Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year

A new year, fresh start - every year we get a chance to improve our lives with new habits and healthier ways.
Here's to a happy and healthy new year.
I have been taking some time off due to vision problems. Well, with one cataract surgery done, and one to go, I have clear vision in my right eye, and blurry vision in my left. I play a little game with myself called "vision check", when the two eyes aren't working together and annoy me - first I shut my right eye and my vision is blurry on the left. Then I open my right eye and close my left eye. Better! It's alot like having two different views of life - one is cloudy and confusing, the other is clear and sharp edged.
I was younger than the patients at the surgical center by about 10-20 years. I felt sad for some of them as I heard that they hadn't followed pre-op instructions (one lady was hungry and had an entire breakfast before she came in). They had medical issues that had to be addressed before the surgery could begin (elevated heart rates and blood pressure seemed to be a common theme). The nurses kept telling me how "perfect" my vital signs were, etc. and were amazed that I had no "issues". Of course, age makes a big difference. I was born with cataracts and they never bothered me much except for glare at night, until they decided to cloud this fall. I thought I just needed new glasses when my eyes were having trouble adjusting between close work and distance. Glare was becoming a HUGE issue and I stopped driving at night the last month before my eye surgery (headlights were too much). I even thought it was just my right eye that clouded until they removed that cataract and replaced it with an implanted lens. That's when I realized my left eye was pretty cloudy, too - just not as bad in comparison to the right (before surgery).
Okay, beyond the personal update, here's a thought - we all need regular eye checks, no matter what our age. If a parent is having eye problems, it is good to have a support person with them when they go to have it checked. I was fortunate to have no major health issues, understood my instructions for the surgery, followed them, made sure my paperwork was complete, etc. before arriving for surgery. The IV medication relaxed me so much that the surgeon had to remind me to focus on the light during the surgery.
Now, throw in some medical issues (Diabetes, hypertension, etc.), some confusion about the instructions, and the actual procedure (flat on my back for over an hour before the surgery as numerous eye medications were put in my right eye, my face scrubbed before the surgery, then draped with an opening for the operative eye, covering the rest of my face, and the worst part was the clamp thing that held my eye open) and I could see someone without my medical training, alone, confused - it would be difficult, at best. It was difficult for me, and I had researched the procedure and discussed it fully with two doctors before having it done. It was not the worst thing I've ever had done (a closed MRI comes to mind), but, I'm glad I only need it done twice.
So, if you know someone who is having it done - a neighbor, friend, relative, they really do need your support. It made me feel more comfortable knowing my husband was there for me in the waiting area. My youngest daughter watched over me that afternoon as I slept off the aftereffects of the IV med, and I had her to drive me to the first post op appointment the next morning.
Pain wasn't much of an issue - my eye was swollen and sore, but, Tylenol was enough to help me sleep. The eye shield was a pain for the week I had to wear it, but, I didn't poke myself in the eye when I was sleeping. My eye was sensitive to light, so the dark sunglasses helped alot. My one week post op visit, I was 90% healed, had almost 20/20 vision in my right eye, and now, after 2 1/2 weeks, except for the occasional slight irritation, when my eyes are tired, I look forward to the clearer vision in my left eye. It's like the difference between watching a regular, older TV and a HD television - amazing!