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_POSTEDON 2002-05-16 17:32:48 by jimmyd

News jimmyd _writes "PART ONE:

I finally had my eye surgery today and things did not go so smoothly as I figured they would, uhm, wouldn't....whatever.

You may remember what happened last time I went to have this eye surgery performed. If not, you might want to read my account of that experience first. You can read it by clicking HERE. After reading, just hit your back button to return to this story and continue.

As instructed, I arrived at the Outpatient Surgery Clinic at precisely 7:00 A.M. There was no one at the reception desk. In fact, there was no one anywhere to be seen. I found myself a seat, sat down, and waited.

At about 7:30 A.M. a woman with a Spanish accent (I later found out was Cuban), came out and asked, in a loud voice, if anyone was there for surgery. I looked about the room. I was the only one present, even though she called this out as if she were addressing an auditorium filled with people. I raised my hand. "I'm here for surgery," I said.

She looked me over, looked back at the clipboard in her hand, then back up to me. "Eye-es-surgery?" she asked with her Cuban accent as if it were one word.

"Yes," I answered.

"Come," she wagged her finger in my direction.

I got up and walked to her. Suddenly my doctor arrived. He came quickly over and shook my hand. "There's been a slight change," he tells me, "I won't be performing the surgery today."

Now this is interesting since he was a replacement for the first surgeon who cancelled on me twice before. "Is there a problem?" I asked.

"No, they've just decided to let Dr. V__ do it. Don't worry. She's very good. She's done this over fifty times before and she'll be assisted by Dr. A___ who will be be in charge of the operation."

"Dr. V___ is doing the surgery, but Dr. A__ , who is in charge, is her assistant?

"Don't worry," he cuts me off, "You're in good hands. Good luck!" And with with that, he turns on his heels and walks off.

The Cuban nurse suddenly grabs me by the arm and pulls me through the doorway into the surgical area. "Come. You're late and now we're late!" She says rather unkindly.

"I wasn't late!" I say in my defense as she drags me down a stark, flourescent-lit corridor. "I was here right on time! You guys were late." But she's not listening to me as we arrive at my pre-op room. It's the same room I was taken to weeks before. I begin to ponder the cosmic significance of this when my thoughts are broken by her Cuban barking, "Take off your clothes and put on the gown! Please hurry! You've made us very late."

I'm about to defend myself on the late issue again, but she hustles out of the room. Now I'm left to struggle into a hospital gown that is once again about nine sizes too small. I barely get myself covered when another nurse enters. No Cuban this time; I now have a Filipino.

"I have to dialate your eyes," she says, "We're very late. Why were you so late?"

"I wasn't late. I was here on time. There was no one there!"

"You should have called," she says, "We were here waiting."

"I should have called who? No one told me to call anyone. They just said to be here at seven."

"Well, you still should have called. Now we have to dialate your eyes quickly."

And let me tell you, they put that eye-dialator shit in my eyes every minute on the minute for about ten minutes! The stuff was dripping down the side of my face for around the eighth time when the anesthesiologist comes in (ethnicity unkown as I could never figure it out, but he was slightly Asian yet slightly Western, so I'm thinking maybe Siberian or something else from the Eastern frontiers of the former USSR). Anyway, my Cossack starts asking me about allergies and have I ever had Hepatitus, and he's marking my answers on this clipboard and I'm about to ask him what kind of sedative I'm going to get because I know they are going to do this with me awake, but they will still slightly sedate me, but he bails out before I get the chance to ask.

Now the Filipino nurse is poking the I.V. needle into the back of my hand and some other guy, I don't really know who he was or what his job was supposed to be begins hooking me to the EKG and the other monitors and everyone's working at light speed and they all seem none to pleased with me because I guess the general consensus was that *I* was late, and that *I* would probably be responsible for everyone getting off of work late when in comes Dr. V__, my petite, cute, Asian surgeon who looks awfully familiar. The first thing out of her mouth is "We're all trying to get you prepped very quickly because you were so late so please cooperate."

"Cooperate? I'm not cooperating?" Now I'm getting nervous. I wasn't late. I know it, but no one else does. And I've been nothing but cooperative. But apparently the word is out on me. I don't know how it happened, but suddenly I have a bad reputation with the entire surgical team and they haven't even begun to have their way with me. To say I was growing incredibly anxious would be an understatement. And to make matters worse, I now realize that my surgeon was the very same Asian doctor who had been the one who had to tell me that my surgery was cancelled last time I was there, and I couldn't remember if I had gotten rude with her, but I was quickly convincing myself that I had. I had this vague memory of asking her and the nurses if they had been smoking crack when they came in and delivered the bad news last time I was there.

