Monday, March 7, 2011

On going through eye surgery

Our life situations throw a veritable feast of varied experiences; some sweet, some sour, some saturnine and some down right bad. Two similar situations occurring after a time gap may affect you differently, you never know. The sensitive mind aided by sharp observation visualizes them and tries to articulate the realization in the art form of one’s choice.

I was the protagonist in one such circumstance which I am going to share with you. I was managing my life all right with good vision in my right eye which I got operated upon for removal of cataract and implantation of lens a few years back. A few days back however, I decided to go for a similar operation for my left eye also, confident of gaining better quality of vision for both. It took me about a couple of days to prepare myself mentally and physically for the ordeal. (I had almost forgotten the previous one which was any ways a good one.) After discussing with a few of the neighborhood ladies who had undergone this surgery successfully from an ophthalmologist who is running a clinic at a convenient location from our house; off we went there for consultation. Now the problem in our country is that where ever or whenever you go to a medical facility, may be a government hospital, a free dispensary or a high end clinic, the scenario is the same. Throngs of people are seen in the corridors, waiting rooms and even verandahs waiting for their turn with the doctor. And the wait is lengthy and frustrating. The system of prior appointment does not work because of our lack of discipline and the sheer number of patients. Consequently there is a huge wastage of time, sometimes really unnerving.

We had the same experience of endless wait though we had been given specific time by the receptionist. Who cares! There is no dearth of patients. We waited and waited and finally I was taken to the optometrist who had a charming persona. After examining my eye and going through the reading drill he confirmed that I had cataract which needs to be removed and replaced with an IOL (intra ocular lens).My lens measurement was also taken and I was shown into the eye specialist’s room who after the required examination of the eye suggested that the surgery could be performed day after the following day. So my blood sugar was checked and an allergy test was also done in preparation for the surgery. At home the whole of the next day was spent in putting eye drops at fixed intervals and mentally preparing myself for the coming operation. Since I was asked to report at 6.45 in the morning after three insertions of eye drops at an interval of 15 minutes, I was to get up very early. Due to anxiety that I might not be late I had a very disturbing sleep and finally got up at four. After the morning ablutions and eye drops regimen I duly presented myself at the clinic at the appointed hour.

Interestingly, the same time was given to another patient who was already
present, when I reached there. So my turn which was said to be the first became second. Hereafter one and a half hour spell of anxious waiting ensued. Ultimately I was led up the stairs to a room adjoining the operation theatre where I was made to lie down before being given the anesthetic injections around my eye of which I was very much scared of and had told the doctor so. I screamed when the liquid was being injected because it was so painful and then another prick at a different place and already the area was losing pain sensation and getting numb. I was immediately taken to the operation theatre where the whole procedure took about half an hour and the surgeon’s remark; “You are very brave” made me feel good. But surely he must be making this statement for every patient to ease the trauma. My eye was bandaged and I was helped down the stairs .Momentarily I felt dazed but soon I was escorted to our car and got seated there to be driven home by my better half-who was my constant support throughout.

The next morning we went for the removal of the bandage and instructions for post operative care. And it is at this stage that I experienced an unexpected shock. First there was the usual inordinate delay. I had hoped that the operated patients would be given preference but nothing of that. At last when I was actually seated before the doctor, he removed the bandage and made me place my chin at a spot in the middle of the machine and asked me to open my eye. With baited breath I opened it to find a white haze blocking the seeing process. It was a nightmarish feeling and I let the doctor know it. For a second I felt as if thunder has struck me. Then the doctor allayed my fear by telling that it happens in some cases and with medication the vision would be restored but it would take more time. The next couple of days were very stressful for me. But during the week I could discern slow improvement everyday.

At the next visit after a week the doctor found the progress satisfactory and assured me that after about a month my vision would normalize. In the meantime I hope and pray that it should be so. But for the moment my left eye sees as much as it was before the surgery. I would continue to use medications for another month though.

So folks every experience has its own peculiar elements and sometimes totally unexpected ones which have the potential of changing the course of your life completely.