Dr. Everhart smiled after examining my eyes. “Mr. Bruner, have you noticed your vision getting more blurred?”
I wrinkled my brow. “Not overly. But if I hadn’t felt I needed new glasses, I wouldn’t have come to see you.”
She nodded. “Have you noticed little flecks crossing your field of vision?”
“Now that you mention it, yes. My left eye only, though. I’ve almost reached the point of ignoring them, but they really bothered me at first. It’s like watching a tiny insect crawl across my glasses. In fact, that’s what I thought it was at first.”
She continued in a sympathetic tone. “I’m not surprised. Your left eye needs cataract surgery. Your right eye will need it eventually.”
I felt my mouth fall open. “What? Cataract surgery? Surely you’re kidding. I’m just in my lower sixties. Cataracts are a problem OLD people have.” I wasn’t about to admit I was feeling more like an old person with every passing day, and I’m sure my vision contributed to that feeling.
She patted me on the shoulder. “Not restricted to old people at all.”
Hmm. Then why was her waiting room full of only old people. People a lot older than me, that is.
While that dialogue is partially fictitious, my need for cataract surgery in my early sixties wasn’t.
I knew that cataract surgery was such an established routine that I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Dr. Everhart was not only a sweetheart of a lady, but a well-established eye surgeon.
I won’t bore you with the details, but the front office scheduled me a few days later to be fitted—probably not the correct word—for my replacement lens. Other than having my eye dilated once more, that was no problem. I was scheduled for the procedure itself for several weeks later.
I awaited that day with a combination of confidence and terror. I prayed a lot for God to replace all of the terror with confidence, and I believe He did—to whatever degree I was willing to trust Him.
The big day came. Kathleen had to be there to drive me home, and we had to be there at the break of day. The outpatient surgical unit liked to get Dr. Everhart’s first few patients ready early so she could move through them quickly. Great idea…except it meant an hour or two of waiting and wondering.
Reading wasn’t really an option. Not with those drops they kept putting more of in my left eye. I almost fell asleep a couple of times, but I was in a busy area. Between receiving more drops, having a visit from the anesthesiologist, and who knows what else, sleep wasn’t practical.
The time came. A couple of nurses rolled me to the operating room. I didn’t receive general anesthesia, but was sedated enough not to give Dr. Everhart any problems.
During the actual surgery, I heard her and her assistant talking, but that’s all I was conscious of. A short time later, I was in the recovery area, where I spent maybe fifteen minutes.
Dr. Everhart checked on me before letting Kathleen drive me home and gave me a bag of “stuff,” including three types of drops I would have to use four times daily until I’d used them all up and a high power set of sunglasses that would fit over my regular glasses. I wore a patch home, which I was permitted to take off at noon; I had to wear that at night for a week.
I had a checkup call from Dr. Everhart that evening and went in for a quick followup visit the next morning. From that point on, I was permitted to drive again. I made an appointment for a regular eye exam for those new glasses I’d expected to get a month or two earlier.
I could see again. Quite well. Maybe it didn’t matter whether the thought of cataract surgery had made me feel older originally.
So, when I learned the right eye needed it now—this was about a month ago—I shrugged. Okay. Let’s get it done. I’m thankful to say I didn’t experience any apprehension this time, and everything went just as smoothly.
In some areas, I suppose I’m aging more gracefully than in others.
What about you? Have you experienced health problems that weren’t super-serious, but made you feel a little older?
Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.
By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. On “As I Come Singing” I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.
Because I’ve already posted all of my songs, I revise and re-post a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.