Friday, December 19, 2014

My Cataract Adventures - Part 6

The countdown began this week.  On Monday,  I started the three day pre-op regimen of eye drops, two kinds four times a day, and lid care towelettes twice a day.
 Thursday arrived. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery. Check. Use one drop of one of the eye medicines. Check. Wear a button down shirt. Check.

It was dark as we drove for half an hour and crossed the Bowmanville hospital parking lot at about 6:45 a.m. ($8 flat parking fate - not bad) We took the B-wing elevator to the reception area where I waited my turn, then registered. I found the room to be extremely loud...very nice, polite and helpful nurses speaking with super high volume voices and other sounds reverberating off the walls. I looked around realizing that they seemed to think that nobody had functional hearing.

I was sent on my way further down the hallway where I waited in a room full of potential cataract candidates. My name was the first called.  I followed into another space where people were already wheeled out in gurneys. I was not amongst the first surgeries that day. Next came the check and double check of name tags, names and birthdate. A dot was painted on my forehead above my left eye. I appreciated the colour...purple. After some eye drops, some more eye drops (this time feeling like a hot poker stuck into my eye),a blood sugar test and an IV,  a friendly volunteer brought us all warm blankets. Then the quizzing began...artificial limbs, hair pieces, replacement parts, dentures, partial dentures, nuts, bolts, hearing aids, heart attacks, strokes and so on and so on. Glad to say I was able to answer no to all the questions.

I was then invited onto a gurney where I had pillows placed behind my knees. Comfortable. Must do this at home. I received a lovely little green beret to wear over my hair. Then I scootshed to the top of the bed making sure my head was secure in the curved pillow. After being quizzed by several more people about who I was, which eye, which ailments, allergies etc.,  I was off down the hall to one of the surgical rooms. I was told that my doctor was occupying both rooms on this particular day...quite a feat for a woman of her teeny tiny stature. The bright lights in the operating room made my eyes squint. The doctor arrived and asked my name yet again. " Open your eyes and don`t blink,"  she said. Easier said than done.

Before I knew it, my face was covered and my eye was somehow snapped open revealing the bright overhead lights yet again. Many people told me   you won`t remember the surgery“. I think I kind of do. I don`t know at what point I received the relaxing drug, but I recall a kaleidoscope of lights, constantly changing in front of me. It was those toys we had as kids with all the shapes inside.

I was soon wheeled back out of the room and discovered a plastic cap over my eye and tape in my hair...oh joy.
Apple juice or cranberry?" was the first question I was asked. Apparently, neither was not an option even though I don`t normally consume juice. After being given a series of instructions involving eye drops and my pirate patch, I was escorted into a wheelchair and removed from the premises. Unfortunately, I had to use the washroom where I stared in horror at the sight in the mirror. I looked like a cross between Medusa, Morgan the Pirate and Polkaroo (more on that later). Suddenly, everything was clear.

The whole process, beginning to end lasted about two and a half hours.

Late that same day, I visited the doctor`s office where to their amazement, I was already healing nicely, had no pressure behind my eye, and I now had 20-20 vision. I also managed to save some astigmatism correction needed. My left eye cost me only $285 for some non essential extras not covered by OHIP. The highlight of my day came when the doctor told me I`d need a bit of in-office laser treatment in three months. There would be minor correction because I`m a YOUNGER PATIENT.

My new vision is phenomenal. I can`t believe how vivid and bright everything is. I thought my right eye was pretty good but now that I see the difference, it`s like having a crystal clear window compared to a really smudgy, dirty window. No wonder I didn`t see much.

There are a few problems with my new found excellent left eye vision. First of all, I instantly saw all the dirt in my house...disgusting. Once I get the other eye operated, I`ll probably see twice as much. Secondly, everything`s so bright that I thought the outside Christmas lights were on this afternoon when they weren`t.  Looking in the mirror after all this time is particularly frightening...under eye bags and age spots galore. Oh, but here`s the fun part. I was out walking today and was slightly off balance. Just like a person rowing with one oar on the same side of the boat, I was starting to walk in odd circular directions...not always straight. I actually had to compensate.

Looking forward to having the other eye corrected in January. I`m already feeling like my old self again. Now, if only I could get rid of the bags and the age spots.

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