On January 23 of this year, at Saint Joseph Hospital in Dickinson, I had the cataract in my right eye removed, as recommended by Dr. Biesiot. Even though prior to the operation, friends calmly told me that the operation was simple, I still had a great deal of fear, for when my mother had hers done, sometime in the mid 1980s in Omaha, Nebraska, something amiss occurred: her eye was not deadened when her doctor began to cut. The pain sent her into shock; as a result, hives erupted all over her body.
At the preliminary appointment, I told Dr. Leidenix, the eye doctor from Bismarck, what had happened to my mother, and he assured me that the operation was perfectly safe. He even shared some of the history of cataract removals–the week-long stay in the hospital, the pain, the head in a vice, even at the same time informing me of possible complications. He said the operation today only takes 10-15 minutes.
I checked in at 8:45 am. After a little waiting and approximately an hour of eye drops every five minutes or so, I was wheeled in the operating room. A covering was placed around my eye, just so the cataract can be seen. I didn’t even have to be in a hospital gown: one gauzy outfit over my clothes covered me from top to bottom, except for my shoes.
The drops to deaden the eye had begun earlier, but in the operation room, the drops were applied again. I didn’t feel anything, just a little pressure as I was told. Although I often find myself facing obstacles without asking for help, I was surely glad for the nurse who held my hand during the procedure. The dome of golden prisms that I saw during one part of the operation, like the ceiling of a cathedral or a museum I have yet to visit. And yes, after 10-15 minutes, the operation was over, and a little while after that, around 11:30 am, a friend took me home.
The operation was uneventful, simple, painless; and as a result of everyone’s focus on the patient, I did not panic. But more surprising was the card I received in the mail a few days later from the doctor, the anesthesiologist, the nurses, and the staff who attended me and others undergoing the same procedure that day.
I wasn’t born yesterday, as my friends know; in fact, my life experiences have given me a wide variety of crazy, wonderful, sad, frightening experiences, but this card was the first I have ever received from a doctor and those who aided in an operation.
When I first saw the envelope, I thought it was a bill, but when I opened the envelope, it took me a while to realize what it was. So kind and considerate, what care they showed!
(If you click on the picture, it should enlarge so that you can read the names up close.)
My mother’s recovery from her operation took an extremely long time–hives weeks to fade; emotionally much longer–but it’s been one week since mine. The sensitive treatment that Dr. Leidenix, the anesthesiologist, the nurses, and the staff showed has made my recovery a snap. I can see white now, can distinguish blue from black. My vision in my right eye has improved a great deal. And I can’t wait for the second cataract to be removed.
Thanks to all of you!!