My upcoming cataract surgery is Monday. And I’m barely holding on to my sanity and my nerves.
On Friday, I started my regimen of eye drops. It’s a cocktail of different eye drops that are administered in different doses at different rates three days before surgery and then for the two weeks after surgery. The drops are supposed to prevent infection and to prepare the eye for surgery and post-surgery healing.
Okay. I can handle this.
Drop 1. Ooh. Makes my eye cold.
Five minutes later, Drop 2. Oh I can feel that one.
I don’t have to worry about Drop 3 until after the surgery.
Yesterday, I took my morning drops … then went for some breakfast and chores.
At noontime, I went to put in my second of four doses of Drop 1.
Where’s the bottle?
Where’s the bottle?
Oh my God the bottle’s missing … where did I put it?
It’s not here, it’s not there, I start tearing my home apart looking for the tiny bottle. Oh here’s my Apple TV remote … was wondering where that went … still no bottle, and I’m due for my drops.
And at this moment … confidence changes to straight out panic.
Oh my God I can’t find the bottle. And I need it for the regimen.
I quickly call my pharmacist and ask for a replacement bottle.
“Sorry, sir, your medicine doesn’t come with a refill.”
Oh my God, no – if I don’t take this medicine as the doctor prescribed, and he cuts my eye open for surgery and it’s not prepared … no no I need a replacement bottle, please.
“You have to get a new prescription, sir.”
It’s Saturday. My doctor’s office is closed. And the surgery’s Monday. And if I don’t take these drops in order and on time … they’ll postpone the surgery and I can’t go another month like this … my right eye is so clouded right now, I could qualify as Elliot Spitzer’s Lieutenant Governor.
Listen … can I buy the bottle outright? Forget the insurance, just let me buy it off the shelf?
“No, sir, it’s a controlled substance and we can’t sell it to you without a prescription.”
Ugh. And it’s not like I can swap out Visine for this medicine and lie to the doctors. Don’t ever lie to doctors. You could wake up the morning after surgery with a note pinned to your chest saying, “Thanks for the kidneys, liar.”
So what do I do now?
“Call urgent care and maybe they can get you an emergency prescription.”
Okay, okay … I called urgent care.
“We can’t give you an emergency prescription for that medicine, sir, it’s a controlled substance.”
I’m not asking for a prescription for medical marijuana – help a man out, would you?
“Call your doctor.”
He’s closed on Saturday.
“There’s always an on-call. Call your doctor.”
Okay, okay … fingers fumbling as I call my surgeon’s office. Answering service says she will connect me with the on-call doctor.
Twenty minutes later, I receive a phone call. It’s the on-call doctor. I explain what happened. My blood pressure is on TILT right now. If I don’t get this surgery, it’ll get postponed and I can’t see as it is right now and –
“Hang on, sir. Let me call your pharmacist.”
A few moments later …
“I called your pharmacist, sir, and they don’t have the medicine available for replacement.”
That sound you heard was me three steps away from giving up.
“They are going to issue you an equivalent medicine, though. It will work the same as your original medicine.”
I race to the pharmacist. The medicine is there. And it’s covered by my insurance. $10 later … the replacement drop is in my eye. The regimen is back on schedule.
That hour of hell did nothing to help my confidence.
So I turned to the other form of modern healing. The psychological kind of modern healing.
I asked my Facebook friends if they could spare positive messages, funny memes, cat videos, anything. And sure enough, they did – my blog readers, old college friends, several former Albany Patroons, heck all the members of the Australian rock band Goanna sent positive vibes as well.
That helped me get back to center. And I appreciate that. Thanks to everybody.
Sorry about the panic attack. I don’t do well at hospitals and surgeries. I just don’t. I’m probably going to need enough sedatives during my surgery to knock out King Kong.
I just need …
I just need this surgery to be over with. Maybe if the first eye gets repaired, the cataract gets removed, the new intra-ocular lens gets installed, and everything goes well, I won’t be so panicky and upset when my left eye goes under the knife in January.
If I can just get through this … I’ll be okay.
I just have to get through this.
I have to.