One down, one to go

Susan Manzke
The eye patch was only for 4 hours, but everyone wanted Susan to talk like a pirate, “Arrrrr.”

Today I’m writing with blurry eyes. A couple of days ago, I had cataract surgery on my right eye. Next week I’ll have the left eye done. Right now, I’m in the in-between time when my eyes don’t match well and computer work is a bit out of focus.

My eyesight has been an issue for a while. More things were getting blurry, even when I was wearing my glasses. It was only a matter of time when I would have to decide if I wanted to take the big step and have the operations (each eye, one week apart).

An extra problem with added eye pressure brought me in to see the specialist. He said I had two choices, relieve the pressure with a laser or have cataract surgery which would clear my vision, and also clear the blockage that made the pressure build-up in my eyes. (Oh yes, there was a third option, that being to do nothing.)

I chose the surgery.

When I made my decision, it would have been great to schedule the surgery immediately. Too bad, I had to wait four weeks.

Well, time passed quick enough. Finally, the day arrived for my first cataract removal. Of course, I was nervous. It was my eye after all. But many friends had told me it was easy and that I’d be happy with the change to my sight.

Unlike my last procedure (my colonoscopy) there wasn’t much preparation for me. All I had to do was not eat after midnight.

Everyone at St. Mary’s Hospital, Green Bay, was as helpful and as sweet as could be. Everything was explained how I’d be asleep for a short time, but then I’d be aw­ake, only seeing the light from the microscope that was directed at my eye.

In the operating room, it didn’t feel like I was asleep for any time at all. I listened to the doctor and his staff talking. It occurred to me that I could talk to him, too, which is what I did.

Time for eye drops.

I can’t remember what I first asked him but somehow the conversation turned to gardening and what we all had planted. Somewhere along the line, I think I mentioned having four hens—it was all quite odd, but I felt extremely relaxed and in good hands.

In all, I was at St Mary’s for a total of three hours and then my daughter Rebecca was driving me home. For the next four hours, I had to wear a patch over my right eye, which was a little disori­­­­­enting.

When the patch came off, my eye was dilated so things were blurry. Still, I could see.

I was instructed about using my eye drops and told to use the eye guard at night for four nights. That was so I wouldn’t accidentally bump my eye.

Two things were a little tricky. Taking that eye patch off almost confounded me. The tape holding it in place was extremely strong and sticky! The second thing that had me worried was putting in my drops. I’ve used over-the-counter drops for years and I knew that sometimes I hit the bullseye and sometimes I didn’t.

I’ve never done eye drops so well as I have now. I’m getting plenty of practice. Three to four times a day (two different drops) I drip one drop in my eye. I take my time, hold my lower lid down and plunk – it’s in. There’s a five-minute wait before the second medication is dropped in.

This time between operations is a bit odd as my eyes are not coordinated—one fixed one not fixed.

There is healing to do. I’m warned not to lift heavy objects, not to bend low, and to stay away from dust—good thing we had rain, otherwise, that dust advisory would have been difficult to follow as farm dust was everywhere.

I may not need glasses except for reading after both eyes are done. That will be odd. Right now I’m not wearing any and I feel like something is missing. I’ll have to get used to it, which is not such a bad thing after all—especially since my vision will be fantastic.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog