The Eyes Have It

Oh, readers, it’s been crazy around the O.K. Chorale. In the midst of Christmas and birthday shopping, in the throes of one health issue after another, my left eye decided to go its own separate way.

Translation: the retina detached in my left eye.

In lieu of a complex narrative, here are a few highlights.

I learned:

  • the difference between Urgent and Emergency surgeries
  • How to reattach a retina in three easy steps (I’m kidding — do not try this at home)
  • why detailed protocols in surgery double and triple check everything
  • how to be guided rather than be the sighted guide
  • how much I miss reading when my reading ability is limited
  • I can tolerate three straight days without coffee if I must.
  • it’s possible to be sedated and still feel tense

Access to medical records is important. No, it’s huge.

  • In the ER Wednesday night, the ER doc read through the notes from Dr. Shoes, the neurologist, before even seeing me. He was able to rule out another episode similar to stroke almost immediately.
  • Eye Doc from cataract surgery was the opthalmologist on call Wednesday night. He had my history.
  • By the time I saw Dr. Retina Thursday morning, he had already started the wheels turning, scheduling a surgery room and all its trimmings and trappings.
  • Even though my records were available at the click of a mouse, pre-op procedures include verifying everything.

You may have noticed a hint about verification and double checking all details. When I walked in to register at the Alewives Surgical Center (not its real name), the clerk pulled up the file and said, “Oh, you’re having surgery on your right eye.” “No,” I corrected, “it’s the left eye.” She dove into Double Check mode and made a call to verify which eye this should be. As dear husband “Chuck” joined me, we decided to verify this ourselves each and every step of the way. After getting blood drawn, having an IV hooked up, changing into OR fashion, and talking to the anesthesiologist, Dr. Retina came in with a sharpie marker and made a note next to my left eye. He joked that we’d probably heard of mistakes, they were extremely rare, and this was one way he made sure he got the correct eye. We told him that I’d been met at the admissions desk with a greeting that included the right, er, wrong eye.

Dr. Retina was not pleased. After my surgery was finished, he had the trail of information traced until he’d tracked down the source of the error. The confusion came in the game of telephone from ER Doc to Doc Cataract to Dr. Retina. Somewhere in that train, Left was noted as Right. The preliminary information came into Dr. Retina’s office as Retinal Detachment, Right Eye. He corrected his records after examining me, but somewhere this incorrect detail slipped through the cracks.

So folks, friends, family, and fellow bloggers, the left eye is now healing, and my plans for the next few weeks are changed a bit. Here we are, almost at Christmas, and suddenly any shopping plans are modified. Here’s the new to-do list.

  • Incorporate eye drop schedules into daily routine.
  • Finish ordering online ASAP for getting things shipped in time.
  • Modify gift list to include more homemade and less store bought.
  • Make an accurate list and go out shopping with Chuck at the wheel.
  • Hide Chuck’s gifts at the bottom of the cart so he doesn’t see them.
  • Cards? This year cards might not go out. Love you, peoples, but there are priorities.

 

3 thoughts on “The Eyes Have It

  1. We know all about changing priorities, but that doesn’t mean we wanted you to experience it. Yes, and when you are going to have a lumpectomy, you want that Sharpie to confirm the right, er, correct body part! Of course, we are sure that all is forgiven when the cards don’t go out and the cookies don’t get baked, because we are in the same spot, but without the eye patch.

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