Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eye: Half Opened, at Least

It will be fine. It will be fine. It will be fine. Just not yet. This is an update to yesterday's eye tune-up post. Don't feel obliged to read it.

Since cataract surgery is the most common surgery done now in North America, you can imagine that they have the whole set-up down pretty pat by now. Instead of the procedure taking place as an inpatient in a hospital, as was the case when I first started in hospital pharmacy in 1980, it is performed in daycare surgery at the Eye Care Clinic of the hospital.

You front up as requested, after breakfast, in ordinary clothes, watch a video of the whole procedure beforehand and are usually out the door again in two hours. Well it wasn't quite like that yesterday, since there had been a staff meeting that morning so they were almost an hour behind schedule. So every step seemed to take place in slow motion, since everyone had arrived on time and there was quite a bit of waiting about.

With the procedure done under local anaesthetic and given that you have to be able to cooperate with instructions, many people arrived with an interpreter as required, usually a younger family member so there were people everywhere. Eventually it was my turn in the OR. For a simple surgery there were many people in the room, three nurses and three surgeons, although no doubt two were residents and one of them actually did part of it. I hope he was a senior resident.

Of course all I, as the patient, can tell for sure, as I lay there and stared up into the bright light, was that everyone seemed to be talking at once, about golf, tennis, various sports injuries, the music on the music player (yesterday featured awful country western stuff) with the occasional request to me, the patient, open your eye wider (what do you mean, you have my eye taped open!), stop squeezing your eyeball (I'm not, well not consciously), Can't you fix that? No we'll laser it later (what the heck? what is happening?), STOP SQUEEZING YOUR EYEBALL, IT WILL BE EASIER ON BOTH OF US (I'm NOT, really I'm NOT). OK, all done. Bye JMB, see you tomorrow at the office.

Lots of instructions were given by the post-op nurse: your vision will be blurred for a couple of days; use all three different eyedrops four times daily; cover the eye at night with a shield; don't drive; don't bend; don't lift heavy objects; but you can read or watch TV; blah, blah, blah. They forgot to mention the double vision which appeared in the early evening. I decided that it was probably part of the process, but it ruled out TV watching as it was just too disconcerting.

Today, everything checked out just fine with the ophthalmologist and I discovered that he was talking about pre-existing scar tissue which sometimes can be removed during the surgery but in this case will be lasered later if necessary.

So you see, it will be fine. Very soon. I'm counting on it.

The educational portion of the program follows

Image above: Eye of Horus (click to read a short, interesting article about a theory that the Egyptians may have invented corrective lens)

According to Egyptian legend Horus lost his left eye during a battle with his uncle, the God Seth. Horus fought Seth to avenge the murder of his father Osiris and defend his right of succession. During the battle, Seth tore out the left eye of Horus and ripped it into pieces. After Horus won the battle, the God Thoth found the pieces and reassembled them with his magic and gave it back to Horus. However, he had already been healed and given a new eye by his mother Isis, a powerful healer. Horus gave the Eye as a gift to his murdered father Osiris who was reborn and became God of the underworld.

It is still used as a charm symbol for healing, good luck, protection, wisdom, prosperity and plain old decorative beauty in nearly every facet of modern art.


crunchycarpets said...

My eyes are watering in sympathy...glad it went as well as you can expect with our healthcare....

Carver said...

I am so happy to read this post JMB. Only you would not only manage to update those of us who were waiting to hear that your surgery went well, but would also manage to include the Egyptian legend about Horus to inform and entertain. I hope that your recovery will be swift! Best regards, Carver

Janice Thomson said...

Glad to know you're ok JMB! Expect it will be a few days before completely healed. Now you know what to expect for the other eye. What a relief it will be to see properly again. Take care my friend.

Sarabeth said...

I wasn't aware you could squeeze your eyeball consciously. Is that like squinting?

When Phill had neurosurgery six years ago, he had it at a teaching hospital. Although he wouldn't admit to being afraid (lord knows, I frequently admitted my fear) I saw it surface the day before the surgery. Phill spoke to the chief neurosurgeon about what he could expect. He grabbed the surgeon's arm before he left. "You'll be in the room, right? In the room. Not watching from somewhere else. In the room." The neurosurgeon gave us the video of the procedure, which clearly showed the head neurosurgeon doing the surgery.

Semaj Mahgih said...

Now, JMB - no need to invoke Egyptian mythology in this - the eyes will be fine.

Nunyaa said...

Am glad it is over for you and things went well. Don't think I would of been so brave. :-)

Tai said...

Well, you're blogging, that a GREAT sign!

Phil A said...


Got a splinter thrown into one of mine once. Very painful.

It's pretty bad having to hold still for them to fiddle with your eye. You have my sympathy.

CherryPie said...

I am glad it all went well. It must have been horrible to hear them talking like that!

Crushed said...

Not sure I'd be able to go through with it. I get quesy about stuff like that.
But I'm glaD I now know what an opthamologist is. It came of at work a few days ago, someone asked me what opthamological equipment was, and all I could was I thought it was something medical.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

So glad you are OK, jmb. Been thinking about you all the time! Amazed you are back to blogging so soon! Love from Simi and me in Sicily xx

CalumCarr said...

Have you been away??

Happy to see you fine.

jmb said...

Hi Crunchy,
It sounds worse than it is, thank goodness.

Hi Carver,
Well I was looking for a new eye image and liked this one and as usual kept following links so thought I would share.

Hi Janice,
Fine, fine, fine. It will take time but hopefully all will be well.

Hi Sarabeth,
I'm sure you can't squeeze your eyeball with your lids taped open!
He was just frustrated I think.

Well we all know the residents have to learn and practise on someone, Phill better than most but everyone wants the best care and luckily Phill got it.

Hi James,
I thought you might be interested! They will be fine.

Hi Nunyaa,
I actually didn't feel very brave but I knew it was a simple thing in comparison to other procedures out there being done every day.

Hi Tai,
One eyed blogging on this day but a little better today.

Hi Phil,
I'll bet your splinter was much worse than my experience. Funnily enough I have a big bruise on my head where someone was pushing.

Hi Cherrypie,
Of course the talking is very disconcerting as you try not to listen but they insist on giving you instructions in between.

Hi Crushed,
I'm sure you would do whatever was necessary even being queasy.
I can't believe I gave you information. Ophthalmology deals with the eye and sight (don't forget that extra funny l, hard to say and hard to spell this word)

Hi Welshcakes,
You can't keep a good blogger down, or something similar. Getting better slowly.

Hi Calum,
I was away a couple of weeks ago but back for this surgery.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

sally in norfolk said...

So glad to read that it all went well.... :-)

The Tin Drummer said...

Glad it went well!

jmb said...

Hi Sally,
I hope it will be fine, but it takes a while and I am not a patient person!

Hi TD,
Thank you. I'm sure it will be fine.

regards to you both

Ian said...

Hi jmb,

Sorry I'm late. I'm glad it has gone well for you and you are on the road to clear sight.