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Apr 21, 2021

Prevent Cataract Surgery: Have a Drink

Moderate imbibing is said to enable laser evasion

By Ed Goldman

We’re learning that moderate alcohol drinking may help you avoid cataract surgery. In just four words: Now ya tell me.

A few years ago I underwent cataract operations on both of my eyes, separated by a few months (the operations, not my eyes) to allow my normally slow recovery time to enjoy a luxurious convalescence. I had learned a few years prior to that—when I had a series of seven surgeries spread out over a three-year period (as was I during the procedures, but please don’t dwell)—that if there’s one skill I can make an absolute claim to having, it’s this: I’m an excellent convalescent.

Edgy Cartoon

The columnist after Cataract Surgery 1.0

Now, don’t start belittling this assertion (I originally wrote “Don’t start poohpoohing this assertion” but thought this sounded vaguely scatological and that I already might have lost some readers when I alluded to my being spread out for seven surgeries).

Which is to say: I will match my ability to lie around the house and accomplish nothing whatsoever with the best of you —or the worst of you, considering the topic. This is why I found the shelter-at-home mandate during the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic an insult to my indolence, a lashing out at my lassitude, a slap at my sloth. I didn’t need to be instructed on torpor, apathy or lethargy. I could fill an entire day with reading a book or, even better, thinking about doing so. This, friends, is world-class sluggishness.

Anyway, when I first saw the item suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the need for cataract surgery, in the New York Times April 6 science section, I’ll confess that my first thought was: Of course it can. If I’m out somewhere drinking, I can’t simultaneously undergo cataract surgery. I mean, I’m just one man!

Then I drilled down, dug deeper or maybe just read the actual article. In this day of people thinking they’re serious researchers because they can, for example, Google and triumphantly disprove your assertion that John Wayne’s real first name was Marion, your actually having read something can prove immensely gratifying. For instance, I had read many years ago that John Wayne’s real name was Marion Morrison—but his friends called him “Duke,” as I’m sure you’d want your friends to do under similar circumstances.

“(T)hose in the top one-third (of two study groups) for wine consumption had a 23 percent lower risk of cataract surgery,” the article reported. “In the larger group, three to four glasses of red wine weekly conferred a 14 lower percent risk, and of white wine a 10 percent lower risk. Drinking beer or spirits was associated with lower risk only in the smaller group” of the two studied.

Ay, there’s the rub (as Hamlet famously said after he found the jar of Vaseline Ophelia had mischievously hidden): Had I imbibed my preferred alcoholic beverage, vodka, might I still have been able to avoid cataract surgery?

Well, maybe on just one eye. But I’m sure I still would have had a meaningful, if briefer convalescence. I’d have spent it watching Marion Morrison westerns.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

COVID has been a true test of leadership. All businesses have had to adapt—but it’s a great business leader that works from the helm of the ship and carefully steers the organization through challenging, unparalleled seas.

Empathy and clarity are essential for any true leader during times when the unprecedented becomes the norm. Staff can pick up on positive leadership, and are drawn to and responsive to those who meet challenges with finesse and ease.

Keeping your internal personal values in mind—and the overall organization’s mission of service—kept the true leaders positioned for power, health, and community engagement in spite of the oppressive COVID.

Years ago, during a difficult and dark time of my life, someone in my career mentored me by saying “When all else is abnormal, act normal.” That saying comes to mind in difficulties. Expressions of level-headedness, perseverance, empathy and trustworthiness are attractive in a leader. It’s what I strive for daily.

I’m proud to say that Golden Pacific Bank, like many other banks, rode through this COVID tsunami (so far) and not only survived, but were also able to greatly assist many customers in need, especially small businesses, with PPP loans and other accommodations. Our success is not just because of me as CEO, but because of leadership, as a team, with our bank’s wonderful executives and other power people in the greater community.

Congrats to all the leaders out there. Just keep a close storm watch.

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