Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just a Cataract Surgery...

That's all it really is. 10 minutes at most. Pulverize the old lens, suck it out, and bung in a shiny new one. It's easier than getting a tooth filled. And less painless. Piece of cake.

It is also a key to a new life.

At the time I had my right eye done about 6 years ago (a guess, I don't remember really) the cataract was already forming in my left. The plan was to get it done in about a year, when it would be "ripe" enough. Trouble was, a year later I no longer had medical insurance. Or at any time since. So the cataract grew and grew until a couple of years ago my doc told me that my eye looked like an old dog's eye. I haven't seen anything through it in several years. Oh, I can tell if the light is on or off, but that's it.

Besides seeing nothing, it has skewed my depth and distance perception more than you can imagine. I run into things, trip over things, and drop things (I THOUGHT I had it over the side of the table before I set it down...). I cut myself. I pour things all over counters, missing the open tops of containers. I burn myself. When someone hands me something, they better be prepared to hang onto it until my own hand feels for it and finds it, because I can't tell just where it is, just there in space in your hand. If it's shiny or transparent, more's the problem. I can't tell how high a curb is, or even if there is a curb in front of me. Concrete to ashphalt seams may or may not be at the same level and I don't find out until I've tripped over it. (Of course now that I use a walker, it gives me advance warning and has helped me to get around more confidently - and safely!) And a patterned carpet or floor appears to be 3D.

Speaking of floors, we went into a restaurant on Labor Day. As hubby headed for the rest room a young man was walking me to our table. I'd left my walker in the car, as we were parked right next to the door, and it was a small restaurant, and I was on pain pills so walking wasn't too painful at that point; besides, when I'm with Pete he helps me. It was a dark evening and the restaurant was dimly lit; the dark blue carpet had shadows everywhere. I felt panicked. As the kid rushed ahead of me, I was trying desperately to focus on the floor as I shuffled along. I finally called out to him to wait for me, told him my vision was very poor, I couldn't see the floor clearly, and asked if there were any ramps or stairs in my path. He commented that he's never tripped over the floor, then he and a nearby waitress had a good laugh at my expense. I was humiliated and wanted to cry...

Many times I wear a patch over my left eye. Take a flashlight and shine it into one of your eyes, and then look at something with the other one. Can't see clearly even though there's nothing wrong with that eye? That's how I see. My right eye is perfectly wonderful, but any light at all as that flashlight effect on my left eye. I can see much better if it is just closed AND patched, since merely closing it still lets in too much light to let my right eye do its job.

When I had my left eye dilated for the exam a few weeks ago, it was white. The eye doc let my sister look through the fancy schmancy instrument into that eye, and she said, "There's a SNOWBALL in there!"

I haven't driven for a couple of years. I can't tell whether that dark shape in the road is a big hole, a puddle, a shadow, a critter, or a child. Headlights or reflections instantly make it impossible to see. If someone is pulled over on the other side of the road, I can't tell if they're way over on the opposite shoulder, or right in front of me. With police lights on, it looks as if there are a half-dozen vehicles there. To say nothing of the messed up perception of traffic coming around curves or corners, or my distance from other vehicles, stop signs, etc.

So yeah, while it could be deemed "Just a cataract surgery," that quick procedure will change my entire life. MY ENTIRE LIFE.

1 comment:

  1. What a blessing to get that taken care of! We'll be praying for everyone involved!