This is me a couple of minutes before my eye surgery. Note the relaxed smile. That was partly natural and partly the low-dose Xanax they had given me a few minutes before I took the picture. I told them that I didn’t need it because my mind was totally at ease about doing the surgery but they advised me to take it anyway so that I’d stay relaxed during the procedure – I guessed that they’ve had experiences of people freaking out once they got underway with the procedure so I didn’t fight them on it and obediently swallowed the pill.
You’re probably asking yourself if I was truly at ease about doing elective eye surgery. The truth is, I totally was. That was because I felt deep in my spirit that this move was born of the mind of God and not of my own imaginings. In fact, the only emotion I was feeling was excitement because it occurred to me that if God wanted me to have this done then it likely meant He has some interesting times planned for my future for which I would need perfect vision. (Note that I had no idea at that time that Yakutsk was in my future. Isn’t God simply brilliant?)
When I walked into the operating room (I should have taken a picture of it, sorry, I was distracted by being so excited that my life was about to change), the doctor’s technician told me to look take off my glasses and look out the panoramic windows to the view of the city, and asked me what I saw. “Nothing but blurs,” I told him. He instructed me to lie on the reclining operating chair and stay still.
Someone (he or the doctor) put drops in my eyes then covered my left eye (I think) with a piece of taped gauze and got to work on my right eye. A couple of minutes later, the covering was removed from my left eye, my right eye was covered, and the doctor got to work on my left eye. I felt no pain, only a little discomfort when they were putting a contraption in each eye to keep it open, but nothing that even made me wince. In about 7 minutes, it was all over.
The technician told me to stand up from the chair and look again out over the same view of the city. Then he asked me what I saw now. “Everything,” I said, and started crying. Granted, it was all still a little blurry because lasers had just been doing things to my eyes, but I could see properly without my glasses for the first time in over thirty years! He told me not to cry – I didn’t know if he was trying to curb the sentimentality and avoid an emotional breakdown in the office or if he didn’t want me messing up anything in my eyes, so I took a deep breath, gathered myself and managed to hold back the bulk of the impending waterworks.
I walked back into the darkened combination pre-op/recovery room and sat down to await my aunt’s arrival to escort me home. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt so darn good. Also, sleepy. The Xanax I had before surgery and the three low-dose pain pills they gave me after the surgery, even though I insisted I wasn’t in pain, knocked me out for the next hour. I was vaguely aware of people passing through the room from time to time but I settled into my comfy chair and kind of drifted in a haze of sleepy happiness until I heard my aunt’s voice in the adjoining reception area.
Before we left, another of the doctor’s assistants gave me a prescription for eye drops that I would need to use over the next several days, and reminded me about the care instructions on the post-op instruction sheet she had gone over with me during the pre-op eye re-check and measurement phase of things. She also gave me a pair of goggles that I would need to wear all the time while at home for the next week and a half – “all the time” included while sleeping and showering, since under no circumstances was I to rub my eyes or get water in them – and a pair of not-cute wraparound shades to wear whenever I was outside in order to protect my eyes. I had my own cute shades that I had brought and that’s what I wore as we left the doctor’s office in the late evening.
On the way home, Auntie and I stopped at a pharmacy and filled my prescription, then it was back home, where I had dinner, did my first set of eye drops then promptly went to bed and slept for a good 9 or 10 hours straight – the Xanax and pain pills were clearly still with me.
I spent the entire next day, Saturday, at home wearing my very unflattering goggles and trying to stay off my tablet and phone in order to let my eyes rest. I was mostly successful but I did watch some TV because, honestly, who can sleep all day?
On Sunday, I was off to church with a friend of mine who lives in New York. I won’t lie, I felt conspicuous wearing my shades the entire time I was in church, and taking them off every thirty minutes to do my eye drops, in accordance with the doctor’s instructions, but I did it anyway because a smooth recovery was far more important to me than what a church full of people thought of me.
On Monday, I returned to the doctor for my first post-op check. He removed the protective contact lenses he had put in each of my eyes at the end of the surgery (I didn’t even feel them in there; the only reason I even knew they were there was because I remembered reading something about that in all the paperwork I had to sign before the surgery), examined me and declared me recovering very well. I asked a few follow-up questions, then I was off to explore New York City.
Three days later, on Thursday, I returned for one more checkup before I would leave for Jamaica in two days. The doctor examined my eyes and had me read an eye chart. He gave me big letters and I reeled them off then said, “Come on, doc, give me something hard,” to which he replied, “A week ago, you couldn’t see this.” I gave a shout of laughter and agreed with him and continued to read whatever he showed me. At the end of the exam, he told me that my vision was now better than 20/20 – I didn’t even know that was possible! I thanked him for his work and he left the room, then one of his assistants came in to give me some final instructions since they knew I was leaving the country shortly. Well, you know what I did when she said, “I hear you’re seeing better than 20/20 now. I’m so happy for you!” Yup. I promptly burst into tears. She let me cry because she’s a woman and she understood. I stupidly waved my hands in front of my face, as women do sometimes when we’re crying and trying to stop, and I apologised for crying. She told me to go ahead and cry because she understood that my life had changed now.
I thanked her and the doctor (again) with a giant grin on my face that stayed with me for my entire 15-minute walk back to the subway station.
Words cannot express how I felt, to know that God used this doctor to radically change my life so quickly. That brief walk on the upper East Side of New York City was one of thanksgiving for restored vision and the opening up of endless possibilities.
Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there. Isaiah 43:19 (GNT)