Confined to Barracks: Grumpy on Restricted Duty
RESTRICTED AND CONFLICTED
Grumpy discovered early that probably the most difficult part of cataract surgery was going to be the restrictions imposed upon him in the first days/weeks following being poked in the eye. He has literally spent three days confined to his recliner staring at the ceiling, walls and his big screen TV.
Playing “Eye Spy with My Little Eye” (Grumpy still requires his patch/shield) with Pumba the Farting dog is about his only amusement.
“I spy with my little eye something that is blue!”
“Ah, now you’re getting warmer!”
“Woof, woof, woof!”
Well, you get the picture.
You see you can’t lift any heavy objects, bend over, or lean forward throughout the beginnings of the healing process. It all has to do with eye pressure. I guess if the pressure gets too high something’s going to blow. No one wants their shiny new intraocular lens to move or, for that matter, generate a detached retina. You are fairly scolded about the possibility of this.
“Absolutely NO picking up heavy objects, Mr. Grumpy!” the nurse snarls. ”We don’t want anything to move in that eye!”
Well apparently that eye of yours is attached to every freaking part of your body. The restrictions for keeping it pristine are monumental.
You can’t burp, fart, cough, sneeze, hick-up, puke, laugh, poop (no straining), drive a car or have sex for varying amounts of time. Hell, this is a list of just about all of the favorite things an old fart like me likes to do.
The only consolation is that drinking beer is NOT on the list. That will make the “Eye Spy Games” far more interesting for Pumba.
I-sh shh-py wish (hick) my widdle eye-sh shomshing tash ish (hick) over there shome wheres. Sheek Pumba, sheek! (Burp)!”
If I can control the burps and hiccups I’ve got it made in the shade.
The funny part was that the nurse told me only part of the story. She kept saying, “These aren’t all of the restrictions you will get. The DOCTOR will give you specific instructions on the print out, Mr. Grumpy!” You see the part about no sex and pooping was on the sheet and not offered up by the nurse verbally.
Given that most of the folks here are in their seventies and eighties, I can see why they did this. No nurse on this good earth wants to tell a cantankerous octogenarian male, and to his face, that he can’t poop or have sex.
In the recovery room beside me an aged gentleman illustrated the logic of this reasoning. The old guy was breaking the bend over rule in spades.
NURSE: Bob, you can put your pants on now.
NURSE: You’re bending over again, Bob. You are not to lean forward.
NURSE: Bob, stop leaning forward.
BOB: Go take a bun, lady!
(“Take a bun!” was my Grandmother’s polite way of saying shut up!)
Cataract surgery favours our civil servants and white collar workers. You see when it comes to work here are the Laws of Ophthalmology.
REGARDING RETURNING TO WORK
Work – if desk work –next day.
Work – manual work – 10 days
Hair Dresser – 3 days
I think the list should have also included: RETIRED– return to normal inactivity.
For those who are interested the list of activity restrictions goes like this: driving – 3 days, golfing, lawn bowling, swimming – 2 weeks, flying -2 weeks, sex-2 weeks, grass cutting -2 weeks, diving– 4 weeks, heavy lifting – 4 weeks, and avoiding constipation – 4 weeks.
Now, as you can see, this might create some decision making dilemmas for some folks.
Our old friend, Bob the Leaner, after two weeks just might be thinking, “Hmmmm, should I have sex, go golfing or should I cut the lawn? Nah, I’d better not. I haven’t pooped in three days!”
While recovering you are also required to put two kinds of drops in your eyes to control inflammation. One is Prednisolone (a steroid). I haven’t noticed any improved definition in my musculature, though. But man, can I book it flat out on a stationary bike. Look out Lance Armstrong!
The other eye drop is Ketorolac Tromethamine. This is the one the pharmacist, the nurse and the Doctors all say “Stings a bit!” Well, I guess! Put it this way: take the sensation of the “Burning Ring-of-Fire” you get during your morning constitutional after eating a meal of Jalapeno peppers and stick that in your eye.
Forget about waterboarding torture, because spies should all be given a vial of Ketorolac Tromethamine if they want to extract information from the enemy.
“No, no, I’ll tell you everything if you stop putting those damn drops in my eyes! PLEASE ”
But, despite these frustrations, today is a great day for Grumpy. He can remove the shield and go patch-less and the bonus is that he can return to driving. And, do you know what? Two weeks from now he’ll be able to forget all of this inconvenience, get up and get going and re-establish his mojo, if you catch my drift.
THE SIDEBAR: Which Eye is it Mr. Grumpy?
Grumpy has a fairly good memory. He remembers that on his first day of school, in kindergarten, the whole class went outside to play the game “What time is it Mr. Wolf?”
What a great game for five year olds.
Fifty-seven years later, in Tillsonburg Hospital, he encountered a new but similar game for senior citizens. That game is called, “Which eye is it, Mr. Grumpy?”
You see we humans are blessed with two of many useful body parts. For example, you have two arms, two legs, two ears, two knees, two hips, two kidneys and, if you are male – two “onions”. But, for the purpose of this discussion we will confine our description to the fact that we also have two eyes; a right one and a left one.
If you’ve ever had surgery on any one of these “twos” you know that the hospital staff make sure they get it right when they get you on the table and the Doctor is ready to make that first incision.
Here’s how it went for me.
NURSE: So, Mr. Grumpy, can you confirm that your surgery is to be performed on your RIGHT eye?
Ten minutes later.
NURSE: Can you point to the eye that you are to have surgery upon?
GRUMPY: (Points to right eye.)
Ten minutes later.
NURSE: Mr. Grumpy, can you wink at me with the eye you are to have surgery upon?
GRUMPY: Mam, isn’t that a little forward?
NURSE: Just do it!
Ten minutes later.
NURSE: Mr. Grumpy would you please stand by the bed and stamp your foot three times on the side where you are to have surgery upon your eye?
And so it went, over and over again for the entire time I was in pre-op.
Really, after about the tenth time, I was beginning to doubt myself. Maybe I was all wrong. What if I was telling them to operate on the eye scheduled for surgery in March? Why do they keep asking me the same damn question? Isn’t this written down somewhere?
I remember that when I had knee surgery many years ago the nurse marked that knee with some kind of Sharpie-like pen. I also know that tattoos are often used by surgeons to guide them into the proper territory.
So, I have a plan for my surgery on my left eye in March. I’m going to take a washable Sharpie and draw a big black circle around that left eye. I’ll look a lot like the Little Rascal’s dog Pete or “Petee” as he was so often called. Ladies and gentleman, it says here that there will be no mistaking which eye is to be done.
NURSE: So, Mr. Grumpy, can you confirm that your surgery is to be performed on your LEFT eye?
GRUMPY: (Defiant, pointing to black circle) Figure it out!
GRUMPY: (Smiling like a bird dog.) Go take a bun, lady!
NURSE: You see this vial of Super Duper Fast Acting Extra Strength Ketorolac Tromethamine I’m holding in my hand? I need you to open BOTH eyes!
GRUMPY: (Cowering under the sheets) No, no, please, not that! That would be my left eye, mam! LEFT EYE (Grumpy points,winks, stamps left foot on bed)
NURSE: (Returns the vial to her breast pocket) Thank you, Mr. Grumpy. And, do have a nice day!