Having spent quite a lot of time since last Monday’s appointment bringing the family up-to-date with developments by email, I thought I would do the same here on the blog, so that we can move on to more varied topics before I bore you all rigid.
On Monday morning DH drove me to the Outpatients Department at our local cottage hospital and settled down with the work he’d brought with him to wait for me. Nearly two hours later I emerged, half-blinded by the drops used to shrink the iris, and with my mind buzzing with all the information I’d been given.
The very thorough surgeon I saw was keen to disabuse me of the notion that, just because it’s now done routinely, cataract surgery is not major surgery. It may not take very long or necessitate in-patient treatment any more, but it’s still a complex procedure and things can and do wrong sometimes, especially if there are any other eye conditions, including the kind of severe short sight I have always had. Complications such as retinal detachment are more common with severe short sight, so he wanted to be sure I understood this before agreeing to surgery.
Secondly he said that the way the cataract in my right eye had recently developed more rapidly meant that, unless I had surgery, my sight in that eye would probably worsen until I would be effectively blind in it, though obviously he could give me no timescale for that.
When I said that I was aware of the risks and did want to have the operation, he then sprang a bombshell on me by asking me whether I wanted to go for gold and have my short sight corrected at the same time! This would be done by not replacing the defective lens with one of similar thickness, which would leave me with clear vision, but still as short-sighted as ever.
Instead he would insert a thin lens which would mean that light would be refracted to focus, if not exactly on the retina (though that is the aim) then at least much closer to it than it does at present. I would still need glasses, as an artificial lens can’t change focus for closer work, but they would be far weaker and thinner than the ones I’ve worn almost as long as I can remember.
The main problem in having this done is that it would leave me temporarily with very uneven vision, with one very weak eye (the left) and a much stronger, newly-corrected one on the right, and this potentially rather (or even very) uncomfortable situation would last for the three months which have to elapse between cataract operations.
He could see that all this was a lot to take in at once, especially as I'd only been expecting to have one operation in the foreseeable future, so he told me I don’t have to make a final decision until I see him at the pre-op assessment in the big district general hospital where I will have surgery. This gives me time to talk things over with DH and do some research on the subject, but already I am well-nigh certain I will opt for the thin lens and somehow cope with the three-month period between operations.
The other problem of course is that being on a waiting list for not just one but two operations means that all our plans for this year are going to be upset. The surgeon said that the first operation will happen within three months, possibly even sooner depending on cancellations. After this there will be a three month wait until the first eye has completely healed and then the second operation. So all our normal routine is up in the air at the moment and I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that I may one day be able to go swimming and recognise the people at the other side of the pool or put on make-up (on the very rare occasions when I use it) without having to squint at close quarters.
So there you have it – a Perpetua not in transit, but spinning on the spot, with a whole new perspective on the world opening up in front of her.
Image via www.freepik.com/