There was never a meal around my mother’s family table, or so I was told by my dad, that did not contain a conversation about something gross. His sole contribution to the conversation was a groan, and “Do we have to talk about… snakes, snot, poop, wounds at the dinner table.”
So, with this post, I page homage to the gross side of my family. We shall discuss eyeballs and surgery. See, you grimaced didn’t you?
You will have to trust me here, everyone says, “You’re too young to have cataracts.” And, I so totally agree with them, but vibrantly colorful artist that I am, the world has gotten a bit off color lately and it is time to fix my eyes. The thought of being rendered blind by having your lens taken out is terrifying.
I think I was in fourth grade when the teacher told my mother I was having trouble seeing. On the ride home from the optometrist, we stopped at the corner store and I distinctly remember looking up at the second story of the house next door and stating, “I didn’t know there was a window up there.” I’m not even sure I knew the house had a second story.
Since then, I have worn glasses or contacts. They are part of who I am. I absolutely hate going to the beach and not being able to see.
When you have those esoteric conversations about whether you would rather lose your sight or your hearing, or your arms or your legs (okay, if you have not had those conversations, you did not obviously grow up in the 60s. Anyway, I basically really, really need my eyes and my right arm/hand. I’m an artist and believe me, I get horribly depressed when I cannot create.
So, doc says that it is time to take care of the cataracts. Now, I have had more surgeries than you can count and this is my first panic one. I mean, they are operating on my freakin’ eyes. This is the scream I hear over and over in my head.
Unlike most people, I was worried about holding my eye in the right position. Most people say they cannot stand to see something coming at their eye. EMT still has a problem putting his contacts in. But, I have a lazy eye and often do not realize that my right eye is looking forward and my left eye is off on its own viewing my peripheral area.
My ophthalmologist does not give you shots or pills to calm you, he gives you eye drops. First you get three eye drops four times in the hour before you go in. One of them burns like fire. Then, you go into the operating room and he floods your eye, repeatedly. You are drapped with more cloth than a mummy and the eye drops repeat.
By this time, I could not see. All you see are shadows of shapes or color. I hate bright light and it took a minute to adjust to the lamp, then I just lay there stiff as a board, scared to move and as tense as I high tension wire.
The next two minutes lasted about an hour (I swear – but husband swears I was back before he got back from the bathroom).
Since you cannot see you are not sure but the incision (I think) hurt a bit and what felt like stitches. Mostly what I saw was like being underwater and the world above me swirling and him moving the lens around, to get it in place, I presume. It was all very surreal and science fictiony.
My left eye is to be done on Tuesday at 6am. I now have 20/20 vision in my right eye. UberCool! Excuse me if I used that wrong, I really have no clue what Uber means. Which I guess disproves the point that I am too young for cataracts.
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