Monday, October 19, 2015

Cataract Surgery

Since the 29th September we've been involved with MIL's cataract surgery. She was tested that day. given a registration card to say she'd have the laser op on 7th October. 

We drove the 160 km home and the next week we collected MIL from the home at 4.30 am. We arrived at the hospital at 6.35, were directed to the theater where the ops would take place. We sat down and waited with about 35 other patients.

We waited.

And waited.

At 8.05 am a lady arrived and spoke Sesotho to the majority. Before I could get the gist of what was being said, a gentleman, standing with her, repeated it all in Afrikaans. What it boiled down to was that the operations for that day had been cancelled! 

We were told to return on Wednesday 14th October.  

The next week we collect MIL at the home at 4.30am and drove 160 km to the city. We arrived at 6.35am. This time when we arrived there were admin clerks standing writing out files and calling people's names. Yippee. It was finally happening! 
Rina loves the newspaper and was perusing it while we waited.
 My MIL looked rather tense here which was understandable

Soon Pam Hedges' name was called and I helped MIL to the front. She had her blood pressure taken, I gave the sister information needed to fill in the form. Then Rina and I helped MIL to another row of chairs (you always play musical chairs in a state hospital or clinic!) where they pressed a green paper gown, hat and shoes onto her lap. Rina helped her into the shoes and gown while I fitted the hat. She kept saying her hair do was being mussed up! 

I took a snap with my Smart phone, but was frowned at, so it was rather blurry
MIL is the first person in the row with a file in her hand

Then the theater attendant approached with a wheel chair. He helped MIL into it and wheeled her away. I rejoined Rina who was waiting on chairs against the wall - family has to stay out of the patient's rows, but I kept near to MIL until she went into theater. She had to hand over her cane so I was there to help support her until she was taken to theater. 

Within an hour, they wheeled her out, we removed her theater garb, collected her meds and left.
Rina helping Pam along the hospital corridor
We always stop at the garage and eat our packed brunch. Grant took a photo of the three of us
The next day we were back in the city
 for MIL to have the eye pad removed and the eye checked

Everything was pronounced good. MIL and I moved to another room where her eye was washed, eye drops administered and another eye pad and protection was attached to her eye. The sisters at the home change her eye pad every morning and apply the eye drops four times a day.  

She has to have this repeated until Wednesday morning. 

Then guess what happens?

We collect her at 4.30am, drive 160 km to the city; arrive at 6.30am and wait for MIL to have her eye checked on final time. We believe she will be given a clean bill of health and that she will have a much better vision in her left eye after this.

Grant had this laser surgery done to both eyes in September 2012. He was a private patient; went in on Tuesday afternoon and twenty minutes later he was wheeled out (in a wheelchair) with his left eye covered. The next morning we returned to the hospital, the eye pad was removed and his eye pronounced good. That afternoon he was wheeled into surgery at the same hospital, came out about twenty minutes later; this time with his right eye covered! 

We stayed over in a Guest House near the hospital. The next morning he went straight to the optometrist's rooms, had his eye patch removed and the eye checked. Another successful operation.  Grant's case was unique: he had the op done during one of our leaves from Tanzania and we had to return to work. Therefore both eyes were done together. 

The cost of the operations to both eyes was about R80,000/US$ 6000. Cost of having the laser op done through the State: Zero! 

The optometrist suggested we take MIL back for surgery screening to her right eye in September 2016. 

Phew, at least we have a while to recuperate! 

Happy Monday to you all! 


  1. Wow, so glad all went well with the surgery. Pam has a lot of help and that is wonderful! I cringed when I read the cost of the private cataract surgery. I think that is at least double what it cost here for private pay.

  2. Well thatwaa lot of travelling but it will be so worth it for your MIL I am sure so you wre tired she must have been exhausted.

  3. Sounds like an ordeal but well worth having the eye and vision corrected. I am glad you all have time to recuperate! Enjoy and have a happy week ahead!

  4. that is a long way to drive three times there and back. so glad she is doing well. surgery is so expensive. sounds like the way the state does it is fast and good... cataracts, one of the joys of old age...

  5. Glad that's over for a while. One disadvantage of living rural is those long drives.


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