The Mark of Cranium

December 5th, 2015 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

aaareyeOoo, that’s yucky.

I’m an amateur at surgery. You can search this blog for tales of my sole operation, on a leg. I had only my second yesterday (yes, I have my tonsils, appendix and so forth; heck, I don’t even have tattoos).

A souvenir was this R. It’s not a pirate joke or even a parody of the letters on toddlers’ shoes as they learn left from right.

Instead, a good medical fad has become making damned sure surgeons operate on the correct side. Various nurses and doctors  (including the anesthesiologist) asked in numerous ways which eye was getting operated on that day. Even when they just heard someone do it, they iterated and reiterated it. Ask the question, get the patient to point to the eye, try to trick the patient with, “Are we operating on the left eye?” and wait until the drug cocktail was working to do it all again. Finally, even with a hard, clear patch over the other eye, ask again.

My surgeon, Peter Lou, is one of those so-called super doctors. He’s done thousands of this macular pucker operation. He is very precise. Yet, he’s happy to have everyone play this safety game. No foul.

Because previous health-related posts have had high readership and search hits, I’ll likely post a bit about the condition and operation. As a sidelight about it, I didn’t like that Mass Eye and Ear staff refer to an operation as a “case,” as in “We are ready for your case now,” meaning they are moving me from pre-op into surgery. Is operation an obscenity?

Back to the quintuple checking, twice in the process, first a nurse, then the anesthesiologist, marked my forehead within R. I assume that this is simply to indicate the right side and not the “right” eye to poke today. Whatever they used was like a permanent marker. They didn’t remove it and I couldn’t easily scrub it this morning as I changed bandages. My wife says she’ll take cold cream to it.

Originally I showed up for my long-time optometrist appointment knowing I had blurred vision because of cataracts. He’d have none of it and referred me to an ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgery office. They ID’ed the pucker with hotshot diagnostic equipment. I got  a second opinion, which confirmed and expanded on the diagnosis. I had been quite wrong about the problem.

I had been somewhat romantic about it all. Ah, wrinkled retina, macular pucker, what an exotic condition.

Not really. A few years ago, I got polymyalgia rheumatica and thought the same. It is even more common than macular pucker. No one is going to write medical journal articles about such mundane conditions. In fact, for polymyalgia, my rheumatologist put it in perspective by saying noting that it was a Caucasian, late middle-age disease. “If you know a bunch of white men over 50, you know people who have had it,” he said.

Not unique…nor even special….

I did make one mistake in surgery prep though, I went out to the tubes and read all I could. I ended up watching several videos of the operation. I would advise against doing that. It is, as the above image, a yucky procedure.

I’ll likely write a bit about the operation and recovery.

 

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