And I Thought that I Had Seen the Light
I have a tendency to do things lumped together. I shop for clothes, groceries, and things for around the house that way. Recently, I also lumped doctors together. In the past month or so, I have been to my dentist, Dr. Levitan, 3-times and another visit in a couple weeks. I have seen Dr. Marchand, my cardiologist, and Dr. Chen, my internist, once within that time span. I have also seen my eye doctor, Dr. Ireland, who sent me to an ophthalmologist surgeon, Dr. Menon. I have seen her a half dozen times and her nurse and lab techs more than that.
Several weeks ago, I had a routine appointment with Dr. Ireland. He has been my eye doctor for a couple of decades. I went to this recent appointment well aware that he had mentioned two years ago that I would have to address my cataract problem when I came back for my next routine eye exam, which was this past month. I trusted his prediction and was not surprised that he said that my cataracts were ripe, which is the term used among eye doctors to describe when surgery is necessary.
Dr. Ireland sent me to one of his associates, Dr. Menon, for the surgery. She examined my eyes and agreed that I needed the surgery. She sent me to the technicians to measure my eyes and to get various other readings.
Then I had to go to Dr. Chen, my internist, for a physical to assure all that I would make it through eye surgery. Then I went back to Dr. Menon for drops that I would start putting in my right eye the night before and when I woke up the next day prior to the surgery. All this was done with due diligence on my part and the doctor.
Finally, Friday, September 5 arrived, and I was in the surgery center by 7 am. I saw several operating nurses who administered what seemed like a dozen drops within an hour. The drops were to avoid infections and to dilate my pupil. One of the anesthesiologists came in to start an IV-drip prior to going into the operating room.
The staff wheeled me into the operating room. Now, I have been in operating rooms several times in my life, but this one was the largest operating room that I have ever seen. The size of the room overwhelmed me. I attempted to comprehend all this in a few seconds while an anesthesiologist started the sedative. Therefore, while I was busy estimating the size of the room, I also was amazed by all the equipment in the room. As the sedative started to work, about all that I could do was to scan the room and observe.
One thing that I clearly noticed was that my gurney was the only one in this room. Even though I was on my way to la-la land, I was able to figure out that another dozen other patients could have been there at the same time with doctors and nurses doing surgery during my cataract operation.
Aside from the large room, there was also a large pole with about 6-octopus arms radiating from it with two large lights, a TV monitor, binocular device, which Dr. Menon would use during the operation, and some other device. By that time, the sedation had taken affect, but I was awake! They tied my head to the table and put some mask over my face, which seemed to adhere to my skin. While my left eye was covered, I could see out of the right eye, upon which Dr. Menon was operating. I saw a bright, round circle and small blue and red pillars in the middle of the bright light.
I kid you not; it was a bizarre experience. I felt nothing and was not at all concerned about what was happening. I just quietly observed the bright light. Nevertheless, I did not realize that the doctor was in the middle of the surgery on my eye.
Dr. Menon makes a small incision at the edge of my cornea and does a phacoemulsification of the lens by means of an ultrasonic process. The ultrasound's vibration breaks up my old lens. Then Dr. Menon vacuums out the small pieces of the lens. With the old lens gone, an artificial lens takes its place. This surgical procedure takes about 10-minutes.
Then they wheeled me out of the operating room. Dr. Menon returned to the pre-op room where I was and gave me some instructions. Then she told me that she would see me at 4 pm that afternoon for a post-op checkup.
I went home to have something to eat since I have not eaten since the previous night. Then I went to see Dr. Marchand, my cardiologist at 1 pm for a routine checkup. At my previous routine checkup, I had asked him why I was so wired. It was at that office visit that he replied that I had seen the light.
The nurse took me to an examining room where she asked a couple of questions and said the doctor would be in a couple minutes. When Dr. Marshand came in, the first thing he asked was, "Have you been back to Myanmar yet?" He knew that I wanted to return with Joan Baez to Sule Pagoda in Yangon. I told him that I have tried to contact her but without any success.
This is a note to any of my readers, if you can get in contact with her, I will take you out for dinner before she and I to Myanmar. That is a promise. I know that Joan Baez would go with me to Sule Pagoda...if I could call her and tell her of my plan.
Then Dr. Marchand introduced me to a medical student who would be graduating in several weeks. The med student was observing him. Dr. Marchand then did the most thorough exam on me that I have ever had. I did not say anything, but I knew that this was being done as some teaching tool for this student. Finally, Dr. Marchand finished and turned to the student and said, "Now, you examine him and give me your diagnosis."
Again, I said nothing but this young soon-to-be-doctor was on the spot. He examined my heart thoroughly. He finished and paused before saying anything. Dr. Marchand broke the silence with a question about what he found.
The student hesitated for a second and replied about he thought he might have heard something in one part of the heart. However, then he added that he really did not know whether he really had heard anything. Then he said to Dr. Marchand that he thought that I was okay.
Dr. Marchand said, "Precisely." Then he talked about a previous patient that they had just seen. The other patient and I were the same age and taking blood pressure medication. Dr. Marchand pointed to me and said that I was engaged in addressing issues that were important to me and that I have traveled the world and just recently returned from Myanmar. Apparently, the other patient was not engaged and interested in things in life. Pointing again to me he added, "He is interested in helping the people in Myanmar, which gives him a reason for living. People need to have a purpose. He has a purpose."
Then I returned to see Dr. Menon. She looked at my right eye. All was well and set up my appointment for removing the cataract from my left eye on September 19. Two weeks later, the left eye went through the same process. And I returned later that day for the post-op exam. I told Dr. Menon that the clarity of my eyesight and the brightness of light are amazing. I understood the clarity, but could not figure out why everything seems much brighter. She explained that my eye and brain have to adjust to brightness. In several weeks the brain will reprogram itself and the level of brightness will adjust itself.
I told Dr. Menon about Dr. Marchand's comment about my seeing the light after returning from Myanmar...but this a very bright light. Talk about seeing the light!
The next two videos are from the Internet of cataract operations. They are similar to my operations.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.