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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This and That

I’ve been waiting for this week since the end of January, because I’m going to see the retina specialist on Friday.  I’m hoping he can do a PAM test on me.  No, it’s not part of the Aunt Jemima treatment, it stands for potential acuity meter.  It will let me, and, more importantly, my team of eye specialists know how much of the “current” vision loss is due to the cataract in my left eye.  I would hope it would come back 20/200 or better.  If not, it might be time to rent a gun and buy a bullet.  (Relax, I’m only joking.  I’m worth far too much dead to take my own life.)  Even without a PAM test, I’m hoping that Dr. Garg (retina) will give the okay for me to have Dr. Ayers (cornea) takeout the cataract.  As much as I’ve loved the snow this winter, I don’t want it to foul up my 8:45am appointment in Bala on Friday.  I see Dr. Ayers on 3 March and I’d like to schedule the cataract surgery then.  I’ve gotta do something, it seems like my vision is getting worse by the day.  My frustration level is extremely high.

On Wednesday, I’ve got an appointment with my GP.  It was postponed from 10 Feb due to the little bit of snow we had (not to mention the lack of power and heat too.)  When I saw Dr. Rist on 9 Dec, she told me to lose weight.  Since then I’ve eaten only about 1500 calories per day.  On days that I did some physical work like shovel snow, move our store inventory, etc., I would eat more calories as a reward.  As of this morning, I am down 41 pounds.  I’m interested to see what she says.

Jake is spending the week living at school, something he will have to do for his junior and senior years at Westtown.  We dropped him off on Sunday and will pick him up this Sunday.  He was really looking forward to it.  Then, when we got there, he noticed a Super Nintendo game system (circa 1991.)  The seniors whose room he and his friend are staying in left them a note saying that they could play with the system.  We have a couple of games from the video store that Jake has always wanted to play, but we never had the system (well, we had it, but upgraded to something else before he was born.)  I’m worried that school work might not be first on his mind this week.  Eliz picked him up some candy from BJ’s the other day.  You know, BJ’s doesn’t sell anything in small amounts.  She got him a variety bag of candy bars (not the fun size, the normal size) and a bag with god know how many packages of Skittles in it.  He posted today on Facebook that he was selling the candy.  Prices were $.50 for candy available in the school store and $1.00 for candy not carried in the school store.  I’m interested to see what he does with the funds, though his intentions could be philanthropic.

Jane found her letters from Tabitha tonight.  Tabitha was conjured up when Jake literally lost his first tooth.  It either fell out onto the ground or he swallowed it with his lunch that day at Granite Run Mall.  He was disappointed because he was so looking forward to putting it under his pillow for the toothfairy.  That night, after he went to bed, I wrote a letter from Tabitha, a toothfair from the North American office.  I expected it to be a one and done sort of thing, but when he lost his next tooth, we was just as excited to get another letter as he was to get the money.  And of course, if you do it for one, the other has to have it too…  Jane actually got a letter or two before she even lost a tooth.  She would sometimes leave notes for Tabitha under her pillow.  Jane laughs at the letters now, but she had fun reading them tonight.  She said each one had a little education, like Sesame Street.  I also would include things that I thought would boost their confidence and nudges on nutrition.  One day I’ll post them or publish them.

It is amazing how easy 700 words comes off my fingertips these days…  So much for a short update.  More later this week on the retina appointment.

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A Long Day

It has been a long day.  It started off with a trip to the retina specialist at 8:30 am.  We were a few minutes late, so only had to wait about 10 minutes in the waiting room.  Eliz had a cup of tea from the Senseo (or similar) machine, while I brought my own (my favorite Teavana mix: Queen of Babylon and Rose Garden Rooibos.)  I was called back into the first exam room, where I would (try to) read the eye chart and go over my eye issues.  Kelly asked about any of my eye problems and then noticed we were from Media.  She said she grew up in Wallingford.  When Eliz told her we did as well, she mentioned that she graduated from Strath Haven in 2002.  I told her I graduated from Nether Providence and Eliz from Strath Haven and Kelly asked if I went to school with her mother since I was born in 1954.  I laughed and asked if I looked 55…  I guess if there’s going to be a mistake, that one isn’t bad at all.  She corrected my birth year to 1964 and we moved on to the eye chart.

