Are you one of these? → Most of my friends are 20 – 50 years younger than I, and they don’t think about the reality of their forming cataracts or needing stitch less cataract surgery.
Surprisingly, some of those young people gave me the “Funky Fashionista Award” when I worked at Northern Virginia Community College; and they still listen to me.
So, here’s what I posted on Facebook a couple of days ago.
Vell, Dahlings, I’m about to become a Woman of Mystery – on Wednesday. I would prefer either of the first two looks; but I’m pretty sure I’ll get the third one when I emerge from cataract surgery on my right eye. If that goes well on the 8th, the left eye will get its chance on the 22nd. I do so hope it will improve my vision significantly.
Cataract Surgery – the Rationale
In researching this, I learned that – if you are lucky enough to grow old, you WILL BE unlucky enough to get cataracts; and, if you don’t have them removed early enough, they can solidify and become inoperable. So, I suggest you all think about it. The procedure takes only about 5 minutes, and you can go home as soon as they know you’re not going to have difficulties from the light anesthesia they use.
What Is a Cataract?
You know the purpose of my blogs often is to educate, so here goes!
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebMD), my source, WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/) “…is primarily known for its public website, which has information regarding health and health care, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, “drugs information”, blogs of physicians with specific topics and a place to store personal medical information. …. by February 2011, WebMD’s network of sites was reaching an average of 86.4 million visitors per month… and is the leading health portal in the United States….“
This link to WebMD gives a clear explanation of the subject of cataracts, using pictures, as well as words. Definitely worth watching for a couple of minutes. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-cataracts
Why Did I Have Cataract Surgery Now?
One of my cats is small and gray with darker gray stripes. He is too trusting/too stupid to move out of the way of an oncoming car. So, he blends right into the gravel driveway – especially at night – as he comes to greet me. Although I often would like to kill him, I would NOT like to kill him. I also would prefer not to kill anyone else – myself included – while driving in the dark and stormy nights on roads that have no striping.
How Do You Prepare? It’s Simple
You have to:
- Have a “pre-op” clearance from your Primary Care Physician.
- Provide a list of allergies (and any Power of Attorney or DNR instructions)
- Provide a list of all medications you take and follow instructions about what to take or not take in the few hours before surgery
- Fast (don’t eat solid foods) for 5 hours prior to surgery.
- Drink clear liquids, if you want to, for up to 2 hours prior to surgery.
- Wear comfortable clothes. ( You will remain dressed)
- Do the eye drops thing the day before
- Avoid wearing face cream, eye makeup, cologne/aftershave the night before and day of surgery
- Avoid wearing mascara for one week prior to surgery
So, How Did It Go?
My Opthamologist is Dr. Nancy Eiseley at Eye Associates of Winchester http://www.winceyes.com/. She does “no stitch” cataract surgeries at the Eye Surgery Center of Winchester: http://eyesurgerycenterofwinchester.com/.
From start (entering, handing over the insurance information, and signing forms) to finish (leaving with someone else to drive), the whole thing took about two hours.
The truth is that I (unintentionally) was the subject of much conversation, because of the tangerine colored blouse I wore! ??? Maybe it was because this took place during the historically bitter cold of winter, and most people were dressed in brown, black, gray, or khaki??? The staff kept talking about it all through the pre-surgery prep phase. It is a shimmering and rare color, which is lighter and softer than this picture and which resembles the inside of a ripe cantaloupe. Who knew that would be conversation-worthy?!
There I was, trying to get into a meditative state, but people kept talking to me and asking questions, while I lay on a gurney, with my right arm propped up and cuffed for blood pressure readings; while my left hand was set up for infusions; and while an oxygen tube was readied around my ears and nostrils.
They kept putting numbing drops into my eye and giving me little bits of information during this prep stage. Note: when the staff is about ready to wheel you into the OR (operating room), you must lie flat with your head softly cradled in place and slightly lowered.
The thickly-accented anesthesiologist introduced himself, and (as happens to me frequently) wanted to know what my country of origin is. My way of speaking usually makes people think I am European or from a different locale. As they took me into the OR, the nurses said something “in code” to him and told me he was the only man in the group, so they joke with him a lot. My response was that he probably thought he either was in Heaven or in Hell (depending on how he feels about working only with women).
I remember almost nothing else, except I think I said to the doctor (mid-procedure) that all I saw were a bunch of beautiful lights … and I did see that, along with varying geometric shapes like this one from the amazing artist, Andy Gilmore, whose work you can purchase via: http://www.123inspiration.com/andy-gilmore-geometric-patterns/ I was feeling nothing thanks to the anesthesia and numbing drops.
It was over, pardon the expression, “in a flash.” Painless. But, no eye patch to make me a Woman of Mystery! (When the second surgery was done – on the other eye – I was awake and talking with the physician the whole time! I still saw geometric patterns.)
As I continued to use the eye drops and another product I use to help damaged cells be repaired or replaced, my vision changed, noticeably for the better, as each half hour passed. I saw less blurriness, etc.
One of the most fascinating things outcomes is the difference between the right eye (sans cataract and with a new lens) and the left (untreated eye). Everything looks brighter, bluer, and like the whole world is under fluorescent lighting. When I close my right eye, in contrast, the view from the left eye is much warmer, softer, and darker in color – like the sepia tones used in movies depicting stories from the 1800′s.
In some ways, on these cold, barren winter days, the warmer view would be preferable; but there will be much greater discernment of details under the corrected eye, once the blurriness recedes completely. I was warned that I might have to wear sunglasses, both indoors and out, until I get used to the additional bright light.
I took a time-out from writing this to travel to Winchester for my post-op exam. To my surprise, I did not need sun glasses, and I COULD READ THE TEMPERATURE AND THE MILEAGE ON MY VEHICLE’S DASHBOARD WITHOUT GLASSES OR ILLUMINATION! It has been a long time since I could do that easily.
There still is some blurriness in the treated (and certainly in the untreated) eye; but I can tell there will be vast improvement. I have no pain. I do have occasional “flashes,” so the doctor dilated my eyes to make sure there is no detachment of the retina. But, as of this moment, I seem to be healing fast, and all is well. This lens allows me to be far sighted; the other eye lens will be configured more for nearsightedness to enable reading without glasses.
We’ll see. Already I can see some things better without, rather that with, glasses! YEA!
I recommend that, if it is time for you to do this, you should not wait.
Back to the Funky Fashionista!
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