Tuesday, October 7, 2014 was cataract surgery day for my right eye, to remove the cataract which was caused from the gas bubble placed in that eyeball to heal my macular hole.
We were at the facility by 6:30 in the morning. I did NOT like how the processing “system” worked. There were two people ahead of me, seated in the waiting room. When I went up to the window, the girl asked for my driver’s license, insurance card and credit card to pay my co-pay and the $200 which insurance would not be covering, all for a total of $420. The clerk said that she would call me when she was finished checking me in. Despite my distrust, I left my cards with her as the previous patients had also done. It was probably 20 minutes later when she called me to return my cards and have me sign for the bill.
Another twenty minutes later, my name was called and I was led back to the area where I would be physically processed. The nurse quickly reviewed my information, took temperature, blood pressure (103/64) and attached the “port” thing for the IV, my shirt was replaced with a hospital gown and I was moved across the hall to another waiting area where the nurse began putting drops into my eyes every few minutes. I felt that the nurses were way overworked as they herded us patients through the hallways and waiting rooms. One might refer to it as “orderly” but I felt like cattle. Yet, there were no glitches in their system, so, I take back my negativity. Dr. Pickard and his staff have worked hard to make his surgery center run like clockwork – successful surgeries, informed, knowledgeable staff.
Forty-five minutes went by as I waited and withstood eye drops before the male nurse called my name and we walked back to the surgery room. I climbed up on the table, laid down and tubes and wires were attached, along with more eye drops. The OR nurse also began swabbing my eyelid with several different solutions – probably antiseptics and then the doctor came in.
I was conscious during the surgery, which I expected, but I could also “see” undiscernable shapes with a few colors. The doctor began working on my eye and within what seemed like five minutes was finished.
I was wheel-chaired to a new waiting room where my blood pressure was taken (137/85) and offered something to drink. Before I even took 2 sips of my orange juice bottle, I was shown to a room across the hall where my shirt was waiting for me in a plastic baggie, on a bed with five other plastic baggies with shirts in them, and told to dress.
After dressing, I returned to the waiting/recovery room to sit and finish my orange juice but I was told to leave and my husband helped me out of the building and into our vehicle – I took the bottle of orange juice with me.
On the way home, I realized that my eyeball hurt. My eyeball did NOT hurt after macular surgery which I believe is a much more extensive surgery than cataract surgery. I had never heard that cataract surgery is supposed to hurt. (Article about pain after cataract surgery here.)
I phoned the surgery center to ask if I could take some medication that I already have at home. The nurse I spoke with sounded irritated with me and told me that I would have to call my doctor’s office. I told her that my doctor is there, where she is, at the Surgery Center, why would I call his office. “Just call his office!”
Of course, phoning his office got me nowhere other than the clerks telling me to come in to the office. “WHAT? I just left the surgery center, we are NOT driving all the way back to town to see a nurse! WHY wasn’t my eye checked before I left the surgery center???”
I grunted and asked to find out what drug was administered to make me groggy. I needed to know this so that I could safely take a pain medicine that I have in my arsenal at home. At least the nurse was able to tell me the drug used was Versed and it would be safe for me to take either Flexeril or Percocet. I chose Flexeril because Percocet just makes me sleep and constipated.
I awakened after an hour nap and could not see out of my right eye, everything was white and cloudy and my eyeball HURT!! I am a very crabby person when I am in chronic pain.
I left the kitchen a mess but did feed the dogs and administer their shots, then I went to relax in the recliner and watch Ancient Aliens. I dozed off.
At bedtime, I used my two different eye drops, took a Mobic for inflamation and another Flexeril so that I could sleep and I wore my pirate’s eye patch to bed. It stayed in place all night.
Wednesday morning, I opened my eyes and my right eye saw CLEARLY!! Well, clearly except for the distortion from the macular hole damage which is still there. I was amazed at the intensity of COLORS! I closed my left eye and scanned my surroundings with my newly cleared right eye, I never realized how much “blue” was in lighting! Then I closed my right eye and was amazed at the difference in my left eye. Everything was “yellowed”, like incandescent lighting at night. Wow!
The pain was gone. My right eye would be in perfect 20/20 condition if not for that blasted macular hole distortion. But… there is still time for it to maybe heal even farther, it has only been two months, maybe by the six month anniversary, the distortion will have waned and be nearly unnoticeable.
The post-op visit with the Optometrist went alright. My vision tested at 20/30. It would have been 20/20 if not for the macular hole distortion. Pooey! I did mention that I was experiencing some “flittering” on the right side of my eyeball and the top of it. The Optomestrist told me that was normal and would dissipate within a few days, weeks or even months, but that it is normal in many patients. (Here is more information on healing after cataract surgery.)
Ok, now all I have to do is two more follow-up appointments for this and then, hopefully get a contact for my left eye, maybe. I do not know if mono-vision is possible now that I have that distortion in my right eye. I can hope though!
THANK YOU Dr. Darrell J. Pickard, MD, for your surgical expertise and caring about your patients to the extent that you have quality, intelligent, medical staff!!