What is on my mind this evening is not so much about re-inventing retirement as it is about an issue involved with reaching so-called “retirement age.”
Just heard someone mention the eye of the storm on the news and it occurred to me that was the perfect title for this post. Here’s why.
Last Tuesday I had cataract surgery. Nothing unusual for someone my age In fact, it seemed like they were moving people through there in droves last week. So, for most people, there would be no way that the experience would provide fodder for a blog post. But, in my warped world, it has spawned the Eye of the Storm.
The procedure itself is brief and basically uneventful. Uneventful if you have no problem with the fact that you are literally watching a scalpel dissect your eyeball and a new lens being implanted in place of the old. But, they give you drugs for that and it doesn’t last long nor does it hurt and that is not what this is about. My story begins with the follow-up exam an hour after the surgery itself.
I assumed the exam would basically involve inspecting the eye to ensure that everything was properly in place and that there was no unexpected bleeding, etc…which it was. But, first – the dreaded vision exam. I’m sure that in most people’s world, a vision exam is no cause for dread. But, remember, I said this post was based on MY warped world. And, I have absolutely hated vision exams since I was in elementary school, when the school nurse would call us to her office and have us stare at a chart with a big E on top and smaller E’s as you went down the chart. We were asked to point in the direction that the arms of the E were facing. The big E? No problem. But I didn’t have to go very far down the chart for it to become a big problem for me. And, here is where the warped part comes in. For me, this was embarrassing. It was like failing a test. I knew I was giving the wrong answer and that was torture for me. I have hated vision exams ever since. They always involve asking me to read something that I can’t see and it makes me feel like a failure.
So, it was like a kick in the head when, almost straight out of surgery, I was tested again. She put some letters up and asked me to read them. I literally could not even tell that they were letters, let alone tell her what letters they were. She brushed it off saying things would become clearer once the dilation wore off.
This afternoon, I had to go in for another follow-up, prior to surgery on the left eye tomorrow. I stupidly assumed it was just for the purpose of making sure everything was healing properly. But, OMG, the first thing she did was another dreaded vision exam. This time she pulled up a screen with something like 6 or 8 lines on it and asked me to read the smallest line that I could see. And, I couldn’t read any of them. I twisted, moved my head around, blinked, but nothing. Not even the top line. FAILED! And, it really didn’t even surprise me, because following my surgery everyone was asking me if I could see better. So, I kept trying and trying to see better. I would test myself by covering my left eye and trying to read the time on the DVR with my right, but I couldn’t do it. So, failing that exam this afternoon was absolutely no surprise. Still, I felt a storm brewing in my stomach as I watched her reaction. She didn’t say anything but she gave me several more “tests” and then asked me to wait while she checked on something. I could see her consulting with someone. And, then she returned and said she was going to have to dilate my eye and take a look to make sure everything was OK. NO! Dilated again and, this time I didn’t even have a driver. But I gave the go ahead and she put the drops in. This was followed by taking a photo of the back my eye, after which I had to wait again for the doctor to come in.
Apparently the problem is the inability to correct my astigmatism. But, he said the good news is that with a prescription, they will be able to correct me to 20/40, which will still allow me to drive. And, the second surgery is still on for tomorrow at 7 AM I left and went out to my car where I sat for awhile trying to get my dilated eye to adjust to the bright sunlight that had replaced the cloudy darkness of most of the day and to get my attitude to adjust as well. I was really feeling devastated. SO MANY people had told me that I would be able to throw my glasses away and see perfectly following surgery. But, that didn’t happen and I felt totally devastated
Fortunately, my little thunderstorm soon passed and as I drove home I realized that I am extremely grateful for what I did get. I may not be able to see as far as I would like, but, what I CAN see is much brighter and more clearly defined. I will take that. And, tomorrow is another day…and another eye. Who knows – maybe they will be able to correct the left eye enough to help make up for the right. We’ll see. If they can, GREAT! And, if they can’t, I take whatever I can get. In the overall scheme of things, wearing glasses is just not that bad.