Archive for April, 2018

More Do nots than expected

April 26, 2018

Last Saturday I had the operation to remove the cataract from my left eye. Not the most comfortable or enjoyable 45 minutes I've ever spent laying flat on my back, covered in warm blankets. Savasana this wasn't.

This was also my first experience of surgery under a local anaesthetic, rather than a general one where you are asleep. The anaesthetist had a distraction technique all her own, distracting me by talking about the weekends soccer match as she then dropped the stinging anaesthetic drops in my eyes, they ***** sting I can tell you, though she eventually reached a point where I wasn't reacting to the sting, so she knew I was ready to be wheeled in for part 2.

Part 2 is the removal of the cataract and insertion of the new lens, a small incision, no pain but a lot of pressure and a weird sensation as the Phacoemulsification machine breaks up the cataract and sucks it out, then they post in the new lens and your done. No stitches. Well you're done apart from the fact you end up drenched, during the procedure as they continually pump in saline to wash the eye, in theory the liquid should run down the Shute in the drape and away, in practice it goes down your back, down your front, in your hair. So once they sit you up to take you back to Recovery a Nurse runs over with a fluffy towel to mop up, my t-shirt was wringing wet, you only get covered in blankets and not changed in to a gown. After a few checks, BP, temperature etc and a cup of tea and a biscuit it's time to go.

Cyborg shield

That said all the staff over the 2 days were fantastic and if my other eye ever needs doing I'll be down there again, so worth it and not just to avoid the 8 month waiting list round here. From diagnosis by the optician to surgery was 38 days.

Before I escaped there was one more surprise, I knew yoga would be banned for a while, but what I wasn't expecting was to not be able to return to work for 2 weeks. The pre op assessment Sister had quizzed me in detail about my job and hobbies and mentioned maybe a week off, but the Consultant had apparently insisted that I must take two weeks off. Two weeks off is ok, as my Boss said your only get one set of eyes, but what I wasn't expecting was the huge list of things I'm meant to avoid during that time including, lifting stuff, bending down too much, certainly no bending down and lifting, no reaching up/lifting, no lifting heavy shopping bags, no walking the dog, luckily I haven't got one, no gardening. Nothing inverted, basically anything that could potentially raise blood pressure is banned. I also get to wear the nifty eye shield at night to stop me rubbing my eye when I wake up, also wear it when I go out to avoid any dust or crap in the air.

So I'm left with going for unenergetic walks, watching tv and the one thing I haven't been able to do for months, read a book. Reading anything more than was absolutely necessary had become too hard over the last 3 months, leaving me with a headache and streaming eyes, so I had put my book to one side and stopped buying newspapers even before the extent of the cataract was diagnosed.

It's early days and I'm having quite a lot of trouble putting the eye drops in 4 times a day, but the early signs are good, there is a huge improvement in my vision, though now my glasses are unusable and I've had to go back to the glasses I had made in Mysore 7 years ago.

If anyone has a good technique for self administering eye drops please feel free to comment. I miss more than I hit.

So yoga and life are on hold as I rest and recover. As my teacher Louise told me this is a chance for healing for my whole body, not just the eye. She also suggested to help with the stir craziness of not being able to do asana to do a morning sitting and breathing practice.

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The Vinyasa of compassion

April 16, 2018

It's going to be 6 very long weeks until I can get back on my mat at home or AYL. instead of being on my mat next Sunday I'll be waking up after having had this annoying cataract removed from my left eye the day before. No raising blood pressure, nothing dusty, no inversions, no dropbacks, no fun.

It felt like I had to make the most of yesterday's practice, wanting it to be a good one, enjoying each posture, well as much as one can enjoy Navasana! Ustrasana, my last posture twice, wonderfully supported dropbacks with Emma. Well wishes from my teachers.

AYL is the one place where I can leave behind the stress of home, Mum in hospital with a fractured pelvis, Dad at home with dementia, alas I can't escape the effects of the cataract. I'll miss the heat, energy and friendly smiles for the weeks I'm away, I'll really miss Louise and Emma's support.

It was a good last Sunday, instead of the usual croissant and head home, we had yogi breakfast before we returned for Conference with Hamish. As C said later it's as if this conference was for me, H talked about the difference between empathy and compassion. Compassion for others when it's difficult and compassion for yourself. Life at home is very difficult, finding compassion for my Dad when he nearly blew the house up leaving the gas on or flooding the place leaving the kitchen tap running all night. The enforced 6 week hiatus will be compassion for myself, despite potentially going stir crazy, or even "postal" as a certain kale loving New York yogini said. Hopefully in those weeks I'll be able to read books and newspapers again, which I haven't been able to do for a few months. Louise made us laugh when she said she didn't have compassion for the perpetrator of sausagegate!

H also talked about the no new postures on a Tuesday rule, how it's there to protect teachers and students from the powerful effects of Mars, though apparently it's ok to have new students on a Tuesday and give them a posture or two! Apparently according to Guruji there's a colour for each day, someone had actually asked.

Pret will no doubt notice the drop in income for the next 6 weeks, I'll be keeping a connection at the local shala by assisting on Saturdays, well holding up the odd leg in UHP and rescuing those beached in Gharba.

So here's to compassion for all and clear vision for me.