Eye Surgery

I have never met a true bird hunter that did not have at least some alibi as to why he missed an easy shot. Well, I think that I have a legitimate one now. On Tuesday of last week, I went to a specialty eye clinic in Dothan, Alabama to have my left eyeball peeled. My ophthalmologist has been trying to get me to do this for two years. He said that I had a very thick membrane over that eye, and that it had probably been caused by some earlier eye injury that I do not recall. If I had to guess, I would say it was from a finger poked through my facemask into my eye during my high school football playing years.


When I asked what the procedure would be like, my ophthalmologist said that it was fairly simple as it was somewhat like peeling an onion. I said. “Wait a minute, Doc. This is MY eyeball we are talking about,” and I kept putting it off. My mind flashed back to years ago when Greg Hays’s Dad had to have open-heart surgery. In an attempt to comfort him, I said, “Mr. Donald, open heart surgery is fairly routine these days.” He cocked his eyes at me and said, “Son, this is my heart we are talking about, and there ain’t a damn thing routine about splitting my chest open, and working on my heart.” Well, Mr. Donald has gone on to heaven now, but I wish that I could tell him that I know how he felt.


Before telling you about my experience, allow me to digress a moment to a surgery I had several years ago which was a hemorrhoidectomy. The surgeon was a very close friend of mine. We had attended UGA freshman leadership camp together in 1967, and shared the same cabin. Part of team building was competition between the various houses. In our flag football, I was the QB while Dr —— was my tight end. He dropped every pass that I threw to him. I began wondering if his hands had gotten better a little too late to back out. Seriously though, I know that he is one of the best surgeons and finest men I know. Well, there I was in the OR propped up like a woman about to deliver a baby, and I could hear what sounded like someone sharpening a knife on a whetstone. I casually remarked that they were waiting a little late to sharpen the tools that were going to cut on my nether regions. I was told that I should be much more relaxed than this since my pre-op shot. I immediately said, “Stop the press. I have not had a pre-op shot.” “Oh, but you have, I was told.”

I said, “Don’t touch me. Either let me out of here, or go get the anesthesiologist.” They did, and I had NOT gotten my shot.


Now, let’s fast forward to my procedure in Dothan. As I sat in my little cubicle awaiting surgery, I keep hearing some yell “Mrs. Williams” over and over again from the next cubicle. This went on for about 15 minutes, and I never heard her answer. In a few minutes a doctor came and introduced himself to me as my anesthesiologist. I asked him if he was also Mrs. Williams doctor. When he said yes, I asked him if she had died. He laughed, and said, “No, but it took us a while to bring her around.” I said, “Doc, I sure want to be asleep, but I REALLY prefer waking up also.” I probably should have kept my fat mouth shut.


In a few minutes my surgeon appeared in my cubicle. He looked to be all of 17 years old, and he asked me if I was ready for my surgery. I replied, “Yes, as soon as I have some happy juice”. He looked at my chart, and told me that I had already received it. I said to myself, “Oh heck, here we go again.” I asked him not to wheel me to the OR until he brought the anesthesiologist back to my cubicle. He arrived and informed them that he had only written on my chart what I was to receive, but that I had not had any meds yet. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder how people with dementia survive surgery.


At any rate, they sure didn’t give me much medicine as I was awake and talking while my eyeball was being skinned, but I was in no pain. I did NOT want to be like Mrs. Williams. Post-surgery, the only pain that I have felt would be akin to having a grain of sand in one’s eye. I go back to have it checked tomorrow, but in the meantime, my eye is hazy and I could not see to shoot a quail. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t come down here and shoot a few. Good hunting to everyone!