My Life in Text

Post-opThis is what happens when you spend life with your face either shoved in a book or a screen–you end up getting cataracts when at a (relatively) young age. It doesn’t help you’re born really near-sighted either, which, I’ve been told, is a contributing factor. In any event, yesterday I got the one in my left eye removed, and had a high-tech intraocular multi-focal lens implanted which will allow me to see at multiple distances. Right now, the day after, my eye is still dilated so the vision is still a bit off, not to mention stepping outside this morning was like–whoa! the sun!–but for the first time in my life I was able to see out of my left eye without correction. It was truly bizarre. As was the operation.

Let me say right from the onset–the fact that I was to have my eye sliced open and had to be awake during the procedure left me nothing less than…may I speak bluntly? FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. Yes, it scared the crap out of me just to think of it. Not the pain–as I’ve had root canals where I’ve nearly fallen asleep in the chair. It was the fact I do not like anesthesia. I don’t like that feeling of being there but…not. Knock me out and I’m fine, but I don’t like that semi-conscious state where you can’t react. But this wasn’t like that at all. In fact, it was even kind of pleasant (for a medical procedure, let’s get real). Let me elaborate.

Above’s what I looked like two hours out of surgery. (The plastic shield is off and only has to be worn for a week at night.) My husband and I got there at 12:30 AM, and due to a glitch with an elderly patient (she was 95 and they couldn’t get her blood pressure down), I was stuck in the waiting room for two hours. But once they took me, it was really fast. I changed into a hospital gown then laid on a table where the nurse took my vitals and an EKG, then an anesthesiologist came in and inserted a stent in my hand and numbing drops in my eye. After they were through, I sat in a chair outside the operating room. Right before I went in the anesthesiologist asked me how I was doing. I said I was a bit nervous. He said he’d take care of that, then shot something with a needle into the stent. Within seconds all I felt was….really good. Not high, not loopy, just…good. He said it was called Versed, but to me it was just happy juice, as all it did was calm me and make me feel kind of nice. The surgery itself was truly bizarre. All I remember is a series of colored lights. In a way, it reminded me of pictures from the Hubble telescope, these brilliant multi-colored swirling shapes. TRIPPY!! Combine that with the happy-juice and it was quite an experience, and over before I knew it. NO PAIN AT ALL, and I walked out of the operating room awake and alert.  I go back today for and evaluation by the optometrist, but right now I’m writing this with only a contact in my right eye. The left is a little blurry, but then it’s still really dilated.
To all those who need to have cataract surgery let me  say: DO NOT FEAR IT. I’m not ashamed to say I was terrified–let me repeat that–TERRIFIED of that laser coming at my naked eye! But after going through what I did yesterday, it was almost easy, the actual procedure less than ten minutes. The hardest part for me was the fear of the unknown, as I allowed myself to imagine all sorts of scenarios that in actuality never materialized. I’m sure there’s someone out there about to have surgery who’d say it’s easy to feel as I do now that it’s over. Yes, it is, as I read similar accounts and I still arrived at the doctors’ office yesterday afraid. It anything, you can take comfort in the fact that when you do go through it, you’ll feel as I do now, and the worst part, if there is one, is everything your mind imagines beforehand. Remember that, because when you actually get to the operating table you’ll know the worst is past you, and there’s nothing but crystal-clear clarity ahead.

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