I haven’t been on here lately.

I’ve been lost in my thoughts. I have been postponing writing my book. I have been getting Kringle in the Night and Gaia’s Hands ready. I have been wrestling with my heart. I’ve been trying to figure out my male protagonist in Walk Through Green Fire. I have run away from writing.

Today I’m on, but it’s my day off for getting my other cataract out. The surgery has just been done, and I’m seeing somewhat better. I hope the vision gets much better much soon, or I will still have to wear glasses.

Falling in love with characters

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is what I need to do with my characters in Walking Through Green Fire. Dane Prince — otherwise known as Prince Dane — is fae, minor royalty and a somewhat unusual member of his race. He has wearied of intrigue in Faerie, suspecting its has substituted for meaning now that the human world no longer believes in Faerie. He wants to find one who believes in Faerie; moreover he wants to leave Faerie.

He’s probably the perfect male for Nina the librarian — a bit fey (of course), introverted, mischievous, remaining honest while indulging in double-speak. Don’t think of Nina as his green card marriage, although there is a sense of that. Oh, and he’s pretty hot, which Nina is not expecting. He scares her a bit with his intensity.

Maybe it would help if I wrote a sex scene first?

One thing at a time

A good thought, but I can’t think of what to start first. Maybe I should just concentrate on getting my vision better. Hmm…

The Cataract Surgery

Sorry I didn’t write yesterday

I was prepping for my cataract surgery, which means no breakfast, no water, no coffee. NO COFFEE?! I was a total wreck.

What cataract surgery entails

I arrived at the surgery center, which was in the basement of the eye center. (When the patient liaison told me it was in the basement, I entertained all sorts of gruesome scenarios of dungeons, but the surgery center wasn’t that way at all. The lights were somewhat dimmer than usual, because eye surgery necessitates dilation of pupils.)

We sat in a small waiting room with other patients. Finally, the nurse called me back. Once called back, the nurse sat me on a gurney and took my blood pressure and oxygen, and my bp was high, as one might expect from someone who’s about to take a scalpel to the eye. I’m normally sanguine about surgeries, even wanting to watch them, but slicing eyes is beyond my comfort zone.

The nurse gave me a Xanax. I informed her that one xanax would not be enough to sedate me, so she gave me an IV full of Versed (a benzodiazepene). They gave me eye drops — dilation, numbing, betadine (ow!), water, more dilating, more betadine, more water, more numbing. I didn’t feel any different, really, but I shrugged and let the nurse wheel me into the operating theatre.

The surgery itself was no big deal. They pried one eye open and shone red and green lights in my eye, and somewhere over to the side, the doctor did something that stung a little bit. I felt the vacuum part, which felt like a tugging on my eye and hurt a little. At some time, the doctor told me that I needed to look at the lights; I must have been distracted.

The surgery didn’t take that long, beginning to end. My eye was disappointingly blurry for the rest of the day, so I couldn’t see how well the surgery worked. I spent the rest of the day wandering with Richard to lunch, to coffee, to the follow-up appointment, taking eye drops and Tylenol.

A day later

This morning I woke up — and oh my gosh I could see! I couldn’t just see — I could SEE! The eye gets gunky at times, and it feels a bit like there’s something in my eye (which drives me crazy) but I can see again!

I’ll have to have the surgery on the other eye in a year or three, so I’ll know what to expect. But A+A+A+A+A+A would do again!

Cataract Surgery Tomorrow

What I’m not worried about

I’m not worried about how well my surgery is going to go, because it’s a minor, 20-minute surgery. The surgeon cuts a slit at the side of the eye, breaks the lens up with lithotripsy (the same procedure used to break up kidney stones), and then sucks it out. Then they put in a (in my case fixed) intraocular lens. Voila, surgery complete.

Nurse covering eye of patient by medical plaster

I’m not worried about coming out of anesthesia, because the anesthesiologist doesn’t put the patient to sleep. They instead use medicines that make the patient zone out, or as they put it, ‘not care’.

In fact, I would find this all an intriguing experience (as I do any medically-related things, including my gallbladder surgery and getting hit by a car.)

