7 July — surprise laser surgery

So much excitement about going to Paris, fulfilling the beginning of a dream . . . of course, there had to be a dön (Buddhist term for “obstacle” or maybe fruition of a negative karmic situation) on the very day of my departure. In this case it was a detached retina.

As said, I’d been preparing for this trip for a few months (if not many years in my mind). At the same time, I’ve been working with my new GP and trying to follow her advice. A few months ago, I tested positive for “pre diabetes. Part of working with that is to see various specialists, like a nutritionist and, of relevance here, an eye doctor.

The week before I left, I finally made an appointment with Dr. Jacquelin Smith of FYI Doctors (a very good optometrist by the way). If you’re diabetic, your vision can change, become blurry. Mine was becoming blurry in the late afternoon, noticeable while working on my computer. So, she tested my eyes and we came up with new glasses specifically for me to use while working on the computer (am I using them now? no.) She also found that my retina  was becoming detached on the bottom, so it might take a while to become totally detached, better than if it were at the top where gravity could take its toll. So, she referred me to a specialist.

Two days later I saw my GP and told her (Dr. AJ — from India, hence the initials). She said seeing the opthamologist sooner than later was good — i.e., before I went to Paris. She told me who to call for an appointment. So I called on the Monday before I was due to leave on the Wednesday. Tuesday was a holiday, Canada Day. Got a call on Wednesday morning at 9 am that I had an appointment with the eye surgeon at noon. Hadn’t even finished packing.

Went to see Dr. Dickenson. He examined my eyes, “yes, the jelly in your right eye is layered like a kleenex and there’s a hole in your retina, so leaking could happen.” (okay, eww, maybe TMI mom). He could operate now if I liked. I told him, “but I’m leaving for France this afternoon!” He let me know the operation wouldn’t take long (just take a little “spot welding,” and it was free in Canada. It would cost $10,000 in the U.S. and he knew of a wonderful specialist in Paris, but he didn’t know how much it would cost though my medical insurance wouldn’t count because it was now a pre-existing condition. Agg.

I felt like an ingrate. So,I let one of my personal admonitions came into play: “Now’s good.” Not what I expected when I woke up this morning, but . . .

So, at about 1:10, I went  across the hall from the examining room to the surgery room.  Dr. Dickenson spent about 10-15 minutes lasering (or as he described it, spot welding) my retina back on. Gad. When he was done I saw a nice green haze in my visual space, no matter how I blinked. When I walked out of the room to leave and catch the bus home, it turned into a nice pink haze. Didn’t really hurt. Just felt a little pressure and warmth at one point.

(One note I forgot about the inimitable Dr. Dickenson is that he was tall, thin, dapper, and I found out had delivered all of his six children. A very energetic and efficient fellow.)