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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Miracles: Seeing Things From A New Perspective


Thought for the Day: December is a month filled with holidays and stories of miracles. I haven't written for a while, but have a story that I want to tell. I have been extremely busy with work and preparations for a minor medical procedure. I had not planned to share anything about the procedure, since it seemed routine. In hindsight, I realized that it may be routine, but it is also miraculous.

     For about two months I have been waiting for a medical procedure. Actually, the process of realizing that I needed to have an operation took over six months. I had 20/20 vision till late in my 40's when I began to wear glasses. Over the years my prescriptions changed, but in general my vision was easily corrected. Therefore, when I got a new prescription six months ago, I was surprised that the optician found one part of the script was too high for transition lenses. He suggested that I check with the eye doctor to be sure the script was accurate. 
     When I called, my doctor, her husband, a retired physician, looked at my chart. I was dismayed when he told me, it was probably correct since I had cataracts. Why hadn't my doctor mentioned anything about cataracts? Cataracts were something my grandmother and mother had, not me, but I scheduled a visit to recheck my eyes and to ask why she had not mentioned cataracts. My eye doctor said she didn't want to worry me. There was time before I needed to do anything, my vision was not that bad. When she gave me another prescription and told me to hold onto my older glasses. I decided to get a second opinion.
     At the new optometrist's office they had trouble checking for a new prescription, even with computerized equipment. The doctor suggested cataract surgery. Not only was the procedure minimally invasive, it could correct the cataracts as well as my astigmatism. He said that my previous doctor must have been trained in the old school tradition of waiting till people could barely see to operate. Although I could see, it was impacting on my night vision, so that I was avoiding driving at night. I felt like Cinderella with a 5 pm curfew after daylight saving time ended this fall.  So I scheduled the procedures (one for each eye) in December.
     Everyone I spoke with told me it was a relatively easy procedure and I was looking forward to driving without restrictions again. I knew that I would not be allowed to swim after the procedure and that strenuous exercise would also be off limits, so I went on Sunday for a swim. At the gym, I ran into a woman who swims regularly. When I told her about my operation, she said she had it a year ago and was very happy with the results. 
     The procedure was scheduled for Monday morning. I was told would take about an hour. Most of the hour was spent answering questions and having eye drops put into my eyes multiple times. I was in the operating room for about 10 minutes! Afterwards, I was shaky from a relaxant, but my vision was already much better. It felt like a dark veil had been removed. Colors were bright, sharp and vibrant. I felt like I was seeing the world like a newborn infant. The doctor told me that the medications I had been given would probably make me sleep a lot after the procedure and I was scheduled to see him on Tuesday.
     Even though it was a dark, rainy day, driving to my appointment was a piece of cake. The headlights of the oncoming cars did not blind me the way they had before. Although I am not allowed to swim for two weeks, I was given permission to return to Zumba and elliptical machines right away! He explained that heavy lifting was not allowed to prevent falling and hurting my eye. 
     So the day after the procedure, I was overjoyed to return to the gym. I ran into another woman whom I see regularly and told her about my procedure. She told me things have changed so much in medicine. Her mother who had lived in the Far East had gone blind from cataracts. What I took for granted is truly a miracle. I am thankful for seeing the world through a new lens and hope to share many more insights that my new eyes will observe here with you. 
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