I’ve dubbed this past June “the month of bombshells.” The shells started flying in May, when a routine visit with my ophthalmologist morphed into what seems like a lifelong relationship. But I don’t mind; he’s on the cutting edge of medicine and a nice guy.
However, I wasn’t prepared to hear that I needed cataract surgery in both eyes.
Bombshell No. 1.
Me: Doctor, I thought only old folks need cataract surgery.
Doctor: Well, Ms. Iannelli (we were not on a first-name basis, yet!), you are of “that” age!
Me: Hmm. What age is “that”?
Doctor: (Smiling and glancing at my birthdate) Nov. 28, ___ (Ya think I would give my age up in this space?)
I don’t think in terms of age; it’s just a number — and mine is unlisted. However, after I heard my birthdate aloud, certain realities smacked me in the face. That being said, the good doctor went over the procedure in detail. I left his office feeling somewhat bemused at the prospect of having cataracts, but confident.
Fast-forward to June.
On the day of surgery, I felt a tad apprehensive. I hadn’t been in a hospital since my sons were born — way back then! The hospital staff treated me with courtesy and explained things in a way any patient could understand. I was trained as a nurse, but I didn’t tell them. I have a lot of secrets, obviously.
After being prepped, I was given some “good drugs.” I felt awake, and not. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t give a damn. Then it was over!
Bombshell No. 2: The first thing I noticed was the vibrancy of the colors in my world. I kept repeating to anyone who would listen: “Look at those colors!” — so much so that my sister asked if they’d put LSD in my IV. For instance, the burgundy accent wall in the living room looked “very burgundy-ish” Hmm. I wonder if that’s a good thing. My vision sharpened, making watching TV a new experience. I was delighting in things I once took for granted.
After the second surgery, my vision became even keener. Folks, it’s akin to looking at life though a dirty window and then having said window cleaned with Windex. (I don’t recommend the Windex treatment for the eyes!)
Bombshell No. 3: I saw everything! I keep a neat house — and it was neat, all right, but I noticed a cobweb on the ceiling, dust bunnies in the corners and streaks on my mirrors. I spent the next week with a dust rag and Windex close at hand.
Bombshell No. 4: I saw me! Yup, looking into the mirror — the mirror of truth, that is — I saw that my laugh lines seemed more prominent. Trying to talk myself into believing it’s because I laugh often didn’t cut it. I took to the Internet to explore which anti-aging products promise to reduce laugh lines in two weeks. I purchased some new products. Two weeks have come and gone; the jury is still out.
Along the same lines (no pun intended), I was going to a special event and wanted to look my best. I applied my “going out makeup” and yikes! It looked garish! (My sister denies this. Maybe she needs cataract surgery!) The old adage “less is more” for gals of a certain age can be applied here.
I’m seeing life with new eyes thanks to the good doctor and modern medicine. However, while walking on the beach, I had an epiphany of sorts: Cataract surgery aside, we can see life with new eyes anytime we choose. We humans get bogged down with the same old, same old, so we see “dull.” Sprinkling color into our lives by changing things up a bit can make a big difference.
Life isn’t a forever thing: We gotta “kick up our heels and have a ball,” as Peggy Lee advises. And if you are of “that” age, all the more reason to do just … that!
Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.