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Saturday, May 28, 2016

MY CATARACT SURGERY

Cataracts cause sixty percent of blindness in parts of Africa and South America.  While cataracts can affect younger people, more than 50% of those 80 and older have this ailment.  Cataracts are a clouding of the eye lens leading to decreases in vision.  A cloudy lens cannot focus properly.  You get cataracts from genetics, sunlight, smoking and alcohol.  Interesting, though, that this report indicates one should wear sunglasses and not smoke to prevent cataracts.  No mention of don't drink alcohol, mostly because this evidence is sketchy.

Yesterday I underwent cataract surgery on my right eye.  Initially, my operation was supposed to occur at 1:30 PM, so I was told not to eat anything after 7PM the night before.  The whole process can easily take until 4 PM, so that would be 21 hours of abstinence.  My body does not tolerate hunger.  If I miss a lunch (after having breakfast) my blood pressure can jump to 190/110.  If I miss both breakfast and lunch, who knows what can happen, and it can't be good.

Thus, I got a concession.  I could have breakfast before 7AM if the surgery was moved to 2:30 PM.  I  thus had an enormous breakfast and my blood pressure seemed to stay below 150/80 during the entire period in the Surgery Center.  I can see not eating if one were to be under deep anesthesia for open heart surgery.  But a 20-minute cataract surgery where you are always conscious?  That, to me, is being overly conservative.

I showed up at 1PM, had a lot of forms to fill to mostly protected them so that  I would have difficulty suing anyone if the worst happened.  I was accompanied to a dressing room where I had to remove all my top clothing to wear one of those hospital gowns that ties in the back.  I was then taken to a room where they gave me more eye drops than I've ever had in my life.  I counted 27, but mostly because my pupil could not be dilated to a certain required size.

After a while, they gave up on the eyedrops and walked me into the operation room, where Dr. Jon Portis (I might add that he has been a Best Doctor in Hawaii for many, many years now) did his thing.  The surgical tool used today is a femtosecond (10 to the minus 12 time length the laser is on, where a nanosecond is only ten to the minus 9).  This system has been used on half a million procedures used by 3500 surgeons in 67 countries.

He said that my cataract was much worse than anticipated, but was able to overcome all hurdles to insert an AcrySofToric IOL, which can reduce astigmatism, while correcting distance vision.  I told him that I wouldn't mind using reading glasses, but wanted to see my ball bouncing on a green 150 yards away.  This lens has been inserted into 25 million eyes.

This surgery is supposed to be routine, but my condition required some extra attention.  There was no pain as such, except for a tiny amount of piercing discomfort a couple of times.  After surgery, I walked out to be served Passion Orange Guava juice and peanut butter something.  There was definite eye irritation, close to having an eyelash in the eye.

I had to wear an eye shield until the next day.  You would think with all the advances in medical technology something better than scotch tape pieces would be used to position the shield over my eye.  Taking it off was a royal pain.  Anyway, I caught a cab home,  ate a large lunch with no alcohol (they said not to) and went to sleep at 3PM.  I woke up at 7PM, and the eye discomfort was gone.  After a couple of hours not doing much, I went back to bed and had a total of 13 hours sleep.

Felt great, had a cereal with milk, and caught a bus to see Dr. Portis.  He said all looked well and indicated my eye test showed accelerated recovery.  He indicated I could re-start golf anytime I wanted.  One thing is obvious:  the blacks are black and the whites are not yellowish.  I've been seeing the world through a yellowed plastic sheet for the past few decades.  I've never observed such beautiful white color pigeons and vases in my life.  Still not quite unblurry, but great hue.  And no pain or discomfort.  Wonderful.  In two weeks, the left eye.

So with an extra hop to my step I walked into downtown Honolulu to seek out a best place for lunch.  It was only 10:15, and Lucky Belly and The Pig and the Lady were not opened yet.  So I had a teriyaki chicken bowl and onion bomb at Marukame at the Fort Street Mall:


Note McDonald's across the mall.  That onion bomb, except for being horribly greasy and not hot enough, was actually quite good.

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