Coping: Rolling the Dice on Eye Surgery

Apologies that we won’t be putting up the usual post-Fed decision and what our outlook is until tomorrow (at the earliest) and Monday (I hope at the latest) but my eyes are about to “go done” for some offline maintenance today. 

A little background, if you’re following the home game of “Trials of George” – I had both eyes operated on for cataracts in 1979 which were due to either playing with lasers, coal tar ointment for eczema, or just because people with lots of allergies tend to have cataracts earlier in life.  It also put an end to my flying at the time, since it was not a lot of fun to fly with contacts in, short of money, raising a family and so on. 

For 10+ years, I did the soft lens contacts and glasses and the vision was good.  Sometimes it was a problem swimming when I lived in the Cayman Islands, but you cope.  The hardest part was the “Coke bottle” glasses.

Then along in 1991, the family raised, dust from the divorce settled, I had two Alcon implants installed.  And until recently (like when I jumped off the tractor two weeks ago) they had been doing just fine.

Which gets us to this morning and putting in three kinds of drops – a NSAID, prednisone, and an antibiotic – as pre-surgery drops. So the eyes meant that I would jot this note down before getting serious on the drops this morning and heading up to Tyler, Texas.

Panama has an eye on the place here, so no worries.  Elaine’s a fine and careful driver, so everything should go smoothly.

imageI did spend a little time on Tuesday trying to clone what the vision looked like.  I took a picture of my main monitor and manipulated the image a bit (in CorelDraw, which is usually used for putting lines on charts and such) to give you an approximation of what life looks like when an intraocular lens “falls” and has to be repositioned and stitched in place.

The original “plant” worked for about 25-years, so the outlook is for another 25 – or longer.  During the original 25 years, I spent a lot of time outside in the sun, particularly sailing where glare is just part of the environment.  Hopefully, spending less time in bright conditions I might be able to get 30-years out of the repositioned implant.

The reason for putting this up is simple:  If you ever have a lens implant – and you live long enough – a combination of UV, body chemistry, and 25-years worth of gravity may move your IOL out of position. 

If it does, you know what it will look like:  part of your vision will look semi- OK – though a bit out of focus, but there will be a blurred, lower, double-vision effect and that’s what it looks like.

It’s not too bad if you turn your white drive down on a monitor – and the hotter the video (white to blue-shifted) the more pronounced the effect.  Working (gently) out in the yard this week, our blue garden hose looked like it had spawned another one…quite the effect.

The only real question on the surgery is how quickly the eye will return to normal vision and b) whether the glasses prescription will change.  Minor issues.  The NSAID and the prednisone may result in a day or three of blurry (as in a general fog, not one that moves around with lots of light flaring.

Anyway, it’s worth sharing because a “close encounter” with blind is a very good thing to experience.  It’s reason to appreciate the gifts of health we have, even though not quite perfect, that we enjoy most of the time.

I wrote a poem somewhere back around eighth grade that began something like…

“Caught in a body,

Pushed down a Road,

No this, no that…

That was before I had read Dylan Thomas, though he was speaking about the other end of Life – not being set on a crooked road when young.  His concern was about the time which will come for each of us, in turn:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

So pardon me if I “rage” a bit over this nuisance and feeble attempt by early Darkness.

A morning like this is a good time to sit back and ask philosophical questions, not the least of which is this:

If everyone started Life with exactly equal (and perfect) bodies, would we enjoy the diversity of humanity and the spread of medical advances, set – not unlike a Chinese buffet – before us in these times?  Average people are not – by the very definition – exceptional.  Our progress is built on the back of suffering.

I’ll get back to you with more, shortly. Depending on how the “eyes have it.”

In the meantime, we’re all “trapped in bodies and pushed down a road.”  And by God, rage against it, I will.

Write when you get rich,


Coping: Rolling the Dice on Eye Surgery — 31 Comments

  1. George, good luck on the eye surgery. I’m sure things will go well and you’ll be back to your normal self in no time. God bless Elaine for being there to drive you around and hold your hand.

    I’m not far behind you in the eye department. Too many years of looking at tiny electronic things and staring at computer monitors.

    Hang in there!


  2. Ditto on all of the others. It’s going to go well and you’ll be back sooner than you think, doing what you do best!!!!

  3. Get well soon & good wishes to Elaine while she helps you!!

  4. George, please take time to properly recover. You have given us readers plenty of good information to read during your recovery.

  5. You ( we) always receive what we believe we receive. Blessings and positive prayers for you. “See” you soon. GCA

  6. Pulling for you to have a successful outcome. In any case, rage on, my friend.

  7. George, channeling Kurt Vonnegut, Ure “a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.”

    I offer you a tried and true Scottish toast:
    Here’s tae ye!
    Here’s tae us, wha’s like us?
    Damned few an’ they’re a’ deid”

  8. Sending my good thoughts and healing vibes, too, George. May Holy Spirit guide the hands of your surgeon and medical staff for a complete recovery and perfect vision. Best to you.

  9. No worries George, your job here isn’t done!
    Speedy recovery, and read you soon.
    “Nolo Ignoramus Carborundum”

  10. Good luck today. I will try to give you a call tonight from the road. Yeesh – when did we wake up so old?

    Hugs, Gaye

  11. Speedy recovery George! Look forward to your return; knowing that the lens that you look thru will probably not not change your skeptical view of the world. Experience never gets old!!! Tim T.

  12. Good healing thoughts being sent your way…
    btw – not sure about your health care plan (I’m on private insurance with deductibles and co-pays) but when I went to get my 3 rx drops prior to cataract surgery – I almost dropped at the counter – each teeny tiny bottle of drops (good for about 1-3 weeks depending on frequency of install), each bottle, prior to deductible that I hadn’t met yet, was about $499!!! Made me wonder if there were gold flakes in them!

  13. Good luck with what may come, George. Perhaps you’ll learn something from your other senses while you’re recovering. I wish you all the best!

  14. George, don’t worry when it comes to cataracts the surgery has gotten very quick and nearly painless. My wife had it done a couple of weeks ago and the procedure itself lasted less than 20 minutes. And within 2 weeks it was all healed and actually had better vision than before. Regardless best of luck and strong healing

  15. Take care George, and best wishes for a speedy recovery. It’s now time to take care of yourself. As much a I look forward to your writing, do not rush into it until you are ready. Your health is much more important than that.

    James Johnson, ex-nuke

    • Besides all of the well wishers here, James’ four sentences express our concern to NOT rush back. We will all be here when you return, as we were in previous troubles.


  16. George, Best of Luck in a Successful Procedure Outcome and quick return to the Rage of Your Mission! We ‘Old Timer’ Readers need All the Stimulation we can get, And you Sir-Certainly provide ample doses of that day in and day out!!

  17. We are sending good thoughts and vibes your way as we enjoy your mirth, smarts and all seeing eye. Yes the eyes have it