It always starts like this. I was walking carefully on link road. Being careful is a must for us locals, especially Senior Citizens in Bengaluru. The footpaths, if there are any, are made and maintained in such a way as to discourage us SC's from ever stepping out of our homes. If you do, you may trip and fall with serious consequences. Danger lurks everywhere here in Bengaluru!
Noticing a brand new eye hospital on the road and on an impulse I stepped in. Diabetic patients need to get their eyes checked periodically. The technician checked my eye and said the doctors will see the report and tell you, but I see cataract developing on your right eye. That was a shock! My parents did not have cataract, why me? The doctor, a young girl, asked me to get some more tests done as she saw a spheroidal something and wanted to reconfirm. I went for this test the next day. It was done with some impressive looking equipment and results were beyond my comprehension.
I met the doctor and after she saw the reports, she appeared as if she had other things on her mind, briefly said 'you can have the cataract done.' When I asked if it was urgent, she said 'you can take your time'. Relieved I walked out and later spoke to my friend Raghu (Dr. Lt Gen Raghunath.) as I always do. He said 'where was the need for all this' and when he heard the cost, said 'Ask them to put a plaque in the entrance with your name as a donor!'
I forgave the girl doctor as some hospitals have a reputation for forcing young doctors to advise tests that are not absolutely necessary. Hospitals go for expensive machines and perforce have to use it. Guess this happens all over the world in the guise of ethical and legal imperatives. You need to protect yourself with insurance or go to a place where they know you or a doctor known to them recommends.
In any case I forgot about cataract for a while, till I found it bit difficult to read the green and putt while golfing. I also found it a bit difficult to read books, so gave up reading or used more light!
Then both my sister Srilatha and Raghu had their cataract operations and it did not seem that complicated. My sister said, 'the operation is only 15-20 minutes and we have to put eye drops every hour for the first week. It does not pain and we need to wear dark glasses all the time'. Raghu added that it was not necessary to wait till the cataract is fully developed.
I took courage as my putting was getting from bad to worse. Tara suggested I go to the nearest Samprathi eye hospital, which I did after checking it out on the web and with Dr. E V Raman, a family friend. Dr. Arun Samprathi, is a very pleasant person and my experience with the hospital was very good. On the day of the operation I reported at 7.30 am and was back home before 9.00 am. Before we left, Tara was briefed with the do's and don'ts and was given two vials of eye-drops to be used. Things were fine, till the do's and don'ts were applied.
On the first night, absent minded, I had taken off the goggles which was supposed on all the 24 hrs of a day. I accidentally touched my operated eye and learnt it was a must to keep it on .
My sister had said she could not go to the kitchen as she was not supposed to use a gas stove for two weeks. Anyway this was not a problem for me. I heated my morning cup of coffee on the micro-wave and as I was about to take a sip, Tara saw the steaming coffee and said 'stop!'.
She took the cup away from me and cooled the coffee so that no steam emanated from the coffee. That was tough as I love to feel the steam going up and warm my eyelids. But no water should enter the eyes was the rule. In fact, no head-bath for a week and I must use a sterile wipes for cleaning the face below the eyes. The one she got me works but it feels odd that a wipe which is meant for the bottom of a baby is to be used to wipe my face!
Tara is very concerned that the dust would enter my eyes, so going out even to the terrace is verboten till the doctor says so. In fact, a ride in a car was vetoed by Raghu due to the dust and the bad bumpy roads. He also said no to bending forwards and lifting weights, for example a bucket 1/3 full of water was the limit. An example worth remembering as people forget when it is such a normal thing. He also said that spicy things like chili-coated peanuts may make you cough. To be avoided at all costs.
These rules meant that I could not eat sugar as a diabetic. I had developed a little BP possibly due to the fear of an operation, so no salt and now no spicy snacks. It meant practically nothing except suck a tamarind?
The real shock was when I was told by the doctor I could get back to normal life after a week, including playing golf. But in reality the routine of putting eye-drops comes in the way and it seems I am off golf for another 5-6 weeks. Raghu had already said no golf for six weeks and I had replied, half seriously, that I need a second opinion. Still have some hope but I desperately need to find a way to put eye-drops while on the golf course. But I am afraid my plans will be vetoed.
I thought it was all too much fuss till I read how the eye is created by
nature . Eye is surely not like a glass
marble with a lens on one end and a receptor on the other end. I am now quite okay if I am confined to a cubicle for the next six weeks