A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with cataracts. The ophthalmologist wasn’t concerned. He told me that I would some day have to have them taken care of, just like many other older adults.
I didn’t realize “older adult” meant 45.
Although I knew for a while that my vision was changing, I put off going to the eye clinic until February. After several questions, chart tests and eye drops, I was declared “legally blind” and scheduled for cataract surgeries in March.
Today I am three days post-op on my second eye. To say I am thrilled by the results is almost an understatement. I can see details in the scenery I never noticed before. I am in awe of the vibrant colors around me. And, with the help of a pair of reading glasses, I can use the computer and kindle without enlarging the font to where my children could read what I was reading from the other end of the trailer.
Many people have asked me what it was like with cataracts. I had many of the classic symptoms—lights were extra bright and had a “starburst” appearance (I quit driving at night months ago due to this), scenery (and people) had soft edges and were muted in color. I also had some difficulty working on the computer, especially doing more detailed work (my
reason for not having our taxes finished yet).
As my eyes adjust, I discover “new” sights every day. The first new sight occurred the day after my first eye operation. As we were returning home, I looked up at Pass Mountain. I have been looking at this mountain every day since we arrived at Usery as camphosts last November. That day I could see the individual saguaro cacti that climb up the bottom part of the mountain. I could also see the color variation and rock edges in the tuff layer along the face of the mountain. Prior to this, I saw shades of green and brown moving up the mountain side and a brown swipe across the face. The difference is incredible. I find myself looking at the mountain various times each day, in awe of the details I can now see.
An interesting new sight I experienced yesterday had to do with people I have known for months. We attended a party for this season’s camp hosts. While talking with many individuals, I realized that I hadn’t been seeing these people very well. Patti has sun-kissed cheeks. Phyllis wears eye shadow. Charlie has hearing aids. Who knew?
I am still in the “recovery” phase and I need to be mindful of that. My eyes tire quickly—especially when I spend time on the computer. I still have multiple eye drops to put in my eyes 4 times a day (at one point I had to put 3 different drops in each eye at five minute intervals, four times a day) and I generally “rest my eyes” (as my Grandpa Rowe always said when he was cat-napping in his chair) a couple times a day. I am so grateful for my husband and children who have taken care of many of the “mom jobs” these past two weeks. I am hoping to relieve them more and more as the days go by.
If my eyes continue to heal at this rate (I’ve received good reports at all post-op visits so far), we will be able to return to traveling/adventuring/exploring other regions of our country mid-April. In the meantime, we’re looking for mini-adventures and short-distance travels in this general area of Arizona.
I feel that a cloud has been lifted. True, my vision is clearer. But, I also feel the removal of a fog that had been clouding my interest in, well, life. It’s great to feel excited about things, again.
I can’t wait to SEE what the future holds.