Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seeing the world with new eyes

...though yesterday this time the heading might have been 'A vale of tears'....

Thinking of what I might do in Istanbul while I am here on an R&R weekend, I looked up 'wellness' on the internet. But it was all fancy foreign hotels when I rather more fancied a hamman, and pummeling by a broad breasted Turkish woman. Did not come across any of that, but came across eye operations instead....you know, that kind where they cut and slash with a lazer and you don't need to wear glasses any more. It's something I had casually thought about before, but dismissed, what with being both shortsighted, like forever, and in the last 10 years or so also long-sighted (arms too short). Then my Canadian friend Anne (about 10 years older than me) had had it done just after last Christmas, in Canada. Interesting.... I then saw her at the viola congress in Adelaide and she seemed happy enough, though she was still having trouble seeing at night (she drives, I hardly ever do). Though when I asked her short-sighted husband if he would get it done, he said - not after all she's gone through! Hmmm.

I read the blurb of a clinic, Eyestar, which sounded good (it would, on it's own website), with the commending words of German pop stars (not to me they would not commend) and others, like journalists. Then I did a rapid piece of research to see what other people said about the clinic, and whether there was anything negative about it anywhere (in English or German) and I could not find anything. On the contrary there were lots of warm words about the VIP service like the limo picking up people from the airport etc. If that makes them feel good; personally I am more impressed with quality medical care...

So I emailed on Thursday afternoon; got a call on Thursday evening, and an appointment for Friday morning for an exam. The snowball started rolling....

The entrance to the place is not entirely prepossessing - it's on the first and second floor of an apartment/office block, and you know what shared ownership is like; no-one takes care of the staircase...unlit, and without a handrail.

What also slightly gave me the willies was the fact that the waiting room and entrance did not look anything as flash at it did in the brochure/on the website, and some of the furnishings had seen distinctly better days. Strange....later I discovered that the brochure showed the operating floor, which it did match exactly. But I mean, you never know, getting info via the internet....having the only eyesight you've got interfered with....scary stuff!

Then off I went, getting the most thorough eye exam in my life (but then my ancestors on both sides have/had some fairly serious eye disease); the usual eye tests, thickness of cornea, which is the dominant eye (which indeed? consensus of opinion was that it was the left, after it first looked like the right one [in me, a left-hander? never!], and so on and so on. It seemed to be ok, and then we had the problem of middle-age - if the sight was made perfect for distance, I would need reading glasses - more trouble than having the same pair on your nose all day. Making one eye for distance and one for reading would not be good either - we simulated it and the result was not good. So we fudged the issue and adjusted both eyes a little bit....The obvious answer, not doing anything and keeping wearing the glasses, was in my mind, but did not cross the delightful Dr
Kahvecioglu's mind, or if it did, he kept it to himself (obviously...it's private medicine). His general bedside manner should be an example to many in the British NHS (not that there was any sign of any bed).

The op was set for an hour later, not enough time to give BUPA a ring to check out the clinic - what was I doing to my vision? As it happens, the procedure itself, 10 seconds with a laser for each eye, plus lots of faffing about setting up each eye and untangling it afterwards, was a piece of cake. Anaesthetic drops, everything was wonderfully explained in English, as had, as a matter of interest, the consent form. But did my eyes stream afterwards? Noah would have called for his carpenter...

Rushed home and poured myself into bed. A few hours later it was good enough to go to a concert....which was middling. Now, 30 hours later, I am typing this with the naked eye, plus I've been to the ballet and to the cinema, reading the Turkish subtitles to a Spanish film from the last row. 'Yes' in Turkish seems to be 'evet', as opposed to 'Kho' or 'K'ae' in Georgian and 'Aio' in Armenian..... No pain whatsoever. Good or what? It's brilliant!

The cost? Less than my last pair of glasses, and it should last for a much longer time....These must be almost the only surgeons, much like appendix surgeons, who never see the same patient twice!

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Helene said...

Gosh you are brave. I would never dare do it, just because I can't imagine what I would do if it went wrong. Got a thing about surgery at the moment, have you?