Posts Tagged ‘Vitrectomy’

The kitchen of give and take and does it send you blind?

December 11, 2014
The kitchen of give and take.

The kitchen of give and take.

There is nothing like taking stock of one’s health. I seem to take more and more notice of the elderly of late. Especially those that seem more advanced in age than I. They look me back in the eye with a beady eyed wisdom as if to say. ‘Yes, we all get there in the end.’ ‘Put in your order for the walker or motorised wheelchair. Get practising to taking the packet of incontinent pads from Aldi’s shelf. Be brave and try do it in front of a young silken smoothed roseate angel. A maddening challenge and what a prospect to behold? Get used to it, cobber! Pay the price of the outrunning of the tide and watch the orange sinking sun. See it as a reward for having lived a life of sorts. And as Leonard Cohen used to sing there is still time to ‘the bitter searching of the heart.’

“From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.
The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.
Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.
Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart
We rise to play a greater part.”

Well, that sets the tone for the day. Cheer up old man, smell the roses and pat your dog. Your genes are predicting a ripe old age well into the nineties if you stick to health and steer clear of the pork shoulder with crackling and those perniciously beckoning Slovenian Kranskies. Take a leaf out of your dearest H. who has lentil soup for breakfast! You gave up smoking but seem unable to give up addiction to secretly indulge in those strange dietary habits if not other bad habits as well. You are not taking other things in your own hands still, are you? Look me in the eye when I am talking! Ha, that quick downward looks says it all. What did your mother teach you? Keep your hands above the blankets and think of the Royal Family at the feet of India, read Rin Tin Tin, listen to Smokey Dawson or eat an apple instead.

It seems like yesterday I had my vitrectomy in right eye. It has been over a year and the sight hasn’t improved as promised. I now have to book some kind of operation to remove cataracts. Just great! Does it send you blind? Vasectomy, colonoscopy, polypectomy, vitrectomy what next? On the 14th of January an appointment with the Audiologist to get new hearing aids fitted. The old ones don’t zing anymore and it drives Helvi mad. Shouting matches mistaken by neighbours for marital incontinence and fisty cuffs, mishaps and mistakes, apologies with rewards of lunch with calamari and baked barramundi and chips. It is all sometimes a bit complicated but we are getting there.

We are all on a journey in the kitchen of give and take.

The End is Nigh

September 6, 2013

Hermitage_from_insideThe End is Nigh,

It is all so quickly over. It seemed like yesterday watching mum soaking the split peas over the (single) granite sink back in the forties. Yet, thinking of the timespan between dinosaur and IPad, a couple of mere Nano- seconds later in our universe’s evolution, it is almost over. Well, give another ten years, or more, or less.

I was hardly over my Vitrectomy getting used to endless eye drops when I reached a new stage in my own evolution. I fell over. This is a new stage I seem to have arrived at.

One of the things in growing more mature is that sleep will become more evasive. I used the word ‘more mature’ for others and not in my case. I have reversed in most of my tepid evolutionary efforts and am surprised I can still walk the talk.

We have an unwritten conjugal agreement that whoever can’t sleep moves elsewhere. Those that do sleep ought to be given preference over the restless tossing and turning insomniac. This not unreasonable. A disclaimer to this rule is when the snoring of the sleeper is so loud and disruptive that the non-sleeper is prevented from even closing one’s eyes. The air vibrates and white knuckled neighbours are knocking on walls or even ceilings, a paddy wagon is waiting outside the front door with baton drawn policeman waiting.

It was one of those nights that my lovely H padded me firmly in the ribs (followed by a kick in the groin 😉 ). “You are snoring”, she said with her lovely sonorous voice, not wishing to be unloving or unkind. “Go upstairs”, followed by, “put on the electric blanket, it will soon be less icy.” Those that know and understand the quality of a deep sleep finally arrived at after many nights of somnambulistic adventures would understand the sacrifice and heroic efforts in relinquishing and renouncing this supreme and rare state of bliss and being.

I grabbed my still warm and favourite pillow and stumbled to the upstairs bedroom. It was dark and very cold when I walked into the frigidly empty and lonely bedroom. I normally take the side nearest the window and with an outside light giving some direction I managed to get within a meter or so of my bed when it all happened. I was so needy for a soft mattress and so close.
One of the most disconcerting experiences surely would have to be stopped in one’s forward motion tract totally involuntary.

That’s what happened. As I, what I thought, would be my last final step to the mattress, my right footed plans to go forward were thwarted by getting caught into my left footed leg of my pyjama. It was the most startling surprise of my life almost overtaking that of entering the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum back in1989.

I fell heavily forward and found myself between window and bed on the floor. I could hardly believe it. Such a strange event and in the middle of the night. I made the most of the situation by calmly surveying any possible damage. I could just about move all my parts and when I got over the shock raised myself up and went back to the door to put the light on. I steadied myself against the doorframe rubbing my forehead pensively, reflecting on that odd fall. It was then when H appeared at the bottom of the stairs. “What happened, what was that loud bang”, she asked looking up at me, still leaning.

”I fell heavily”, I answered John Wayne like in need of sympathy or at least the offer of a Band-Aid. “How”, she asked? I then explained about the pyjama leg catching my leg in forward motion to my bed and showed her the actual spot of impact. No blood, no nothing, no Band-Aid.

Go to bed now, she said. (Don’t fall)

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

August 1, 2013

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?