Last month I wrote a blog post introducing my little friends, the Cataracts! If you need a bit of refreshing, here’s the post: Of Cataracts and Proaging Eye Care
Dopey me. I thought your eyes had to look like THIS in order to have cataracts!
It’s Friday as I write this. The weather is warm. It is sunny out. The sky is crystalline. And I’m healing from the cataract surgery I had two days ago. On Wednesday.
And this is how it rolled….
5:00 AM. The alarm went off and I jumped out of bed eager to get this procedure over with. It’s weird because I wasn’t nervous. And knowing my anxiety levels, I was a bit surprised at my lack of angst. Thinking back, it was simply because the cataracts (each eye had two, one in front and one in back) were being removed from my lazy eye. This is the eye that I don’t use. It crosses inward and apparently it was a lot worse before I had corrective surgery in 1960 to correct it. All I remember from that long ago was being put to sleep with ether. To this day I can still remember the horrific stench.
Safe for kids? How come 60 years later, I’m still traumatized by the disgusting stench!
Anyway (because we all know that “anywayS” is not a word), as lazy as the eye is, it still affects my good eye. It’s difficult to imagine if you have two eyes that work properly but I’ll try to explain. Vision in the bad eye (my right eye) is limited. But the cataracts have given an overall cloudy and blurry field of vision. Because the eye turns in, I can still see the cloudiness with my good eye. It’s akin to an annoying person who just won’t leave you alone. I can’t get rid of it. And so, it would be welcoming to have the cloudiness from the lazy eye leave so it wouldn’t annoy my good eye.
Hope you can follow this illustration because it pretty-much sums up how my eyes see!
In addition, the cataracts in my good eye were causing spotty blindness inasmuch that I couldn’t see facial features, couldn’t see road signs and couldn’t see traffic lights until it was too late. The husband has been driving me around since the beginning of the summer when my sight just got too bad. Honestly, the worst part is not being able to drive because I feel as though my freedom is taken away from me. Besides, I can’t sneak out to go shopping by myself.
This is how I saw my son Roman during his summer visits!
Back to the procedure….
It didn’t take long to get ready because I couldn’t wear makeup. I plopped a wig upon my noggin and slipped into a casual little black dress and Repetto ballet flats. I figured this would be the perfect outfit. It was the same one I wore to last year’s colonoscopy because the ease of slipping out of the shoes and dress were important. After all, the dress, shoes, and purse I carried would be securely placed into a locker as I changed into one of those extremely fashionable hospital gowns.
No makeup. LBD. Ballet Flats. A nice wig. How NOT to dress for cataract surgery during a pandemic! Wear super-comfy clothing. My dress kept riding up I was dressed more appropriately to give birth than for cataract surgery!
I forgot about the pandemic.
We arrived at the Mainline Surgical Center in plenty of time before the scheduled 7:15 surgery. Due to Covid’s new normal, Bonaparte was unable to accompany me inside. Reminding him a million times to leave his cell phone on, I entered the building.
Thank God my husband had the intelligence to wait a few minutes. I wasn’t allowed to bring my purse with me. Instead I had to take my driver’s license, my insurance cards and my debit card out of my purse, along with my phone, and place everything into a clear plastic bag.
Similar but not the same, the bag I was given had a drawstring at the top. Next time I know to leave the purse home. Next time I don’t even have to bring the insurance cards because they are on file–only my cell phone and debit card are needed!
I ran outside, handed my purse to my husband and told him to go home, drop the purse off and by the time he returned, the surgery would be finished. Fact is, at this point, I was more concerned about the vintage Louis Vuitton Speedy bag I placed in his care. That bag was restored by me. I purchased it for next to nothing at the beginning of the lock-down so I would have something to do and I freaking love that bag—even though Chippy snacked off the zipper pull and tag.
Back into the building and to the suite where the surgery was to take place. I was a bit surprised to see the waiting room so empty although there were a few patients scattered about. Chairs were taped to remind patients to keep a social distance. And although it was early in the morning, it was further validation that this virus isn’t going away any time soon.
