Of Pork Cutlets & An Adventure with Vitrectomy and Intravitreal Injection.

It all was done with a military type of precision and planning beforehand. Plans for travel were searched up on the internet with many options of travel by combining trains and buses duly printed out. The motel was booked and reference numbers of different stages of hospital procedures studied and taken notice of.

We were told that after the operation, driving would be out of the question so the return trip by public transport would be done in reverse. The first hitch arrived soon after arrival at about 5pm. It was getting dark and the normally lit up signs of Motel were nowhere to be see. The Motel was advertised being situated at Macquarie Park so that’s where the train took us. No motel and we were told it was at Macquarie University rail station instead of Macquarie Park.

We walked about 3 kms back to where we had passed this station before. We were lucky not to be seen as asylum seekers with our bags and struggling demeanors. No street signs and no street numbers. Worse, no people. Finally a lone jogger. I asked him for directions and he gave a reply but kept on jogging in circles around us. Most curious, perhaps he did not want to lose his momentum or meters per minute as he did have some device strapped to his wrist. He kept jogging around me and I turned with him in order to hear what he was saying. He did not really know where he was either. The traffic around us was like a speedway. No taxis, just a shrieking madness on wheels. Kafka nightmare springs to mind.

We plodded on with H getting despondent and very tired. Finally a girl just walking. We asked and she promptly whipped out a gadget into which she tapped the Motel’s name. Within seconds it showed the road we were on and how much further the motel was. Another 1.2 Kms she said. She was an angel.

We arrived hungry and totally dehydrated at our motel. We were too far gone for any fights or marital punch ups. Fortunately we were near a giant shopping-mall that seemed to cater mainly for students of the nearby university. A Thai beef salad and water replenished us and our anger soon abated. We were too buggered for any talk and I had a rotten night, feeling I should have enquired better. I failed in reconnoitering our destination better. I also kept on seeing visions of needles entering my eyes and remembered fainting once at the doctor many years ago. White coats and surgical things do that to me. I am more heroic with words. I usually do a detour around anyone wearing stethoscope or even just glasses.

Next day, at 7.30 am I entered the hospital next to the motel. I coughed up the lollie, not an insignificant amount for the best treatment! I was duly tagged around my wrist and ankle. Ankle? Was the ankle bracelet in case of an inspection of identity at the morgue? Now-a-days technology does most of the work and my tags came out of a printer with the operation and ward number, the specialist, my address, next of kin, all printed on a very strong water proof adhesive tag.

I remembered many years ago at a public hospital being given just a single handwritten tag out of a row of tags which a nurse put around my wrist. I never checked but it turned out to have the name of a woman patient. I came very close to getting wheeled into a hysterectomy ward. It must have been the beard that gave the mistake away and luckily had a colonoscopy instead. Not that a colonoscopy is a pick-nick on the banks of the Blue Danube.

After the usual struggle with the gown open at the back, but underpants were allowed, I was wheeled in the theatre. The operation was over in about 30 minutes. I was give local anesthetic and remained fully aware. It was totally painless and even saw the amazing sight of needles entering my eyeball. Just because you close your eyelid doesn’t mean your eye stops looking! It was just like in the movies. (Not the Sound of Music)

Helvi visited me and appeared, as always, like an angel with her lovely reassuring Mona Lisa smile. Calm and collected she studied me and I regaled with gusto the lovely lunch I had enjoyed after the long fast from the mid-night before. Pork cutlets with garlic infused potatoes, lovely carrots with Apple Strudel with cream as a finale. A coffee as well. Real coffee, I stated. She doubted it.

Amazing, but most of the staff seemed Asian with a punctuality that was awe inspiring. Every two hours a trolley would be wheeled in and temperature, blood pressure and my pulse taken. Brown arms were winding the blood pressure tube around my arm. Almond eyes coming down on me with a concern for my welfare as if I was on death-bed or a shot down war pilot. At times I would be asked for my name and date of birth. Was this to check my state of mind, gone gaga or perchance not the full ticket anymore?

I stayed overnight. During that night the two hour medical inspections continued mercilessly. I was fine and without discomfort and even thought that at one stage the bacon and egg breakfast was coming. Sadly, it was only 2am.

Above the bed I had a small interactive touch TV with internet key board attached to it on a tray. It was suspended from the ceiling by a complex arrangement of swiveling steel pipes and brackets. The bed also had a remote that would do all sorts of strange things to the mattress. When I was a bit bored I just amused myself with the movable bed and the TV and imagined a honeymoon.

Next day at 6.30 am I was wheeled to the eye clinic and the specialist surgeon looked at my eyes and told me the operation was perfect and very successful. Make sure you stop the car when you get driven back because the gas injected behind your eye needs time to adjust to the higher altitude of the Southern Highlands Mountains. When I told him we were travelling by public transport he told me he wasn’t keen on that idea. If something happens, you won’t be able to ask the train driver to stop the train, will you, he said?

Fortunately, after Helvi phoned around, a good friend, (an American of course) offered to pick us up from the motel and drive us back to our home. We had not seen this old friend for some time. He had only just returned from California to spend time with his very old mom.

