A case of “the nerves” sometimes attacks when a person doesn’t know what to expect. I experienced such jitters, so maybe my little story can help tame your fears!
During a regular checkup, my eye doctor told me I had cataracts. Those are like clouds in your eyes and not in a good way. The doctor said I should have an eye surgeon remove them.
In the past, I’ve had a few operations. And I knew this was a common eye procedure. But I was so dang scared of anyone fooling with my eyes. I put that decision off for YEARS!
Finally, my glasses no longer helped me see well enough. The time had come to face facts. I needed operations to remove cataracts from both eyes!
One of my friends had already had cataract surgery and really liked the doctor. I asked him for the surgeon’s name. Before I could change my mind, I made the call.
The first appointment was a lot like a regular eye doctor visit. This included me trying to see and guessing at fuzzy letters. The medical worker also put drops in my eyes to dilate them for other tests.
Even more drops numbed my eyeballs. They did that to lightly touch them with an instrument to check the pressure. I had trouble keeping my eyes open for that test!
I also suffered from what they called “dry eye.” They told me to use artificial tear eyedrops at home for several weeks. Then I went back for pre-surgery eye measurements.
An office person gave me two appointments because they usually operate on one eye at a time. “Leftie” was the cloudiest and would be fixed first.
With my dates in mind, I set up transportation. I also filled out online medical forms for the surgery center.
The day before my first operation, I had to start using special drops in Leftie. I would use those according to a schedule for many days and was still using them when I prepared “Rightie” for surgery. I won’t lie. Those drops burned a bit. But they were super important to keep my eyes safe!
The night before eye surgery, I had to stop eating or drinking by midnight. My stomach had to be empty when they used anesthesia to help me feel calm during the operation.
The morning of the big day, I arrived at the center before sunrise. With check-in completed, the minutes dragged by. I wanted the entire experience behind me.
After what felt like forever, someone led me into the inner rooms. Friendly medical workers baptized Leftie with many types of drops to dilate and also prevent pain and infection during the procedure.
When my turn had almost arrived, they asked if I wanted to use the bathroom. “Yes, please,” even though my last drink was hours before, and I’d only taken a sip of water with my morning pill.
One understanding person assured me I could have my choice of beverage soon after the procedure. Margaritas were not on the list. But a soda, which I rarely drink, sounded very good.
They gave me a net for my hair, a cotton gown to wear on my top half, and slipper socks for my feet. The temperature in that area was kept chilly. I was happy my comfortable jeans could stay in place.
The doctor and the anesthesiologist took turns coming into the little room to talk with me. Then, a medical worker numbed my hand and inserted an IV tube with a little needle prick, so I would be ready for the anesthetic. They also stuck a few small patches onto my chest to help track my heart during the operation.
Next, someone came and whisked me away in a wheelchair to the operating table. Easy-peasy. I felt pretty calm by then. They placed something soft under and around my head to help it stay in place.
After seeing my doctor show up, I remember little except voices and lots of colored lights in Leftie. The next thing I knew, the operation was over! They helped me sit up slowly and guided me back to the wheelchair.
I have hazy memories from the next few minutes. Soon, a person wheeled me back to the small room and then outside to meet my daughter. Whee! I wore special sunglasses because my eyes were dilated to the max. To others, I probably looked more like an alien from outer space than a movie star.
At home, I had to avoid lifting and bending for a few days. I felt extra tired that afternoon and binge-watched a favorite TV show. I slept VERY WELL that night.
The next day, I went to the doctor for a recheck to test Leftie’s sight and pressure. Everything was good! I would go back in about a week for another recheck. My glasses no longer worked for me, so I needed someone else to drive.
The date for Rightie’s operation would arrive in a few weeks. I didn’t feel quite as nervous about that because I knew what to expect! Meanwhile, I used the special drops in Leftie and kept watch on the calendar for the day to start them in Rightie.
Being humans, we’re each different. You might wonder what made me the most nervous. I admit to worrying a lot about them touching my eyeball to measure the pressure at each checkup. I’m a world-class blinker and can’t stop when something comes at my eyeball!
I felt a little better after sharing my struggle about that with the kind and gentle medical workers. And I tried anxiety-calming techniques, like deep breathing and counting combined with breathing. I also tried distractions, like thinking about other sensory things in the room (what I could hear and smell, for example).
Of course, various doctors and surgery centers do things in different ways. But if any part of the cataract removal process makes you nervous, you might try those relaxation ideas. I hope reading about my positive experience helps you win against your own jitters!
EPILOGUE: Try to be flexible. The date for Rightie’s operation was changed by the surgery center just a day in advance. But I now have two “new eyes!” Becky
(Images from Pixabay)