Thursday, October 20, 2011

Clearly a success

I had my cataract surgery yesterday. I couldn't tell you about it because I have been kind of, well, vibrating. I have been experiencing anxiety about it for months now, escalating into sheer terror in the last couple of weeks. Everybody from my optometrist (who discovered the cataract) to the ophthalmologist (who would do the surgery) to everyone online who had experienced it described it as "a piece of cake" and I was beginning to feel like if I had one more piece of cake I'd vomit. Not a soul I asked would describe it to me, it was just a wave of the hand and "it's a piece of cake!" Knowing what the actual procedure involved (but not how it felt to the guy on the table) I was having a hard time reconciling that.

The poor person who had to hear my nerve-wracked rants about how freaked-out I was that I was going to watch someone slice into my cornea was poor Husband, and as he often said sadly in frustration the thing was, there was nothing he could do about it. Nothing but be a sounding board and he did that with more patience than I could have.

Given all that, I am going to write a separate blog post about the actual experience of the prep and the surgery, since I am now so acutely aware of how little detailed information there is out there from the patient's point of view. It'll be clearly labeled so those of you who gag at that kind of thing can skip it completely. Having said that, it went better than I expected but not better than I had hoped; it was unpleasant but not painful, and 2 Atavan are a lot less powerful that you think until you stand up and try to walk somewhere. Then they're a lot more powerful than you thought. Thankfully I had my ever-loyal helpmate and chauffeur to steer me.

The process? I was diagnosed May 5 , saw the surgeon on July 25 (he's the only ophthalmologist in town and his caseload is legendary), and had the surgery 3 months later. As I had a perfectly functional right eye to work with, I have no problem with that timeline at all. Out-of-pocket cost to us? Gas for appointments and a $3 prescription for after-care eyedrops.

The outcome - the fog that had taken over my left "bad" eye is lifted, and I have my good old "bad" eye back, giving me information and shapes and colours and peripheral vision of movement again. Colours are brighter out of that side than they are the right. And two weeks of sleep-depriving worry is behind me. It's a good feeling.




Blogger Dann said...

Did they correct your vision so you wouldn't need glasses as well?

3:35 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Dr. Harrington's prescription: fresh cool sheets, fluffy pillows, a purring cat, and as many 12-hour sleep nights as you can stand.

There is no cost for this service, either, but it's probably close to that in worth.

Congratulations, ms. cat.

6:58 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Dear Dann:


Bless your heart for the laugh, though.

Dr. Harrington:
By happy coincidence your Rx has been followed since returning from the follow-up visit at his office this a.m. (All is well.) Worth more than the whole deal put together, you're right.

Thank for the good thoughts. I can always count on finding them here.


7:22 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

Take care.

3:41 a.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

As it happens, I cracked a tooth yesterday and had to go to the dentist. I say "had to" because I've been watching this tooth and was hoping to put off fixing it until 2012 so that the money drawn from my retirement account would not be considered income this year. But, when the tooth splits, you have to go in. It will have to be extracted and an implant put in, which I will have to postpone until next year, since another $3,000 would really impact my taxes this year. However, the temporary repair cost a couple of hundred dollars, and I asked at the desk if I could pay half now and half next week, since paying it all would pretty much tap me out and it would take about a week for the check from my IRA account to arrive. And they said no, they wanted their money, all of it, right now, but that they were sure I could wait for the check myself.

I say this to remind you that you live in a civilized nation where people don't walk around with things wrong with them because they can't afford to have them fixed right now.

And that I don't.

8:47 a.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

The only thing Sherwood forgot is the full-fat ice cream of your choice.

Writing about it really will be a service to readers who want a sense of what to expect. In medical matters, an awful lot of solid and reliable online info sources brush off apprehension, probably to keep readers from endangering their health by avoiding unpleasant things (think: colonoscopies), but non-information only makes it worse. When they won't say anything except "Don't worry your little head" that always says "red flag" to me.

As for Mike's recent experience - yeah. It's become a common experience in the US to have a medical wish list. And I don't mean for trivial and cosmetic items but for real problems. Maybe i'll go add some items to my win-the-lottery wish list by clicking the amazon widget on Comic Strip of the Day - hey, a nickel is a nickel...

4:32 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Just as long as the ice cream of choice isn't Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls. That shouldn't be encouraged.

Diane and I have a wish list, too, and it's all teeth. Even though we do have dental insurance, the yearly maximum benefit is laughably inadequate for more than one tooth repair per year per person. O Canada, I stand in awe of thee.

8:10 p.m.  
Blogger Dann said...

Ummm....wasn't really trying to entertain there. Or perhaps I am thinking of a different procedure. My dad had cataract surgery a while back and they offered to fix his vision so he wouldn't need glasses.

He opted not to go that route.

6:52 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

glad it went well. nothing like it. i can't even remember mine much, other than the funny little shield they gave me to tape over my eyeball lest i poke myself in the eye. i still have it. eyeball and shield both.

7:56 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Sorry, hon, thought you were kidding. They didn't offer to correct my vision; the cataract surgery was covered by Medicare, Lasik vision correction is not, perhaps that's why. I believe it costs around $2500 to have the Lasik surgery in Canada. Also, they only did one eye; so to correct the vision would have complicated the process significantly.

8:34 p.m.  
Blogger The Bird Lady said...

Glad to hear everything went well, Sis. (Sorry for the delay, my computer went wonky and it just got fixed) :)

8:58 a.m.  

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