Barring some natural disaster like a typhoon or an earthquake, I finally will have cataract-removal surgery on my right eye on June 1st.
This will make the third time the surgery has been rescheduled, so it’s now or never as far as I’m concerned. If it gets canceled again, I’m going to assume it’s an omen, throw in the towel and train my Rottweiler to be a guide dog.
I’ve had all kinds of surgery in my life, but this one is making me really apprehensive, to the point where I’ve honestly thought about chickening out...especially when the surgeon told me she prefers to cut the eye and not use laser surgery. The thought of having my eyeball dissected while I’m awake and still attached to it reminds me of a torture scene in a horror movie I once saw.
But my driver’s license is important to me and I’ll lose it without the surgery, so I feel as if I have no choice other than to try to be brave and go through with it.
Coincidentally, just about everyone I know has had cataract surgery. It seems to be the "surgery du jour” nowadays. So every time I mention my upcoming surgery, I hear the same thing, as if everyone has been programmed with a pre-recorded message:
“Don’t worry about it! It's easy peasy! I had my cataracts removed last (year, month, week) and I was out driving the day after my surgery.”
I swear, if I have to hear that even one more time, I’ll scream.
For one thing, I can’t stand the expression “easy peasy.” And if they add the “lemon squeezy” part at the end of it, as many people do, I can’t be held responsible for what I might do.
And I truly believe no jury would convict me afterwards.
Secondly, my visit with the ophthalmologist last week pretty much dashed all of my hopes that my particular surgery will be as “easy peasy" as everyone seems to think.
“Your astigmatism has increased from 2.4 diopters to 4,” she informed me. "So the cataract surgery probably won’t help your vision much.”
I knew what was coming next because she’d said the same thing to me back in March when I’d been scheduled to have the surgery but had been forced to cancel.
“Unless…” she said, right on cue, “you allow me to implant the special toric lenses to correct the astigmatism during the cataract surgery. You’ll be able to see clearly immediately afterwards…without any glasses."
I’d already looked into the toric lenses, and both my insurance company and Medicare said they were considered cosmetic so they wouldn’t pay for them.
The ophthalmologist assured me the out-of-pocket expense wasn’t much and would save me money in the long run because I wouldn’t need to buy eyeglasses any more, so the investment would be well worth it.
All I can say is the ophthalmologist and I definitely hail from different worlds because to me, "not much" translates to around $50…not the $3,000 the toric lenses actually cost. So that, as far as I was concerned, ended that conversation.
However, it didn’t end it for the doctor, who obviously doesn’t understand the meaning of the words "fixed income.” She persisted, showing me two photos of the same mountain scene. One photo was crystal clear with vivid color, while the other one looked as if someone who’d just downed 10 shots of whiskey had taken it…while bull-riding at a rodeo.
“The clear photo shows how sharp your vision will be if you get the toric-lens implants," she said. "The other photo shows how blurry and distorted everything will look without them.”
Before I could respond, she added, “Yes, regular eyeglasses can correct your vision after the surgery, but they will be really thick and take a long time to get used to. And you won’t even be able to get them for at least two months – until both eyes are completely healed. In the meantime, your vision will be a blur, so you won't be able to drive."
I gasped, not believing my ears. I’d just recently been given the okay from my orthopedic surgeon to drive again after not being allowed to do so since I broke my wrist and arm back in March. And now, after only a brief taste of freedom, I was going to have to suffer through the “Driving Miss Sally” phase all over again for two long months?
Talk about torture.
So now I’m wondering if my vision will be so blurry, I not only won’t be able to drive, I also won’t be able to watch TV, read or write.
I guess only time will tell.
In the meantime, I dare someone else to say "easy peasy" to me.
Like I once read on a tee-shirt..."The older I get, the less ‘life in prison’ is a deterrent any more.”
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: email@example.com
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