5 Years ago I went in for “simple cataract surgery”. You know, everyone that has that comes home, exclaiming, “Wow, everything is so bright, beautiful and clear, again!”. Not me. The day they removed the bandages, I was horrified because I had these prisms running through my vision. If I was in a room with pot lights in the ceiling, I was literally blinded.
This is what I see when I am in a brightly lit room or outside in the sun.
(A friend took a picture facing the bright light in the late afternoon, and when I saw it, I excalimed that this is what I see all the time!)
I complained to my doctor, who assured me that he had done a wonderful job and that everything was fine and I needed to recover and relax.
I waited, and things almost seemed to get worse. After nearly a year, I went to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center one day with Hubby, who was having a physical, and while I was there, I happened upon the Ophthalmology Clinic. I stood for a moment and then went in and made an appointment.
I had test upon test. Appointment after appointment. Finally after almost 6 months the doctor I saw said he could cure all my problems with laser surgery.
So I went in and he zapped my eye.
What I did not know was that he also put three holes in my retina at the time. Slow leaks developed, putting pressure on the retina, and two days after Christmas, my retina detached.
It was the oddest thing. Christmas Eve Hubby and I were skiing and I noticed that I had lost the peripheral vision in that eye. We talked about it on the ski lift and decided to watch it.
Nothing really changed over Christmas or even the day after. Then on the 27th I was sitting in the office on the computer IM-ing with my friend Uschi in Germany, when I totally lost the vision in that eye!
Hubby was gone that day to a closing on land we owned in southern New Hampshire, (that was before there was good cell phone coverage up here). I tried to reach him and after a bit, I did, and he said I should call the doctor and go to the hospital.
I called the doctor. A man who always made me feel like I was wasting his time, and was told to come right away to the hospital, which is 55 miles from here, all on back country roads.
I attempted to call neighbors and friends, but with no luck. Okay, I thought, I can do this. I got into my Jeep and drove myself. It was very odd driving with only the vision in my right eye. I drove slowly but I did make it.
I remember thinking that there was really nothing wrong and this doctor would be upset that I wasted his time.
I arrived and was escorted into his office, the technician dilated my eye, and then I waited. Finally Dr. Grumpy came in, looked into my eye, stopped, got up took me by the hand and led me across the hall to another office. He told me to sit down and wait.
Dr. C. came in, a man I’ve gotten to know very well, he looked into my eye and said, “You have a retinal detachment”, he asked me to wait a moment and disappeared. He wasn’t gone long and when he came back he said, “I have my 1st surgical team here and we can operate in an hour.
I became very scared and asked, “So, what happens if I don’t have the surgery?”
“You stay blind.”
So I was walked down to the pre-operative area and Dr. C. gave me a physical and got me ready for the surgery. At that time, I couldn’t reach Hubby on the phone. (Bad cell phone reception) The nurse came in and told me that they didn’t like to operate unless a relative had been notified. So I called my sister.
I’d been so brave up until I heard her voice. When I told her what was going on, I lost it and started to really weep. She promised to keep trying Hubby’s cell phone and told me she loved me.
The surgery took over three hours, and Hubby arrived during that time. I remember seeing him after the surgery, and mercifully being so drugged up that I didn’t cry, even though I sure felt like it.
Over the next few years I had four more surgeries to remove debris from that eye. The debris caused fog in my field of vision, leaving me unable to read very much. (Although I did get through the latest Harry Potter book when it was released. It took forever because i could only read a few pages at a time.)
Last winter, when I realized that the retinal problem was pretty much fixed, I began to wonder if the original problem I had with the glare, prisming and bright light blinding me, would be with me forever, I asked Dr. C for a referral to a corneal doctor.
Hubby and I had done some research and learned that the lens in my eye had cause the same problems for other patients and that a doctor in Germany, had been doing lens replacements. I had, in fact located his research paper and read it.
I saw Dr. M. who looked at my eye and literally didn’t know what to do. In fact I think I scared him. He promised to read up and get back to me.
I knew I would never let this guy touch me in an operating room, and when he didn’t respond to my visit, I finally wrote to Dr. C. and asked for a referral to Massachusetts Eye and Ear, in Boston. Dr. C. called me and said he had researched the doctors available and that there was a woman in Boston at Tufts New England Medical Center who was an expert in this area.
Amanda drove me down to see her in June and she listened to me, examined my eye and in a minute she knew what no one else had for the last 5 years. I needed a lens replacement. I was so shocked that someone finally knew exactly what I needed and wasn’t alarmed and she was actually doing these replacements quite frequently. Her calm demeanor, her friendliness and her expertise made me relax.
The surgery is not without risk, and is technically a challenge for her, but the odds are in my favor. After weighing my options, and thinking about another 30 or 40 years with the poor vision that I have, I decided to have the surgery. It will be next Tuesday, August 22nd.
I’m nervous, and yet I am also hopeful. I just need to get through the next week and then I can get it done and I will know if my vision has been restored, or if the operation failed.
I am trying to think only positive thoughts. My vision will be restored and all will be well. Life will be normal and good!