Tuesday, January 27, 2009

FF's Guest Post, Part II

Regular readers of this BLOG know that the ole Gatordude asked me to share my experience as I go through cataract surgery. In an earlier post I described what I knew about the procedure and that I was looking forward to getting it done so that I could get on with my life.

Part of “my life” would normally be spent in Florida at this time of the year. However, due to scheduling the surgery, that trip had to wait until my vision was corrected. I could see well enough in the daylight, but night vision had become difficult for me and I did not want to head off on a 1500-mile trip under those conditions.

I arrived at the Maine Eye Center in Portland, Maine at the scheduled time and went directly to the surgical office. A very nice lady reviewed my paperwork with me, put drops in my eye, and gave me a surgical gown.

(Now before the Gator gets too excited about me in a surgical gown, be assured that this goes over my regular clothing!) GiM adds: Gee, thanks for the clarification!

She also asks me which eye will be operated on today, insures that I have someone to drive me home and puts his name down on one of the handful of forms. From there I am directed to the waiting area. I am 2nd in line.

In about 10 minutes a nurse comes to get me and I am taken to the pre-op room, where a heart pressure cuff is attached, an IV line is inserted and, once again I am asked which eye is scheduled. I respond the left and she puts a black magic marker “X” on my left cheek and wheels me out into the corridor.

There is a small desk in that area and shortly the anesthesiologist comes with her clipboard and gathers more data, including asking which eye will be operated on today. She explains that I will not be totally “under” and that they use enough happy juice to make me comfortable during the surgery.

From there I am wheeled into the operating room and hooked up to the appropriate monitors and devices. They do everything possible to make me comfortable including padded arm rests, a pillow under my knees and (are you getting a theme here) ask me which eye will be treated today.

They turn on the happy juice and the surgeon inserts the tools into my eye.

I am aware that something is going on in the eye, but there is absolutely no pain! I can feel water going into the eye and all of a sudden I can’t see the ceiling! Then I can feel him inserting what I assume to be the new lens.

What I can see now looks like a close-up of wrinkled cellophane or broken glass. Then, as he makes some adjustments, the ceiling reappears. I am (was) very nearsighted but the ceiling is clear and sharp!

I would estimate that the time in the actual operating room couldn’t have been more than 15 or 20 minutes. After the nice lady started the “happy juice,” I might have lost track of time.

I am then moved to the post-op area where I am offered something to eat and drink and a clear plastic shield is taped over the repaired eye. Through the shield I can read the calendar on the wall! With the new eye! With the other eye I see a just a blur on the wall, which is normal for me without my glasses. Wow!!

I was given a bag containing dark glasses, post-op instructions, and 3 bottles of eye drops to be administered 4 times a day. I didn’t really need the dark glasses on the ride home as it was an overcast day and the light did not seem bothersome. Through the shield I could read road signs and experienced generally decent vision.

That evening I had to remove that shield so that my wife could administer the eye drops and was amazed how well I could see with the new lens implant. I finally took the shield off for a little while and watched TV with no trouble at all. As instructed I wore the shield to bed and took it off the next morning for the day.

The next day I went for my follow-up visit with the surgeon. The lady that does the work-up before I see the doctor examined the eye, took pressure readings and did a vision test. I scored 20/20! Before the implant that eye measured something like 20/400 or worse. It is still hard to comprehend how that happened.

This is routine work for the Maine Eye Center; my surgeon does 15 to 17 cataract surgeries a week and everyone that I have talked with all say the same thing – this is normal. Another remarkable thing, in my view, is that this process has been pain free. The surgery was last Thursday and as I write this Saturday night, I am as very happy man.

I get the right eye done in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait,I just may put a black “X” on my right cheek.

FF (GiM’s Fearless Friend)

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