A Significant Setback For My Eye (April 29, 2011)

 

(events of April 29-May 9, 2011, during trip interruption due to Cathy’s emergency eye surgery) written June 1

My eyes, not just the one which had the Trabeculectomy, became increasingly sensitive to light as the week after Easter went on.  I figured that this was just part of the healing and toughed it out.  The plan was for me to fly to Los Angeles and see Dr. Law on Friday.  This was to be my final post-op visit.  Meanwhile, Larry would drive to Turtle Farm, our place in northern Minnesota.  There we would spend 2+ weeks doing spring opening tasks and simply relaxing prior to resuming our trip in Bangkok.

That was not to be.  When I got to the doctor’s office, my pressure was down to 1.  I basically had a “flat” in my eye ball.  Since the previous week’s lasering of the suture, too much optic fluid was  escaping through my “bleb,” the surgically installed eyeball drain that replaced my malfunctioning original equipment.  In totally non-medical terms, Dr. Law pumped a can of “Fix-A-Flat” into my right eye.  For you non-motorcyclists, Fix-A-Flat is stuff that you pump into a flat tire to return it to normal pressure until you can get a permanent repair.  He took a syringe and injected synthetic optic fluid right through the front of my eyeball.

Instead of this being my final appointment at UCLA, I had to return Monday morning.  In tears, I called Larry to tell him the bad news.  Logic would indicate that I should have stayed in LA over the weekend.  My heart knew that I needed to be with family.  Since Larry was not scheduled to arrive at Turtle Farm until Saturday night, my parents were planning to pick me up at the airport.  They did, then took me home with them.  At 55, I’m blessed to have loving, caring parents that will still look after their little girl.  I ate up their attention and affection.

My 44 hour trip to MN was well worth it psychologically. Excruciating eye pain associated with light returned in full force so I was actually happy that I would be seeing the doctor again so soon.  With my battery recharged, I flew back to LA.

Monday’s appointment again showed pressure of 1 in my bad eye.  More Fix-A-Flat.  Knowing now that this would not be a quick trip,  Larry was on the next plane to Los Angeles to be by my side.  For five straight days, I saw the doctor.  My light sensitivity was so great that I needed two pair of sunglasses to watch a movie in a dark theatre.  Fortunately, as the week progressed, so did my eye pressure.  The corner had been turned.

As wonderful as UCLA Medical Center is, I was so sick of the hospital environment that we drove north of LA for the weekend.  In honor of our travel companions touring Australia, we dined at Outback Steak House.  After noticing the exit for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library,  we toured it and took a picture in the replica of the Oval Office which Larry had visited when Reagan was President in 1985.  It’s a fabulous museum on a lovely hill top.  The recently retired Air Force One is housed there as well and was part of the tour.

Next we noticed signs for Camarillo.  Dennis Cohea, a motorcycle friend I met in the 1990s, and his wife, Carol, live in Camarillo.  They had come to Georgia for our wedding and we had not seen them since.  We called and Dennis was home.  A great afternoon of visiting was capped off by sharing dinner after Carol came home from work.  She’s the Marketing Manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library!  Small world.

I felt much better throughout the weekend.  Monday’s pressure test confirmed why:  my pressure was now in the normal range.  Dr. Law assured me that my brain will adapt to my new vision reality (one useful eye), signed a release for me to return to the Discover Our Earth Expedition and wished us well.  Thank you, Dr. Law.

 

29-April     Los Angeles – again

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