Sunday, July 16, 2006
Kay's World: A New Way of Looking at the World
I was quite frightened back in January when my optometrist informed me that I had a cataract in my left eye and needed to see an ophthalmologist. I was quite well informed on the advances in such surgery as my mother had undergone the procedure more than a decade ago but I was still scared. Scared because the wrong surgeon could end my lifelong love affair with the written word. My dad called me his bookworm; my mother read my journals when I was away and took them seriously despite their being what I now realize were early attempts to write fiction – that neither dad’s good-natured teasing nor my mom’s abusive screaming kept me from continuing reading and writing, and for better or worse, I’m here and can’t bear the thought of being unable to do either.
My other fear involved recovery time from the surgery—mostly for financial reasons – and it was quickly assuaged by Dr. Jamie who assured me that I could have the surgery on Friday and be back to work on Monday. To my dismay, he discovered a cataract in my other eye but it isn’t ready for surgery yet. He also explained that in addition to removing the cataract, he would be putting in a lens and it would improve my vision significantly.
Today marks two weeks and two days since my surgery and I feel and see great and I’m writing this for those of you out there in the blogosphere who are, for one reason or another, hesitating to undergo this procedure.
Getting ready for surgery involves a few visits to the doctor and three days before the surgery one begins a regimen of putting three different types of antibiotic drops in one’s eyes four times a day and this continues until the prescriptions run out. Remembering to do so was of great concern to me as, like many of us of a certain age, I suffer from Sometimer’s disease: sometimes I remember and sometimes I don’t. I did, however, find an excellent solution. I had always wondered why in the hell my cell phone had an alarm clock. It seemed pretty dumb to me but I have now changed my thinking. I set it to remind me to put my drops in my eye. Infection is the biggest risk with eye surgery so following this regimen is crucial.
My surgery was scheduled for the ungodly hour of 7:30 a.m. but I had to check in at the hospital at the even more ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. Can you guess that I’m not a morning person? I was in and out of surgery which began late but not outrageously so and I was out of recovery and back in my room where my man in Motown was waiting by about 9:00 am. I was alert and totally without pain despite the big bandage and plastic eye shield over my eye. While I got dressed to go home, the nurse got me a much-needed cup of coffee -- I’d been fasting since midnight – to jumpstart my blood while we waited for my release. I put on the heavy-duty sunglasses that the Dr. Jamie ordered me to wear in bright light for at least two weeks and left the hospital. We stopped at my friend Phil’s restaurant and had a hearty breakfast and went home where I went to bed and slept for about 3-4 hours. When I awakened, I could remove the bandage and voila! I could see! I sat down and read the post op instructions regarding my recovery: drops 4 times a day, sunglasses, no lifting more than 10-15 lbs., no strenuous exercise, and the eye shield when I slept. The latter has been the most hassle -- it’s simply not fun to wear and a pain to tape on every night. And not getting water or soap in one’s eyes makes shampooing a challenge. The hardest part was when the stitches were healing. I never knew one’s eyeball could itch but it can! They give you different drops if that happens and they work really well.
The morning after surgery I went for my 24-hour checkup and, wonder of wonders, my vision was already 20/30 and the doctor was very pleased with my progress & told me that when I healed I would be test even better.
AND two weeks to the day after my surgery, I went down to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to renew my driver’s license. It was expired but since my eyes were so bad, I postponed renewing it until after my surgery as we have 6 months to renew without re-taking the driving test in Ohio. Since I rarely drive, it wasn’t a problem. I was thoroughly delighted to pass my eye test without glasses!
I go back to Dr. Jamie soon and learn when he’ll fix my other eye – probably in a few months & I will most likely only need reading glasses.
Good stuff, huh?
I applaud and thank sincerely Dr. Jamie and his staff for their great work and kindness. Kudos to the hospital’s fine staff who went the distance to make my brief stay so comfortable. And last, but certainly not least, to my darling Man in Motown, I give my gratitude and love for being there for me through the whole thing. All have helped in giving me a new way of looking at the world in more ways than one as have all of you, my gentle blogging friends!!!
Copyright 2006 Kay Dennison