At the age of 94 it became apparent to me that my eyesight was getting worse.  The world was hazier, I needed glasses more often for close work and depth perception was worse.  I had not seen my ophthalmologist for seven years but all of a sudden it seemed like a good idea.  Of course before you see the real doctor his assistant has to interview and test you.  Then you get to see HIM and get really tested – fancier machine, eye drops for dilation, etc.  The upshot was that Dr. Falkenstein tells me I have bilateral cataracts and my eyesight is such that, while he will not report me or tell me I can’t drive, I would benefit from cataract surgery.  Unfortunately this man has already been a doctor for 47 years and is no longer doing surgery.  But he will refer me to the doctor who did his wife’s cataract surgery, Dr. Matthew Paul.

Well, of course when I went for my appointment with Dr. Paul I first had to be tested by Bobby. Bobby’s machine was even fancier and I gathered it was to determine what kind of lens would be inserted.  Then upstairs to Dr. Paul to answer all my questions.  The surgery itself would only take about 10 minutes but I would be there three hours.  And, yes, I would be given something to keep me peaceful but he didn’t think I’d really need it.  He prescribed three kinds of eyedrops, two to be taken for three days before surgery and all three for after surgery.

Next I had to see my internist to be cleared for surgery.  That involved exam of heart (electrocardiogram), lungs, white blood count and urinalysis.  The EKG was done right there in the office but off to the hospital lab for blood and urine work. Then off to pharmacy to pick up pre-surgery eyedrops (three kinds).  Busy day for an old lady.  I was exhausted!

Finally!  The Day!  Terry took me to the Surgical Center for an 8:45 appointment.  After initial paperwork I waited and waited and waited. I had hardly slept the night before and had “nothing by mouth” after midnight. Starving and thirsty and old!  Eventually they took us into a little room where I was attached to  a machine that displayed heartbeat, pulse, etc., with a thingy on my finger and  a line into my hand.  Then came the eye drops, first to numb my eyes, then a series to dilate the pupil, three of them, with the room darkened in between so pupil could dilate.  At some point I had to change all my clothes to a Johnny coat, robe and hairnet.

Eventually off in a wheelchair to see Dr. Matthew Paul, top dog of Danbury Eye Surgeons.  Positioned on table for surgery he told me all I had to do was look up at the light on the ceiling and stay still.  Of course I could feel no pain but some pressure and every now and then eye was flushed with some fluid.  They say the surgery itself only took about ten minutes.  Then back to liitle room, put on clothes, and decide coffee or apple juice?  I opted for both, slurped the juice down and sipped delicious hot coffee with graham crackers.  They put a plastic shield over my eye to be in place whenever I slept.  And, once home, I just slept and slept and slept – with bathroom breaks, of course.

Next day, Thanksgiving Day itself, back to the office for check-up by Dr.  Ijanga and aides.  Eyesight testing showed I had already gone from 20/100 to 20/40!  Everything looks good.  Continue eyedrops, three kinds, four times a day till next visit in a week.  Take it easy.  Don’t lift over 10 pounds, don’t bend, wash hands before drops, don’t touch eyes, don’t get water in eyes, wear dark glasses in sunlight.  Everything is so bright!  Overhead lights, TV, my iPad!  And crisp and clear!  I see now that Kimberly Guilfoyle is wearing too much make-up, lips too red, much eyeshadow!  Sadly I look in the mirror and see that my wrinkles are also crisp and clearly defined!

Drove to noon mass on Sunday.  It’s a whole new world out there!  Oh, happy day!

But when I see old friends I notice that they, too, have grown older this past week.