Sweet Sixteen Tomorrow

Let’s hope it is sweet, or at least it doesn’t make things worse. Tomorrow at 12.30 I’m having what is called YAG laser capsulotomy, a minor surgical procedure (my sixteenth) to get rid of some clouding that has developed since the cataract extraction last April. I’ve been told that it is very quick procedure. In fact, the women from the office who phoned me today with the time of the surgery told me there were no restrictions (as far as eating or meds go,) and, get this, I could drive myself to and from the procedure. Uh, if I tried to drive myself to the procedure, I’d never get there. If I tried to drive after the procedure, Action News and NBC10 News have a 50-50 shot at being the news since the surgery center is about a block away from them.

I won’t get into what I hope I can do after the surgery, because even the doctors I’ve talked with about it tell me that I will probably only pick up a very slight increase in vision. Risks associated with this surgery are also pretty small, with retina detachment the primary complication. While I am hopeful of getting back to the sight I had for the 10 day period following my cataract extraction, and staying there, this surgery will not get me there. My sight has been so poor as of late that any positive outcome will be greatly appreciated. The dream of significantly better sight will have to wait for modern medicine.

So, we’ve got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow. At 8.30, we’re touring the high school at Friends Central where Jane would move on to next year (she’s currently in eighth grade there now.) After that, we’re heading down Lancaster Avenue to make a delivery. Then on to the Main Line Surgery Center for the surgery. (I’m hoping we can fit a Starbucks stop either before or after the delivery — though maybe I should wait until after the surgery so the caffeine from the Apple Chai Infusion doesn’t make me too jittery… After the surgery, a delivery or two over in Ridley, and, if it’s in, a trip to Newark to pick up our Clairol order. Wow, I’m tired already.

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Wow, I was Wrong!

I say that like it doesn’t happen often.  Today I had an appointment to see Dr. Garg, the retina specialist I visited several times in January and February.  As far as I was concerned, he was my last hope of finding why I was having difficulty seeing over the last couple of weeks, after noticeably better sight after the cataract extraction on 15 April.  I mentioned in this space last week that I didn’t think he’d spot anything.  Fortunately, I was wrong!

After having difficulty reading the 20/200 line (their chart is different than all the others, the 20/200 line is CD not SL) I had my IOP taken (9 in the left, 28 in the right – that is high, but since there is no pain and virtually no sight, who cares,) I was given drops to dilate my eyes.  After a 10-15 minute wait, we went to another examination room.  Dr. Garg came in and asked me about the trouble I’ve been having and the surgery, then had a look.  He noticed something and said he would like me to have an OCT scan.  After another short wait, Tom called me in and did the OCT scan.  After another short wait, we went into a different exam room.

Dr. Garg came in and immediately said that I have Macular Edema.  I was pretty happy for a second.  I thought, “Wow, he actually found something!”  Then I though, “Uh oh, now what?”  I asked the doctor how it is treated and then I was happy again.  Eye drops (the name escapes me at the moment, but I think it begins with a D) four times per day.  That is easy enough.  He then showed Eliz and I (between my dilated eye and poor vision, I couldn’t really see much) the OCT scan from today and the one from 15 January.  He pointed out the difference in the one today, which Eliz was able to see.  After about two hours, we were done.  I go back in four weeks.

Today was the first of three doctor’s appointments for the week.  Tomorrow, I go to my general practitioner for a check-up.  Perfect timing for me to visit her, as I’ve had a sore throat for about eight or nine days.  I’m interested to see what she says about my weight.  I was in the mid-180’s the last time I was there in March.  I was 168 this morning.  I know many of you have been asking about how I dropped a total of 66 pounds since 10 December 2009 and want to know my secrets.  The short answer is 1500 calories a day and I weigh everything I eat at home (unless it is packaged, then I use the nutritional info on the package.)  When we’re out, I use the restaurant’s own nutritional info.  If a restaurant doesn’t provide the info, then I calculate it.  If I can’t calculate it, we don’t eat there.  Do you hear me Bertucci’s?  I’ve kept a food journal since February and I’ll post it soon (I wanted to do it a couple of weeks ago, but my vision issues got in the way.)  Friday, I visit Dr. Ayres for another post op check.

