Category Archives: Health

The Day After

I had my “Hallelujah” moment this morning following cataract surgery on my right (and dominant) eyes yesterday. I awoke, got out of bed, and took off the eye shield that had protected my right eye during the night. The first thing I noticed was that vision in that eye was sharp and clear. The second thing is that I was seeing a different world.

It’s like an oil painting rescued from a smoker’s home. If you’ve every done this, you know that colors, and most noticeably the whites, become covered with a thin layer of yellow-brown film from tobacco smoke. That shifts the colors dramatically, and usually requires extensive cleaning of the painting to restore the original colors.

Yesterday’s cataract removal provided the same cleaning of everything I’m looking at. Whites are actually white, not a yellowish cream color. I’m seeing the colors of our house for the first time. I even had to seek out each of our cats to reassess their colors!

Looking across the yard at a plant that has variegated and green leaves. If I close the eye that had the cataract removed, and look only through the other uncorrected eye, the leaves appear yellow and green. Close that eye, open the cataract-free eye, and they are bright white and green. A dramatic difference that I’m gleefully recreating everywhere I look this morning.

[reposted from Facebook]

Cataract gone…so far, so good

[text]So far, so good.
I checked in for cataract surgery this morning at 6:30 a.m., about 25 minutes before sunrise. It was, and felt, early. It was over, and I was ready to be picked, by 8:33, which is when an initial text to Meda was time stamped.

So far, no “hallelujah” moment, I’m afraid. My eye is still somewhat dilated, vision a bit blurry, but no pain or headache. I report back for first recheck tomorrow morning, then again next Monday. I’m taking it slow and easy.

I have a longer post over on Facebook.

Cataract, your hours are numbered!

A friend commented to me this week that cataract surgery has become a regular rite of passage for people of a certain age, and I suppose that’s true.

My first and dominant eye goes under the laser knife tomorrow morning. Scheduling and preparations have been going on for longer than I really wanted. But such is life.

The preparations for cataract surgery have included two different sessions where measurements were taken, I believe to guide the computer-assisted laser that does the actual cutting of the eye. In addition, there was a required session with my primary care doctor to obtain a medical clearance, affirming that I’m well enough to survive the brief out-patient surgery. In my case, the computer returned the estimate of something less than one-half of one percent chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke. The doctor assured me that these odds never go to zero, so not to worry that the risk wasn’t zero.

Of course, just to be sure that you aren’t too casual about it, the packet of paperwork also included an optional Advance Health-Care Directive where I could specify how much I want to stay alive if by some fluke I keel over during the short operation. I decided to go with the odds and not worry about such things at this time.

Then, beginning three days before the surgery, three different eye drops, none inexpensive. Two start at the beginning of the three days, but on different schedules (one 1x per day, the other 2x per day). Then, after the surgery, the third drops are added. There’s a complex calendar for each eye, and they overlap (the calendars, not so much the eyes), so I know it’s going to get confusing.

Then there were the instructions to be sure to report any changes in health prior to the surgery. Of course, after returning from New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, I came down with the obligatory airplane cold. It’s worked its way through my system, from a running nose through an uncomfortable cough and back to near normalcy. I decided to wait until today before checking in as instructed with one of the nurses regarding health changes. Luckily, the cold has largely receded and I was told it should not pose any problems tomorrow.

I’m prepared to show up before sunrise at the surgical offices near downtown with photo i.d., insurance card, the form disclosing any medication I take regularly, and of course some form of payment for amounts not covered by insurance (and luckily our health insurance is quite good).

So wish me and my right eye the best of luck!

When did hand-foot-and-mouth disease become common?

A friend who we walk with in the mornings was telling us today about one of her grandchildren’s bout with hand, foot, and mouth disease.

It’s described online by the Mayo Clinic as “a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children.”

But none of us baby boomers recall having, fearing, or ever hearing about a malady like this when we were kids.

So is this a relatively new disease? A mutation of some previous virus?

According to online sources, it starts with a fever and just not feeling well. Within a few days, though, it will likely result in:

• Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks

• A red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks

And, it seems, the patients fingernails and toenails may fall off. WHAT?

Here’s a description from the Children’s Hospital Colorado:

• Peeling of the fingers and toes is common. It looks bad but is harmless. It happens at 1 to 2 weeks. Use a moisturizing cream on the raw skin.

• Some fingernails and toenails may fall off. It occurs in 4% of severe cases. It happens at 3 to 6 weeks out. Trim them if they catch on things.

• Fingernails grow back by 3 to 6 months and toenails by 9 to 12 months. They will look normal.

Seriously. This is the kind of thing you would remember, or at least you would have later heard tales from your parents if they had to cope with you during a bout of this disease with fingernails and toenails falling off. That would get parents’ attention, I’m sure.

So what’s the story? Is this new? if so, when did it arise? And when did it become “common”?

Cataract surgery coming soon

My cataract adventure is shifting into a higher gear. I’m off shortly on medical rounds. First stop, my primary care doctor for “medical clearance” to proceed with what is described as “ambulatory surgery”. This has to be done within 30-days of the surgery. I’m scheduled for two operations, two weeks apart (right eye first, left eye two weeks later), so both scheduled dates fall within the 30-day window.

The first appointment shouldn’t take long. Then I’ll bus over to my next stop at the eye clinic, where they’ll do a second round of digital measurements that will guide the computer-directed laser surgery to remove the cataracts. First eye is set for next week.

Assuming all goes well in these preparatory stages, I’m supposed to start eye drops this weekend. I already have been given an elaborate calendar for tracking the three different types of drops, starting before the surgery and continuing for most of the following month. I suppose I should read more about these medications and figure out what they’re each intended to do.

And then I’ll report for the surgery early one morning next week. All the statistics indicate this is low risk surgery. The odds are definitely good, but are still odds, and anything dealing with your eyes is bound to create anxiety. And I have to admit it has.

I selected Tyrie Jenkins to do the surgery. She has high online ratings and came highly recommended by a number of people I know, based on their own experiences. I’ve been very happy with the preliminaries. Now for the real ballgame.