"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Can See (Half) Clearly Now

I gave myself half of a birthday present this week for my 72nd birthday today.   I am a wimp about things medical and would much rather use the “wait and see” treatment than actually visiting a physician, all because of a life-long, well-documented history of peculiar and unheard of reactions to medicines and medical procedures.

However, there comes a time when it's obvious even to me that "wait and see" is the wrong answer, and medical assistance becomes a necessity.   That time arrived for me this summer when I realized my vision was much worse than usual.  I’ve been wearing glasses for about 20 years, reading glasses a little longer, so it’s hard to complain much.  (My vision was 20/15 when I was younger.)   But, oh how wonderful it would be to be glasses-free.

Dr. Steiner's downtown Anchorage office.

I’m almost there.  A couple months ago I tamped down my anxiety and saw an ophthalmologist for the cataracts taking up residence on the lenses of my eyes, and Thursday he dissolved the most-damaged and replaced it with an artificial, clear lens.

The whole thing was a piece of cake.  I mean the operation.   Nothing to fear at all but with my wild  imagination, you can understand why I wasn’t sleeping well before the surgery. 

The longest part of the procedure was signing all the paperwork.  The surgery itself took less than 15 minutes, but you know how time flies when you’re having fun.   I was awake, under the lovely effects of a sedative to be sure, but awake enough to ask questions and comprehend the answers.   One unasked question was answered without query:   they use a drug to keep the eyeball from rolling up in my head.   I been having day dreams about Dr. Steiner chasing my eye around in my skull.

I was anxious about “seeing” the operation.  All I saw was moving light, like watching a kaleidoscope.  I could actually “watch” the lens dissolving.  Utterly fascinating.   The worst part of the whole procedure?   The IV needle in the back of my right hand.   Two hours later, I was back in the condo where I would stay that night.

No pain from the eye at all, just an occasional mild ache and an itchy eyelid under the gauze and tape afterwards.  

Right after the surgery, I'm a little wiped out from a sleepless night.

I have a bit of a black eye, just some bruising around the eye, and drops to continue for three weeks.   My vision, he says, will continue to improve for 30 days and hopefully I can get by with drug store-type magnifiers for reading.

Yeah, it's out of focus.  Hard to take a selfie up close.  No, my pupil isn't duplicating itself. 

Right now, I’m impressed and excited about the second half of my birthday present when the left eye will be done on Dec. 5.

There is one thing, though.  That lens with the cataract?  Until Thursday, I still had all my OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts, other than some teeth.   Appendix, tonsils, they were all still here.  I now have an alien part inside me.  It’s a strange sensation and I’ve been wondering what heart transplant (and others) think about that.

Yeah, there’s that imagination of mine again.


  1. I had my eyes done 2+ yrs ago and no one prepared me for the bright new world that appeared. The bedroom that I had painted a month or so before surgery was suddenly a prettier and less yellowed color than what I chose. I've worn glasses for 72yrs and it was hard to give them up so felt better when I needed glasses a year later. The thing I dislike the most is the fact that I now need glasses to read when I didn't before. Hope you're as happy with the "new" eyes as I am.

  2. Good news Jeanne, I was thinking of you. The 5th is my sons birthday. so I'll be thinking of you again.

  3. Can you come for Thanksgiving dinner at 6 on Thursday?