Again, I was unable to read any of it until I flipped the pinhole cover down.  Like magic, the E appeared.  I then said I know the next line is S and L, but I can’t see it.  She told me I was wrong.  What!?!  It’s not S and L.  Now I had to know.  I moved the pinholes all around until it was as clear as it was going to be for me.  I guessed O for the second letter.  Try again.  D!, I said next.  That was it.  The first letter (don’t ask me why I don’t read them in order) looked like it could be an O, G, or C.  I guessed G in hopes of it being the GD line.  No such luck.  C was my next try and that was it.  Kelly mentioned that this chart is made up mostly of similar letters that repeat often, so my usual deduction that I’ve got a one in 26 chance which increases with every letter doesn’t work.  I’m actually going to have to read them.

Once I was finished with the eye chart, Kelly took us to another waiting room, where Eliz read me the story of the Penn State mascot in a recent addition to ESPN magazine.  Before we could finish, we were called to see the doctor.  Dr. Garg asked me about my issues and mentioned that he had spoken to Dr. Pro about me.  He explained that even though my right eye doesn’t do much he still wanted to check it out.  Since my cornea is really cloudy and I have a pretty mature cataract in it, they would use an ultrasound to have a look.  He also explained a test they’d run on my left eye, to check for changes in the macular pigmentation.  Dye is injected via an IV (that’s iv, not roman numeral for 4) and pictures are taken.  After he mentioned the dye, I remembered that I had this test before.  The images are wicked.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a flash drive on me to get the images.

I went into another exam room to have the ultrasound and then back to the second waiting room to wait on the angiography.  After a 10 minute wait, Tom called me back to have the angiography.  He took a couple of images of my eye before putting the dye in.  The dye made me feel nauseous for about a minute.  Tom took more images and left to give someone an OCT scan (which took him all of five minutes — about 1000x faster than mine took on Monday.)  He then came back into the room I was in to get two more pictures.

I waited in the angiography room for a few minutes until they called me to see the doctor again.  He explained what he thought was going on.  He increased my use of one drop to three times per day and added another drop to try and get the swelling down in the retina and cornea.  He suggested that I wait on having the cataract removed until I see him again in six weeks.

After three hours, we were out of there.  We headed down City Ave to pick up Jane from school.  She called me just before the ultrasound and said she wasn’t feeling well, which I knew when she left for school.  I also knew we’d be right down the street from her and could pick her up after the appointment if she couldn’t last the day at school.

After I spent an hour, or so, at home (at which time I found out my mom had gone into the hospital — more on that below,) we headed over to Viva Salon in Springfield.  They’ve been having a problem with a hydraulic base that was still under warranty.  We swapped out the bad base for the good one that has been in our car since the move and headed to my next eye appointment.

I had scheduled this appointment with John Ruffini, another NPHS alum, to talk to him about the cataract surgery (and before I knew of any retina issues.)  He had a look at my still dilated left eye and we discussed my options and the problems that could arise from taking out the cataract.  He also thought it was best to see how the eye reacts to the increased drops and new drop.  I have put off scheduling the cataract surgery because of moving the business and the fact that it could undo the partial cornea transplant.  My left eye has endured seven operations over the years, with another one imminent.  I’m tired of going through these procedures and the recovery with mediocre success.  The risk/reward factor isn’t great, though I would do anything to preserve any sight I still have.

After leaving John Ruffini’s office, we made a delivery in Holmes and stopped by a salon in Milmont Park to look at a styling chair that needs replacing.  We returned home at about 4:00 pm and had an alarm company tech waiting to convert our system.  It took him about two hours (the whole story will have to wait for another time.)

We were finally able to head to Riddle to visit my mom.  She went to the hospital at around 8:00 am this morning because she was having shortness of breath and chest pains.  The doctor wanted to keep her overnight for observation.  She seems to be okay, though uncomfortable because of the shingles.  We are hoping to pick her up and take her home tomorrow.

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