I knew of The McIndoe Centre through a long family association with the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and was delighted to discover that eye surgery was a strong option with a number of well qualified specialists available. The list was most impressive, but I was particularly struck with the background and qualifications of Mr Samer Hamada. I wanted an immediate consultation followed by surgery 10 minutes later. I do know that life is not quite like that and 4 weeks later on 2nd March 2017 I met with Mr Hamada and spent a couple of hours of intensive testing. I enjoyed both the testing and Mr. Hamada’s company, particularly as he was able to pronounce me a suitable candidate and of course advising me of any possible problem areas with such interventions.
We are aiming for surgery on my left eye on 3rd May and 10th May for my right eye; “however, in the meantime we need to get this Blepharitis treated”------------------------------------------what on earth is that?------it sounds quite life threatening. “No not at all”. He then explained that blepharitis is an inflammation of the eye lid in between the eye lashes, often caused by the oil glands clogging at the base of the eye lid. It can be treated by applying a heated eye mask, followed by massage of the eye lids. I found a suitable eye mask on line for less than £10.00 that I heated for 30 seconds in a microwave and applied to the eyes for ten minutes, followed by eye lid massage for a minute or two.
My first experience “under the mask” was a sheer delight, which I can only describe as the feeling of lying under a soporific Mediterranean sun; I’m going to enjoy this part of the procedure.
Just about 3 weeks to my first surgery date and there is a message from Mr Hamada suggesting I obtain a tube of “Chloramphenicol” ointment to apply twice daily under the eye lids up to surgery day. The ointment is an antibiotic and should present the eye in best condition to benefit from the surgical intervention.
Time has passed and we have just returned from a wonderful few days in Portugal. I am now three days from surgery and I believe that everything is as right as could be, including my attitude to a successful outcome. Now it is all down to the skills of Mr. Hamada and his team at “The McIndoe Centre”. I am truly looking forward to my “new life.” Messages of “best wishes” are tumbling in from friends and family from all over the World.
The day has arrived, this is what it has all been about---------------“have you trimmed your nose hairs”? “Can’t have the surgeon seeing those while he is operating”
The car is in the car park at The McIndoe Centre, we are through Reception and in no time at all I am in my own room surrounded by peace and tranquility. Nurses start arriving. “Have you brought your signed consent form?” Now, which eye is it? I’ll just put a mark on the left side of your forehead”--------------“Better take your blood pressure”------------------------“Excellent!” Open your left eye; these drops will dilate your pupil and these will keep your eye clear of infection. The next drop is an anaesthetic you will feel a stinging in the eye, but that is quite normal--------------and what drink and sandwich would you like when you come back from theatre-------brown or white bread?
Mr. Hamada will be in to see you shortly.-------------Hello how are you feeling about you surgery this evening? Well, following my research about you and having discussed the procedure with you a couple of weeks ago, I have total confidence in you and I am totally committed, relaxed and I really can’t wait any longer.-----“Thank you, I really appreciate your comments and will see you in theatre shortly,”
A short while later I was strolling to the theatre with an anaesthetist, chatting about the World the Universe and all that. We arrived in an anti-room and the anaesthetist explains that I am going to have another series of drops in the eye including the main anaesthetic and others to keep the eye in best condition for the Surgeon. We walk in to the theatre and I am invited to lie on the table in readiness. Some lively banter with the theatre staff and I am feeling relaxed and ready.
Mr Hamada comes in and explains what he is about to do and starts preparations by placing a cover over my face leaving only the eye visible (I needn’t have bothered about those nose hairs!!). He thoroughly washes the whole eye and then holds the eye lids apart using a speculum. I am still feeling comfortable and relaxed when the procedure starts. I am aware of no more than slight sensations in the eye during the whole intervention, together with ‘noises off’. I was was particularly struck with the tremendous courtesy throughout the process between the surgeon and the entire operating staff. Could I have the -------------please”---------“Certainly”-----“Thank you very much”---------“You’re welcome.” I appreciated all this in silence and continued to feel relaxed.
Well, there we are … all done; we have fitted a plastic eye protector to be worn at night for a week or so. “Sit up gently, swing your legs over the side of the table and we will take you back to your room in a wheel chair”. I dutifully did all this thinking that the wheel chair was totally unnecessary. Then I realised the need, my legs just suddenly turned to jelly.
Back in the room and the coffee and sandwich were much appreciated. I felt absolutely normal within 10 to 15 minutes and was soon discussing the ‘at home’ regime for the next few weeks. Take one of these pills twice a day for four days, place one steroid drop in the eye four times a day for the next four weeks and one antibiotic drop in the eye for the next three weeks. Then, a short visit from Mr Hamada to check that all was well and we were on the way home.
The next day we realised that the pill and eye drop regime was quite formidable, particularly as a week later everything would be multiplied by two when the second eye intervention was to take place. We set up a timetable on a spreadsheet and thank goodness we did. Once the routine became established it became a simple but very tedious process to complete.
The operation on the second eye was a carbon copy in every way and today I am about to take the last eye drop, just five weeks after the first intervention.