Thanks for praying for me in regard to the surgery on my left eye today.
If you have had this surgery, perhaps you can add your impressions and insights to what I will write.
I understand that about half of the people in the world have cataracts by age 60 and that lens replacement surgery is the most common operation in the world.
An optometrist told me that I had cataracts about five years ago--before I had noticed any changes in my vision related to them. He encouraged me by saying that I would have the surgery and then have perfect vision. I thought little about this for about three years and then began noticing an increase in blurriness, especially early in the AM and late at night. It would often clear with a few eye blinks.
As this very gradually grew worse over the last two years, I decided that I should get regular eye exams every six months until a surgeon told me it was time for the lenses to be replaced. I had the first exam in December, 2009 and the ophthalmologist said it was too early to replace the lenses. This month I was a bit surprised when the eye doctor said he could replace them since my vision seemed about the same as it was in December. However, gradual changes are often unnoticed.
The nice people at the eye hospital in Wuhan performed many tests on my eyes and a few other tests about two weeks ago. My wife began placing an antibiotic drop in my eye 4x/day Friday. This morning I returned to the hospital for the surgery.
We saw the very pleasant young nurse we had seen there before. She assessed my vital signs and began dilating my eye. She advised me to eat lots of vegetables!
She placed several drops in my eye over the next 30-45 minutes and then led us to the surgery suite on the second floor. By this time the vision is my left eye was quite poor--something you have probably experienced if your eyes have been dilated.
At the surgery suite she placed a gown and cap on me and placed shoe covers over my shoes. She then entrusted me to the nurses in the preparation room. One bathed my eye. The difficult part about this is keeping an eye open when someone is washing it. It was unpleasant but did not last very long. Then they thoroughly cleaned the area around my eye and and the left half of my face. They placed more drops in my eye.
Then a nurse led me to the operating room. It was a big room with several tables and I think several patients and doctors were there. (I was not seeing much with my glasses off and one eye dilated.) She and a surgeon helped me to lie in the proper position on the table. Someone washed the outside of my eye and face again. Then someone piled towels over my head, arms and chest. My breathing seemed to be OK but this felt very strange. Only my left eye was exposed.
Then someone taped (I think) my left eye open and washed it. Then the doctor shined a light into my eye about as bright as the sun. He asked if I could see it and I suppose if I had said no (bu shi), he would have known he had a major problem. He began doing something to my eye but I could not detect what he was doing. I could see the bright light and a lot of things moving on/in my eye.Then I had one of the worst experiences of my life.
My body told me to get off of the table, to get up, to walk. I felt I was not getting enough air. I told myself I must remain still. I prayed. I took some deep breaths and moaned a bit. I moved my legs a bit. I wanted the doctor to know I was in distress. He said he was almost through...and he was. I think the total time for the surgery on the eye took only about three minutes. They removed the towels, cleaned my eye and face and applied a dressing. Then a nurse escorted me to the post-op room. Another nurse placed a plastic guard and a dressing over the first dressing. A nurse removed my cap, gown and shoe covers. She led me out to my wife.
I could see the lens card in my hand and knew it had been made in TX. So you know the Chinese are buying some things made in the USA.
We sat there for a few minutes and then very carefully left the hospital and returned to our apartment. We are to return to the hospital tomorrow for the removal of the dressing and I look forward to that!
As I reflect on this now I think about that very difficult battle between my body and my mind. It was terrible. Maybe it was a panic attack. Maybe it was caused by an epinephrine injection (often used with local anesthetics). I do not know what caused it but I was so grateful it did not last very long.
What kind of body-mind battles have you had?
Can you imagine fasting for 40 days? Jesus did that. Can you imagine facing a group of policemen when you knew they were coming to take you away and that you would be crucified the next day? Imagine facing them and saying, "I am he." Can you imagine not resisting when your were nailed to a cross? Can you imagine hanging there for six hours
as you suffocated and bled and the life drained from your body?
I can read about it but I do not think I will ever (on earth) fully appreciate what Jesus did. Love kept Him on the cross.
The battle between His mind/will and His body must have been the greatest that anyone has every faced. Because He did this, we have good news about the One who loves us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2.20).
So my two minutes of "intense suffering" remind me of Someone who did the greatest thing anyone has ever done.
Whenever you are having a body-mind battle, think about the One who won the greatest body-mind battle every. Look up. Let us be thankful!