Monday, 17 March 2008
The hounds of hell have nothing on my sister Jacquie for sniffing out prey, sinking her teeth into them, not letting them go, and becoming their friend. My eye needed to be done and as far as Jacquie was concerned it was going to get done.
The poor nurse at the ophthalmologist’s office was about to discover Jacquie’s perfectly nice manner of water torture, which included my mother’s treatment of killing people with kindness. I knew the lady would not have a chance and that Jacquie would wear her down, phone call by phone call by phone call. drop drop drop. (Just an aside: When I went to the office, the nurse and receptionist told me how amazing my sister is. She is incredible. Yeah, yeah, she is.)
End result: in record time I was scheduled for emergency eye cataract surgery.
This is how it played out.
I have been called by the optometrist and been told that the ophthalmologist would be able to see me sometime in May. I tell her I will call the ophthalmologists office myself and see if I could get in sooner. I relay this information to Jacquie.
A few days later Jacquie flies into the house and tells me I am scheduled for emergency surgery on Saturday of the following week. I have to get a pre-op done first (which she has already scheduled) and have it into the ophthalmologist’s office by Monday. I will have an appointment on Friday and they will do the surgery on Saturday. ‘Isn’t this great?’ “Well NO not really.”
At this point I was “For shit sake Jacquie.” This attitude continued for the next week.
Blood tests, E.K.G., chest x-rays done on Friday and pre-op (along with pap and rectal exam for good measure) done on a Sunday afternoon.
Monday morning Jacquie calls to tell me the ophthalmologist office needs to see me at 3:15 that day. “For shit sake Jacquie.”
Go to appointment and doctor tells me that he will be doing my left eye on Friday. “I am sorry good Sir, but it is my right eye.” No, actually it is both of your eyes, you can’t see clearly out of either. Scheduled for laser surgery on Friday as I have a membrane growing over my lens and Cataract surgery on Saturday. “For shit sake Jacquie.”
Now this is where my story switches from “For shit sake Jacquie.” To “For Christ’s sake.”
Friday morning I go into a very crowded office. “For Christ’s sake.”
To my surprise, I am swept right in and get drops put in my eye. Sweet – this shouldn’t take long. Now I am put into a waiting room for over an hour. “For Christ’s sake.”
The room is full of my peers (the elderly). They are all dressed up to the nines. I am in sweats, no bra, and a sleeveless top. I look like a street person and they look like they are in church. “For Christ’s sake.”
One lady smells like powder and starts talking to me, I feel kinda dizzy. I need water, please excuse me. I get water and sit back down. “For Christ’s sake.”
Two ladies across from me are falling asleep (who could sleep in a room like this?). One man will not stop talking. “For Christ’s sake.”
Renee? Renee? I wake up from my sleep and almost fall from my chair.
Laser surgery takes about three minutes and consists of me placing my chin in a little groove, having a person hold my head pressed forward into a strap, and having a bright light shine into my eye. Lickety split. Yahoo.
Need a key to go to the washroom which is located out of the office, past the elevators and down the hall. Can now barely see, as good eye (which was also bad eye) is out of focus. Stumble to the bathroom, place key in hole, and stumble over at least a five inch step. “For Christ’s sake.”
Go to the car and Jacquie is no where to be seen. Stand there for a few minutes and see her strolling out of a coffee shop. I am back to “For shit’s sake Jacquie.”
Cataract surgery is the removal of the lens of the eye that has developed an opacification, which is referred to as a cataract. Following surgical removal of the natural lens, an artificial intraocular lens implant is inserted. The cloudy lens is removed piece by piece through a very small opening in the cornea by sucking the pieces through a thick needle like instrument. A plastic lens is put into the eye to replace the removed lens.
Wahid drops me off at the surgery centre on Vaughn Street. For us old-timers, just beside the old Vaughn Street Detention Centre for bad boys. I pay $300 for a foldable lens (by the way cancer and other ailments will take you to the poor house).
I am brought to a back room where I change and am told to lie down on a gurney. The nurse puts drops in my eyes continuously and asks me questions. Such as, which eye? What kind of bread do I want for my toast, white or brown? Peanut butter or jam? Tea, coffee or juice? (Who knew, we get a light breakfast after the surgery.) I answer her with no problem, as she is used to speaking in a louder volume to this segment of the population. Now she asks me “How much do you weigh?” What? “How much do you weigh?” Oh, okay, I hear her now. HOW MUCH DO I WEIGH? I tell her between 214 and 220, I couldn’t believe she felt she needed to whisper that to me. Like I give a shit about anyone knowing how much I weigh. The anesthetist comes to talk to me and is going to give me a mild sedative through intravenous. I say, no I am fine. I don’t need anything.
He says that I seem quite relaxed and that it is no problem. He wheels me in. As they are prepping me for the surgery, the surgeon yells “She has something in her hand.” Scared the shit out of me. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see that I had a row of bombs wrapped around my waist. “She has a Kleenex. Did she touch her eye?” I guess he couldn’t ask me because I was right beside him with my head practically on his lap. The nurse asks me if I touched my eye and I tell her that NO, I just wiped the other eye (my left one). Okay, don’t touch it, it has to stay sterile.
I get the surgery which takes about 30 minutes. Not bad throughout except at one point I did feel like I was going to faint because I couldn’t breath under the tarp and at another point I wondered if the bright light that people say they see at the end of their days was just a flashback of cataract surgery.
Eye hurt after. Not painful, more like discomfort. Nurse brings me my tea and toast along with two Tylenol. After 10 minutes the nurse asks me if it is still ouchy? I reply in my two-year-old manner that yes, it is still ouchy.
Anyway, that is all now behind me. Jacquie, I owe you. When you are an old lady and need cataract surgery, I hope that I will be here like the hounds of hell to make things happen for you.