It turned out that my eye adjusted without any problems with higher altitude. I am still not seeing much. It is as if I am underwater with everything shimmering. That is normal and it will take a few weeks for the gas to be replaced by natural eye fluids. My eye will be as good as new. Marvelous what can be done with modern medical innovation…Thank you dear doctor Van Ho.

So, that’s that then. What next in aging?

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23 Responses to “Of Pork Cutlets & An Adventure with Vitrectomy and Intravitreal Injection.”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    That hospital sounds like The Ritz! Delighted to hear that all went well and that there were no exploding eyeballs on the way home. I must admit I did have a little chuckle when I read about the girl getting a gadget out and finding the motel for you. It didn’t happen to be a smart phone by any chance Gerard?! 😀


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Glad you liked it Lottie. Yes, it must have been a smart phone. So nice to have met the girl who could tell us where we were. Thank you Mr. Apple Mac.Smart phone.


  3. Andrew Says:

    Did the girl’s phone have copper wires attached, Gerard? That is a very important question we need answered. Seriously, so glad it all went off well. You can clearly see a keyboard well enough, your humour is in full working order and after the long trek to get there I think we may enter you for a half marathon. Just think what you will be capable of with two fully functioning eyes. BTW I too had a colonoscopy at my doctor’s insistence – age related as he put it – and whilst it was certainly not something I would volunteer for, it does give peace of mind. And i did get a very nice DVD of the whole process. I am contemplating offering it to Disney to see if they want the film rights.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Andrew. All is well and eyes are on track to see the world even better. Yes, colonoscopy is a different kettle of fish. I don’t know what the driving force is behind a specialist in that area of surgery. I suppose we ought to admire all areas of medical prevention or surgery. Do you watch the DVD often?


  4. Rosie Says:

    Rotten luck about the mix-up of the railway station name. But that’s over and you are recovering with Helvi’s help and support. So glad it was so comfortable in hospital and that the surgery was successful. Well done.


  5. auntyuta Says:

    Yes, well done, Gerard. You must be glad it’s over. Your sense of humour is priceless. This post was a very good read. It cheered me up. You ask, what’s next in aging. Whatever it may be, please, please, don’t lose your sense of humour. I would like to read many more of your stories! 🙂


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad it cheered you up. Sorry for not thanking you earlier but wa had visitors and have been busy walking to shops instead of driving. No driving till next Thursday when I see the doctor again in Liverpool.


  6. berlioz1935 Says:

    Thanks for the report. It still did not get rid of my fear of an impending eye operation. I’m glad you made it home safely. Our hospitals are staffed mostly by Asian. We could not exist without migrants.


  7. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    What’s next? I’ve just had a podiatrist shaking his head over an X-Ray of my foot and suggesting that maybe my Lindy-hopping days might be coming to an end. I am unconvinced, it’s the best exercise ever.


  8. Office Diva Says:

    Mr. G.O. I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I read the title, but I shuddered a bit anyway, as anything containing “-ectomy” and injection certainly doesn’t sound like a Jeep Tour on the Serengeti.
    I’m so glad to hear that your surgery was successful. Your wit and humor didn’t suffer a beat. Hopefully this gassy phase will pass soon. We don’t want it interrupting your gastronomic adventures. Happy weekend to you!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Diva.
      Yes, back on track. I laughed about your description of the jeep and Tour. The gas bubble is like seeing everything under water. Each day bits come up above the water line and gets into focus. Look forward to your next installment of un-ironed life as it unfolds.


  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    So happy all went well, and envious as heck that your sight will be good as new! Hospitals are no fun, and I wonder what all the people used to do before we could go whenever we needed to? Your humor is unique. I love it!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Kaytisweet,
      Have my sight on replying to your latest that arrived a few days ago in my Inbox. Have been busy putting 5 different drops 4 times daily in my right eye with entire boxes of tissues being used. I don’t know what they are suppose to do .Perhaps just to keep me busy.
      Each tissue pulled brings out the next one. Amazing technology.


  10. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I swear but actually not- that you missed your calling. A comic you are. I read your comments and they are as funny as your posts. Since I am a retired RN I laughed the entire time as I read this post.

    But onto the drops. i have been putting drops in my eyes for quite a few years and it is something I don’t like doing. As you know, one has to be careful to keep the eye open and attempt to have the med drop in the right place. Very frustrating.

    I’m very glad that your MD is a good one and apparently only operated on the designated eye. The meds used and the operation had no untoward affect on your humor. 🙂 As they say, “you are good to go.”



    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks Yvonne,
      Yes, He is a very good doctor. When I was being wheeled into the operating ‘theatre’, I noticed lots of young students in gowns observing me, some were smiling benevolently. The needles that entered my eye were 20-25 gauge for those interested in details.
      Sorry about the pork cutlets but they were nice. They came with very small sachets of pepper and salt wrapped up with the fork and knife. Top service.


  11. Patti Kuche Says:

    You tell such a great story Gerard! From such a frustrating start all the way through the adventure to a successful conclusion, with pork cutlets for good measure! So pleased to hear the procedure was a success and that you and Helvi made it home without any further complications!


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