Soft focus photos of France are shown to represent my predicament of hazy eyesight. I hope you enjoy and understand.
“Bertha’s rheumatism is acting up again. Mae’s very pitiful with her painful pleurisy. Clarence has lumbago and can’t hoe the garden today.” Mama’s elderly friends and relatives sat around with Granny to talk ailments and remedies while I listened in the corner in total boredom. I had no idea what lumbago, pleurisy and rheumatism were, but I thought the ladies had odd bulges and bumps under their pastel lace-trimmed blouses as evidence of strange ailments. Why couldn’t they talk with me about the cute boy at school who smiled at me, or my new flowery flock with the tiny bows at the neckline? A juicy bit of gossip to whisper to my friends would have been greater fun than creepy illnesses.It’s my turn now to talk the details of my malady similar to the old ladies in my past, except I’ve widened the circle to include the world of the web. Why spill your woes to a handful of people when you can complain to a larger audience? Webster defines malady as a disease, disorder or sickness. Malady is misused and slightly abused in my story since I’m leading you off to an operating room for a spot of surgery and recovery. I simply liked the sound of malady in comparison to surgery, not as brutal or blunt, slightly more lady-like.Very early in the morning of December 19th, Jim drove the red Jeep to the eye surgery center in Dothan, Alabama, where I voluntarily admitted myself for surgery on my eyelids. Now, I know you’re thinking that I’m going all Kardashian here, but wipe that expensive and frivolous notion away with an airbrush. I declined the Cosmetic Surgery Menu and settled on the insurance-paid procedure, hoping to rid myself of feeling like a groundhog seeing its shadow. With all of this settled, Jim and I approached the modern brick building with a mansard roof-line reminiscent of Paris. Inside, the beautiful, rather luxurious lounge had high ceilings, and the rooms were filled with antique-reproduction furniture and paintings. A polite, attractive lady greeted us and gave Jim a pager to alert us when they were ready to take me away. Jim accidentally kept the pager. Hint: You might be a redneck if you think you can page the doctor from home!Soon enough, I was nervously walking down the corridor in the spa-like atmosphere, but no Jacuzzi, manicure or massage waited for me. Pretty young nurses in brightly colored pants and shirts rushed around in their neon-hued Sketchers with long hair tucked into blue bonnets. Long gone are the crisply starched, white uniforms and caps from my mother-in-law’s hospital days. Next on the agenda, I found myself reclining on the table in the operating theater with constant reminders to keep my eyes closed. The nurses took my hearing aids away, and with this disadvantage I repeated what I thought I had heard: “Did you say raise my hand?” A quick reply came: “No, raise your chin!” I thought the man’s voice sounded like Jeff Foxworthy, but I kept this opinion to myself, thinking this wasn’t the time to say my good doctor sounded like a fella who fell off a turnip truck. Nope, I didn’t want to wake up looking like I had been beaten with the ugly stick. Hold that thought!Sitting on the edge of the bed in recovery with Jim at my side, the nurse was explaining post-op procedures and saying I would have the white circles around my eyes for several days. A couple of days along, the skin on my face felt like it had been worked over with a belt sander, or a sandblaster. Before the procedure, when the doctor offered to answer any questions, I foolishly only asked when I could go back to work. I didn’t know to ask about the raccoon eyes with big white circles, or the reptile-like shedding of skin from my face. I believe they read my thoughts on the operating table, or I talked in my sleep, because I got a whopper of a dose of the ugly stick!
I slumped down in the front seat of the Jeep with my sunglasses holding cold patches in place on my eyes on the return from the eye center. With only one stop at Krispy Kreme as a reward for my good behavior, Jim drove for an hour to our home and refuge. Then the saga of the malady ensued! I eased myself on to the sofa with my head propped up with pillows and asked Jim to bring a package of frozen peas for my eyes since that was suggested in the post-op info.
Jim told me: “I think you should lie flat and get rid of those pillows.” I didn’t like his idea, but by now I had heard enough orders that I just numbly did what he said. I heard a rustle of paper, and then footsteps rapidly pounded the floor, followed by Jim’s voice saying: “Never mind! The instructions say to keep your head elevated even when you sleep. And, I got the frozen peas for your eyes.” Through the narrow slits of my eyes, I saw a quart-size frozen block of peas coming toward my face.
