Eye Surgery, Childhood Imprecations, and Quadruplicateness

Cross my heart

So I had my left eye’s lens replaced yesterday.

I had cataracts in both eyes, and as a result, double vision in both eyes — quadruple vision, as a result. Very annoying. Lot’s of eye strain. And utterly beyond what eyeglasses can fix.

Some people actually look better in quadruplicate, you know. Blurriness does a lot of good for some of us. But it’s really bad for watching football.

So I’ve had to have my wife drive me around at night. And reading and writing were becoming more and more difficult by the day.

The result is that I needed to have eye surgery in both eyes to replace the lenses — which are behind the corneas.

Hope to die

Everyone I’d spoken to about the procedure said that it’s easy, a great improvement, and just no big deal. Nonetheless, I must confess to a degree of trepidation. (“Degree of trepidation” means “terrified at the thought of having someone cut on my eyeball while I watch from very, very close up!”)

Surgery was set for 6:00 a.m. in Birmingham — one hour from home. And so I had nothing to eat or drink after midnight, awoke at the unconscionable hour of 4:00 a.m., put the requisite three kinds of eye drops in my eye, and rode to the surgical center to have the left eye lens replaced.

It was a nice enough place, but somehow I managed to lose my cellphone in the waiting room. I lived many very happy years without a cellphone, but now I find myself feeling completely disconnected and insecure without it. (It could be an addictive thing, I think.) And I never, ever lose my cell phone. I was just a little stressed. (Denise found it while I was in surgery.)

So they asked me a series of questions about meds, allergies, and family history — being exactly the same questions I’d just spent a half hour completing on a form designed for someone with good eyes (and microscopic handwriting) — and then — finally — they stuck me with an IV drip designed to take away all my worries.

Of course, most of my anxieties were a result of being asked about whether I have a Living Will (Is death really a risk? Maybe I should read that consent form more carefully!) and about allergies to drugs that they have no reason at all to give me. I mean, they do so focus on the negative.

Stick a needle in my eye

But I enjoyed the drugs. After all, you really don’t want to be in your right mind while someone is sticking forceps, needles, and a vacuum cleaner in your eye. Artificially induced relaxation is a very good thing indeed.

The doctor had a very soothing voice. He pushed some kind of microscope thingy extremely close to my eye. He cut the cornea enough to pull it up like a flap. He then suctioned the old lens out and inserted the new high tech lens. (I paid extra for something called Tecnis, which may avoid the need for reading glasses. (My wife is very jealous.))

Astonishingly, I could see the new lens going in. That was some kind of weird — because I really shouldn’t be able to focus 1/8th of an inch in front of my pupil, you know. But then, I’d never before tried to look through an eye with a missing lens and cornea.

And then it was all over but the recovery — making certain I could sit up, speak coherently, and sip Diet Mountain Dew without spilling it on myself. (I did very well with the Diet Dew. Coherence came later.)

Immediately upon sitting up, it was obvious that my left eye saw colors more accurately than my right. Everything on the right side of the room appeared to have an amber haze — just kind of a dirty, yucky look. The left side was bright and shiny. And whites were suddenly really white.

It was frustrating, though, because my left eye was so incredibly dilated that I couldn’t read or focus on much of anything. The vision was just plain bad — but that’s always true when you’re dilated and, I suppose, when your eye has just been sliced and diced.

By suppertime, however, I was able to read the spines of books in my library from 15 feet away. And I could, once again, read the scores of football games on the TV screen! And for this Tuscaloosa boy, that’s important.

I find that I’m constantly wanting to reach for my glasses, even though I now see better without them than with them. A 47-year habit is hard to break.

It’s easier to watch TV if I cover my bad eye. And the paint colors in my house have all changed — it’s as though the house was repainted while I was away. Very odd feeling. Just a little disorienting.

In short, I wish I could get my right eye fixed today. I’m having headaches from the eyestrain of my brain trying to work with one good and one bad eye. And I can’t stay at the computer for long.

I have another surgery scheduled for Wednesday of next week. Then I’m taking a one-week family vacation to the beach. I’ve posted a few days ahead, but until I have working eyes, I may not get much serious blogging done. There may a gap in my postings for a while.

But if the right eye goes as well as the left, I should be a much better writer when it’s all over — because I’ll be a better reader, if that makes any sense.

Of course, I’m such a compulsive reader that I’d keep reading even if I were seeing in quadruplicate. But it’ll be a lot more fun when the pages are white and each letter appears but once.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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2 Responses to Eye Surgery, Childhood Imprecations, and Quadruplicateness

  1. Gary says:

    So glad your surgeries went well Jay. I’ve had eye surgeries for a detached retina and a cataract. I still wince when I think about the headlight equivalent that the eye doctor shines all over my eyes while telling me not to blink. I hope you have no further problems.

  2. Alabama John says:

    Jay, hope all goes well and I am only a short way from you so if I can bring you something or do anything to help, I will.
    I have a son at Bryces everyday that will also help. (He is working, not a resident!) Great doctors in Birmingham so I know you were in good hands.
    First time I have heard the Purple Hulls and enjoyed them. Thanks for posting.
    My favorites are the Isaacs, still a family group.

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