In 2012 I had my early onset cataracts removed. I was 52 years old. Early onset cataracts runs in my family. All the women had the surgery before the age of 55. For me this was a miracle! 50 years ago, when I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with severe myopia and strabismus. That means I was legally blind. At the age of 2 I started wearing eyeglasses with lenses so thick they looked like Coke bottles bottoms. As long as I wore those glasses I could see well enough to go to school and learn to read and write. As a teenage I was able to get a driver’s license.
Two days before the surgery to replace the lens in my right eye, (the second procedure) I began having really strange floaters. I told the doctor on the day of the procedure about it and, “Uh oh!” was not what I wanted to hear from him! He got out his special little magnifying glass and pointed a really bright light into my eye. He had a good look and said, “OK! It’s not a detached retina. You can have the procedure today.
One week after the procedure, while I was sitting in a bible study, I noticed that 1/2 of my vision in right eye was gone. It was like someone had pulled a black curtain across half on my eye and I could’t see around it. I called the doctor and he gave me the name and number for a doctor who specialized in detached retinas. For, indeed, that’s what I had; a detached retina.
The procedure was scheduled for the next day. And when I woke up in the doctor’s office, he explained what he had done: He had put a needle into my eyeball and sucked all the jellylike “vitreous humor” out of it, leaving it like an empty sack. Then he put the retina back into it’s proper place and filled my eyeball up with nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.
And here’s where the fun began:
For about 2 weeks, looking through that eye was like looking through a fish bowl filled with clear jello. And at night, when I closed my eyes I saw darkness and a line of the most exquisite icy blue that glowed and diffused into a haze. It was so beautiful that I didn’t want to sleep!
As the laughing gas dissipated it was replaced by new vitreous humor
The second stage of recovery was a circle of clear vision surrounded with darkness. When I looked into a light with that eye shut, I saw a deep and rich orange that surrounded a purple circle in the center, ringed with black. It was breathtaking! As the days moved forward the purple circle got bigger and bigger.
Eventually, the circle became so large that the colors disappeared and were replaced by a cluster of clear bubbles, each inside a black ring. And as time went on, the bubbles became smaller and smaller and then there was a little cluster of them that danced on a line below which was clear vision and above which was the clear jellylike laughing gas. I had a lot of fun making the bubbles dance when I shook my head!
All told, the experience lasted eight weeks. And, I know I’m a little crazy, but I really enjoyed it!
And, you know, that’s what it’s like, living a life of gratitude. I was thankful for the doctor, thankful for the procedure, thankful for the ability to turn 8 weeks of not being able to see into an adventure.
Jesus gave me a point of view that made everything so much easier!