Though my procedure to have the plaque removed wasn’t scheduled until 2 pm, we were called in a 9am and arrived at 8:30am.
Suddenly after four days of being by myself or with Holly, I was around an entire hospital of people of all ages. I was acutely aware that I was radioactive and had been told to avoid children and pregnant women.
Ended up in the elevator with a teenager. I assumed their exposure was minimal, otherwise the hospital would have taken more precautions to keep me away from people. But I still felt very self-conscious about it
When we checked into he surgery lounge we made them aware I was wearing radioactivity and they did put us in a separate room for a minute. Then someone came in and told us to check in at a different desk. I was asked to fill out a form and told to sit down in the general area. A few minutes later a nurse came out and said no we couldn’t sit there, then she told us to return to the room where we had originally been, away from the general population.
Holly & I sat from about 8:45 am until 2:05 pm when I was called up for surgery.
Holly had the chance to go get some breakfast and take care of a few things. I was allowed a glass of water since my scheduled 2pm surgery was 5 hours away
There was a challenging drilling type sound just outside or above the room. Some construction was ongoing.
Fortunately the hospital provides a wi fi and we both had laptops with us. Holly was able to connect to it, but I couldn’t. I was, however, able to connect through her Smart phone hotspot.
The first 3 hours actually passed quickly because we were both engaged with computer tasks. As 12:45 came I became concerned we had not been called up to pre-op. We were then told that the call would likely not come for another 45 minutes. We engaged in conversations about various things and when 1:30 arrived, I became concerned that the radioactive disk may end up being on my eye too long. We asked again. They then said they talked to the doctor and he said everything was OK and we would be called soon.
Finally around 2:05 we were taken up. I changed into the hospital gown and saw some of the doctors, new nurses and anaesthetists.
The Second Procedure
Finally I was taken back. This procedure, though similar to the one previously described, was much quicker.
The local anesthetic was applied which caused the temporary blindness though not as complete as during the procedure to attach the plaque four days before. I could see some shadows with the eye they were working on.
They quickly removed the plaque, removed sutures, did some cleansing, gave me a shot and added a new patch over the eye. Not more than 15-20 minutes.
Once again I had a bandage over my eye with instructions to remove it the next morning and begin a regimen of Prednisilone (optical prednisone) in the eye 4 time per day.
Fortunately post-op did not include the hard drugs they gave me after the first procedure. Once out of the hospital I was pretty much just feeling a mild sedative effect from Versed. On the way home I was able to go with Holly into the drug store and then we grabbed french fries again.
That evening I was quite energized and cooked dinner. I think my adrenaline was kicking in after feeling like a pariah for four days. I was also looking forward to getting back home the next day.
I slept well and in the morning, Holly removed the bandage. The immediate effect was extreme disorientation as I was struck with the fact I had a severe case of double vision. Not just double, but warped as well.
Squinting as I looked in the mirror, I could make out that my left eye was still dilated and there was only a little sliver of white along the pupil. The rest of the eye was deep blood red. As I tried to walk, I had trouble sensing the floor and where I should step. I went and sat for about ten minutes to try to get used to the double vision. At that time I began to become aware how to describe the manifestation.
If you were to take two copies of the same image and place them side by side. You would keep the horizon of the right image level. But the left image’s horizon would be on a tilt, the right side higher than the left. There would also be he sense that the right side was farther away and the left side was nearer – a sense of perspective. Plus the left image just did not fit over the right. They could not be brought in sync.
However, once I had this understanding, I was able to stand better.
I did all my packing and awaited the arrival of my friend Michael. Michael and I have known each other since we were tikes – about 5 years old. Though we’ve not seen each other in many years, he was in town this summer and graciously took care of driving me to Charlottesville on the previous Wednesday evening and was about to drive me back.
I was concerned that the double vision and the experience of being in a moving car might trigger some vertigo, but it didn’t. In fact the ride helped me to start getting used to the double vision.
Next installment: Back Home and allowing the eye to heal from the trauma of the surgeries.