You know, I’d stop writing these things if they would just settle down to end with, “…and the boy and his retina lived happily ever after,” but it’s just been slightly more ‘interesting’ than that.
I guess the main thing that I want to say about Week 6 is that I got to go back to work again. And also, I’d like to tell you about a visit that I made to Dr. Tran’s office that week (my retinal surgeon — he’s got an actual name): My vision was coming back again, and I was generally feeling quite chipper, and so, as I was following his assistant Linda down the corridor to the examination room, there was a slight, but definite, spring to my step. Mentally, I was whistling a cheerful tune.
Linda turned around to look at me as we walking. She shuddered slightly, and said, “Oooooh…don’t bounce!!”
After that, it was easy to shuffle along again.
Which brings us to this week. On Tuesday, Dr. Tran looked inside my eye and said, “Well, my friend, you have got another retinal detachment.” He turned away to write a few things on my chart, and I joked, “You’re thinking: I’m gonna remodel my kitchen on this guy!”
The gold standard of treatment, as mentioned before, is the mysterious ‘scleral buckle,’ which permanently changes the shape of the eye so that it is not as prone to ripping itself apart any more. And, as Dr. Tran had said before surgery #2, “You really need one.” During surgery #2, he had only been able to use cryo and the gas bubble to tack down the immediate failure, without being able to make strategic corrections.
Dr. Tran’s theory was that the swelling that prevented him from accessing the eye the last time could be avoided this time by (a) having me take some steroids leading up to the operation, and (b) giving me a general anesthetic instead of injecting the tissues around the eye with a lot of local blocks.
He would be repairing the specific detachment with cryo and laser, and then he would heroically try to put a band around that eye. One nice thing about the Modern Era is that a scleral buckle no longer involves retracting the eye from the socket (ew, gross!), the way that it did 25 years ago when I had a buckle put on my left (excellent) eye. Instead, they snake the band around between the eyeball and the muscles. Less violent in general, much faster recovery, and less chance of damage to the optic nerve.
He operated on Wednesday, and the surgery was a complete success.
Dr. Tran also made the comment that they couldn’t have fixed my Giant Retinal Tear if it had happened 25 years ago — they didn’t have the necessary gas bubble technology then. I remembered that they told me 25 years ago that they had only learned how to fix my left (excellent) eye’s problem 15 years before that, and I feel very lucky indeed — both eyes missed being irreparably blind by mere decades.
I’ve now got a big gas bubble in my evil eye, just like after surgery #1, and yes, I’m sentenced to the chair, looking down for the next several weeks. But hopefully this will be it (or at least, if I could get another 20-30 years respite, that would be extremely nice).