It’s been a long month.
Two weeks ago I underwent a procedure most people call cataract surgery, which I have unilaterally nicknamed “extreme Lasik.”
It has left me unsettled, crabby and neurologically unhappy.
I know cataract surgery is different than Lasik. With Lasik, a medical professional reshapes your cornea using a laser. Cataract removal is when your cloudy lens gets broken up, suctioned out and replaced with a new, custom-made clear one.
The results are the same in that (worst-case scenarios excepted) you end up with clearer vision. That’s the good news.
The bad news – for me, at this moment – is that in the US, cataract surgery is done one eye at a time with a minumum of four weeks between procedures.
Which means that I have another two weeks of walking around like this, “this” meaning that at the moment, one eye doing is one thing while the other is doing something else completely.
For the first time since I was eight, I have nearly perfect distance vision my left eye. I remain wildly nearsighted in the right. If I put my glasses on (with the lens removed from the “fixed” eye), I have clear vision in both. But because glasses distort an image slightly, everything is two different sizes and my brain – to use a scientific term – spazzes out.
Glasses are no longer a viable option.
So, at the moment, I am not wearing glasses. Visually, it’s like being being stuck in that point in “Stranger Things” right before everything goes horribly sideways.
Evidently, I’m legally able to drive with one eye, so I am, but just during the day. When thngs get too weird, I just put my hand over my right eye and look out the left for awhile. Some people suggested wearing a patch, but I will only do that if I can accessorize with a parrot and a bottle of rum. Which are definitely not part of the library’s acceptable dress code, so…no. I have settled for whining a lot, which is making me excellent company (NOT!) for everyone lucky enough to be in my orbit.
Meanwhile, the world goes on. I am reading “The Lemon Tree” by Sandy Tolan and absorbing information about the founding of the State of Israel that diverges wildly from what I was fed as a kid. Integrating what that means moving forward is going to be a sad and important job.
Omarosa figured out that she was better off throwing President Trump under Air Force One instead of trying to reboard it. One grandkid is learning to swim and the other one is working toward getting up to eight pounds.
And as of yesterday, the world is a sadder and more silent planet with the passing of Aretha Franklin. Sweetheart and I were lucky enough to see her perform four years ago at the Wisconsin State Fair, a peak moment because she is – as is the case for so many people – part of the soundtrack of my life. Unlike a lot of performers I’ve seen at “smaller” venues, she very much did not phone it in. Her three-hour set included all of the big hits, lots of new material and plenty of solos by members of her 20-plus piece band.
At one point, between songs, she said she had an old friend in Milwaukee and asked if that woman was in the crowd. She was. They had a conversation right there – the friend from her seat and Aretha from the stage. They did a little catching up. Aretha asked about her children and grandchildren (some of whom were there) and made arrangements for her to come backstage after the show. Then, she continued on, dazzling us with her voice, piano styling and her very talented nephew, who was part of the band.