Monday, April 16, 2012

Vision Is Precious

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We take so many things for granted . Water comes out of the tap when we turn it on. Our houses are heated and cooled when needed. The newspaper lands on the driveway every day. We can pick up that newspaper or a book and read it.

I lost one of those for granted things this past week-end. Due to some complications after an eyelid lift surgery on Friday, I could not read, could not see words on paper.It was pretty scary. I needed the surgery to prepare for some cataract surgery down the line. A friend had gone through it earlier and assured me it was no big deal. The surgery went fine on Friday morning and I had some swelling and bruising which was to be expected. But Saturday morning, I woke up with my eyes nearly swollen shut. I could see objects but could not read a word in the newspaper or on TV. I waited a couple hours hoping that the night-time ointment I'd used would have cleared by then and my vision would be fine. It wasn't! 

Off to the Emergency Room. The doctor there determined it was caused by my eyes being so swollen. The doctor who did the surgery was in Kansas City, 2+ hours away and also had no office hours on Saturdays. He did have a number to call which I missed that morning. Sunday, the swelling had moved down into my cheeks, and I looked like Charlotte Chipmunk! But I could read large letters, although not normal size print. Later in the day, the reading got better and my relief was great.

During that period when I could not read, I felt frightened, lost, and totally bored. I began to think about the role reading plays in my life. When I'm not out or doing household tasks, I am reading a book, a magazine, a newspaper or something online. Or I'm writing, which involves reading, too. I watch very little TV, but Saturday and much of Sunday, I was forced to do so. It reminded me why I watch little of it. Give me a book or a magazine please. 

Thinking about all the reading I do also made me appreciate my eyes. They've never been very good as I started wearing glasses at age 10, then contacts at 22 and am now back in glasses while waiting for my corneas to go back to normal shape before the cataract surgery. But I've had good correction all these years so seeing what I needed to see was not a problem. My mother had macular degeneration and lost much of her sight toward the end of her life. It's been a worry to me, but recent tests showed no sign of the macula being a problem. 

My message today could be shortened to on sentence Don't take your vision for granted and take care of your eyes. 

Afternote: I spoke to the nurse in Kansas City this morning, and she assured me this swelling is very normal and will go on for at least three weeks, then longer but to a lesser degree. She gave me a few hints about things that will help and things that will keep my vision normal. It's defintely a relief to know it is not unusual, that I'm normal, after all!

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