I can see clearly now
Growing old, as they say, isnít for the faint of heart.
Now, I realize that Iím still relatively young, but I havenít gone unscathed by Father Time. My hair is a whole lot grayer now than it was 10 years ago, and Iíve got an expanding bald spot on the top of my head. Not to mention arthritis in both knees.
One of the biggest shocks about getting older, though, is whatís happened to my eyesight. I often tell friends that I had perfect vision until I was 40 or so, then woke up one morning and couldnít see a darned thing. In reality, the decline in my eyesight wasnít quite that sudden but it did seem to happen pretty fast.
I started wearing glasses full time about six and a half years ago, not long before I came to Carroll County. Since then, the vision in my right eye had gotten progressively worse. It reached the point where without my glasses, I couldnít read road signs until I was right on top of them. At lunch a few weeks ago, I couldnít make out the features on a friendís face without the spectacles.
At last yearís annual eye appointment, I was told that I was developing cataracts. This year, the cataracts had reached the point where my optometrist recommended surgery.
I wasnít especially jazzed about the prospect. Although cataract surgery is not exorbitantly expensive, itís not cheap, either. Iíd have to be off work for a couple of days, and Iíd need help getting to and from surgery and a post-op appointment. And they wanted to stick a needle in my eye.
After my initial consultation with a surgeon in Rogers, the plan was to have surgery on my right eye in late July and then return two weeks later for the left eye. As it turned out, the July date conflicted with some deadlines at work. Ultimately, I decided to have surgery on the right eye last week. My plan was to wait until January for the left eye, so I could use my flexible spending account to cover the cost.
So, there I was, waking up an hour and a half earlier than normal last Wednesday to get to Rogers in time for the eye needle. I couldnít have anything to eat or drink, so not only was I awake entirely too early, but I was doing it without my morning coffee. My son Ryan and his bride, Harlie, were kind enough to drive me and I checked in to the surgery center 15 minutes early. Not long after that, I was flat on my back with an IV port in my left arm.
I remember next to nothing about the surgery itself, although I was semi-conscious. I do recall the doctor saying he was finished, and I believe I asked for some coffee. Instead I was offered my choice of soda or water, so I drank a small bottle of water, woke up a bit and then was ready to go.
With a metal shield taped over my right eye, I was wheeled out of the surgery center less than two hours after I arrived.
I finally got my coffee from a drive-thru and was home before noon. I slept most of the afternoon and when I lifted the shield to administer the eye drops I was prescribed, my vision was a little blurry.
The next morning, I was up early again and my good friend David Bell drove me to my post-op appointment. A nurse removed the eye shield and checked my vision. I still had trouble making out the small letters on the eye chart, but not as much as before the surgery.
Over the next couple of days, I noticed a significant improvement in my right-eye vision. Everything is much sharper and brighter than before the surgery, and colors are much more vivid.
Iím so pleased, in fact, that Iíve decided to schedule surgery on my left eye as soon as possible. I believe that once that is done and both eyes fully heal, I may not even need glasses.
I feel a little foolish for being so apprehensive about surgery. But mostly Iím thankful for modern medicine and good doctors.
Getting older isnít always a lot of fun, but Iím beginning to see that it isnít so bad.