Friday, July 22, 2011

I Drove A Cataract...

A while back, I shared a column describing my experience with prostate surgery. The date of that surgery was December 9, 2010. I’ll always remember that date as my prostate gland joined the ranks of my previously removed tonsils in 1941 and my gall bladder in 1994.

Recently, my wife quipped, “Now that you have all new parts, I won’t have to trade you in.” I smiled ever so slightly. The smile was acknowledging her worthy attempt to say something cute. The “slightly” was because in my mind, I knew that I did not have new parts. The old were removed but nothing was replaced.

The urologist who laid waste my prostate gland had an interesting name, that being Dr. Tim Goodson. Remember that name, especially the “Good” part. Being somewhat apprehensive about losing such a sensitive body part, there was indeed comfort in knowing that my surgeon’s name contained such positive implications.

Another reason I wanted to share Dr. Goodson’s name with you is because that on April 14, 2011, I was admitted to the clinic to undergo double-cataract surgery. The Ophthalmologist who performed this surgery was named Dr. Phil Suffridge.

Do you see my quandary? I had just been spoiled by an Urologist named Goodson. Now I was expected to risk my very precious eyesight to an Ophthalmologist whose name sounded to me a whole lot like “suffer.” After studying his name carefully, I decided that Suffridge was safe enough so I calmed down.

The term “double” in double-cataract surgery means simply that both eyes will be involved. The procedure, however, is performed on one eye at a time. When the first eye heals then the second surgery is scheduled. In my case, the doctor decided to operate first on my right eye.

I remember lying on my back in a brilliantly-lit room. There were a few people standing around but the only one I knew was Dr. Suffridge. I slipped into a twi-light zone and could hear clinking sounds. Little circles of color kept spinning around the room. There was uncertainty on my part as to whether I was awake or asleep.

During the surgery, a strong urge compelled me to begin telling the doctor about Beaumont and my hometown memories. These stories were extremely interesting to me and I babbled away, explaining in fine detail and with great exuberance all about growing up in the South Park area of Beaumont. I felt so refreshed at finding an audience willing to listen to the tales of my youth.

Suddenly, right in the middle of my explaining about that beautiful organ at the Jefferson Theater in downtown Beaumont, a booming, authoritative voice commanded, “Mr. Hamby, stop talking. When you talk, it makes your eyes move.” I was insulted but decided not to talk anymore. I continued to drift in and out of reality.

Soon, Doc said, “Okay, we’re all done.” I looked around and discovered my right eye sported a patch. “Come by in the morning and I’ll remove the patch.” That was good news to me because with that patch, my depth-perception was at a standstill.

May 12, 2011, I returned to the clinic and had the other eye corrected. Now, I have new glasses and can see better than since I was a kid.

Some of the symptoms of cataracts are cloudy or blurry vision, faded colors, sensitivity to light, and/or poor night vision. One good web site for additional information is

Anyway, my experiences with prostate surgery and double cataract surgery were good and I didn’t suffer, thanks to Doctors Goodson and Suffridge.

My next round in early August will be something they call a “colonoscopy.” But do not expect an in-depth description of that procedure.

Winston Hamby


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