The Cataract Chronicles—Part Three. Holy Shit I Can See Again!

The past few weeks have been trying at best and extremely frustrating at worst.   It’s really difficult to explain but having the cataract surgery on my bad eye really did affect the eye sight in my good eye.  (Check this link for a better understanding – The Cataract Chronicles—Part Two).

Work has been the ultimate challenge. Working on two computer screens can wreak havoc on those even with stellar eyesight!   Add fluorescent lighting to the mix and it is a disastrous cocktail for those with sight issues such as light sensitivity, cataracts and other problems.

keyboard smash

I work on TWO computer screens!  Talk about doubling your pleasure! LOL!

And while my good eye was in waiting for that second surgery, I had a paying job to do.

And it sucked.  It didn’t suck because of the tasks I was handed. Nor did it suck because I was forced to do so. In fact, my boss and supervisors were incredibly understanding and helped me in every way.

It was the fact I simply could not see the computer screens.  There was a blind spot which obstructed my view of the words on the screen.  Much of it had to do with the effect of lighting etc. with the intensity of the cataracts in the one eye.

The week before the surgery, things became progressively worse and I had to get creative in attacking my workload.  I wore my prescription glasses and over those wore a pair of oversized non-prescription sunglasses I had for—-oh, perhaps 15 years…they were purchased back in the day when my eyesight was better.   I’ll tell ya—sometimes it pays to hold on to things!  Marie Kondo—I’m talkin’ to you!

The internet's hilarious responses to the Marie Kondo craze are sparking  joy | CBC Radio

I’ll use MY organizational skills of NOT getting rid of items. You never know when they’ll come in handy!

Now. Understand that the oversized sunnies were heavy. As in they weighted heavily upon my nose and my prescription glasses.  Add to that my wig and the ear tabs from the mask.  I felt as though the weight of the world was in between my shoulders.  Lit-uh-rul-lee!  By the time I left the office my back, my neck and my head ached.  All I wanted was to go to bed. Which I usually did.

Wig. Mask. Eye Patch. Eye glasses. Sun glasses.  I had this load on my head. I swear a load in my pants would have been more comfortable!

And because I was taking eye medication, I was petrified to take any OTC pain medicine such as Tylenol, Motrin or aspirin.  I cried every day from the pain. But, knowing it wouldn’t last much longer, it was something I could deal with.

Wednesday, September 23, couldn’t have come fast enough!  The night before, I made sure to lay out my clothing because check-in time was 6:10 in the mornin’.  A hot bath was a stress-reliever to get me to sleep early and into a deep slumber. Hoping the past day would be the last time I spent looking at the world through Vaseline-smeared eyes, I went to sleep dreaming of what life would look like after the surgery.

If you recall, I mistakenly wore a dress to my first surgery. This time around I wore activewear.  Caveat-this photo was taken prior to the surgery. I didn’t wear makeup to the surgery.

We drove in early-morning darkness to the Mainline Surgery Center in Bala Cynwyd.  And naturally, at 5:30 in the morning, in these Philadelphia suburbs, on Route 422, the traffic was heavier than lighter. WTF are these people going anyway?  I thought most people were working from home. What happened to the quality of life anyway?

We made it at exactly 6:10 and I left Bonaparte with a smile and a kiss!

Once upstairs it was the usual.  Fill out forms such as HIPPA and insurance.  Get the debit card out for the copay and a wait to be called.  But I have to say, the women in the reception area were so bright and cheerful and welcoming for such an early hour!

Check-in time!  All belongings in a bag and co-pay taken care of!

Next Gina, the RN came out to the waiting area to get me and prepare me for the surgery.  I sat in that chair-to-gurney which reminded me of the infamous Hoveround commercial.

I need a moment here. This was one of my favorite commercials of all time. I can’t explain why but it was. And the Hoveround-turned-gurney was one of the most fun aspects of the cataract surgery!

(RIP Hoveround guy. I loved you so much) Drops to numb my eye were put into place and the best of all…the IV with the meds to make me feel good…. really good!

Michael LeLand, the Hoveround guy, RIP.  I was able to hear your voice while enjoying the IV!

