Cataract Surgery

Posted on July 23, 2020


The history of cataracts began well after the time when the average life span was only a bit longer than a bag of dried beans. People generally lived long full lives into their 20s and 30s, then succumbed to rotted teeth and mammoth attacks. Other ailments included gout, the vapors, biliousness and St Vitus Dance. Most people didn’t live long enough to develop liver spots or ear hair.

When life finally extended long enough to include cataracts, people didn’t notice them. They were generally too distracted by the absence of indoor plumbing or reliable trash pick up services. Things just kept getting hazier or more discolored or just downright disappeared from view. It generally took another person saying something like, “Wow, that guy up there seems to be about to empty his night slop bucket right on your head!” The person with cataracts would then say “Huh?” and speedily get doused with Middle Ages fecal matter matter. After several episodes like that, the cataract-endowed person would think maybe they should have their eyes checked.

The first actual removal of cataracts occurred in Paris in 1748 (or, if one is a Republican, during the Trump administration). Nowadays, cataract surgery has become almost routine for those humans who remember Howdy Doody and shoes with laces.

Life in the Boomer Lane just had cataract surgery this week. The surgery was routine, went well, and there was no discomfort involved. After a warm blanket and some mighty swell meds, she breezily sailed through the procedure. A large patch was then placed on her left eye and she was sent home.

LBL has what is called mono vision. This means that she uses her right eye for close vision and her left eye for far vision. The combination of eye patch on her left eye and face mask served to obliterate most of her sensory perception, creating a Helen Keller-like existence for the next 24 hours.

She went to the doctor’s office the following day for her first post-op appointment. The doctor who conducted LBL’s first post-op wasn’t the surgeon who did the procedure. When the post-op doctor removed her patch, he began to laugh. A variety of thoughts ran through LBL’s mind, none of them good. Most included a mix up of body parts that might have occurred during surgery. The doctor asked LBL if she had seen what her forehead looked like. She said she knew about her wrinkles and her unruly eyebrows but nothing else. The doctor handed her a mirror.

Above her left eye, the surgeon had written in large capital letters with black Magic Marker the word YES, meaning that that was the eye to be operated on. The word was as big as her left eye. LBL left the doctor’s office looking like a human Magic 8 ball.

When the patch came off, LBL was astonished to note the variety of bright colors that surrounded her. She was even more astonished to note how her face had aged in the last ten years and how filthy some places in her house were. She could have happily continued on with life without realizing those last two items.

She also noted that the self-tanner she had been using for years made her legs and feet a variety of shades of orange, with darker orangy-brown spots distributed randomly throughout. The spaces between her toes were a splotchy dark rust color. The result was something that looked like an entry in a medical text book.

These items aside, she has been thrilled to discover colors she had forgotten about. Birds are a marvel, and the texture of everything she looks at pops out at her. She is also able to see into the houses across the street, having her realize that her neighbors can, most likely, see in to her house.

SInce realizing all these things, he scrubbed off the self-tanner on her feet and the big YES above her right eye. She plucked her eyebrows. She cleaned the inside of her medicine cabinet. She stared at her paintings that had looked too dull before and appreciated that they weren’t. She looks forward to having the other eye done. It’s exhilarating to her that such a minor act can change the world in such a huge way. She ‘s hoping that the same thing happens the next time she votes.

Posted in: aging, humor, satire