May 2013


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Archive for May, 2013

Cataract and Back

Posted in Life on May 2nd, 2013

Those of you that know me may remember that I had a nasty eye infection a couple years ago that left me wearing an eye patch for weeks because my right eye was so sensitive to everything. The side-effects of that infection were the iris actually sticking to the lens (which meant it didn’t dilate correctly) and the creation of a cataract.

Many months later after I had grown used to but still annoyed with the situation, my eye doctor mentioned that someday I should get the cataract removed. I asked her when “someday” was, and she blinked for a sec and said “well, I don’t suppose there’s any reason to wait.”

I asked her who she would trust her eyes to, and she immediately handed me a card for Dr. James Wentzien, whom she described as “a rock-star ophthalmologist” and we set up the usual series of consults and preps.

Fast-forward to this morning, when the wife and I went in for the actual surgery appointment. We arrived what we thought would be way early, but they pulled us in within just a few minutes and started hooking me up to carious wires, pumps, monitors and whatnot.

As a warning to everyone else, don’t have any OJ before you go in. It is not on the list of allowed fluids before a surgery, and the nurses will give you endless crap about it without ever telling you why it’s such a big deal.

More bad news: an I.V. was installed. The good news: I.V.s are no longer actual needles requiring the nurse to strap a board to your arm with miles of tape, but rather a catheter-like flexible tube that lets you move around. Much more comfortable.

About 20 minutes of poking, prodding and OJ-related (but good-natured) harassment was followed by about 15 minutes of careful breathing as I tried to remain calm enough to not need any Quaaludes to keep my blood pressure down, and then a second set of nurses arrived to disconnect all the wires and wheel me back into the OR.

It’s funny, but every single person you talk to before going in for an eye surgery will ask you your name, birthdate and which eye they will be working on. Some people find that annoying; I for one am quite cool with making damn sure you get something like this right. Same thing in the OR – the doc called out the plan and parts required, the nurses repeated it all back as they pulled from stock. Very reassuring to a details guy.

As for the procedure itself, it’s kinda freaky, but thankfully over pretty quickly. Mine took a little longer than standard due to having to cut the iris away from the old lens, but it still only took about 15 minutes total – which was about three minutes short of how long I could go without screaming because someone was fucking with my eye. Which was very good, because I really didn’t want to scream at the guy who had itty-bitty tools stuck in my eye.

Priorities, man. Priorities.

In the process of the lens removal, I was treated to some very pretty blue lens flares, followed by a soothing yellow tint-and-flare as the new lens was installed. Once it flattened out, the blue was back in the form of an ‘X’, like two Hollywood-style searchlights crossing the beams with a blue filter on the light. The ‘X’ criss-crossed itself and then disappeared as Dr. W. aligned the lens correct to vertical. A few more adjustments and a wash, and I was out in post-op getting instructions on after-care. (And drinking more OJ – heh).

From this point, the plan is a couple of post-op appointments over the next couple weeks as my eye settles down, and then new glasses toward the end of the month. Currently, my vision is improved in that the fog is gone and I’ve got a round pupil again, but I’m still coming back from the numbing drops so I can’t focus much in the right eye. Still a solid improvement over before.

The best part, of course, is the Roy Orbison impression I do with the huge sunglasses they gave me.