31 May 2011

Eye witness

I have recently been on the receiving side of patient care. My cataract surgery was a complete success, and I am surprised—no, amazed—how much brighter my world looks now.

I reported to the eye clinic at a local hospital one morning last week. My ophthalmologist, who looks like she belongs in high school rather than a hospital, did a quick eye exam to determine if I was an acceptable surgery risk and then sent me off to the outpatient surgery section. There, I was met by two lovely young nurses, Petra and Jane, who explained that they each spoke a little English and that, together, would get me ready.

They were so helpful and pleasant I was sorry I caused them extra effort with my language requirements. I changed into scrubs, had my name plastered on the front of my shirt on a piece of tape so they wouldn’t forget who I was, and was led into the surgery-suite waiting area. There, one of them appeared every 10 minutes to put different medicated drops in my eye.

I’ve traveled a good bit of the world and one thing I’ve always marveled at is, no matter how friendly a society is or is not toward Americans, everyone—and I do mean everyone—likes American music. So there I am sitting in this room, surrounded by several Czechs waiting for eye surgery, and I’m listening to American country music.

After I completed several rounds of eye drops, I was transferred to the operating room, positioned for surgery and draped out. I have a bit of claustrophobia. It isn’t one of those run-screaming-out-of-the-room things but rather a nervous tension. I knew I was going to have a drape over my face, and I was a little concerned about this, but I shouldn’t have been. I only had a moment to worry about being covered up before the instruments started coming toward my eye. For the rest of the short procedure, I gave no thought to being enclosed. I was too focused on the needles and the sucker thing I was watching attack my eyeball.

I readily admit there was no pain! And, to prepare me, my ophthalmologist explained everything that was happening. The nurses were great, comforting and reassuring me, and one even held my hand. It was not a bad experience; it was a strange experience! I’ve never had eye surgery before, but I have had surgery in the United States and I can honestly say that the surgeon, staff and facility met any expectation I would have had at home. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

I’m now in the recovery phase, which has been surprisingly easy. I had no post-operative pain at all, only a patch on my eye for 24 hours. The patch came off and—voilà—bright, clear vision! I’m channeling Bob Marley lately as I sing, “I can see clearly now.”

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.


  1. Anonymous31 May, 2011

    glad your surgery was a success!

  2. A successful surgery is one of those miracles that rarely happen. Ok, I might be exaggerating, but it's a good thing that it really was successful. And hearing how everything went smoothly is really a nice experience, right?