I didn’t realize that was the pediatric waiting area. I couldn’t read the sign!
Chairs were taped for social distancing. And, I was also given a clean face mask. I liked that!
After signing in, I was called over to the front desk to run through paperwork. And to hand over my debit card for the co-pay of $200. Another short wait back at my socially-distanced chair and a nurse called for me to follow her.
Ugh. Copays. I would have rather bought shoes or a new wig than spend the money on a $200 copay!
Eager to change my clothing, I was told that due to the pandemic, lockers are not being used. Instead, there would be no gown; the procedure would take place with me wearing my LBD and ballet flats. A very “duh” moment for me. I should have worn yoga pants and a tee shirt. Who knew? But I will admit that I felt great when the nurse told me she loved my hair (I didn’t let on it was a wig).
And I was so looking forward to twirling around in that backless, fashion statement!
Can I just talk about how great the nurse was? Her name was Beth and she put me at complete ease. She recently became a grandmother and my grandmotherness-to-be was the topic of conversation. She led me to what looked like a cross between a wheel chair and a Hoveround!
A cross between a wheelchair and a Hoveround, this was weird looking but reclined so beautifully. Come to think of it, this would make a welcome addition to any family room!
Beth took my blood pressure and put a thing on my finger, I guess to monitor something—who knows. Then she put a needle into a vein in my hand…
The bruised area on my hand is where the IV needle was inserted. I could have left it in all day!
Meeting the Anesthesiologist was next. He was soooo nice! He asked the usual obligatory questions about general health and if I was taking any medication—including OTC meds such as aspirin and Tylenol.
Why did I feel so bad telling him I couldn’t even remember the last time I swallowed a pill? Oh wait! I know! It’s because if it isn’t a happy pill, it’s not worth taking!
I rest my case!
But I must say, the needle that was placed in my vein allowed for some good stuff to run through my body because I was feeling extremely relaxed and very good.
Next came the eye drops that were used to numb my eyes. Novocain for eyes without the needle! I was really feeling good!
After a few minutes, it was time to wheel me into the operating area—or maybe room—who knows what it was because I was ready for fun! Dr. Sando made me feel extremely comfortable as we spoke about my kids playing golf and the nickname for my oldest son, Jesus Jake. (Note to self—be quiet during the next eye surgery! Actually, I take that back. What the heck—let’s have fun). I also promised a batch of Momofuku Corn Cookies upon returning for my next cataract surgery. Hopefully, I’ll be allowed to bring them into the building despite the pandemic because Dr. Sando and the staff deserve a bit of sweet treats for having to deal with me.
I hope I’ll be allowed to bring my freshly-baked Corn cookies to the next surgery!
So now I’m going to have surgery. And I was awake the entire time. It was not laser surgery either. Cataracts were to be removed and replaced with a new lens.
I was instructed to keep looking at the light which was overhead; and when my eye drifted, I just went back to focusing on the light. It was the weirdest thing because it wasn’t like looking at a light in your home. It was more of a psychedelic light. You know, I never did LSD when I was younger because I was too afraid of flashbacks and my dad was a New York City cop. But I can imagine from friends’ description of dropping acid that this must’ve been mighty close—and a lot less harmful!
My high-school buddy Lisa said this was a lot like the visuals she experienced with LSD. For me it was a lot like the light during my cataract surgery.
Seriously though, I felt nothing except remarkable relaxation. And in the timespan of about twenty minutes, it was done. I was wheeled back to the recovery area and a bit dismayed as the IV was taken out of my hand.
A few minutes later, with a clear eye shield in place, I was off to return home.
A light show. A clear eye shield for protection. A happy patient! What’s not to love?
And that was it!
Oh. The eye shield. It’s to protect the eye against me. You know, from rubbing or touching the eye area.
Two days later, still smiling and wearing my shield. Caveat-I only wore makeup on my good eye for this photo. And a couple of others. It’ll be washed off later!
