When I decided upon and got my Ophthal residency, I was justifiably elated. It was, in some ways, a dream come true.
One of the peculiar side effects of that however, was that I became very careful with my hands. Ophthal surgery, as you can imagine, is extremely delicate work. In cataract surgery for example, I’m making an incision in the cornea, which is about 5 mm thick. My margin of error, using my own hands and judging by my eye, is about a tenth of a millimetre in depth. Any deeper or shallower and the surgery gets complicated (which is a euphemism for effed up). I guess you can see why I was so particular about my hands.
I’m a borderline asthmatic, but I never took inhalational steroids. Any steroid can cause fine tremors in the fingers. My operative days were Monday and Tuesday, so I made it a point never to have a drink on Sundays, to avoid even the slightest chance of a hangover and unsteady hands. Most doctors, both more and less experienced than I found it funny. I was going overboard, I was told. But I persisted. I refused to take antihistamines, or any drug with sedative properties. Hell, I even refused to cut veggies in the kitchen to avoid the off chance that I might cut a finger (which sounds so ironic given what I do daily now)
And now? All that’s over. Finished. Done with. I can do what I want with my hands. Go crazy on steroids. Drink, and dance with a knife in my hands (won’t be a pretty sight though!). It just feels so odd, so alien. Indescribable, and that’s not a common happening with me…