He can feel Amare’s pain

Posted by on October 19th, 10:09 pm

When I covered Arizona basketball two seasons ago, I knew what Jerryd Bayless was going through when he sprained his MCL because I had sprained my MCL a few months prior playing ball.

I chided him a bit for missing his only collegiate game in Phoenix at ASU about a week and a half or so after being injured because I returned to the Rec Center in that same time period. Of course, by return to the Rec Center I mean played less defense than I usually do and only ran from three-point line to three-point line. That probably wouldn’t have cut it for Jerryd against James Harden and the Devils.

The point is that when Jerryd said he couldn’t move laterally well enough to defend I could feel his pain because I couldn’t move laterally on defense at all at that same juncture of my recovery.

The point of all that is I have no basis of comparison on Amare’s surgery because thank God I have never needed retinal detachment surgery.

But the father of a reader of mine by the name of Robert Vujica has gone through that surgery, and Robert was kind enough to write me back to let you all know what his dad, Dan,  has gone through so we can put Amare’s recovery in a bit of perspective.

No, Amare isn’t back to being the Amare of old quite yet, but after the kind of eye surgery he underwent it’s pretty amazing that at this point he appears to just need to round himself back into game shape and keep those goggles on.

By contrast, here’s what Robert’s dad is going through after his eye surgery:

It appears that Amare has recovered well, unfortunately my dad’s eye appears to have suffered permanent damage.

My dad’s retina became detached due to an infection caused by “routine” eye surgery that did not involve the inner eye. My dad’s retina was intact and not torn as was Amare’s, however, it appears that the infection has caused some degradation to the retina.

My dad had his reattachment surgery in February. While he can see out of that eye, and can even read, he still wears a patch to drive. He just purchased an extremely expensive pair of specialized prism glasses to help him drive.

They are now telling him that the best that he can hope for is a return to 30-20 vision. 40-20 is apparently the level that the DMV will no longer allow you to drive.

At this point, my dad feels that his loss of sight is significant enough to have ruined his quality of life. We are currently seeking legal representation to go after the orignal surgeon that infected his eye.

Maybe young people recover from eye surgery better than older people. My dad is 77.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Amare Stoudemire

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 yanyanman2 // Oct 19, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    yeah my dad had the detached-retina surgery too, and also had to have a follow-up. I wonder how common it is to have the followup surgery, since your dad, my dad and amare all had to get it. My dad is doing alright now and recovered alright.

  • 2 BigWay // Oct 20, 2009 at 1:17 am

    One thing that I forgot to comment on was the part about Amare checking into a spa and laying on a massage table, face down for 22 hours a day.

    This might indeed be the worst part of the surgery, just getting my Dad home from the Hospital was difficult due to the natural bouncing of the car.

    For what it is worth, the reason that you have to keep your head facing down as much as possable after this surgery is that the retina is attached using laser( I think) not stitches, and the eye is filled with a fluid(vitreous). In order to prevent the fluid from getting under or behind the retina a gas bubble is injected into the eye after the surgery. The bubble will “float” on the vitreous fluid and hold the retina flat against the back of the eye and the optic nerve protecting it from the fluid if and only if you keep your head facing downward and move around as little as possable.

    Amare likely had to have his second surgery to reattach his retina because he wasn’t carefull enough after the first surgery and fluid got behind the retina and prevented it from properly attaching to the optic nerve.

    My Dad, not being a wealthy bball player, didn’t have the option of checking into a spa, but I did suggest renting a massage table or chair because otherwise it is agony to try and keep your face down 24 hrs a day. Sleeping is not fun.

    anyway, it appears that Amare is doing fine now. Good luck to you guys this season.

    Bulls fans are keeping thier fingers crossed that Tyrus Thomas blows up this season and becomes Amare Like (not lite) in Chicago so that we don’t have to go after Amare(if he opts out), or Bosh in the offseason.

    I am in the small minority of Bulls fans that would prefer Amare to Bosh. Hopefully, you get to keep Amare, and Tyrus blows up, then we can just go after Wade or Lebron.

  • 3 Alex, Macedonia // Oct 20, 2009 at 2:45 am

    I just hope your dad’s recovery goes the best it can …

  • 4 Hersey // Oct 20, 2009 at 6:37 am

    This is interesting to read. Thanks for sharing the experiences. Hope Amare recovers well. Go Suns!

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