Lastly tonight, I went to Anthem Institute (formerly Chubb Institute) for a Graphic Design Advisory Board meeting.  It was both good and bad.  Good because I love talking about graphic design work, the industry, and the curriculum at the school.  They’re making some positive changes there that will give students a deeper design knowledge that should translate into being better prepared to land a job once they graduate.  The bad part about tonight was talking about new version of programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Flash.  How is that bad?  I so want to use them, start shooting pictures again, shooting videos (and editing them,) and cool stuff like that, but my vision is not cooperating.  Maybe I’ll be able to get back to it once the drops work their magic…

Oh, and one last thing.  Really.  The parent daughter softball game is Thursday afternoon at Friends Central.  I am hoping to get an at-bat.  I will most likely strike out, if given the okay to hit, but I want to try.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Fortunately, Lankenau Hospital is literally right around the corner…

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EyeOp XIV Report

I figured that I’ve gone through enough eye surgeries that I can label them in roman numerals.  In fact, if I had some time, I’d probably do this post on video, with cool graphics and theme music like a championship game post game show.  Here it is, without video, cool graphics, awesome theme music, and John Fecenda doing the voiceover:

Welcome to the Hotels.com EyeOp XIV Report.  We’ll take you through the entire operation from warm-ups to the very end.  The patient walked in relaxed and comfortable, but lacking any fashion sense in a button down Tigger shirt, grey sweatpants, and sneakers.  At check-in, he was informed of a last-second audible that there would be no transplant on this day, just the cataract extraction.  Not flustered by the surprising news, he moved to the waiting area and went through the word scrambles as quickly as Eliz could read him the letters.  Then, his number was called.  It was time.

In the prep area, he relaxed while Lisa went over the plan and put some “face paint” above his left eye.  There wasn’t a flinch when she put the IV into his left hand.  After a brief meeting with the surgeon, Dr. Ayres — where additional “face paint” was added above the left eye and a reason was given for not being prepared to do the partial cornea transplant (if it wasn’t needed, the tissue would have been wasted) — Dr. Curtis came over to start the IV.  She remarked that the patient already looked relaxed and sleepy before starting the IV.

At 11:06 am, the players took the field.  The patient was so very comfortable, only spoke to the doctor once or twice and enjoyed “twilight” (minus the vampires.)  Within 30 to 45 minutes there was a pat on the shoulder from Dr. Ayers and it was off to recovery.  After a grueling victory, the patient celebrated was a cool cup of water and an apple cinnamon bar.  He was given last minute instructions (keep the shield on, don’t get water — or anything else — in the eye, take 12 eye drops per day, etc,) and put his chai (jewish symbol for life, not spiced Indian tea) necklace back on.  Three hours after arriving, it was time to go home.

The 1-800 Contacts Great Sight of the Day was everything outside!  The grass and the trees looked greener.  The buildings had depth and dimension.  Some signs on buildings could be read.  So far, so good.

So that’s how the Hotels.com EyeOp XIV Report would end.  But the healing continues.  This morning, on our way to the first post op appointment, I was able to see more signs on buildings and stores and read some advertising on buses.  At my appointment, the doctor said everything looked good and I was able to read some of the 20/100 line without the pinholes.  I was even able to read the A in the CAV8 (20/80) line with the pinholes!  The other good news is that I only have to wear the plastic eye shield to bed.  I can also resume ALL normal activities on Monday (until then, no heavy lifting, gardening, or other strenuous activities.)

I watched some of the Flyers and Phillies games tonight.  Wow!  I was amazed at how much I could follow the play in the Flyers game.  I could see the score and time left in the period without getting up off the floor (where I lay, propped up on my left elbow to watch TV.)  Even the Phillies game looked good, though it wasn’t in HD since we have Fios.  I could see the rain pouring down on Halliday…  I was disappointed we didn’t get to Jacob’s lax game before the rain came.  We were in traffic on 202 after our delivery in Wilmington.  My next chance at live sports is Jane’s softball game on Monday.

I am pleased with the results thus far.  I believe I’ll be able to follow a movie on the big screen.  Maybe we’ll try that next weekend.  I am looking forward to trying things that I haven’t been able to do for many years.

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