My eye doctor suggested surgery. As much as I try not to obsess about “the numbers” the facts speak for themselves. Cataracts are age related. Rarely are they not age related. So looking on the bright side, you have to live long enough to need cataract surgery. The right eye, and then two weeks later, not to be left out, the left eye. Thank goodness “third eyes” are not operable. So realizing my good fortune, I wanted to turn this into a positive experience, and might as well have an eye lift at the same time. Unfortunately, the eye surgeon was not enthusiastic about my idea, and immediately knocked it down laughing.
According to Web MD, cataract surgery is successful for 85-92 out of 100 adults. Not bad odds. Once I made up my mind to go for it, a little surprise bag arrived from the drug store. Three tiny plastic bottles. Eye drops to be taken before and after surgery. Two of the bottles, five days before, and the third, after, and to take until all finished. $94 and according to the drug store, I saved hundreds of dollars having a prescription plan. Outrageous in my opinion, the cost of drugs.Now the hard part, to remember to take four times a day, five minutes apart. Sounds easy for most, but not for me. Didn’t take long to figure out I needed to write down names and times and then it became easy…..most of the time.
I was told to be at Manhattan Eye and Ear at 7:30 am. If there had been a motel on 64th Street for $49 a night, I would have been tempted. Going to sleep at 2am and waking up at 6am is not a great combination. The night before, with a little help from Ambien, I went to sleep at 12. Have my own morning routine, re yoga, weights, standing on my head, etc etc and got up at 6:45. Nothing to eat or drink after 12am. As my mother would say, “this should be the worst thing you go through.” Very grateful it’s considered easy and safe.
I arrived at the hospital at 7:10, and felt I was checking into a Five Star Hotel. Everyone was eager to please and charming and hospitable, ( tiny pun)…..I was surprised I was quite calm. Not many fatalities with this type of surgery. Everyone I knew described it as miracle outcomes, and saw immediate results.
I was given the gown, that ties in the back, a warm robe, ugly slippers, and a cotton hat, to cover all hair. I waited until the last minutes to put the hat on and tried to give it a little French beret slant, but it still looked like a weird shower cap. I looked around at my fellow patients all in the same garb. We could have been at a Senior Center waiting for bingo to start. Everyone was about the same age.
Not sure of the statistics as to how many cataract patients are kidnapped from the hospital. I was asked about 8 times, 8 different aids and nurses, what my name was and date of birth, while checking my wrist band. When I asked about the kidnapping aspect, no one thought it was humorous. “All for security reasons,” I was told.
I felt a little empowered by some research I did on the internet. Many doctors do not like patients surfing the internet. Way too much information. What I was pleased to find out was I had a choice, whether to be put out mildly for the 20 minutes surgery, or just given a mild sedative. I wanted to be up and alert and asked for the Valium route.Not sure how up and alert I was, since I remember absolutely nothing except being back in my room and ready to go home with my friend who was picking me up. Felt fine, and given papers and booklets with instructions and all the what if’s. Fortunately none of the what if’s happened. No weights, no standing on my head, and no eye makeup for ten days. I didn’t realize the healing process takes about a month. Had check up appointment the next day and all went well. I do see improvements and will have the next one done in two weeks.
…………………………………the one downside? I don’t look in the mirror often, but when I did, I can see me quite clearly now and could really use an eye lift.