Posts Tagged ‘detached retina’

do birds fly?

Thursday, April 29, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Do Birds Fly?

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It’s 4PM on a sunny Friday afternoon having just finished up work, for the hour, returning from our fabulous listing in San Francisco to preview the staging and meeting with the landscapers; then back to the East Bay to meet our contractor and the homeowner who happens to be a past client, also a childhood friend and past neighbor, in order to ready his home for market. I rush home to meet Adam who gives me a ride to the eye doctor for a 4 o’clock appointment before dinner back in the City. From past experience if you are going to the eye specialist you will not leave with 20/20. If something is wrong, obviously, that’s why  I am there, so they dilate the new, bad eye. I was relieved it wasn’t the same eye they operated on during COVIID, because that would be a huge bummer. That would mean the surgery didn’t work. I told the technician, nurse, not sure of her title, but I told her, you can test my site, but I cannot see out of my left eye and I need surgery. (I am sure they just love when patients self diagnose.) I wasn’t being smart, just matter-of-fact, as 6 months prior it took at least 5 appointments and multiple tests to discover the issue until I finally was scheduled for surgery. (That was the easy eye!) Allow me to revel in how awesome doctors and technology are. The machines they have for testing our small eyes is nothing less than fantastic. I snapped a photo of the photo on the doctors machine of my yellow died eye — it looked like a planet in outer space, yellow and red with lots and lots of squiggly lines.

3 technicians later my amazing, awesome, magical doctor enters, the Wizard. Who else could operate on a tiny eye, while listening to rock and talking sports while performing surgery. I assume he was conversing with the anesthesiologist. I felt no pain but wasn’t totally under, just out of it, comfortably, very comfortably. I do recall thinking what if the stuff wore off and I could feel him working on my eye, could I even talk if I wanted to worn everyone? Maybe I should have tried? But if I did maybe I would have frightened my doctor and my right eye would not be so perfect. Yes, perfect. Not only did that first surgery go so well, bringing my blurry vision back into focus using laser technology but removed the floaters too. Did I say, amazing? Yes, he is no less than awesome, a wizard with a wand. Floaters, for those of you under 50, are little bubble like things that float around in your eye annoying the “s” out of you. In the beginning you use eye drops, (and I know is bad), rub your eyes and think it may be dust or allergies. Note to self: STOP! Don’t rub.

It’s 3:30 AM at present, the morning after my latest surgery. The time is not so unusual for me to wake, oftentimes I go back to sleep, at least until 5:30, but today like other early mornings when I have endured a unique experience like this, I have to unravel it all and put it on paper, like the time we had to plan and execute a Navy Seal extraction to remove Chase from India last March within 10 hours of lockdown; or a few years ago when I woke up early to write about the evening before when I was certain I was going to die in a plane crash on Spirit Airlines after having sent a last text message to my family saying, I love you.

Gratefully, this experience is not so bad. With the exception I type this out using Arial and font size 88 with my head facing down. I wasn’t told prior to surgery that I would have to keep my face in a downward position for 2 to 3 weeks!! Nor did I do any prior research until I was itemizing a huge list of things for my TC* to do in case I was out of it for more than a half day. —Meaning unable to give further direction, and doing a million little things, myself, while  making sure not to put any extra burden on Adam and his already huge pile of work. There is no better word in the English language than control freak, workaholic, words that describe me best. Last night after I returned from surgery I was barking orders, nicely, yet both orally and via text. A bit obsessive, maybe? Yep! You bet, I will be starting in a 8:30 (when most are available to me, including public offices by 9). That is a lifetime for someone who starts festering at 3:30AM!

Back to Friday. The Wizard reports this eye is a much bigger deal than my right eye. This time it’s a detached retina. He goes on to explain while asking when I first noticed it. I let him know it started on the far left side while skiing in Breckenridge and during the week it seemed to be getting worse. Like a snow storm that starts slow and begins to cover the mountain a little more and a bit more. (That description is for you, not the Wizard; he knew.)  When we returned from Colorado I still had some vision, then I flew east to help Bianca get re established in New York (after the COVID SIP) and settled into her new apartment. Within a day or two I noticed my eye was completely blurred out as if someone pushed their thumb into the middle of my eye just as you do when you are getting a document notarized, like when you buy or sell a home. All I could see was one big thumb print. (More real estate references. I suppose after 30 years of practicing, it just happens.)

I land Wednesday night (from NY) and by Friday at 4PM my appointment is booked. I hadn’t been that worried but looking back I am so grateful the doctor’s office scheduled me so quickly. After the eye testing, dilation and multiple images being taken I finally met with my doctor. As noted it was a much bigger deal. I think back now noticing he didn’t use the word serious, but I now think it was, compliments of Google.

