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Still not in Dogpatch

Here’s another house in the rich part of town. There are some really classy looking places here.

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I went in for the Yag laser surgery on my left eye this morning. Being the guy that I am, I arrived about twenty minutes early. I knew that the surgery would be done on a production line type process and that everyone was told to be there at 8:30. I hoped that it would be conducted on a first come, first served basis.

The first step in the process was to check in at the front desk. I signed (electronically) documents that said I understood everything that was going to happen and that I would never hold them responsible for anything that went wrong. Then the nice lady at the desk stuck a starry sticker above my left eye so that the doctor didn’t work on the right eye which would be the wrong eye. I then sat down and opened my book. I read about a paragraph and was then called back for step 2.

Step two was having my blood pressure taken while they asked me if I had eaten breakfast (I had), if I had taken my medicine (I had), and if I knew which eye the doctor was going to zap with his laser (I did, and pointed to the sticker above my left eye). The nurse put three drops in my left eye and told me to keep it closed until I had the surgery so that it would stay moist and dilated. She also told me that after the surgery I should make rapid eye movements to the left and right at least ten times per hour. She then demonstrated in slow motion.  From there she led me into a room that was dark enough that I couldn’t read my book with one eye. I was the second person in there so my hopes for getting out fairly early rose.

Step three was waiting. The next guy that was led into the waiting area asked how long he would be there. The nurse told him that none of the surgeries would start until after 9, and that the doctor would start with the people who were having their right eye done. My hopes sank. I decided to count the number of people getting the procedure but gave up after sixteen; why bother? After about twenty minutes another nurse came around to see if our appropriate eye was dilated. As she checked each one she told us we could keep the eye open. That is when I decided the first nurse wasn’t as knowledgable as she thought. I opened my book and was able to read. As I was reading another fellow joined our group. He found it necessary to tell jokes as we waited; I decided to think of him as Joking Joe. I was glad I had my book because it ensured that we wouldn’t make eye contact.

The doctor arrived and took up his station in an adjoining room. By this time there were at least twenty people waiting for surgery. Two nurses opened up shop in still another room and started calling in people who had starry stickers above their right eye. From that point on things got more interesting. The actual laser treatment took about a minute per person, and the production line was up and running.

As luck would have it, there were only about ten people having their right eye zapped this morning. I was the third person called in who had a starry sticker above the left eye. When I was called in they asked me if I was getting my left eye treated, and I gave the correct answer. The next man called in was also asked if he was having his left eye treated, but he didn’t know. After looking confused for a bit he said that his daughter took care of him and she had made the arrangements. I could be in worse shape than I am.

I was ushered into the laser room and was sat down in front of the contraption. A nurse told me that I had to put my hands on the table, lean into a forehead rest, I had to keep my teeth closed (why?), and that I should stare at a green light with my left eye while they treated the right eye. I started to pull my head back since they were supposed to be working on my left eye. Another nurse pushed my head back into the forehead  rest and said that they were doing my left eye. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one who was paying attention. She kept her hand on the back of my head in case I had second thoughts, and then the doctor started shooting the laser into my left eye. When it was over, the first nurse said, “Perfect.” I wondered how she knew since she wasn’t sure which eye they were supposed to work on, but I let it pass.

They led me back to have my blood pressure checked again and to go over my discharge papers. While I was there I heard them tell Joking Joe that they were going to keep him for a while because his blood pressure had gone up quite a bit. Maybe the joking helped him hide his nervousness. I asked if I could take the starry sticker off of my forehead, and the nurse said no. She explained that she had to put two more drops in my eye and that she wanted to be sure to put them in the correct eye. That sounded reasonable, so I left it on a tad longer.

I get to go back tomorrow morning for a follow-up, and again next Monday to have the right (right) eye lasered.

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