Random Thoughts

Dealing lightly with cataracts

... dastardly shadows disappear, and all is color again

by Don Norris

Oh, oh. All my SilverStringer compatriots are probably thinking, "Oh, oh, there goes Norris on an ego trip again."

Well, not exactly. But this is the story that would interest all those aging souls who have magically grown cataracts. You know, some sort of filmy cloud that slowly coats your eyes until one day you realize you can't read the headlines anymore -- much less the type in the story.

Yes, that is me, in between takes. I've had one eye cleansed of those dastardly shadows, and now, like magic, I can see great things like lines, and colors, and movement, and detail -- detail in everything! Just think how it will be when I get the second eye done!

Yes, it was worth it, although I have no idea what my actual bill will be. Maybe a couple of grand because our insurance program may not cover cataracts. I can see again. The sky is a beautiful rich blue, the trees are deep green, the daffodils are brilliant yellow. Wow.

It wasn't done without pain -- well, no hurting pain, but anticipation pain. Which is worse than real pain because it lasts much longer. The more you think about going under the knife, the worse this pain becomes. That's my case, all the way.

But now it's half over. I have one clear eye. And there was no physical pain -- other than my anxiety. And I can see brilliant colors and sharp lines. Such beauty I have been missing for probably ten years.

Ironically, I'm the guy who edits most of the photos that appear in the Mirror -- which, I must add ungrudgingly, have drawn a host of positive comments. Ironically, now I'll have to go back over a couple thousand pictures that were put aside as being 'unsharp' -- for now these same photos have taken on new life.

Great! Before the big operation, a couple of pals -- Kay McCarte and Dorothy O'Connor Berg -- said that there was nothing to it. Dororthy wrote a piece about her experience that appeared in the Mirror a few months ago -- in which she inferred that it was done with almost walk-in nonchalance. Walk in, walk out a little while later. No pain, no problems.

Kay told me she had it done a couple of years ago, and reassured me that it was a zip-zip-zip happening, practically painless -- the eye drops stung a bit. In both cases the ladies spoke of laser operation, but my doc at Lahey Clinic used an ultrasound device. I was given an IV happy injection, and it was all over in a matter of minutes.

Lahey does go a step farther in their procedures. For example, I had to visit the clinic in Burlington a week before for "pre-op" which included an EKG and a battery of questions about my general health. Actually they had every minute of my medical history there in a four-inch-thick folder.

All in all, I can remember some 24 faces of medical people that took part in my restoration. There were several techicians (like the young lady who did the EKG, and wants so badly to become a nurse), to a dozen surgical nurses, and at least four MDs -- during my two-week prep period. Not exactly walk-in-walk-out surgery, but they wanted to make sure I could survive this relatively minor ordeal.

So now, I have two weeks before the second eye is done. And during this time I can compare the bad eye with the good eye. Like, this fuzzy picture with the left eye, and a bright, color-laden, sharp picture with my right. Maybe that's why they didn't do both eyes at one time -- to appreciate the difference.

My advice: It's a piece of cake, and while my case wasn't really bad, I am so happy that I can see -- perhaps again -- but frankly, I can't ever remember having seen so much beautiful light, such magnificent colors and such excellent sharpness, ever before. And those gorgeous ladies, oh my goodness.

For those who notice the right-left confusion, I took the photo in a mirror. Hence left is right, and right is left.  

November 2, 2007

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