What I am worried about

I’m afraid that dissociative anesthetic is not going to be enough. My brain says, “There’s a person. With a knife. At my eye.” I find this edginess strange, because I fall into meditative states while having teeth drilled and pulled. I watch the nurse take my blood. I study pictures of injuries to improve my moulage (casualty simulation) skills. I watched a video of a leg fracture reduction last night. But my eyes — I feel rather protective about my eyes.

I’m going to need to be really dissociated. Like ‘look at the scaly butterflies’ dissociated.

How I’m going to get through it

I figure the first thing is to let the doctor and anesthesiologist know about my misgivings right off: “I’m in a cold, dim basement room and you’re going to hold a scalpel to my eye; this sounds like a bad horror movie. My next move is to scream and grab the scalpel, then make my escape. Is there any way we can prevent this?”

I think this will get me the good drugs.

Bye for now

I won’t be online tomorrow, so wish me luck today!

Preparing for Cataract Surgery

My Cataracts

Yesterday was my pre-cataract evaluation at the eye doctor’s. I’m only 57, but the story of my eyes is that I have cataracts. This is probably because of mood stabilizers I have to take for my bipolar disorder; lithium and other stabilizers have been linked to early cataracts.

The doctor and nurses explained to me that my cataracts were not typical. They do not have the yellowish, thickened nature that age-related cataracts have; rather, they were more like looking through a frosted window. “You know that there are three different types of cataracts. You have all three,” a nurse informed me as we discussed the surgical procedure. The third type, I found out later, grew quickly and could overwhelm one’s vision center in months. This is what happened to me.

“You know that there are three different types of cataracts. You have all three.”

Nurse at eye clinic

How the procedure works

I went through many tests, most of them familiar to me as part of typical eye exams.Then I got the orientation on what my cataract surgery would be like. It will be very quick, sometime between 10 and 20 minutes. I will get some oral medication that will make me very dopey — “Like Thursday night at the college,” I’m told. I will look at pretty lights like a kaleidoscope while they do the surgery. (Now this sounds promising — tripping out with a light show. Count me in.) When I’m paying attention to the light show, they’re going to pulverize the lens with (I believe) ultrasound and suck it out a slit they make in the side of my eye, then slip a new lens in.

It doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fuss, actually. I will go home with sunglasses, be careful about washing my hair, and wear an eyepatch at night. I won’t be able to do heavy lifting or lots of bending, but I can return to the computer immediately.

I’m feeling good about it.

I’m feeling reassured about the surgery — it doesn’t sound like a big deal, there doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of pain, and I’ll be back to good in no time. I can’t wait to get my eye taken care of.

Cataract Surgery

I’m much too young for this

I will get cataract surgery on both my eyes next month. I didn’t think I would get the surgeries this early — I’m 57, and the average age of cataract surgery is somewhere between 65 and 70.

According to my research on the Internet, however, I’ve found out:

  • As the procedure has become safer, opthamologists don’t have to wait for cataracts to “mature” anymore.
  • Baby boomers (of which I am one) have been getting them at earlier ages
  • Some people’s professions necessitate them getting the surgery done sooner. (I’m assuming spending much of one’s day in front of a computer might be an example of this)

What should I expect during surgery?

Not much — I will be out for the surgery. But likely they will make a small incision in my eye to access the lens, break it up using some sort of ultrasound probe, and suck the former lens out. They will insert some sort of lens in my eye, which may or may not correct vision, and stitch me back up.

What will after-surgery look like?

I’ll have to wear a patch, or an eye shield, not sure which. I will probably have to wear these for a few days, especially during sleep. I won’t be able to bend down or lift things for a few days. I will have to use proprietary eye drops that my opthamologist supplies.

In other words, recovery looks a lot like recovery from other minor surgeries.

Why I’m glad to get the surgery

My right eye is cloudy despite correction and my left eye not so much (but beginning to get there.) The sight in the right eye is like someone smeared vaseline on it. My two eyes together yield a strange amalgam of sharp and blurry. It’s almost (but not quite) like seeing double.

The cataracts make it harder to do computer work and increase my eyestrain to the point that i get headaches. I don’t anticipate using my computer less, given that I work as a professor and as an author, and I compose everything on computer.

I’m glad I don’t have to suffer like my mother did, waiting until the cataracts were “ripe”, or mature. She spent years with muted colors, with struggling to do her cross-stitch and embroidery, with cursing her advancing age.

Today’s cataract surgery guidelines are much more humane, and I am thankful.