Trips to the Mayo Clinic have become a routine aspect of my life. Every two months I travel with my mom to the clinic to receive steroid injections in my eyes. In the past year, my aunt has been coming along to assist mom with the driving, and to have the opportunity to see her son in Minnesota, who we stay with during our visits.
Aunt Sue is one of those people who can talk to anyone. She has a rich, contagious laugh that makes me giggle every time I hear it. I think it might be my favorite laugh in the whole world. This quality of Sue’s, seated next to my mom for these long drives, perfectly satisfies mom’s innate need to talk incessantly, which I find difficult to keep up with. But Sue handles it with ease and seems delighted to be a part of our experience. With me off the hook to entertain mom, I lie down in the back seat and snuggle into Sunshine’s perfect little body and listen my iPod away.
Last week’s visit was unique because I had my cataract removed in my left eye. At work, my vision had gotten to the point where I was no longer able to read regular paper documents and had to use a magnifying glass for assistance. Everything was foggy. People’s faces were blurry. I was embarrassed when one of my co-workers greeted me from about 10 feet away, and I couldn’t tell who she was.
So, last Thursday I laid in the operating room as Dr. Baratz worked on my left eye, removing the old, cloudy lens and replacing it with a new, clear lens. I was under local anesthesia and was conscious throughout the procedure. I never saw nor felt anything. As the procedure progressed Dr. Baratz would inform me of what was happening. He let me know when the old lens was removed, at which I replied in my feel-good, anesthesia induced “Cooool!” And when the new lens was put in place, I thought it was “Awwesooome!”
It’s now been 5 days with my new lens. When I think of what to write to describe my initial experience with this new vision, I draw blanks. How can I describe how striking and beautiful everything is? Even the ugly things are beautiful. Color has a brilliance that I have not seen for a long time and the sharpness of everything adds to that brilliancy in ways I have never noticed before.
On the way home I stared out of the car window for hours, watching the landscape pass by. I saw the same trees that I saw when I came up. But these trees were new. They had a million little individual leaves, each distinct from the other. The trunks had texture, with gray, cracked barks and bulging knobs. Birds flew in and out of the tangled branches. My heart fluttered each time I noticed something new, and it’s still happening now as my eye adjusts to the new lens. And I don’t think my fluttering heart will stop as I wait for better things to come.