So now I'm feeling like a convicted murderer who's about to walk the long green mile. Yep, I'm completely convinced I'm fucked and....


As I lay there contemplating my fate, and I gotta tell you, it was a dismal fate I was contemplating, the bed begins to move. Quickly, I realize they're rolling me towards that very fate that I now so feared. Time seemed to stand still and only the ceiling tiles, which I stared up at, rolled by. It was like that long, long POV shot in the beginning of that Al Pacino movie where he's a Puerto Rican gangster and he's been shot I think at a train station, but then you have to watch the whole movie to figure out how he came to be shot and on a hospital gurney just like me. (I know I'll get a ton of emails with the answer.)

So finally we arrive in the O.R. and there's a lot of hustling and bustling going on around me, but no one is speaking or paying any attention specifically to me. When I say "me," I don't mean the slab of meat that is the "me" lying on the gurney. The slab of meat that is "me" they were now paying a lot of attention to as they secured my arms and put this breathing thing in my nose and started scrubbing around my eye. But the "me" that is truly "me?" I might have not even been there for all it mattered. So I'm about to object to this de-humanization of my body when suddenly the room starts to spin and I feel as if I'm starting to float like a balloon!

"Whoa!" I announce, "Who slipped me the mickey?"

I spot the Cossack anesthesiologist grinning as my Filipino nurse approaches. She smiles and asks, "Do you feel drunk?"

"Drrrunk?" I slur, "No, sssmore like ssstoned."

"No!" she snaps at me, "You don't feel stoned! Not stoned!" she wags a threatening finger at me, "You are relaxed. You feel sedated. We gave you a little something in your I.V. and you feel drunk. You don't feel stoned!"

"Holy Shit!" I think in my altered state and thankfully not out loud. I'm in some Orwellian Operating Room designed by the Bush Administration. Not the current Bush Administration... but the first one! And what are they afraid of anyway? That if the government finds out the 'little something' they give people makes them feel stoned they'll outlaw it?

"Oookay, your rrright. I'm rrrelaxed, maybe a little drrrunk," I tell the nurse. She seems pacified by my 'politically correct' response, but I'm now becoming very concerned about what I might say if they give me any more of the 'little something' they put in my I.V.

To be honest, at this point I wouldn't have been surprised if Dr. Mengele suddenly walked in. Not that I would know Mengele if I spotted him, but let's say Lawrence Olivier walked in and he was playing Mengele like he did in that movie with Gregory Peck and those dogs. You see what this 'little something' has done to me? I'm beyond stoned, I'm tripping! But I'm sure as hell not going to tell them that.

They now drape a sheet completely over my face with just this little hole cut out for my eye. In my slightly 'drunken' state, I'm thinking it's like one of those sheets the Hassidic Jews use to have sex with. And then a really bad-trip thought enters my brain: what if one of the doctors in the room is a Hassidic Jew, and what if he sees the little hole in the sheet, and what if someone slipped him a 'little something' and he forgets where he is and why he's there and... Damn! That fucking shit in my I.V. is really fucking with my head!

I can hear Dr. V___ on the phone. It seems Dr. A___, the assistant who is in charge, is late and she's calling his service and trying to reach him. Dr. V___ doesn't seem too happy as Dr. A___ is already over a half hour late. This is a really great fucking development. They're already unhappy with me because they think I was late and uncooperative. Now there might be some lack of harmony on the surgical team because Dr. A___ is late. I am truly fucked and I now know this beyond any sense of reasoning otherwise.

And to make matters worse, I still have my arms pinned to the sides of the gurney with the sheet over my face and I'm beginning to get a bad case of claustrophobia! I ask if they could pull the sheet away from my face a little just while we're waiting for Dr. A___ and they tell me "No!" because they've already scrubbed and disinfected and whatever else they do, but now my claustrophobia is getting really bad and I'm not going to take "No!" for an answer so I start to loudly bitch and whine which I know is the last thing I should be doing, but I can't help myself because that "little something" they gave me has wiped out any sense of good judgement I might normally have, and I know I'm truly signing my own death certificate with this bitch I'm pitching when suddenly someone, I have no idea who, pulls the sheet just a little away from my face and the claustrophobia completely and instantaneously disappears! (How's that for an extra-long, run-on sentence?)

Whoever pulled that sheet an inch or two from my face I owe my current sanity to. I'm sure they only did it to shut me up, but it doesn't matter. Whoever you are, I owe ya!

