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Dr. Young comes to Mae Lewis from Panama City twice a month. Almost everyone waiting for surgery last Wednesday (all Panamanians) were there for their second cataract surgery by him. Everyone sang his praises. The only drawback is that he doesn't speak English. A bi-lingual Panamanian friend went with me for the initial appointment, and after that, I managed things myself. (She has also had cataract surgery by Dr. Young.) I just didn't want to try to discuss a complicated medical issue in Spanish. (See paragraph seven below for explanation of "complicated.")

I see on the internet that "sunglasses are optional" afterward, but I have confidence in my doctor and will follow his advice to wear the dark glasses--inside and out for a week and then outside only for the rest of the month.

Before the surgery, I had a "second opinion" by a doctor who comes to Chiriqui Hospital from Santiago and Panama City. A friend had cataract surgery by him and was pleased. Well, at Chiriqui Hospital the anesthesiologist required full blood work, EKG, chest x-ray, etc. GET REAL! A few months previously I'd had a colonoscopy there and none of those tests were required. And a colonoscopy is invasive, while laser eye surgery is not. (They are vastly enlarging Hospital Chiriqui; I guess they need to pay for it.) Plus I told the anesthesiologist that I didn't want to be put TO SLEEP, that I wanted to watch on the monitor, but he put me OUT, OUT, OUT. Plus, the colonoscopy cost me almost $1,000. (Someone else had a colonoscopy at Mae Lewis around the same time and the cost was about $400.)

With the surgery by Dr. Young, the only "anesthesia" I got was 5cc of something to relax me. After the quick surgery, I got up off the gurney, got dressed, and left with my friend who drove me.

(As an aside, I will NEVER have another colonoscopy. My friend Dee, who is formerly a surgical nurse, says she has seen too many colonoscopy patients rushed to emergency surgery because the doctor perforated the bowel.  Dee is very favorably impressed with Hospital Mae Lewis, their operating theater, etc.)

On this forum, someone commented that they'd never have cataract surgery by someone who comes from Panama City periodically. Well, when I had my first cataract surgery several years ago, I didn't know about the "visiting doctors" to David. I went to Panama City to someone "highly recommended" on a yahoo group. The doctor wanted to examine me 10 days after the surgery, so rather than  the hassle of going back and forth, I stayed in Panama City for the extra time. That was certainly an additional cost, of course, plus the taxi fares back and forth. I told the doctor there that my main objective was to be able to continue to see up close without glasses. The surgery was more expensive than I paid in David a few days ago, and I have NEVER been happy with the lens the doctor in PC put in. At the time, he offered to change it--for an extra $300. He didn't tell me that to change a lens, it was necessary to do it fairly promptly.

Well, I told Dr. Young about my displeasure with the lens in my right eye. that I wanted him to replace it and use lenses in both eyes so I wouldn't need to wear glasses. He explained that after the current one has been in my eye all this time, it would be risky to try to replace it; and that if I insisted, the cost would be $3,200 and he could not guarantee the results. From Dr. Young, I also discovered WHY I am so displeased with the lens in my right eye: The jerk in Panama City used a cheap lens that did not correct for astigmatism. Therefore, looking through that lens is like looking through eye glasses that badly need cleaning. (I'll give the name of the doctor/jerk in Panama City upon request.)

So after more thought, I met with Dr. Young again, told him I changed my mind about replacing the current lens and I'd deal with the need to wear glasses. I told him my main objective was to be able to see up close without glasses. (With the cheap lens in my right eye, I previously had to wear glasses just to read my computer screen.)  Well, just a few days after the surgery by Dr. Young, my near vision is excellent and my far vision is good enough that I may not need to wear glasses. If I do get a new prescription for eye glasses, I'll again have the lens in the right eye to correct astigmatism. 

So this is my saga with cataract surgeries: One great, one awful.

Edited by Dottie Atwater
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