Dr. Goldberg, the Corsican traveler, Steve the Irish Bartender (My nicknames—shit gets weird when you have relaxing meds) came to welcome me and I was told that as soon as Dr. Sando arrived, I would be wheeled in.

At this point I was so relaxed I understood just why you are told to go to the bathroom to empty your bladder before getting prepped.  Any more relaxed and I would have needed a diaper!

tranquility ask-celestia-stuff GIF

Oh yeah.  I was extremely tranquil with that IV in place!

This time around, the procedure was slightly different because I was able to get a better feel of what was being done.  I don’t mean I could feel it; it was just the first surgery was on my eye that has a limited field of vision—even after surgery.  While looking at the light, the music of Tom Petty and David Bowie was playing in the background.  I was hoping for George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” or The Kinks “You Really Got Me”.  But still, the music was great!

Tom Petty Hailed for Making 'Political Statement' on Trump's Transgender  Policy

Tom Petty and….

new media love GIF by Trippyogi

….. a cataract surgery light show. It doesn’t get any better than this!

And just like that—it was over!

A shield was placed over my eye and then I was wheeled into the recovery area.

I was pretty out-of-it when I composed this quad of pics.  It was after the surgery and I really didn’t need the glasses–but I was a happy little clam!

That Frenchman of mine. Bless his heart.  The nurse told me they couldn’t get in touch with him. Needless to say, he took his granddaughter to school, then hit traffic on the way back.  Some of us have different priorities—don’t we?

Back to the surgery.

At long last, I was accompanied downstairs where my husband greeted me and it was in the car and back home.  All in about two hours!

As I ripped the shield from my eyes, I was not prepared by the gift of sight that returned to me.   Did you know that the leaves are starting to change color?  I saw individual leaves attached to trees!  Green—as in really green grass.  I could read the license plates on cars in front of us.  The signs said “Stop”!  The sky was as blue as the azure pool we swim in in Theoule-sur-Mer.

Signs.  Grass. Leaves on trees!  Everything was so beautiful!  I had THE best drive home ever.  Bonaparte was as stunned as I was at my remarkably successful cataract surgery!

And when I arrived home, I went out to the deck and realized the begonias are bright pink. Not dusty rose.  I re-examined our home and realized it is a lot brighter and airier than I thought!

I swear to you, I went through the ENTIRE summer thinking these were a dusty rose/mauve. I had NO idea they were bright pink!

Our living room walls are more of a cream color. In six years I’ve never realized that until after my surgery!

And my favorite spot in the house–is sunnier and brighter and cuter!

But something happened when I went to the upstairs bathroom.  I saw my reflection in the mirror.  As I came in for a closer look.  I was in shock!  When did I become so old looking?  My cataract sight had my face looking naturally filtered, blurry and void of lines and wrinkles.




Oh Muthafu…..Oops!  I thought I really looked blurred and filtered IRL!  I was a tad shocked to see this.  I had no idea how many freckles I have1  Or lines. Or big pores on my nose. Or textured skin.  But you know what?  I’ll take it!

Then I saw the reality of it all.  And after a moment (or seven), I dusted myself off and realized that I am what one would consider “old”.  A bona-fide old person. Senior Citizen.  Elderly?  I think not—at least in spirit.  Old Lady. Elder.

I would rather think of myself as a pro-ager, a tough broad (yes. Broad and I use that word lovingly), a warrior, a strong and empowering woman.  I’ve earned those lines and wrinkles and I refuse to erase them.  Well, perhaps a bit of Botox at some point won’t hurt, but for now. It’s all good because I can see.II'm a tough old broad from Brooklyn. I intend to go on acting until I'm ninety, and they won't need to paste my face with make-up. - Barbara Stanwyck

I’ll be channeling my innter Barbara Stanwyck.  I’m a tough old broad from Queens, NY!

Allow me to exit the deeply shallow pool and get on with my saga.

Another shocking element was the fact that I saw better without my beloved prescription eye glasses.  Yes!  I couldn’t believe it.  Mind you, I opted for the most basic cataract surgery because I chose only what my medical insurance paid for.  And still, I was able to see beautifully.

