Eye surgery, yet again, and some bluegrass and big cats
by Rob Tiller
On Monday at 5:15 a.m. Sally took me over to Duke Eye Center in Durham. It was my third eye operation in the past 10 months, and the routine was familiar. Again the hospital gown didn’t quit fit, and again they checked the various systems (temperature, blood pressure, reflexes, etc.). There were several checks to make sure they were working on the right eye – that is, the left – and checks to make sure I had no allergies or other ailments. As my preop nurse observed, I was a very healthy man, except for the eye.
The operating room was cold. I asked my nurse anesthetist if this was purely for hygiene, and she said it was also good for the surgeons not to get too hot. That sounded reasonable – I wouldn’t want them dripping sweat. As they got me situated and draped my face, I asked if they were planning to listen to music (which they did last time), and someone asked if I cared to hear anything in particular. I said that some Brahms would be good. There was no reaction, which I think meant this was not a choice they expected. Anyhow, there was no Brahms, or anything else. This was mildly disappointing, but at least they didn’t put on anything awful.
It is odd to be conscious when there’s work going on inside your eye. I could hear everything, and feel movement, but it was not painful. From time to time they asked how I was doing, and I gamely said, good, good. The surgeons’ comments mostly related to the job at hand, and there were no indications of unusual difficulties. The surgery took almost two hours. The nurse anesthetist held my hand, which I appreciated.
At my check up the next morning, Dr. Mruthyunjaya said that things had gone well both for the retina repair work and the cataract removal and lens replacement by Dr. Vann. My performance on the eye chart was not good (couldn’t see any letters), but I could distinguish one finger from two at three feet. It will be some weeks before healing is complete and it’s clear how much vision I’ll have in the left eye. I’ve gradually come to terms with the likelihood that it won’t ever be the same. There’s an irregularity in my macula that’s here to stay. I’ll cope.
Dr. M also enjoined me from vigorous exercise for two weeks. I tried bargaining about this (how about just the elliptical?) but he held firm. And so I missed yoga on Tuesday, my regular gym workout on Wednesday, my personal training with Larissa on Thursday, and my spinning class on Friday. I missed the movement, the stress, the relaxation, and the pleasant endorphin effects afterwards. And I missed my teachers, classmates, and adjacent strangers. The activity and the people are a part of me, and I look forward to getting them back.
On Saturday I drove out to Cary and took some pictures of ducks at Bond park, then came back to Raleigh for a walk through the IBMA festival, which we’re told is the biggest bluegrass conclave on the planet. We’re on a run in Raleigh with street fairs – in previous weeks we’ve had motorcyclists, SparkCon, and the Hopscotch music festival – and its great to see all the activity. For me, a little bluegrass goes a long way, but it was nice to hear a little, and do a bit of people watching.
On Sunday, we drove out to Chatham County to Carolina Tiger Rescue, where we saw tigers, lions, cougars, servals, and caracals, as well as an ocelots, a bobcat, a binturong, and kinkajou. It was worth the trip. They were beautiful animals.