The EYES Have It!
We have a busy week ahead of us. L goes in for his first cataract surgery on Tuesday morning. Tuesday is also Z's 16th birthday, so this will be a FULL day for us!
My Dad will be driving L to and from his surgery and his follow-up appointment Wednesday morning. We can't afford for me to take any more time off right now. I had to take Thursday off to drive L the 100 miles to his surgeon's office to get his eyes measured for the new lenses that will be inserted into his eyes. Thursday's jaunt cost me a day's wages, plus about $100 in tips, and $45 for gas. Fortunately, we were able to get L home in time for him to go to work.
Now, we're worrying about L's ability to work over the next month. L has strange vision problems and the surgeon doesn't think that his eyes will balance until he gets the cataracts removed from his 2nd eye. The surgeon only comes up here every 4 weeks, but she said she can do the 2nd surgery sooner if we drive the 100 miles to her location. This would involve me taking 2 more days off work plus gas, motel, and meals. However, this would mean that L would only be off work for the 1-2 weeks between surgeries, instead of waiting 4 weeks for the surgeon to come up here. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when L has his follow-up appointment on Wednesday.
Then we have the problem of not being able to get a new prescription for glasses until, at least, 4 weeks after the 2nd surgery. Now add in another 1-2 weeks for the new glasses to arrive, plus the 2-4 weeks between surgeries, and we have a grand total of, at least, 8 weeks that L won't be able to drive. L runs a lot of our errands in the mornings while I'm at work, so those chores will now fall to me. We're hoping that after the 2nd surgery we'll be able to get L a pair of reading glasses from K-Mart that will enable him to read and cook at work until his new glasses arrive.
On Friday we had another monetary low blow. The surgeon gave L a prescription for antibiotic eye drops that he needs to start taking on Monday. When we took the prescription to our pharmacy, the pharmacist told us that it wasn't covered by our insurance, AND the drops are $76.50. HUH? The pharmacist said that very few insurance plans cover the cost of the eye drops. OK...a necessary, sight restoring surgery is covered, BUT a mandatory part of the surgery, the eye drops, AREN'T COVERED?! And WHY does 5ml of eye drops cost almost $80?! Just another fine example of our screwed up health system! Now we can't wait to see what our co-pay will be on the surgery. Plus, if L's total medical bills go over $10,000 for the year, we have to pay the difference. He already has $2,500 on his account for new hearing aids, so things don't look too good in this department. Seeing and hearing are mandatory for L's employment, so I guess we don't have a choice. He has to keep working, so we can keep paying our health insurance premiums. Kind of a vicious cycle, isn't it?
The other bad news is they discovered that L has macular degeneration. 40 years ago, L developed a blind spot dead center in his field of vision in both eyes. At the time they didn't know what to call his condition, so they labeled it "macleopia". L was legally blind until he took classes at the Mpls. School For The Blind, which taught him to use his peripheral vision to see around the blind spots. This therapy enabled L to live a normal life, including reading and driving. The good news is that L's eyes haven't deteriorated any further since his first bout with macular degeneration 40 years ago. We pray that this trend continues!
The next 8 weeks will be trying ones for us. We just pray that the cataract surgery will correct the double vision and zero night vision that L has been experiencing. Time will tell...