Monday, 24 August 2015

What can you see coming?

When I tripped and fell over some weeks ago, the lens of my glasses of my better eye was badly scratched. In the process of getting the glasses fixed, I had another eye examination. The optometrist said that the cataract on my bad eye really should be removed, and he wrote me out a referral to a specialist.

The prospect of having cataract surgery freaks me out. As a young child, I had surgery on my left eye, to correct its habit of wandering all over the place. I have never had normal vision, and, as far as I can tell, the effect of the surgery was probably cosmetic. The brain pattern must have been fixed, with each eye seeing separately, and never in a unified image.

The surgery was done when I was about six. Hospitals all those years ago were not family friendly, and family visits were few. My eyes were bandaged, and I had no idea what was going on. All I could do was to call for someone to come. I think I was in hospital for perhaps ten days, with a painful eye and much boredom. Once home, I did not wear glasses, and in early adulthood developed short-sightedness. Now the time has come to have another go at improving my sight.

Quite simply, I am traumatised and terrified. Evidently the trauma of the surgery is lurking inside me, waiting for anything to awaken it. The mere thought of needles and knives being used on my eyes, even if I am anaesthetised, makes me cry. People - doctors, nurses, and those who have had the surgery assure me that it is not too bad. It makes no difference to me. I remain terrified.

I talked to my GP about it, and have been to see the specialist. During the tests, the measurements and the consultation, I wept and wept. I wept all the way home and all throughout the night. The GP prescribed some tranquillisers, which I am using, and they do help. But I weep in the twinkling of an eye and the tears are lurking. I have had a lot of surgery in my life, mostly for very serious conditions, and none has given me this sort of trauma. This is different.

One of my sisters recommended counselling. She has not listened to me. Her 'solution' is not the one for me. I know what counselling can do to help, having had plenty during various crises of my life such as divorce, step-parenting and bereavement. This trauma is different. I resent her insensitivity and failure to listen to me. It made me very angry. That anger needs to be put aside.

Now that I have made the decision to have the surgery, I will do my best to be rational, to try to be calm, and to concentrate on the things and people who can truly help. After this ordeal, better sight should result. So it is worth doing, and I must bear it, and receive and appreciate the amazing technology and skills that will improve my sight. To those who will help me through this ordeal, that is, my children and friends, I give my grateful thanks and appreciation, and pots of quince jelly and cumquat marmalade.

There will be two separate operations, a week apart. Except from the cataracts, the eyes are healthy.


Elephant's Child said...

I am so sorry. Terror is such a debilitating beast.
I admire your courage in going ahead despite it - and am so glad that you have friends and your children at your back.
Good luck.

Frances said...

Oh dear. My sympathies.
The prospect has been a trigger to release emotions pent up since you were that little girl? You'll be well rid of them, even if they were in hiding.
Yes, congratulations on your decision. I'm sure it will be worthwhile.