One Week After Cataract Removal

By this time last Thursday I was sleeping.  I guess I still had the pain and sleepy meds running in my system.  So I’m getting back to my “normal” routine.  It seems I get the most work done when everyone else in the house is sleeping and I don’t have phone calls to answer.  11:30 to whenever I go to sleep (usually between 1:00 and 2:00) is probably my most productive time working on the site or promoting it.

The fact that I can do that with some confidence is a result of the surgery.  I use reading glasses that enables me to see the computer screen more clearly than I did prior to the surgery.  I have the font size at +2 (two steps above medium,) which is where I used to have it.  I am now also able to read, briefly, without the screen being reversed.  For those not familiar with Macs, you can easily reverse the screen to see a negative view.  Fonts that are usually black on a white background are reversed and become white on a black background.  If my eye improve a little more, I may even be able to use a Windows machine (though why would I want to do that?  Our point-of-sale system runs on a Windows machine…)

Other achievements I’ve had in the past week include seeing colors more vividly.  I love just walking outside and looking around.  The grass and leaves are so green and the sky is so blue.  Flowers seem to have so much more color.  I can also see cars on the road, signs on buildings, and, on the down side, marks and dirt on the carpet and walls.

Watching TV has become enjoyable again.  I can now tell characters apart, where as before the surgery I was happy if I could tell if a character was white or black.  I’ve also noticed that I am reading the ticker(s) at the bottom of the screen while I watch Bloomberg, CNBC, FNC or CNN.  All the graphics on the news and sports looks sooo good.

The best thing for me so far on TV has been watching the Flyers.  I don’t know if it is just from the surgery or also from watching in HD, but I can follow the puck much better that I’ve been able to in a long, long time.  I guess it doesn’t hurt that they’ve been winning either.  Lets see if I enjoy watching them play the Caps…  I do like Ovechkin — he is one of my favorite players.  He is a complete, tough player, unlike Crosby who is a gifted player but the worlds biggest crybaby.

My first outing to a sporting event was this past Monday.  I went to Jane’s softball game against Abington Friends.  I was very happy how much more of the action I was able to follow.  I did lose track of the ball on some hits though.  I enjoyed the game even though Jane’s team lost (though Jane knocking in a run and scored another) and the umpire was terrible (though that is not why they lost.)  I am looking forward to watching some of Jake’s lacrosse games.  His last game before my surgery, I had trouble seeing the players who weren’t near the sideline we were on.

Lets face it, my eyes still suck in a big way, BUT, I can see so much more than I could before the surgery.  I have more confidence wondering around a store by myself (of course, until I get glasses or better reading glasses, I still can’t see what is on the shelf…)  I’d also be comfortable finding the bathroom on my own in a restaurant, which is something I would not do before the surgery.  I am still hopeful of reading printed material and throwing a ball around with Jane or Jake.  Maybe next week…

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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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Seven Years Ago Today

Okay, technically it was seven years ago yesterday since it is past midnight.  What happened back then?  I had a trabeculectomy on my left eye.  It was my twelfth glaucoma operation and first since 20 May 1980.  Maybe I should have put off that surgery.  Since that trab in 2003, I have not seen better than 20/100 (and that was only for a span of about eight months.)  Before the surgery I was about 20/80.  A little better on some days and a little worse on others.  I was able to read the mail by myself.  Well, I wasn’t by myself.  Our dog Zamboni, would sit next to me while I went through it.

There were plenty of other things I could do then that I miss terribly now.  I still love sports, I just can’t participate anymore.  I used to go to about 30 Flyers games a season.  Even then I couldn’t see the puck, but I could follow the game and enjoyed going.  I’ve been to three since 28 January 2003.  That date was the last home game before my surgery.  It was the last game I “saw” (and it was a bad game — a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay.)  I’ve been to two Phillies games at Citizens Bank Park, one this past season when they played Baltimore (and lost 6-5.)  A friend had two extra tickets and Jane wanted to go (it was her first Phils game, but her second O’s game.)  It was great seeing her get into the game and get excited, and I enjoyed spending time with my friend and his son.  As far as the game went, I pretended like I knew what was going on, but I didn’t.

My whole life was about trying to maintain my vision.  Glaucoma cannot be fixed or reversed.  I remember as a kid I used to ask my eye doctor if anything new had been developed that could improve my vision.  The answer then is the same as it is now: not yet.  Maybe some day.  On that day back in 2003, we tried.  It just didn’t work out the way we hoped.

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