The after-surgery care is important. Your eye can itch and feel irritated as though an eyelash fell into your eye. That is why the shield is kept on. In all honesty, I didn’t have much irritation. No itchiness all. For a moment it felt like a lash fell into my eye but it passed quickly.
Because I’m so nosey and impatient, I lifted the eye shield as we drove home and I was astounded! I’m not kidding either. My reaction was “Holy shit—why didn’t I have this done sooner”
Even though the sight in my bad eye is limited, I can see colors so vividly. I cannot wait to get my good eye done!
Again, it’s difficult to describe due to the nature of my eye issues, but from the limited range of sight, everything was so vivid! There was absolutely no cloudiness or blurriness from my right eye. It was an incredible moment for me. Everything was so bright and clear—in the best way possible.
I closed the bad eye which was now sort of the good eye (I know, I know, it’s difficult to imagine), to look through the good eye which was now offering cloudy, blurry and dull sight. And now, with both eyes opened, the clarity from my bad eye, which crossed over to the sight of my good eye was annoying. It’s so weird but so wonderful at the same time.
Eye shield back in place I was car dancing in my seat with happiness!
Yeah. I was dancing wilder than this guy!
Because of instructions not to bend over, or lift anything heavy or cook, the remainder of the day was spent following my schedule of various eye drops and bingeing on Great British Bake-Off Holiday episodes. Christmas is only three months away and I need to start thinking about Holiday baking!
Paul, Noel and crew whetted my appetite for Christmas goodies!
Yesterday I returned to Dr. Sando’s office for a follow-up visit. It was a quick, easy visit as my eye was examined and all was well! And his advice was to use the eye drops religiously!
I’ve been a runnin’ to the shelter constantly for these mother’s little helpers!
And I’m keeping track. Although I had to change the Gray-capped drops from before bed to around 6:30 in the evening.
iThere will be a couple more visits until my next surgery on the 23rd and I am looking so forward to that next surgery! It’s gonna be so much fun!
How can you not appreciate the personality of a doctor with this eye chart in the examination room? (Although for some of us it could have been about wine!)
An important part of this process is finding the right doctor. I’m telling you, if you think you may have cataracts in live in the Philly area, look Dr. Sando up and make an appointment.
This guy! I’ve finally found a replacement for my childhood-into-adulthood ophthalmologist in Dr. Sando!
Don’t wait. Don’t do what I did. I blamed everything but my eyes. I blamed the lighting at work and relocated to a different cubicle. I blamed my husband for cleaning the no-glare finish off my eyeglasses (of which I am deeply ashamed of). I blamed light sensitivity. I thought eye makeup, and cream got into my eyes. I blamed drivers for having their brights on (and used rather saucy language) when, in fact, they didn’t. Those halos surrounding headlights in oncoming traffic, traffic lights and street lights were not a sign that I was seeing heavenly visions. They were an omen that my eyes were in dire straights and I needed to get help!
Add to that, I was in denial that my more mature age was another reason for cataracts. Being a pro-ager means more than dressing youthful. It means coming to terms with issues that can be brought on with the aging process!
It’s exciting to look forward to realizing that by month’s end, my eyesight will be so much better! I can’t wait to see with clarity out of my good eye. It’ll be a pleasure to drive at twilight again. It’ll be even better to see traffic lights and the facial features of my loved ones—especially when my first grandchild arrives! And, it’s going to be a most deeply-shallow moment when I can wear mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and concealer on both eyes again!
I can’t wait to use the Jeffree Star Orgy palette. Look at all those neutrals! I can’t contain myself!
That’s it folks! I’ll be writing about my final cataract surgery in a few weeks. And if you have any eye issues at all, please, take care. Our sight is so very important!
It’s all good! Now go and take care of your eyes!!!
I got the OK to cook and Bonaparte couldn’t be happier—the Frenchman needs another batch of gougères! Therefore, my Labor Day Weekend will be spent in the kitchen!
Time to make more of these cheesy gougeres. And a tagine. And tonight’s enchiladas. And hummus……