The 20th & 21st; I can see!
The 20th of June.
I can see!
Cataract surgery day has finally arrived. This morning I really didn't have much to do other than twiddle my thumbs and wait for half eleven to come so we could go out. I did receive a delivery of some wool and longer knitting needles to make the Moomin jumper with, but they arrived rather bent and unusable. I tweeted Wool Warehouse and they are sending me some more, packaged more robustly so hopefully the next lot will arrive in their intended state.
When the time came, Daddy took me to the ambulatory care unit in the Heritage Building for my surgery. I'd just finished getting checked in at reception when the nurse called me through, which we thought highly efficient. I was taken to my bedspace, and we settled in. Mr. Kolli came to see me, and said that because of the klebsiella and the fact that the other patient on his list was having a cornea transplant, I had to be second. I thought that was reasonable - despite the risk being very minimal, it's still there and if I were in their position, I'd want the same treatment. That did mean I wasn't going to be done until about three o'clock, so he asked the nurses to get me and Daddy some sandwiches because neither of us had any lunch. He's such a nice man.
Lots of blah blah waiting - I gleaned from snippets of conversation that the other three women in my bay were all having operations to have batteries inserted into their bums to power devices they'd already had implanted. What those devices did I am not sure, but it made for interesting eavesdropping.
At two o'clock, my eye drops started. One nurse came and gave me a dilating one, then ten minutes later I had a local anaesthetic one, and ten minutes after that, another local anaesthetic one. I then got changed into my gown and stockings, which seemed ridiculous considering the surgery was strictly confined to my eye but it's more about cleanliness in theatre then anything else, I suppose. Another nurse then came and did three more different eye drops on me, and Daddy had to leave so he could go and swap over with Mommy at the Hippodrome where she'd taken Grandma to see Hobson's Choice. Mommy had to come to the hospital to see the hand surgeon about the ganglion in her wrist, so the logistics of our day were quite complicated! Just after he left, I gave my phone and purse to the nurses to put in the safe, and I was taken down to theatre.
I arrived, and shuffled over onto the theatre bed. A nurse put the blood pressure cuff and sats monitor on me, I was given another warm blanket (I'd been given one before I left the ward so I was very cosy), and then I lay down with my head in the dip in the table and got myself comfortable. They put a scrub cap on me to keep my hair out of the way, and some oxygen on my face. Then I had many more eye drops (I literally could not count how many eye drops I've had today), then Mr. Kolli cleaned my face with some iodine, which thankfully did not leave a stain. I then had to try to keep my eyes really wide open while they put the drape over me, which seemed to just stick to my face, and once they'd got it in the right position, Mr. Kolli put this torture device in which was like a clamp that keeps one's eyelids open so I couldn't blink. I was quite glad for it to be honest, because I had been slightly concerned about how I was supposed to control that. I was then warned that there would be a bright light in my eye, and boy was that right. It was like two really bright spots, surrounded by a slightly less bright glow, and lots of pretty colours. Mr. Kolli informed me that he was going to start, and I just needed to try and keep looking at the top of the two spot lights. I actually was unable to see the scalpel or anything that he was doing really, I was just aware of his hands moving and that things were happening to my eye, but I couldn't see or feel any of it. After about five minutes, he said we were halfway through, the cataract was out, and I was doing really well. He then put the artificial lens in, and stitched it into place. Again, I couldn't see the needle or anything because of all the light and masses of irrigation that was going on, but I could sense the way his hand was moving. Once it was in and some of the fluid started to clear, I started to see a little bit, just in time for him to say it was time for another anaesthetic drop, then an antibiotic injection, which I could definitely see! Watching a needle come towards one's eyeball is not an experience I would recommend. I then had the eye shield taped to my face, we discussed my aftercare, and they let me recover in there seeing as they didn't have another patient coming in, so I had a nice chat with the nurse who'd been watching my obs about Ian McKellen (we're going to see him tomorrow night), Madonna (eye patch) and Drag Race (I can"t quite remember why). Once the ward was able to receive me, they took me back down and I waited for my phone to be returned so I could let Mommy know I was back and she could come when she was done with the hand man. She actually arrived before I got the chance, because the ward had lost a nurse who'd had to go to home sick, so they didn't really have time to rummage in the safe at the same time as looking after all the patients. That didn't matter - I got it back and Mommy found me without needing my help. She has to have another ultrasound at which point they'll aspirate the ganglion and inject some steroid which will hopefully get rid of it, otherwise it will be another surgery to remove it.
I had to recover for an hour, and was given a cup of tea, a packet of custard creams and a little chocolate cake, so I was delighted with life. Slowly, my vision got better, and soon I was able to see.
