27 June 2009

An 'Interesting' Day

It started out as a typical Saturday. I did a visit in the morning, a few errands later and then home to prepare two Sunday services. Confession-time here: I rarely get my sermon done before Saturday and usually spend Saturday afternoon writing it.

At about 3:00, Wonderful Husband rings from work to say that he's seeing 'flashing lights and black spots' and he's booked a check-up at the Optometrist after work. Immediately, I'm thinking 'detached retina'. WH said 'I rang NHS direct and they told me to go straight to A&E ('accident & emergency' - 'Emergency Room' in American) but I thought that was a bit over the top.'

I told him I'd be happier if he went straight to A&E. Which he did. To the 'wrong' hospital which didn't have a facility to look at eyes. He finally ended up at the 'right' hospital which has an ophthalmology unit that seems to be a national centre of excellence; well, according to their website, they do eye surgeries that can't be done in any other part of of the UK.

Anyway, they found that he had a tear in his retina and they have performed laser surgery and sent him home.  He can see;  his eye isn't bandaged and there is no worry about driving or travelling.

This leaves me in awe and amazement and also reminds me that I'm getting old! I reckon 15 years ago, it would have had to have been conventional surgery with a knife. (I know someone who had this sort of surgery in the early 1980s and it was major surgery.)  Now it's a quick procedure and home. 

Right now this feels rather 'Star Trek-ish' (think walking into Sick Bay and having the doctor wave a computer at you and everything is sorted) and it also feels like an amazing blessing. It also reminds me how lucky we are in the West. In some countries, a person would just start losing their sight at this stage.

Thank you, Lord.

11 June 2009

Credit Card Interest Rates

I'm sorry for not blogging much, but family health issues and preparing for the move to the US are somehow sapping my energy for theology blogging.

Here's an interesting experience, though.

In advance of our move to the US, I rang one of my credit card providers to cancel my card. Both Wonderful Husband and I try to pay off our credit card balances at the end of the month. In the process of canceling, I was told that because of my 'excellent' track record, they were prepared to lower the interest rate on the card by about 4 percentage points. (From about 15.5% to 11.5%)

Although that's not terribly meaningful if you pay off your balance at the end of the month, there
are times when we use a credit card to take two or three months to pay for larger items.

Like many people, I've tended to leave my financial arrangements in place rather than asking for a better deal.  And, apparently, at least one company is prepared to try to offer a deal if they want to keep your custom.  It's the principle of 'If you don't ask, you don't get.'