletic events and inter-school competitions. The current stadium can seat 40,000 people and dates from 1994. Also nearby are the South China Athletics Association, which I used to be a member of, and the Indian Recreation Club.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Stadium.

Bowling at the Indian Recreation Club.

Bowling at the Indian Recreation Club.

After looking swiftly around this area, I made my way back through Causewaybay. I noticed an interesting shop sign in passing and an advert for the new Spiderman movie.

I rather liked this House of Men sign.

I rather liked this House of Men sign.

Not entirely sure what it is.

Not entirely sure what it is.

May be British themed collectibles.

May be British themed collectibles.

Spiderman No Way Home.

Spiderman No Way Home.

I took the MTR back to Wan Chai and spent a bit of time photographing the ballet themed Art in the MTR there.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Art in the MTR.

Posted by irenevt 13:51 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

That ballet art in the MTR is so well done! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for Peter. My own cataract op was a godsend but I didn't have the complication of glaucoma to deal with. I do hope he finds it improves his sight.

by ToonSarah

Thank you, Sarah. We've been told it will take a while for the eye pressure and vision to settle down, so at the moment it's hard to tell just how much difference the surgery will make.

by irenevt

Hi Irene. I hope Peter is as fortunate as I was. I've had glaucoma for years and then developed cataracts. We put surgery off for as long as possible and then had both eyes done at once because the idea of one lens that was thin and one very heavy one didn't seem workable. My glasses were very thick and heavy. Not only were the cataracts removed, but I had lens implants in both eyes to correct my nearsightedness. The end result was the pressure in my eyes went way down and my glaucoma medication was lowered. Best of all, I could see without glasses, something I hadn't done since I was six years old. Honestly though, tell Peter to be patient. It took me a year to get used to the new vision. The first thing I remember after the surgery is looking at my feet and being horrified at how big they were. My glasses made anything at a distance seem smaller so without the glasses, things appeared normal. I only wear a size 7 shoe (USA size) so have rather small feet in comparison to the average, but it surely didn't look like it at first. The floor seems much closer so walking is a little tricky at first and made me dizzy for a long time. It's been two years now and everything seems very normal. It took almost a year to be comfortable with my new eyes. It seems like a long time, but to be able to see well is such a gift that the wait is worth it. If Peter's glasses were as thick as mine, he may have trouble walking for a while. It will pass . . .

by Beausoleil

Thank you Sally, I will share this with him as he is very concerned that his vision has not improved.

by irenevt

I have had both cataracts done (3 years apart) and in between there was a 3 point difference between my eyes. (One was plus 2 and the other was minus 1) The glasses were very thick and the doc was surprised that I could get my eyes to focus. I am dreading when my husband has his done because he does all the driving. I haven't driven (although I have a valid license) since I drove him to the ER i 2017 after he fell off the porch roof. We will cross that bridge when the time comes.

I have to say that if the lifeguard did have to save you, he would have to take off his bundled on clothes first or he would sink with the waterlogged weight. Although I did once give my daughter a Survival swimming course (she was too young for Jr Lifesaving) which included doing all the holds and released with the lifesaver and the victim fully dressed.

I bought a wet suit vest for my trip to the Galapagos - I should lend it to you if you are going to to any more arctic swimming.

by greatgrandmaR

Hi Rosalie, I hope your husband's operation goes well when it's time to have it. A wet suit might be a good idea for winter here. Most of the year the weather and water are pretty warm.
All the best,
Irene

by irenevt

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