And by thst, I mean really see. I could see the faces of the women opposite me in the bay, and read the signs on the walls. I have never been able to see distance like this and it's like a miracle. If you've never had glasses you can't understand, but if you have, imagine your shirt-sightedness being cured in an afternoon. It's fucking incredible. Plus it's like my brain isn't really paying attention to the signals from my left eye, so my glasses aren't really any help, because if I put them on then my right eye gets confused. Looking at my phone is tricky, because seeing close up is not good now, so I have made all the text enormous, and I have to hold it really far away or literally right in front of my left eye. I look very silly.
Daddy and Grandma had finished at the theatre and came to pick us both up, but my eye drops had not yet arrived from pharmacy. They waited, but then when the eye drops came, they were not preservative-free. This meant they had to be changed, and who knew how long that would take, so Daddy took Grandma home. The nurse rang Mr. Kolli, but it took him a long time to ring her back, then pharmacy wouldn't change the drugs unless he rang them directly, then there was a problem with one of the drops because of the concentration of the drug, so then another conversation had to happen, and finally the right drugs came. The nurse explained them all, the routine I have to undertake - the antibiotic ones have to be kept in the fridge and I have to do them six times a day, the steroid ones have to be done six times a day, another one that I can't remember the purpose of is three times a day - this is alongside doing the prednisolone drops in my left eye once a day, the thealoz drops whenever necessary, and the ointment in both eyes before I go to sleep, plus the eye shield (but that's only at night for a week). I have to go and see Mr. Kolli on clinic next week, and my appointment is Wednesday but he said if I had something on (which I do) then I can go on Thursday morning, which is ideal because I'm seeing Dr. Thompson then too. We finally were able to leave just after seven, and got a taxi home. I am very tired.
The 21st of June.
One of those days where nothing goes as we planned.
I rang Piccadilly to see if they could swap out the right lens of my glasses for a clear one, and I hoped it could be done this morning but it wasn't possible until after 12:30. Therefore, I spent the morning writing about my eyes, and we decided we'd go out straight after lunch. We didn't want to take too long, because we were going to see Ian McKellen this evening and because Westlife were on at the arena as well, we were going to go into town early and have dinner.
However, just after lunch, Nicole came over with the money and adoption paperwork for Queenie! I hadn't lost it; she forgot to bring it round to begin with. You cannot imagine my relief. So she stayed for a bit of a chat and told us about her holiday and gave me some Moomin socks that she found in a shop in Sweden! She is so good.
So once she'd gone, Mommy and I went into town. Went to Piccadilly first, and gave them my glasses and sunglasses to get the lenses swapped. That was going to take about half an hour, so we went over to Selfridges to look for a skirt that I really want, but unfortunately they didn't have it, and they don't actually stock that brand in the Birmingham shop. We also directed a family to the big Primark which I hope they enjoyed. Personally I think it sounds horrific.
Got back to Piccadilly and my lenses weren't quite done, then we were chatting away with Jennie because it's impossible not to. By the time we were going to leave, it was too late for us to go home and come back out again, so we texted Daddy and told him to get the train in and meet us at the restaurant.
We then really needed a beverage, so went to Pret where we got coffee. I hadn't had chance to have my second coffee of the day and I was going to be seriously flagging during Ian McKellen if I didn't get any more caffeine. We also had to move the car round to Gas Street, so had to negotiate the roadworks. That was entertaining, but we managed it eventually. Daddy was already outside Bistrot Pierre when we arrived, and he'd brought some of my eye drops from the fridge with a little cold pack to keep them cool. I manoeuvred the chair up the little ramp into the beer courtyard which led to the disabled entrance, and we were in. I had a summer risotto, which was very much as described - risotto with summer vegetables like tiny peas in and some cheese crumbled over the top - then a chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream. It was all very delicious but the gabapentin was messing with my stomach again so I was in abdominal discomfort for the next five hours.
We headed over to the REP, and on the way, Christine phoned to tell us that she was locked in the flat. Not her flat - she has gone to Lyme Regis for a long weekend but the lock on the door broke after she got in and she was trapped. We couldn't help, but she wanted to complain about it. We had to go inside, but she was going to call the owner and said she would keep us updated.
Ian McKellen is incredible. He is just a force of nature, truly. A three hour show (minus a twenty minute interval) of just him on stage, telling stories, performing loads of different parts, people we did and didn't know, fictional and real. In the second half he gets the audience to shout out the names of all the Shakespeare plays, and he either does a monologue from each one or has a story to tell about it, and this is in a different order every night...it just blows me away. The show is really well crafted too - he has a big box full of all the books he references, plus a table, stool, chair and other props which he's able to get out and use in such a natural way, it's fantastic. He has some more dates left on the tour, then he's doing a London run, so if you can get tickets and you're a fan, you should definitely go. Then at the end, he went to the foyer where he was collecting for a local arts charity (he does this is every venue) and I asked him for a hug, then when he obliged I nearly burst into tears. I wasn't expecting that, but I had to then compose myself so I didn't start weeping out on Broad Street. He is my favourite.