(events of April 8-15, 2011 including Cathy’s emergency eye surgery, written May 31)
For five years, I have had Glaucoma in my right eye. No, not the seemingly easy to control Glaucoma that responds to drops indefinitely and people live happily ever after with good vision. In true “Cathy Davies” fashion, I had to be different and get the kind that only affects 12% of Glaucoma victims. Mine is called Pseudoexfoliation Glaucoma. This disease is most prevalent in females of Scandinavian descent – I was batting 1,000. It was controlled by various eye drops until last fall. Yes, just before our trip, the pressure in my eye spiked. My doctor was unwilling to operate with me leaving the country. Larry and I deliberated his prognosis that I “could” lose up to 40% of the vision in that eye before our return and decided to accept that risk.
All seemed well with my eye until riding in Ecuador. Gradually, the vision in my right eye was going away. It is a very strange sensation to have something as precious as sight vanishing bit by bit. By the time we reached Mexico, I knew I wanted to seek medical attention in Los Angeles. There, I figured that an opthamologist could prescribe some new eye drop and I’d be on my way to Australia with our group.
Since my diagnosis, Larry and I have been contributors to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Via E-mail I contacted them for recommendations of member doctors in Los Angeles. Although they wold not recommend a specific doctor, the lists of programs consistently receiving national acclaim led me to the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. Via SKYPE I made an appointment for Friday, April 8th.
After totally flunking my visual field test and not being able to even see the eye chart when they asked me what row of letters I could read, I had my pressure tested. It was at an all time high of 48. Pressures should normally be in the low teens. Dr. Law said that if I wanted to retain any vision in that eye, even to continue to detect motion, I needed surgery ASAP. No, not in my preferred early August time frame – next week.
The news was devastating. Instead of heading to Australia, I was headed for surgery. That weekend, the sadness was so all consuming that I could barely get out of bed. Larry was a wonderful companion. He would stay in the States with me through my Trabeculectomy and recovery.
By Monday, with Larry’s love and support, I was slowly getting into “let’s get this thing done and get back on track mode.” Dr. Law’s office arranged for a local doctor to do a pre-op physical. Due to my age ( I hate that reason!), they had me do my first treadmill test. The doctor watched as I feverishly walked to nowhere. It seemed as though he was enjoying my being tortured. I never did get an answer when I asked if the test was giving him any valuable information. The conclusion was that I was fit for surgery but not physically fit. My Georgia walking partner, Joy, and I will have to get back on track this fall.
8-April Recap of Cathy’s EmergencyEye Surgery April 14th in Los Angeles
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