In fact, the next day (yesterday) at my follow-up appointment, I almost passed out when it was pointed out to me what I viewed on the eye chart before having the surgery and what I was able to view after the surgery.  It was one of those very few moments in life when I was dumbfounded.

Might I add that these letters were very much magnified when I saw them prior to the surgery.  I was able to read a much smaller line after the surgery!

Seriously. My eye glasses are my security blanket.  They have been a part of me for 62 years. The fact I could see better without them was something that I needed to comprehend.

It’s true.  While I go through wigs like a newborn goes through diapers, my glasses remain the same. Most times stronger but they’ve been my security blanket through my lifetime!

I do, however, need glasses for reading and for using my iPhone and computer.  And only readers because my sight is now that good. Yes.  Readers only.

An old pair of Peepers Readers I purchased years ago and held on to. These were purchased as beach readers but they didn’t work out. Now they’re fine!

Here’s where I realize that Dr. Sando is truly a wonderful and ethical ophthalmologist.  He could have sent me in the direction of the in-house optometrist. He could have given me the weakest link of a prescription that would have cost me a ton of money.  Instead, he advised me to go to a pharmacy, try on a few readers while looking at my iPhone and decide upon the intensity of the reading lens.  He also suggested while working at the computer I check my distance for a possible different reading lens. This would be helpful while working.

I did both and found a plethora of online eyeglass companies offering blue lens readers for those who don’t need prescriptions but need a bit of assistance.

I picked up a pair of 1.75 lenses for the phone and reading use.  I may have to jump to 2.00 for the computer.

These $9.97 readers were purchased yesterday and they are working perfectly.  Methinks I’ll be acquiring a collection of reading glasses to match my wigs! And the red lips and brows are the only makeup I’m wearing!

The point is—I can see.  And I can see better than ever.  It’s still a shock to my system.

And moving forward, I’ll be able to write again.  I swear you have no idea how horrible I felt by not being able to write on this blog.  It was painful.  There were so many ideas what to write about but I was unable to express them because I couldn’t see the computer screen.

Ammerlaan-Sosef work frustrated busy grower GIF

Now I can see the screen

I’ll also be able to drive again.  Although it was fantastic being chauffeured by Bonaparte, I miss that freedom of being in the car and listening to my music pumped at 11.   Driving is freedom. And a different kind. It isn’t freedom from loved ones—it’s personal time freedom. That time when you can have mind conversations with yourself or vent to yourself when nobody else is within your range of personal space.

traffic jam

Regardless. I’ll be happy to drive again!  Well…on second thought…No. I will.  Most of the time.  Except for when I don’t want to…

So that’s about it.  Sight is a beautiful gift.  And as we proage, our sight plays tricks on many of us.  We become sensitive to light. We see halos and not the kind hovering over an angel’s head.  We have dull and blurry vision. And let me tell you, if it happens to you, please see an eye doctor immediately.

There’s a lot of beauty out there!!  You don’t want to miss it!

Please.  Listen to me. If you have any inkling you might have cataracts. Make that appointment!!! XOXOXOXO

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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23 Responses to The Cataract Chronicles—Part Three. Holy Shit I Can See Again!

  1. Mary says:

    What a lovely, upbeat story in these unusual times! I’m delighted that your surgery was such a success and your story will be a great comfort for anyone facing cataract surgery. I always enjoy your blogs and I’m looking forward to more regular posts, now that you have your eyes sorted. I love all your wigs but your blond wigs are especially gorgeous on you, Catherine!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Mary! Thank you! I really feel so positive about this surgery and want anyone to know that it is the easiest surgical procedure out there. It’s easier than having a tooth filled or any visit to the dentist for that matter! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  2. Suzi says:

    You had me in tears at your joy. My biggest takeaway today was you viewing yourself after surgery. You are the exact same “warrior” after as before It is a good lesson for all of us to accept ourselves as we are and luxuriate in our own beautiful, uniqueness.

