Monday, January 19, 2009

It's cataract removal time for FF

You’ve read about my Fearless Friend here from time to time and so you already know he is facing cataract surgery. We both have had friends who’ve undergone this procedure and know it is generally painless and very successful. A short time ago, I received the following from him as he prepares for this operation which takes place this week. This account was submitted by my Fearless Friend and printed here with his permission and approval.


I have a lot of trouble with low light situations for some time, especially driving at night. In addition my left eye has become quite unstable with respect to focus making reading difficult at times. I am told that this is consistent with an advanced cataract. My left eye has been a problem for a couple of years.

Eye docs don’t like to perform cataract surgery on only one eye in very nearsighted people so I have been waiting for my right eye to “catch up” with the left. That day has finally come. After consulting with my regular optometrist and a referral to the Maine Eye Center all agree that it is time to remove the cataracts from both eyes.

In short they vaporize the lens in the eye and replace it with an implant. Modern technology allows them to correct nearsightedness at the same time usually allowing near 20/20 vision. I visited with the surgeon on the 22 of December.

I got my marching orders from Dr. Eyeball shortly after Christmas. My first eye will be repaired on Jan. 22nd and my second operation is scheduled for February 5. I also have appointments on the day after the surgeries and a week after them. In other words, my complete schedule for both eyes is now set.

I am on the list if they have a cancellation. It could be moved up. They send a prescription for eye drops that you start to take three days before the surgery and after until it runs out. I am not planning on a cancellation, but will fill the prescription just in case it happens.

No food and limited fluids are permitted on the day of the operations. The person accompanying me must be there and stay there for the duration. The staff will insure that you have someone with you. If they leave – no surgery! The operation takes about 20-30 minutes and there is an hour wait after the operation.

To reduce the risk of infection they want me to shower, shampoo, and not wear make-up, eye shadow, eyebrow pencil, and no waterproof makeup either! Clean clothing is a must and they suggest a "loose fitting neckline." Make-up, moisturizers, and fragrances are also a no-no. Something tells me that the instructions are “gender neutral!”

Only liquids are permitted the day of surgery and "You must stop ALL liquids 2 hours before your arrival time." (I guess that they know me.) Oh yes, no orange juice.

Post operation restrictions include no lifting for a week, and no driving until cleared by the doctor. Walking is okay, but no strenuous exercise. I think that clearance for driving might happen on the day after the surgery depending on success, etc.

Showers above the neck are not allowed for a period of time. Apparently, infection and physical strain are the major considerations. They do tell you that you can “use your eyes” as much as you wish following removing the bandage the day after the surgery. Complete “recovery time” is 8-weeks.

Of course there are the usual battery of insurance forms, release documents, and required forms from the government to inform me of all that can go wrong and that it will not be the fault of the doctors, clerks, nurses or the janitor.

As you know, Mrs. FF and I usually leave for Florida for three months in early January. Even though this procedure has altered our plans a little, I have every intention of being in Florida before 8-weeks after that second operation although I will have a good discussion with the medical pros to insure that is okay.

Because of other eye issues, the doc tells me I will need glasses for reading and close work. As I am presently nearsighted and have worn glasses since I was 10 years old, he thinks that I will most likely prefer to wear glasses with very little correction, if any, for distance but progressive lenses to allow reading all the time after the surgery. That will be determined after the surgery.

The only question that I have is how soon will the eyes settle down so that I can be fitted for new glasses? I prefer to have that done before we head south.

So, that starts the eye adventure. It looks like we have a plan and now just have to work the plan and look forward to seeing better.

FF (GiM’s Fearless Friend)

Today is Martin Luther King Day. I would like to add a small tribute to the man we honor this day. I lived in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area in the 1950s when race issues were beginning to boil. It was through the leadership of Martin Luther King and his peaceful resistance movement that opened the door, although a long time coming, that allowed Barack Obama to become the first African-American President tomorrow. Today we honor MLK for the changes he led in America. GiM


Sheepish Annie said...

Poor Dad...I don't know how he will manage without his eyeliner. He hates to leave the house "without his face on," you know. The sacrifices we must make! ;)

It'll be good to have this all taken care of, though. I'll feel much better knowing that he's making the drive south with full vision this year!

GiM said...

That's eyeliner he leaves with? Holy Smokes! All this time I thought it was something else.