I gathered strength hidden away and powered by Krispy Kreme to explain in clear terms: “The chunk of frozen peas, big as a brick, won’t work! What do you expect me to do, balance it on my nose like a trained seal? And, these are good peas! We can’t waste our good peas.”
“Good peas?! What are you talking about?”
“Good garden-grown peas to eat with warm cornbread and fresh tomatoes! Bring a small package of plain store-bought peas.”
After the third try, I was settled into a pattern. Tiny, commercially-grown, frozen peas settled into place on my pitiful eyes, like saucepans with a gauze-lining so they wouldn’t stick while defrosting and simmering. Overheating with a hot flash I had re-fried beans!Sticky business was on the after-surgery orders. Jim applied stuff to my eyelids about three times daily. The ointment dribbled into my eyes, inhibiting my vision. Everything was blurry, like living in a Monet world. But as a word of warning, if you follow in my footsteps, don’t look into a magnifying mirror like I did accidentally the day after surgery! A shocking Picasso image appeared in the mirror! Yes, the ugly stick did a walloping on me. I overheard Jim on the phone saying that I looked like Exhibit A for an assault and battery case. It wasn’t bad enough to convert to a frozen pea-lovin’ vegetarian, I had to endure threats of my Picasso bluish-purple image being posted on Facebook by my ever-lovin’ husband.
View from my Alabama Recovery Bedroom
Within a few hours of our arrival home I had a call from a different doctor, the dermatologist I had visited a week earlier. I included a reminder about skin cancer in my last blog before I started the saga of the current malady. She had good news and bad. The good news was the two biopsies she performed were benign. However, I must return for a bit more surgery on the shoulder area, the bad news. Not fun, but when it is done, I’m all clear. Concentrate on shopping in Birmingham instead of the ordeal. Back to the frozen peas and attentive Jim, he truly should have followed his mother into the medical field. I’m so squeamish, but nothing seems to bother him. Jim’s mother was known for her very authoritative manner in the hospital, and everywhere else for that matter. On the other hand, she was a very compassionate, caring nurse, fulfilling the highest standards. I won’t draw any unfavorable comparisons to Jim since I still need nursing duties now and the future from him.
Nurse Jim took care of the skin areas, frozen eye duty and application of ointment. I would call him Dr. Jim, but it’s more fun to jerk his chain a little with the description of nurse. One afternoon he brought more band-aids than what was needed for the daily change on the biopsies. I spouted a question, “Why do you have the extra band-aid?” Quickly, before he replied and beat me to it, I said, “For my mouth?” I tried to tell him that I could at least take care of my knee if not the back side of my shoulder. His smarty words were, “Yeah, with your eyesight you might get the Preparation H instead of the Bacitracin.”
We muddled through it all just fine, in fairly good humor. There was one day when we had a completely strange conversation with Jim talking about the eye pad which I confused with I-pad; apparently my brain was in a fuzzy Monet world with my hazy vision.
If you have endured this far into my poor-pitiful-me-wallow-fest, I do thank you for your kindness. Presently, I am seeing better, and surely I will survive for another day, and another malady.
I would like to extend a special thank you to the caring, compassionate staff at Eye Center South, Dothan, Alabama. Thanks to Dr. Richard Bryant, Dr. Urisona, Kenya, Kayla, Brooke, Belinda, Patrick, Tara, Cindy, Anne and Lauren for your expertise and kindness!
The professional staff did a wonderful job, but I reserve the best commendation for Nurse Jim!
I apologize for not replying to some of your nice comments last week, but I’m sure you know why I couldn’t now. Have you experienced this procedure? Or, did you play the role of caring for the wounded like Nurse Jim? I would truly enjoy seeing your comments below.
Thank you! Ya’ll come back now! Could you recommend the website on Facebook or to a friend or relative who may enjoy this Southern lady’s take on France mixed with Alabama? More travel next time instead of misery around the house.