  3. Momcat says:

    It reminds of when I was 9 and got my first glasses and exclaimed to my mother that the kitchen wallpaper ( circa 1965) was SO beautiful! I was soooo blind ( myopia and astigmatism) It’s amazing isn’t it to see clearly. I am SO happy for you dear friend. I love when you comment how light and airy your house is. That was kind of heart wrenching…
    Now get in yer whip and drive!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Mae! I haven’t driven yet but tomorrow (A week since the surgery) will be the first time I drive. I’m so excited! OMG. Seeing clearly is absolutely life-changing! I’m driving baby! XOXOXOXO

  4. nathalie says:

    No no no !!!! you are not an old woman ! you are a wonderful , modern woman and well in her time ! good to read you again ! Nathalie , France

  5. vavashagwell says:

    AWESOME! My best friend had her surgery last year and made similar observations. She, too, was a bit surprised looking in the mirror, and also how vibrant the colors of the world are. My eyes aren’t ready yet for the surgery, but when they are I won’t procrastinate that’s for sure. I’ve been myopic my entire life. Astigmatism, too. I wore contacts for about 35 years and last year after our house fire I just decided I was done with those and now wear glasses exclusively. But I could definitely envision going with the readers after eye surgery. Must be nice to have perfect distance vision! Congratulations!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Vava!! OMG. You definitely will love the sight benefits after cataract surgery. Honestly, if your eyes start getting worse, see your doctor immediately! XOXOXOXO

  6. Lise says:

    Hi Cathe, so great to read your story. As someone who has had severe myopia and astigmatism since birth (discovered and first glasses at age 6), how come the cataract surgery has given you almost 20/20 long distance vision, as I understand your vision issues were also from childhood? Did you have a lense implant as well? Rgds, Lise

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lise,
      My vision issues definitely stem from childhood. I have amblyopia, astigmatism and strabismus. I was told that I would always wear glasses because if anything happened to my “good” eye, I would be in deep trouble. The strides we’ve made in eye medicine are incredible. I had the BASIC cataract surgery. My insurance wouldn’t pay for any upgrade and I still paid about $1,000 or more in fees. It is absolutely incredible. I’m looking at the world for the first time so clearly! XOXOXOXO

  7. Joan Brown says:

    Once again, Cathe, you have inspired me to be proactive. My consultation is coming up next week and I am pencilled in for my first surgery on the 28th. Since discovering you on this blog, I have lost almost 30 lbs on WW, posted a couple of wig pics on Instagram and facebook wig wearers groups, updated my wardrobe and started a walking program. I thought I was over the hill, but I have discovered life is an exciting journey, no matter what age I am. Thank you!

  8. Renee in Northern California says:

    Alrighty, i am making that appointment Monday…no excuses! Thanks ever so much for doing this series. I’ve been a chicken!!

    Have a great weekend!

    P.S. loved the” Biden” sign!!

  9. Liz McGarry says:

    Cathe…I’m so glad you have completed the cataract surgery! It’s so great to be able to finally see, isn’t it? Also happy you made the distinction between “elderly” and “elder”. Remember – we are NOUNS, not ADJECTIVES.😎 After my surgery I bought glasses with clear, no rx. lenses just because I couldn’t get used to my face without them…Lately I’ve found some great frames on You can buy frames only and they come with non rx lenses..great styles and low prices! They have lots of your favorite round glasses.
    Best wishes for your continued healing and to your jaunty French nurse for his good care of you!

    • Catherine says:

      Liz!!!!! I swear you have gotten me into the habit of “elders”! Really! I think twice now! I’ll have to check them out because I really can use plain non rx glasses. It’s so weird because I can’t get used to my face either. I freaking LOVE my glasses. Thanks for the heads up. I’m headed there in a few minutes because I can’t watch the debate. I am still suffering from PTSD from 2016!

      • Liz McGarry says:

        I can’t stand to watch it either, Cathe…I’m cooking a ribeye steak for myself and I’m going to binge on Silent Witness on Amazon Prime. Wish I had a martini!

  10. Joni says:

    Thanks Catherine for another uplifting blog. I won’t worry so much when it’s my time, as I am really squeamish about eye stuff. You look good in the blonde wig!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Joni! Ohhhh don’t be squeamish. I’m telling you, I almost vomit when a lantern fly comes with a foot of me and I scream. This is NOTHING! XOXOXOXOXO

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