My doctor inquired when I first noticed the blurred vision in order to gain insight and a timeline. I later learned on Google that a detached retina should be handled promptly. Thus the reason I am sharing this with you today. I wasn’t worried because he had fixed my eye perfectly the last time. I hadn’t been pushy to get in and I hadn’t called ahead from New York, although when I was up at 5:30AM in NY, I did try, but it was always too early on the West coast and then got too busy once we started in again running errands, shopping and getting Bianca’s apartment pulled together. (BTW, it’s SOOOOO CUTE!)

It had been about 10 days. Now close to 5PM on a lovely Friday afternoon, the doctor swung open his door started directing his staff to book appointments, he started filling out forms on his computer and barking more orders. He asked if I had any trips planned?  Do birds fly? I thought to myself?  Yes, 3, I shared. I could cancel or drive. He reported I could not fly for 2 months. He moved on to ask if I could get in on Monday to see my primary care doctor so they could release me for surgery — a COVID test, EKG & vitals.  I told him they were very slow and most likely not, so he said as last resort he could do it. He closed the door, took my blood pressure and pulse, checked my heart and replied to my previous comment, —I promise I am healthy, and my blood pressure, if anything, will be low. The words that finally stuck, his reply after reporting my blood pressure, “Even after this bad news your pressure is super low.” His words lingered for a moment. 

He then told me I was set, surgery would be on Tuesday, and I didn’t need to see my primary, and said he was going to go reserve the hospital now, himself. I have never seen a doctor so hands on. And like that he was off, I checked out and was told his office would follow up Monday with details of Tuesday’s surgery. Adam had been waiting in the car for an hour and a half working, then visiting with the HIGHLAND PARTNERS agents on Friday’s Happy Hour. I jumped in the car, having no idea I was announcing my upcoming surgery to the office on Zoom! Crazier occurrences have happened on Zoom. This, not such a big deal considering all the crazy stories we have heard over the past year during COVID.

Once I knew of my impending surgery I stopped moving around, and stopped driving. Tuesday came as fast as turtle   moves. 130PM Tuesday could not come fast enough. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and finally Tuesday. One of the positive outcomes of COVID is how waiting rooms have become a thing of the past. It really is  awesome. I zipped through check-in and headed straight down into the bowels of the hospital, to the frigid basement. I was told to sit and wait for a moment. A kind doctor watching TV asked if I was a Betta. When anyone asks if I’m a Betta I always think they must be a relative because most who know me, know me as a DiMaggio. I was most surprised to be recognized behind glasses and a mask. We had a nice chat. She was the mother of one of Chase’s childhood friends. It was nice to be sitting with a friendly face in the cold depths of the dull beige basement. I’ll never forget the day — the TV was tuned in to the news — the country, maybe even the world sat awaiting the George Floyd verdict. I was praying for a guilty verdict;  if the alternative occurred I’d be waking up to a city in chaos. After the last year, I just didn’t want to witness any further unhappiness and destruction. 

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The attendant brought me into a private room since I hadn’t had the opportunity to have a Covid test. An hour later they swabbed both nostrils. And sometime after that I was given the news of a negative result. I continued to nap. Fast forward to questions — Name. Birthdate. Allergies. What are you having done today. The dreaded IV. Finally the anesthesiologist came in. More questions. Followed by The Wizard. After being wheeled into the operating room looking at huge machines, and being parked right in between two. That’s where things go black. And if almost seconds later I was out. The best sleep ever. I don’t recall seeing the doctor. I do recall the nurse barking to keep my head down. They should give you post op instructions prior to surgery, not when you are half baked. The next thing I knew I was in a wheelchair, outside, then in Adam’s car.  Head down. Now 7 days and 2 follow up appointments later, all is healing. (If you looked at me you would not think so. I just looked at my eye and it is bloody red.) I’m still sitting and sleeping face down. Grandma hangs out with me during the day, makes lunch and cooks dinner for Adam, myself and my Dad every night. You can listen to TV and movies, but cannot watch. I’ve been listening to Sam the Cooking Guy because he’s so animated and talks so much you can almost see what he’s doing without looking. Documentaries are also entertaining. I can look down at my phone and laptop so I am able to keep up with work, emails and marketing our new listing. Not sure how I’ll make it another week and maybe another 2 weeks. It’s not a small surgery. At my last appointment I asked The Wizard if it was something I had caused by rubbing my eyes. The Wizard simply says, it’s just bad luck and age. I don’t believe there is anything one can do to prevent a detached retina. If there is, please do tell. I don’t wish this recovery time on anyone!

Ahh…. the agony of aging. 

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