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Eyeglasses? Laser surgery?
I've worn corrective lenses from childhood.
I've had five surgeries. In 1995 my first surgery was done at a VA Hospital. In a three and one half hour procedure done under a local anesthetic (that's right, I "watched" it) my left orb was pulled from my face and a scleral buckle (the sclera is the white of the eye; a buckle is a strap which squeezes the eyeball into an oval) was placed about the eye and stitched in place to force the detaching retina back into contact with the eye wall. Perhaps they pulled a little too far and traumitized both optic nerves (they cross), because for the next several days I was left completely and inexplicably blind.
Inexplicably? Well, they had an explanation. The problem, I was told, was my "bad attitude" when I refused to read an eye chart. Read an eye chart!? I was frigging blind, and never so scared in my life. On day four I could see light and they discharged me from the hospital.
What is the quality of VA care? After surgery I was brought into the Recovery Room, where patients are taken to awaken from anesthesia. But I WAS awake, and oddly enough, could still see. And I waited there, as the anesthetic wore off. After perhaps twenty minutes I began to feel uncomfortable. After forty I began, with each breath and despite my desire not to do so, to emit a short muffled moan. A nurse (ah, those VA angels of mercy) approached and said: "Those of us who work in this facility everyday would appreciate it if you would STOP MAKING THOSE DISGUSTING NOISES!!" Had I been in the mood for snappy comebacks perhaps I'd've said "lady, I'll pull your eye out and we'll see what kind of sounds you make." But I was in no such mood. I did say "Do...you...have.. something...for..pain?" And in her best imititation of a four year old she sneered "Oh, I guess we could find you a Tylenol, if you you think you can wait." Then they took me to my room (which I shared with seven others) and shot me with Demerol. And the next morning, the blindness.
There was more. But you get the idea. There was one kind incident. It was night, I think, because it was quiet, when an older nurse, a black woman I could tell from her voice, rubbed my shoulder and said "you poor man, I know what they did to you." I was never able to thank her.
Anyway, I had four other surgeries from a private retinal surgeon. One laser suturing of the operated eye, and three suturings and one cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogren) to repair tears to the retina of the other eye, tears the VA said weren't there. And when the VA eye clinic found that I'd seen a private physician so that I wouldn't go blind, they refused to render any further treatment. I've never been back.
Someone mentioned that self-employmemt doesn't provide for health insurance coverage. How astute. And lately my vision suffers from increased floaters (dark patterns swirling in the vitreous) which could be the precurser of another detachment.
I am an honors graduate with two degrees, but cannot pursue my profession because of vision loss. I can play poker and twenty-one because I can still (but barely) read large index cards. And when I can't...
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