If we were having coffee today, you might notice me struggling a bit. “It’s my eyes,” I’d admit. “Cataracts.”
Then you’d tell me about your experience, or your brother’s, or a co-worker, or your mom …
At my last checkup my eye doctor, an optometrist, told me it was coming. I first noticed a few changes early last Summer. It seemed to come and go. I pushed through the minor inconvenience because of our daughter’s upcoming wedding. Stupid, I know. This is something that doesn’t go away. Vitamins or exercise don’t help. I just didn’t want it to possibly get in the way of the nuptials. What got me was how fast it started to deteriorate.
In the final month before the wedding, I could tell it was changing pretty quickly. After the wedding, I finally got an appointment. Yep, he said, time to head to a specialist. Of course, I then had to wait. In my case, although I have cataracts in both eyes, my right eye is significantly worse than my left eye. Unfortunately, my right eye is my stronger eye, always has been. And in the last month both have been going downhill fast. I finally surrendered my car keys to my wife the other day. Oh, I think I can still drive okay, as long as I know where I’m going, but my depth perception has suffered too and she got tired of me running over curbs and such. My worry was someone possibly walking in front of me. I can see big stuff okay, but it is like driving in a misty early morning fog … all the time, everywhere, and bright lights like headlights and street lights are often exaggerated and blinding. That famous painting Starry Night? Welcome to my world.
I go in for surgery on the right eye this coming week. It is perhaps the most common surgical procedure these days. Very routine. That’s why I mentioned the anecdotes earlier. I’ve heard a lot of them. I’m both dreading the surgery (as one does) and looking forward to it. Then I get to do it again, on the other eye. The doctor told me I’ll really see how bad the left eye is when the right eye comes back on-line.
One of the saddest things for me is the fact that I have to miss National Novel Writing Month this year. I’ve done it every year since 2011. My two published novels were NaNoWriMo projects. I enjoy NaNoWriMo, it is fun and I’ve made some lifelong friendships from the random writing buddies I’ve collected over the years. But NaNoWriMo takes commitment and with surgical disruptions and … well, hardly being able to see the computer screen (struggling even writing this!), skipping it this year is a no-brainer. Maybe I’ll write the third book in the series NaNo-style in January.
One of the good things that will come out of this is the fact that they can actually do proactive corrections. The flip side is that it is almost always out of pocket … insurance should pay for all this stuff but they balk at actually doing something helpful and forward-thinking. They’ll replace the cloudy lens with a buck basic replacement, sure, but for a few bucks more and what is basically some minor LASIK I can expect some real improvement. But it is an easy sell for the medical industry … the prospect of better eyesight, not just as good as before with glasses but BETTER … well, that is hard to pass up. And given what they are already doing, it just makes sense in the long run. Can I afford it? Not really, but can I afford to NOT do it? Well … not really.
So think about me this Thursday. Feel free to comment to me about your experiences. I know you will anyway, so I might as well invite you. It helps. It really does. Oh, and remember the cost and remember those two books hanging around out there on Amazon (and other popular sites listed on my web page). Hint, hint … a few more sales might help offset the cost for me, so tell your friends too.
(“Always play for sympathy, my boy,” an actor-mentor once told me).
Thomas Fenske is= a writer living in NC. His latest novel, A CURSE THAT BITES DEEP, was published October 1. More information: http://thefensk.com