An Overwhelming Morning

In my cancer adventure, yesterday morning was the last set of activities scheduled before beginning radiation therapy and their 3 pre-therapy actions. The dental work and eye surgery . . .

My Dentist First

As earlier announced, I already had my dental appointment scheduled for 9 April at 9AM with my local Atenas dentista, Dra. Karina Valerio whom I’ve used for 6 years now – partly because she speaks Spanish only which gives me more “forced practice” which I greatly need! 🙂

And I scheduled my transportation to San Jose at 10AM from the dentist office – yes, I’ve put my scheduling skills to work this week with 7 appointments! 🙂

And because she was through with the two tiny filling early, we got to chat and she showed me some of her artwork around the office, mainly oil or acrylic painting of flowers and landscapes.

But she also has a few rocks placed on tables in the waiting room that she had painted with some of the designs used here on oxcart wheels. Then she opened a drawer and pulled out a small painted rock and gifted it to me. She’s so nice!

And yes, it has a hole in it so a woman could wear it around her neck, though I have it on a table in my living room. 🙂

Then the Painful Eye Surgery

Since Paseo Colón is a barrio on the west side of San Jose (Atenas is west of SJ), it was thus a tad less than an hour drive for Randy, one of Walter’s drivers who has become my medical driver.

The entrance to Clinica Santa Lucia (a chain of clinics here that include operating rooms), didn’t look much like their web photo at left other than the gray color and was at street level below this second floor shot. it was a busy clinic with other patients waiting.

After all the paperwork and credit card payment, a nurse escorted me to a changing room with lockers for another infamous hospital gown then escorted me to the operating room where Dr. Benavides and her female assistant and my male nurse were all ready to start early!

First the nurse put anaesthesia eye drops in my left eye which seemed to do nothing to eliminate pain (maybe later in just the eyeball). Then the doctor stuck a needle in both the upper and lower eyelids that nearly killed me – one of the worst pains I can remember though she told me I was exaggerating as I hollered. This was for the local anaesthesia which of course helped later when she removed a tiny amount of skin on the underside of both eyelids and then stitched them together at the outside corner. I could feel her stitching but it didn’t hurt like those two needle pricks for the anaesthesia. And the whole time that one eye was staring at this horribly bright operating room light – but not quite the bright light of heaven beckoning. 🙂

You may not see the stitches that are on the outside of left eye (right side of photo). I actually expected a “tighter” squint than this. It will enable me to read and use the computer more efficiently now with both eyes and seldom wear an eye patch or maybe never, she says.

Then the nurse escorted me to the changing room and my locker (key tied to my hospital gown) and offered to help me dress. I told him I was okay, but later I had to find him to escort me out of the building which is their requirement. My driver helped me back across the street to the car and back to Atenas with pain in my eye all the way. First thing I did at home was take one of the pain pills prescribed.

This morning, Saturday, I took the bandage off as instructed and began the regime of eye drops and ointment on eyelids 3 times a day the first week and twice a day the second week plus another ointment to go in the eye at bedtime. She said I didn’t need the eye patch anymore, not even at night. but after 6 hours of reading and computer work this morning my left eye was burning, so I put the patch back on and probably will again this first night anyway. Covering it helps it relax and not burn and water so much. I follow doctor’s instructions but will use a little common sense here, especially since my pain threshold seems lower than hers! 🙂 If it burns or bothers me, I will put a patch on.

Monday & Tuesday Plans Postponed

Dr. Bonilla (Radioterapista) called me Thursday night and said she wanted me to rest more after the eye surgery and was thus going to reschedule the MRI, Cat Scan and Mask-making until later next week, instead of Monday & Tuesday as originally scheduled. She will email me the new times which may be all on the same day. I haven’t heard back on that yet. I’m hoping it doesn’t change radiotherapy beginning time more than 1 or 2 days because I plan to make that July trip! 🙂

At least now, mostly all I have to deal with is the Radiotherapy people, who are really nice and easy to work with and so far, all speak English as a second language. She also told me that the second Covid Vaccination Shot could be done as scheduled on 22 April, the same day I do one of my radiation treatments and that she could adjust therapy time if necessary since the government vaccination clinic is not very flexible. And that same week, the 23 rd, I will also balance radiotherapy with Dr. Benavides removing the stitches from my eye (which I really dread as briefly painful). At least Dr. Hernández delayed his next post-op visit until after radiotherapy and my July trip! 🙂 Very thoughtful guy he is! 🙂

And finally, I choose to not “hurt more” by keeping silence, but rather have chosen to share everything through my Cancer Journey . . .

I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more. 

~C. S. Lewis

¡Pura Vida!

14 Replies to “An Overwhelming Morning”

  1. Ouch…Charlie! I sympathize with your eye pain. That was tough…and hurt.
    Hope the rest of this journey is not as hurtful.

  2. I’m with you in spirit Charlie! Your appointments are on my calendar so I can follow along with you. Many prayers and good thoughts for your comfort and healing!

  3. Fantastic how you are coping with all this. I was at the dentist for 2 hours today. I have discovered that while undergoing something painful , I can keep my mind’s eye on my breathing instead of the site of the discomfort. I breathe in for 4 and out for 8 and just think about my abdomen going in and out. This lets your body know that there is nothing to worry about even if it feels like there is.
    It sounds like you have got the worst part over with and I know that you are good at finding all of life’s small delights. Thinking of you

  4. Charlie, While we ask God to give you healing, comfort and rest as needed, you yell all you want to. You are going thru so very much. You can still cause the rest of us to smile at your bravery. I don’t know anyone having teeth & eye work done same day.
    Our over 80 group at FBN are praying for you, so remember “where 2 or 3 gather together……….God listens and honors our prayers.
    Thinking of you
    Bonnie M.

  5. I so admire how you are dealing with this, Charlie, and the sharing seems to be such an important part of that…. and inspiring for me and I’m sure others. I look forward to hearing about your travels again. Sending you hugs from Los Angeles.

  6. Fortitude. You seem to have it in abundance, Charlie. Sorry the eye procedure was so painful. May the results make it all worthwhile in the end. Sounds like an exhausting day, so probably good to delay the other appointments for a few days. Get some rest. Keeping you in thoughts and prayers.

  7. Charlie, I continue to be amazed at your details of your treatments and at your positive attitude. I also find it helpful to keep in mind the things of beauty in nature as I can look out a window or relive the images of things I’ve seen outside. Had to do that last week as I was undergoing some dental work. Beautiful garden just outside the window. Continuing to pray for you. Wishing you the best. Kathy Kester

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