Dr. A___ finally arrives and it's immediately evident that he's a take charge kinda guy. He's suddenly barking orders at everyone in the room, including Dr. V___, who is the surgeon. I am instantly terrified of this Dr. A___ , who I can't even see and for all I know is a 4'11" - 90 lb. weakling, so I decide to keep my mouth completely shut.

More hustling and bustling goes on. I've now been in the O.R. for an hour or more, most of that time with my arms pinned, my face covered, and that 'little something' coursing through my veins, and still the surgery has not yet begun. I now hear the very scarey Dr. A__ mutter something about the microscope not working properly. Quickly, Dr. A___ and Dr. V___ and one of the nurses go to work on the scope. And whatever is wrong with it, they're blaming on some other doctor who was the last to use it. Personally, I could care less about who to blame. Just fix the fucking thing and let's get on with this, I'm thinking, when suddenly Dr. A___ announces that they'll have to get some technician in there to fix it so would someone please page the fix-it guy.

Now it's all bullshit talking and joking between the two docs while we wait for the tech. For all I know, they've brought in beer and pretzels for the whole surgical team because suddenly everyone is having *that* good of a time.

Five minutes... ten minutes... fifteen minutes... twenty minutes... still no tech. Finally, about a half-hour or so after calling the tech, he arrives, the party ends, and the tech proceeds to perform some minor mechanical tweaking and the scope is magically fixed within a freaking nano-second! I know beyond knowing that whatever it was it was something really, really stupid that the doctors overlooked and should have figured out, but they didn't! But did I say anything? Nope. No way. Why? Because I'm now petrified for the safety of my eye on so many levels I can't even count them all!

Dr. V__ tells me she'[s now going to begin by freezing my eye with some stuff I can't remember or pronounce but it rhymes with Novacaine. This requires injecting this stuff into my eye. I'm not going to describe the sensation of having hypodermic needles poked into one's eyeball because I don't want any of my readers puking on their computer screens and keyboards. To say it was unpleasant is a nice way to say it, and I'll leave it at that.

We're now nearly two hours in the O.R. and my surgery is finally beginning.

The procedure calls for the cataract to be broken apart using some kind of ultra-sonic equipment, and then the tiny pieces to be vacuumed out through a small incision. Unfortunately, Dr. V___ tells me after working on it for quite some time, the cataract is being stubborn and they're going to have to "dig it out the old fashioned way." I wasn't too thrilled with the terms "dig it out" or "old fashioned" since I'm supposed to be receiving the very best, high-tech care that modern Opthamologic medicine can offer, but I guess she figures she's speaking to a regular guy, so that was the best way to describe what she was about to do to my eyeball.

But I know what this means. This means they have to go to work with knives and scalpels and other things that once were held in the hands of Jack the Ripper. Again, I'll refrain from describing this in much detail for the same reason I refrained from describing what it felt like to have needles being poked into my eyeball. As you might guess, this was also very unpleasant.

At one point during the operation it really hurt and I whined something out to that effect. Here is the very scarey Dr. A___'s response to my whine: "This patient is talking too much. I think we should increase the sedation."

"No!" I pleaded. "I'll be quiet." I promised as I turned down a drug that under most other circumstances I would have been enjoying. And then I suddenly thought of how my parents would have loved to have discovered--many years ago--the magic technique of pinning my arms to my bed, putting a sheet over my face, sedating me, and poking needles in my eyes. I woulda been the best behaved kid on the planet!

Well, soon the surgery was over. Dr. V___ had successfully dug out the cataract the old fashioned way and inserted an artificial lens in my eye. I'm still troubled by the fact that there are actual sutures in my eyeball, and that they will be removing them in a few weeks, but I guess I'll fret over that later. I even got a 'Lens Implant Identification Card' that I'm supposed to carry with me forever, why I'm not sure. If anyone's interested in technical stuff, my bionic lens was manufactured by Alcon Laboratories. They slipped a "Model SA60AT Power 19.0 D" lens in there. It even has it's own serial number!

Today, I went for my 24 hours later check up. They removed the bandages and I still can't see much. They tell me the eye will get stronger each day though. There also is a bit of a problem with double-vision, but we're hoping that my brain compensates for that, otherwise it might mean a follow-up surgery to straighten out my eye which has turned away from center during those years it was blinded by the cataract. Time will tell. Right now, i just have to be careful not to bump it or scratch it or get water or anything else in it.

Periodic updates to the continuing saga of jimmyd's right eye will be brought to you in future installments of simplyjimmyd.com.


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