And Now I Can See! The Adventures of Cataract Surgery


Dearest Readers:

Monday, January 14, 2019, I experienced my first cataract surgery on my left eye. If you’ve never had cataract surgery you might not understand the reasoning. From my observation, I believe eye surgeons prefer doing only one eye at a time. I’m thankful I followed these suggestions.

I remember my grandmother having cataract surgery many years ago. She was admitted to the hospital for a few days, simply because back in those days surgical centers did not exist. If someone needed surgery – into the hospital they went. I remember her cataracts were so large, I could hardly see the blue in her eyes – only a white cloud. I’m happy that now, it is such a quick procedure – something similar to in and out car washes – only of a different type!

Arriving at Physicians’ Eye Surgery Center, I was apprehensive, just like I always am with any surgical procedure. I subscribe to the “what if” club. What if the surgeon’s hand slips. What if there’s an accident and I lose my sight. You probably get the picture now. I worry much too much!

My eye surgery was scheduled for 8:30 am. I should arrive at the surgical center at 7:30 am, according to the person who scheduled my appointment.  We arrived at 7:10. The waiting room was populated with older adults and a few younger adults. Since I will not reveal my age, I was anxious to get this procedure over. My name was called at 7:20 or so, and by 7:30, all prep work was completed.

An IV was hooked up and now I have a gigantic black/red/yellow bruise covering my right wrist. My body does not like needles of any type and I bruise probably like a newborn baby. Inside the surgical area, music played – a soft, light rock from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – the classic music I so love to sing. Today was not a singing day, so I found myself listening , while knowing many of the songs. I was so thankful music played. It is so therapeutic for me. 

I met with several nurses and the anesthesia medical doctor, all assured me I would be fine. The procedure was explained. I was reassured I would not be asleep and I had to keep my left eye open. I was told to stare at the bright light. I probably mentioned I was a singer and whenever I am on stage, the bright lights bother my eyes, but today was different. I had to be still. Relaxed. And stare at a bright light. I could not go to sleep because when you sleep your eyes roll backwards and we don’t want that to happen. I really have no clue if I spoke or sang. Hopefully – not, although I am a talented singer!

Rolling me off to surgery, I reminded myself not to sleep. That isn’t a problem with me. SLEEPING is a problem. I have insomnia. The night prior to surgery I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight and I could not sleep! Understand, I’m not a midnight snacker, but I do like to sip water whenever I awaken.

Arriving in the surgical room, I noticed my doctor. “Ah…You’re waiting on me now,” I joked. I’ve never liked to wait on a doctor, although I do realize they have other patients, so I must be patient – even when I am a patient! Notice the word pun?

Within minutes, my left eye stared at a blue light. At least, I think it was blue. I chose to focus on music, so I do not remember the procedure at all. I was told prior by the nurses that it would take approximately 15 minutes. “Ah…” I laughed. “Welcome to In-and-Out Surgery, or maybe Drive-Thru Surgery.”

Minutes later, I was told I was the “Perfect Patient!” 

“That’s good to hear, I listened to music.”

Moments after my comment, I received a list of instructions called Post-Operative Instructions For Cataract Surgery.

*For the first 24-hours after surgery, you should not drive or make important personal or business decisions. Gee, may I watch Lifetime or Hallmark today? I thought to myself anxious to get a cup of coffee now!

*Wear sunglasses provided when you are outside. That’s not a problem. I wear sunglasses on a cloudy day too, and when I walk outside – always. The bright sunshine hurts!

*Wear the clear plastic shield provided while sleeping tonight and continue as directed by surgeon. 

I must say, that plastic shield is not exactly comfortable. I tape it on, covering it with my sleeping mask! In the morning, I’m thankful the tape goes off so easily! One thing I’ve learned is you should not apply night creams before the plastic shield. It slides off if you do!

*Do not rub the operative eye for one week. Always wash your hands with soap and water prior to caring for your eyes. Doesn’t everyone wash their hands before touching their eyes?

I was discharged and back in the car (not driving of course) by 8:45 am! As stated, “In-and-Out Surgery!”

The day after my surgery, I had a doctor’s appointment at 8:45 for a follow up check up. My doctor discovered the eye pressure was high so he prescribed another eye drop to help bring the pressure down. He said he thought the pressure was high due to the steroids in the eye drops I used prior to surgery and afterwards. Yep. I agreed. No doubt! Steroids and I do not get along! I always have some type of side effect.

I mentioned how I could see out of the left eye ok; however, I saw a circular rainbow on Monday. On Tuesday, the eye was still a bit hazy — proud to say, today, I am seeing crystal clear out of that eye!

Today is Thursday; hopefully, my last day not to wear eye makeup. I confess, I did wear makeup yesterday – just no eye makeup! Not even a bit of eye shadow! I look dead without makeup! I feel as if I am naked, and that isn’t something I do. Every day I wear makeup, with exception of this week. My mascara must think I’ve abandoned them!

As you can detect, cataract surgery is an easy surgery for most patients. I am only one. No doubt, I’ll schedule the right eye – when my eye pressure decreases!

And tomorrow – you guessed it – I’m wearing my eye makeup once again! I can’t wait!

 

 

 

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