I really think I have the best eye doctor in the Midwest, perhaps in the country. Numerous publications cite him as such, and his grateful patients would follow him anywhere. I trek up to Northwestern to see him, and I know I was lucky to get him to take me on. I was one of the last.
His name is Robert Feder. My friend, Ann, raved about him when I told her I needed cataract surgery and was unhappy with what I had done locally with my other eye a few years earlier. Oh, the procedure was successful, but the recovery period was glacial. Five weeks passed before I could see clearly, and this was when I was still teaching, still grading papers. Friends and acquaintances were surprised. If they were to be believed, they were all out the day after surgery, shooting skeet, and judging beauty contests.
Perhaps my situation had been a one off. To give the local place the benefit of the doubt, I called and asked the typical recovery period. “Five weeks is the standard.” The standard for what? No thank you; once was enough. Ann cautioned me that Dr. Feder might not be taking any new clients. He was that popular and that busy. Instead of calling for an appointment, I decided to write him a letter, one of the few things in life at which I am aces. I played the writer card. At this point, I was deep into my book, and pled that my eyes were my essential tools. It worked.
My surgery was one of the last he performed, and I can understand why. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised had he thrown down his instruments and thundered, “Never again!” You can’t be completely sedated for this procedure, and as several dentists have learned, I am slow to numb. Whoever administered whatever they administered didn’t give me enough. I could still feel what was happening. It wasn’t painful, but when something touches my eye, I twitch. Over and over, Dr. F. told me, “For this to work, you must lie completely still.” “I understand. I’ll try.” And then I’d twitch again.
Wonder of wonders, the next morning I saw with perfect clarity, everything sharp, colors true, and not a wisp of cloudiness. Since then, the good doctor has masterfully addressed and halted or reversed my issues of macular degeneration and rising eye pressure. My most recent visit had him beaming at my progress.
When I finished my book, I gave him a signed copy, on which I thanked him for his efforts. He was so pleased, he called in his nurse to see the dedication. He’ll never read Safe Inside. I don’t kid myself. He’s too busy for that. The best I can hope for is that one day, a visitor to his home will say, “What’s this? Doesn’t look like a medical book,” and I’ll have found a new reader. Meantime, well . . . I’ll see.