Living Retired: ‘IS CATARACT SURGERY ALL IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE?’
‘IS CATARACT SURGERY ALL IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE?’
You know I do not make this stuff up, right? Just saying…
My cataract surgery a week ago was, well, eye opening! The hospital-supplied drugs were lights out. Poor word choice but you know what I mean.
The following afternoon the ophthalmologist called. “Gary, the procedure went well.” He explained the ‘fogginess’ in my eye would clear up in a week. He spoke using OHIP fee-approved terminology — medical words not clear to my eyes, err, ears.
The past week has been a strict regime applying various drops in the eye every hour.
“Jan, my eye is foggy so I cannot see where to drip the drops. Can you drip my drops for me?”
“Gary, I will help but do I drip your drops, or should I drop your drips?”
“Jan, I don’t care whether you drop my drips or drip my drops — just make sure you don’t drop the ball! This is important.”
During recovery I am not allowed to kneel, bend over, or lift objects heavier than 5 pounds. So, Jan assumed the laundry detail, carried the groceries in from the car, and bent over to tie my shoelaces. These are some of the advantages of having cataract surgery — along with being able to clearly see the porch pirates running away with your Amazon deliveries.
Evenings, I was instructed to wear an eye patch while sleeping. The blue and white patch looks like a small Spiderman mask, about the size of a Molson’s Beer coaster. You stick it in place by applying long strips of white surgical tape — you thought I was going to say duct tape, didn’t you?
The first night I was not a pretty picture. I wrapped so damn much surgical tape around my head to secure the patch over my eye that by the time I reached the bed my face looked like I was the phantom in Phantom of The Opera. With my housecoat as my cape, I sang: “Slowly… gently… night unfurls its splendour; Grasp it… sense it… tremulous and tender.”
Jan was blunt. “Gary, knock off the singing. You look more like Jason in Friday the 13th!” Her exact words were, “LOOKING LIKE THAT YOU WILL CLIMB IN THIS BED OVER MY DEAD BODY!”
The medication causes constipation, and the medication to counter the constipation works well. The instructions should say if you miss a dose DO NOT double up! WHOA! Just saying.
I felt I was a burden on Jan, so I had an idea…
I rummaged through some office supplies to find an old desk call bell. You know the type: it is silver, about the size of a Budweiser Beer coaster. When you tap the stem on top of the bell it rings out to get someone’s attention.
Ring. Ring. Ring. “Jan, can you please make me another coffee? No sugar, sugar.”
Jan’s exact words were, “GARY IF YOU RING THAT CALL BELL ONCE MORE YOU WON’T NEED TO HAVE YOUR SECOND EYE OPERATED ON!!!”
Four days into my recuperation it happened…
I was topping up Jan’s wine glass. I missed the glass goblet, splashing wine all over the table! My depth perception was off. Later, I missed a step on the stone patio and went down smacking my side against a decorative wood divider! WHACK!
The hospital physician discharged me with heavy-duty painkillers, saying, “Gary, it will take 6 weeks for your 3 broken ribs to heal. Practice deep breathing to prevent pneumonia.” Note to doctor: with broken ribs breathing in sucks.
My friends have empathy for me. Lew sent a text message, “Gary for our first football tailgate we are barbecuing — ready for it — ribs!”
This morning, I am preparing for my follow-up appointment with the ophthalmologist. The patch over my eye is held tight by rolls of white surgical tape circling my head — picture in your mind Jacques Plante’s goalie mask! I am walking gently, my ribs ache! My psyche bruised.
I am a sight for sore eyes.