Monday, January 31, 2011


I know a lot of you might not be interested in this narrative, but I thought it might be helpful to someone who is facing cataract surgery, so here goes.

What a day!

First we got up at 5:30am, which isn't my favorite way to start the day.

No coffee, no tea, no breakfast, then it was into the hospital.

Technically called out-patient surgery, there was still a whole lot of preparation. Into the prep room, into the lovely designer hospital gown, tests run, then hooked up to several machines. At least four people (nurses, technicians, anesthesiologist and whatever) came in, most asking pretty much the same questions with minor variations. These folks wanted to make very sure that we were all on the same page, working on my right eye and implanting a lens for distance vision.

I laid there for about an hour, talking to all these people, then my Doctor came in and we had pretty much the same discussion. Then it was time to go in.

So they wheel me into an operating room, where they tell me that I'll be very relaxed, but definitely awake. They'll numb my right eye and use some device to keep it open, but they would like me to keep my left eye open during the procedure (I'm a little leery about this,but it isn't near as hard as you might think).

They squirt something dreamy into my IV and in no time, the procedure begins. At first all I can see is a bright light (kind of like they talk about when you die, shudder) but I know it's all right because I can hear all the OR chatter. Then suddenly, I see a yellow color, then shortly thereafter, I start seeing a couple of shapes, almost like looking through a microscope. Then, they taped an apparatus that resembled a small kitchen strainer to my eye, and quick as a flash, I'm wheeled out.

The whole thing took about twenty minutes.

Within another ten minutes, I'm leaving the hospital in a wheelchair.

I can already tell that my vision has improved, even though I'm looking through a small colander. We make it almost all the way home before I have to look, and you know what? For the first time in probably twenty years, the distance is clear without my glasses.

Wowie Zowie, this is cool. I put my hand over my left eye and the sky is quite blue and the trees are green, no haze. Then I cover my right eye and the old haze returns and I realize something. Not only is there a haze, but it has a slight yellowish brown cast to it. I never even thought that my cataracts might affect my sense of color, but it certainly seems like this is the case. My vision through my right eye is considerably brighter and richer than the vision in my left.

I'm happy as a clam. We get home and I set up the alarms on my iPhone to remind me to put in all my eye drops (3 different meds, each four times a day, at least ten minutes apart). In addition to this, I'm to continue my regular glaucoma meds, which add another three applications a day, also at least ten minutes apart..

I'm going to be squirting my eyes a lot for the next month.

Now it's time to put in my first set of drops. All of a sudden, the vision in my right eye clouds over. The distance is still sharp, but there is a definite fog.

I'm completely freaked out. It's like that old Night Gallery (the pilot was a trilogy starring Joan Crawford and directed by a young whippersnapper named Steven Spielberg. The title is Eyes, and it's worth checking out).

Anyway, I look through the ton of paperwork they've sent home with me, and one thing stands out. They say if you have an immediate degradation of vision, call immediately. So I do.

I get one of the ladies who had helped with my surgery and she says she thinks it's somewhat normal, but she'll talk to the Doctor and get back to me.

Of course, I'm worried. My precious vision, restored so sharp and clean, snatched away after such a short time.

Fortunately, they called back within a very short time and said that this is quite normal as my eyeball has been traumatized, and it will take it a while to settle down. That said, I have a follow up appointment tomorrow and they will check it out then. But they assure my I shouldn't worry.

A bit later, my vision clears and I am one happy camper. But again, it clouds over, but this time I don't worry.

So all in all, I'm quite pleased. I'll let you know the final results in a few weeks when everything has cleared up and healed.


Russ Krecklow said...

So glad for you, Kate. It's wonderful that everything went well. Take care of yourself now, and don't over do anything!

Donna K said...

Thanks for sharing and so glad your vision shows improvement. It's gratifying to read a positive outcome. This is something many of us will face at some point in time so glad you took the time to share with us.

meowmomma said...

yippie ki yi ah (or however one would want to spell that!)

I'm glad it's over and that little blip will be nothing!

You DID get some of those lovey warm blankets didn't you?????

CeiPui said...

I'm so happy for you!!!

Marcia said...

Kate, so happy it went well! My husband is having his right eye done early tomorrow morning. I can't wait to tell him how well it went for you. And I am a bit less tense now. TY for sharing your experience.

photowannabe said...

Its amazing what the Drs. can do now. So glad the surgery is successful. Fantastic that you can see the difference right away.
Thanks for the anniversary well wishes too.
Take care.

Ken said...

Scary stuff, eye surgery. I had Lasik, not as big a deal, but was really nervous going into it. I am glad it went well for you.