Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Excuse the typos. I can’t see well as my eyes are dilated from today’s ophthalmic exam. I have bilateral cataracts, it turns out, as well as something that causes drooping of the left eyelid. I couldn’t resist the internet and found there are four possibilities for the latter: third cranial nerve palsy, Horner's syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and musculotendinous disorder of the levator. You got all that?

The eyesight in my left eye started getting a mite strange about two months ago but I put it down to stress and post-chemo reaction. It hasn’t gotten better and a couple of days ago I noticed a definite worsening blurring.

I mentioned it to Arielle, whose father is a pediatric ophthalmologist and who herself has had vision issues. She suggested I get the condition looked at. Suggested is a polite word.

This morning a very nice nurse put a variety of drops in my eyes that stung, burned, and dyed the whites of my eyes yellow for that elegant jaundiced look. He explained to me that he washed his hands about 200 times a day, which is more than me from August to December. He recommended Shea Butter Hasnd Cream, which is slightly more expensive but well worth it.

The doctor I saw reminded me that I had been her patient after what I will refer to as the gardening incident, during which I lacerated a retina by injudicious use of a hedge trimmer. She remembered me, she said, because hedge trimmer mishaps are rather rare in the ophthalmic trade. She also put drops in my eyes, made me read letters on a faraway wall, hmmed a couple of times and told me there was a slight chance of the aforementioned odd eyelid disease. She explained that though the surgery to correct that situation was not complex, the paperwork involved was. My provider does not do elective facial surgery to make a patient look better, and the eyelid procedure is just that unless it can be categorically diagnosed as a disease or injury. She gave me disposable sunglasses that I am told are very dashing.

The cataract surgery is simple. I’d get both eyes done in one procedure and would be well on my way to recovery within a day or two. It’s one of the most commonly done procedures world-wide. Still, the idea of someone cutting away part of my eyes and implanting little plastic lenses is horrifying. I’m going to do it of course, but I can’t say I’m elated. More than anything, I am getting terminally tired of clinics and doctors and nurses, even very pleasant ones who wash their hands 200 times a day.

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