Eye surgery burns the bravest resolve

I prayed I wouldn’t show any fear, but I did. I couldn’t help it. I pulled my head away from the laser burning into my eye like a mare pulling away from a wrangler trying to break in a unridden horse.

It was involuntarily; had to have been. The pain seemed to go straight through the eye  and to the reverse side striking some unseen part of my, I don’t know . . . I want to say “the brain,” but I know that’s not right. The pain hits what ever sensitive spot you have on the flip side of the eye. I felt intense pressure, the type of pain you get from a dentist striking a nerve before the pain-killer has kicked in all the way.

Nauseating. I thought I smelled something burning. It was the second time Dr. Daniel Will, a chief surgeon with Scheie Eye Institute — University of Pennsylvania, Department of Ophthalmology, lasered my left eye in attempts to repair a detached retina.  This treatment, however, was more than double the first, increasing from 124 to 288 microscopic parts burned away. The smoke was only my imagination, as I laid prone on the dentist-like chair with my head tilted to the left for easier access for the laser to “fry” me away.

There’s no cutting, no incisions made with this operation. Just burns. Penetrating shocks to the eyeball, which I took well at first, trying to brave it out like a good soldier. Did the intensity just increase? Why does it feel like a drill digging into the eye? Is this what it feels like to be electrocuted? Is this the new “shock treatment?”

My head moves away from the laser. I swear it’s involuntary. I say “I’m sorry,” knowing the last thing a good surgeon needs is a shaky patient to “throw off” his aim, his focus. I place my head back, cradling it onto the head rest. Another laser shot bursts forth. Head remains still, but pulls away again after the third or fourth blast. This time, my head does not return to the head rest. I offer no apology. To hell with being a gentleman. The doctor has to work on me to get me cooperating again. I feel his free hand touching my head, gently nudging me back into position for another blast.

I try to “relax,” take deep breaths, and begin to wonder how many people cry out from this pain. How many beg for the procedure to stop?

I squeeze both my hands into fists. Press them against my side. Want to stick them into my pockets but can’t maneuver them. I stretch my legs and kick one of the other doctor’s, not sure if she was introduced as an intern or a resident.

Is this pain really worth it?

See Part II for conclusion:

Laser pain – small price to pay for vision

6 comments on “Eye surgery burns the bravest resolve

  1. sparrow says:

    dear Michael. . . may the grace and goodness hold you this day and everyday through out as the restoration continues. So sorry for the pain of it but please know you are not alone and many hearts and prayers are with you. May you be wrapped in healing and goodness from the far four corners. . .

    I hope you do not mind but i put your name on a world wide Medicine Buddhist Healing list. . . . Prayers will be said for you for thirty days from Full Moon to Full Moon. . .

    This is the link for Medicine Buddha World Wide. . .

    This is the healing Medicine Buddha mantra;

    Om Bekandze Bekandze
    Maha Bekandze
    Radza Samudgate Soha

    The mantra means:
    May the many sentient beings
    who are sick,
    quickly be freed from sickness.
    And may all the sicknesses of beings
    Never arise again.


    • contoveros says:

      Just got back from Buddhist Center. Talk about “high.” I was floating. Must be all those prayers heading toward Philadelphia. Odd, but we discussed the “blue” Buddha, the medicine “light” just one week before I got the injury. Maybe the timing had something to do with it. Now,I’m in good hands with my doctor friends. And my cyber family.

      michael j


  2. Sounds awful Michael. I am pretty squeemish about these procedures. I had an angiogram that almost gave me a heart attack.


    • contoveros says:

      It is one of the sufferings we all face, getting old. I did not know it effected someone in your age bracket. What was that, 30 years old? You don’t look a day over 29.


  3. Oh, dear, dear Michael! Bless your heart. I’m so sorry for this pain; it’s sounds unendurable and certainly anyone would naturally jerk away…that’s what the very first consciousness of our primordial ancestors learned to do, avoid pain, and we all still carry this primordial mind/brain part within us….

    I hope that the pain, in the end, will finally be worth it. I am surprised that they didn’t anesthetize you or knock you out….I can’t imagine any advantage to your being conscious, but then, I’m not a doctor…

    Anyway, your account made my heart ache for you, and I am sending you big love, even as I type this. Hang in there, my friend.



    • contoveros says:

      I’m hanging in. Just when I was running out of things to write about, my Beloved gave me this . . .

      We used to have a saying in the journalism business, “this story has legs . . .”

      You ain’t seen the end of it yet. And I’m willing to bet it’ll have a “happy ending” no matter which way it goes.


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