New eyes with Dr. Verdier


Eyes set on Dr. Verdier

By EMMA PALOVA

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- On May 16th, my world dipped into a blur. The white fuzzy ball in my right eye turned into fog that surrounded me.

As I turned on the computer in the morning I couldn’t see the Google logo on the screen. I panicked. I drove to the eye doctor in town, but I couldn’t see the signs on the road.

“What brings you here on a Friday morning?” asked Dr. Holzer.

“I can’t see,” I said with tears in my eyes.

After the exam, Dr. Holzer said, “I see why you can’t see. You have cataracts in both eyes.”

Dr. Verdier's practice in Grand Rapids
Dr. Verdier’s practice in Grand Rapids

I was diagnosed with a fast-moving cataract in my right eye two years ago. Unlike the cataracts that most elderly people eventually develop, this one strikes younger people at a fast pace.

“You will need a surgery in two years,” said the doctor exactly. “I cannot correct your vision to 20/20. This is worse than I expected.”

I cried that fall as I walked to the newspaper office. I could barely see the sidewalk.

The new eyeglasses helped somewhat, but the right eye was useless. I started using the left eye straining it further. Now, the fuzzy ball was also in the left eye.

I couldn’t see from the treadmill my beautiful garden. Everything became a chore. I had to use the magnifying glass on top of the eyeglasses, and still the letters were dancing in front of me somewhere in deep 3D. I had to guess where everything was or used to be.

So, here I was two years later sitting across from Dr. Holzer by the optical equipment in the dark.

“You’re going to need a surgery in both eyes,” he said.

“I want Dr. Verdier to operate on my eyes,” I said.

“You know Dr. Verdier?”

I did know Dr. David Verdier from a story for the Grand Rapids Magazine and Advance Newspapers about his surgeries aboard the Orbis airplane in China. Orbis is a well-known organization among eye specialists, and Dr. Verdier is a renowned eye specialist.

I was well aware of Verdier’s specialization both in corneal disease and cataracts, and about his practice. Verdier Eye Center, located at 1000 E. Paris Avenue in Grand Rapids. That’s where we did the interview for several stories.

“You’re going to have to wait, but Dr. Verdier is worth waiting for,” said Holzer. “He can also correct your vision during the surgery so you won’t need eye glasses.”

The initial consultation was scheduled for Sept. 22 to evaluate how far along the cataracts were.

In the meantime, my eyesight was getting worse by the minute. On the night of the first Summer Sizzlin’ concert, I was blinded by the setting sun as I walked out of the Sneaker’s Restaurant. That was at the beginning of July.

When I was shooting the Riverwalk parade on July 12, I could not see the floats or candidate Lynn Mason marching in the parade. I was shooting into the fog. My son was standing by my side with baby Josephine and I could hardly make out their contours.

On Monday, when I walked to the Franciscan Sisters I couldn’t see my neighbors doing wood on the other side of the gravel road.

“Hey Emma, we’re here,” Karen shouted.

At the Sisters, I couldn’t see the nearby school from their Canticle House on the hill.

Finally, I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. I picked up the phone.

“I have to have the surgery as soon as possible,” I cried. “I can’t write, I can’t drive. Tell Dr. Verdier that I know him.”

 

To be continued

 

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

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