Cataracts and Mountain Bikes

Steve Reed sent a query aus Aussie in 2015: Any ophthalmologists on the east / North rand come to mind? My 71year-old brother Doug sounds like he has cataracts. Wants to know who to go see. He does not trust his optometrist anymore who keeps giving him stronger glasses (?what?). So he wants to go and see someone who is not the butcher of Bedfordview.

A reply From deep behind the boerewors curtain – even deeper behind it than Bedfordview came a dodgy reply, shamelessly rigging the tender in favour of family – a distant cousin: Clive Novis good for cats (this was his cousin Brauer speaking).

Five years later (2020) I was clearing out old emails and followed up to Reed and Brauer: Did Doug have his cat tracks whipped out? Surely yes, cos if you see a cataract surgeon . . .

Reed replied – and got the subject onto mountain bikes: Yeah he had ’em done. Some peer pressure from his wealthy cycling mates who were proudly pitching up without their spoogoos but yes he was getting myopic shift. His optom sent him after she could not improve his VA any more. After a lot of pre-op anxiety, his pressures spiked post-op – could not see and had to have a fair bit of treatment before it all settled down.

So wisely, he succumbed to peer pressure for the cataracts but not the $12 000 carbon fibre bikes. He is a wise man and his decisions are measured.

I responded, ignoring Doug’s drama and honing in on what was important: Bikes. Liewe bliksem. I bought my first bike in Westville for R150. Loved it. Then I bought a really nice GIANT hardtail for R2500. Now that bike I really loved and was very happy with.

– dignified cyclist on hardtail GIANT –

But no. A canoeing mate went huge in the MTB industry (he still runs MTB trails) and he and Aitch decided Koos needs a better bike.

Koos did not need a better bike. The reason Koos wasn’t winning races was he was stopping to look at the scenery and pushing up hills. All hills. I still push up hills. All hills. It is undignified to ride up hills. Cyclists only look dignified going downhill.

– fancy KONA – Tom approves –

So a spanking smart KONA arrives, made in Canada, shock absorbers all over the place. High-level Shimano gearset. A computer to tell me what I did. Never switched it on. I know what I did and I’d rather not record it.

Fuckit! Rumour had it at R17500. Not high at the time relative to what some were spending, but fuckit, R2500 spent years ago was my comfort level. Then I still had to buy cleats to click into the pedals. Now I walked like a doos when pushing uphills.

I faked joy and rode it. It was a softer ride, sure, but I was happy with the GIANT’s ride. Anyway, I’m a natural diplomat, Aitch had paid, be polite, thank you, love. It’s marvelous. Yes, it’s MUCH better than my old bike. Yes, I’ll be MUCH faster now.

And then I remembered a bit of empathy for Doug: Oper-fucking-rations. I don’t want none. ‘Pressures spiked post op’ – gives me the jeebies.


boerewors curtain – imaginary line separating normality from antediluvian thought processes; separates KwaZulu Natal from the throat-clearing hinterland, such as Tshwane, Gramadoelas, Boksburg, Benoni, Vanderbijlpark, Gotpietersrus, Bedfordview

spoogoos – glasses; spectacles; eyeglasses; from the isiZulu izibuko

– R190 000 –

$12 000 – R200 000 Souf African Ront so min of meer; R10 000 more than my Ford Ranger

so min of meer – fuckit

fuckit – goodness gracious me

doos – with an odd toe-up gait cos of cycling shoes

oper-fucking-rations – surgery; definition of minor surgery: surgery on someone else

I want placebos for surgery!

Before any doc gives you a pill he should have tested that pill to make sure A). its not harmful and B). that it actually has benefit.


Randomised control trials (RCT’s) are done using the poison they want to sell vs a placebo sugar pill to see if the shit they want to sell you actually works and doesn’t kill you. *


What about surgery?

If a surgeon says “Let me cut you, it will help you, trust me, I’m a surgeon”, how do you know he’s right? In fact, how does HE know he’s right?

Answer: He doesn’t. At first. Established procedures may have accepted success rates, but new procedures don’t. So traditionally most surgery is done by trial and error. Cut, oops, bury.

So why don’t surgeons use placebos when testing new procedures?

Cos they can’t? No, they can. Especially nowadays with minimal invasive surgery (“keyhole surgery”).

The paper is called:
Feasibility of surgical randomised controlled trials with a placebo arm
This review demonstrated that placebo-
controlled surgical trials are feasible, at least for
procedures with a lower level of invasiveness, but also
that recruitment is difficult. Many of the presumed
challenges to undertaking such trials, for example,
funding, anaesthesia or blinding of patients and
assessors, were not reported as obstacles to

completion in any of the reviewed trials.

* Just know that they cheat on these trials. If the pill DOES work the trial gets published 100% of the time.
Only 14% of trials where the pill DOESN’T work get published.