I can see!

By Marion Tucker-Honeycutt | Sep 11, 2019

I got my first prescription glasses in my 40s, not long after I moved back home to Maine.

I went to the late Dr. Everett Porter who, at that time operated out of his home on Northport Ave. He had his practice on the first floor and he and his wife Charlene lived on the second floor.

Back when I was in high school, my last two years, I had lived with them in their home, then on the corner of John and High Streets. They had two sweet young sons, Teri and Barry, that I babysat. They also had their business in their home, as did all the doctors of that time. (That was the early '50s. There were five doctors in town, including my Uncle Dick (Dr. Richard Jones), whose home and office were in the “Pitcher House” up behind the post office.

Dr. Porter was the ophthalmologist and Charlene ground the lens and fit the glasses. A great team.

When I went in for my first glasses after coming back home, Everett, smiling that twinkle-eyed smile he was known for, called upstairs: “Charlene. Come down and see who finally gave up!”

And so, I got my first pair of glasses.

By the time I needed to have my eyes checked again, in the '90s, we had lost Dr. Porter. I went to Dr Morgan — and still do.

For a bit over two decades now, I have had cataracts growing slowly. And I had slacked off for the past few years and not had them checked for progress. But one eye was getting to the point of bothersome and the "drugstore reading glasses" weren’t doing it anymore, with the “good eye” being at such a different level than the other. And, let’s face it, I was ignoring what I knew was inevitable: cataract surgery.

I knew that you have to remain awake for eye surgery. Seeing those instruments coming at your eye seemed not something to look forward to. So I dragged my feet over facing the inevitable.

But comes a time. And a time for surgery was set.

The night before surgery, I finally got up the nerve to watch a cataract operation on YouTube. (Where else can you find everything and anything?)

Oh my goodness. That is one delicate dance of an operation. The procedure. The skill! Harder than engraving the Lord’s Prayer on the head of a pin, for sure. And it’s your eye!

But the die was cast. I was to be at the hospital for surgery at 7 a.m. My daughter, bless her sweet heart, took me and stayed with me until I was wheeled off on a gurney. But hey, I still had on my earrings and my shoes — and everything in between, so how bad could it be?

Besides, the pre-op team — super-great team — had given me some good juju juice and I was feeling just fine, thank you. Still awake but just fine. (Wouldn’t mind having a bottle of that juju at home.)

The whole infinitely intricate procedure took about 20 minutes and I was awake, but never saw anything coming at me, I never felt anything, although I could hear, and I swear I could see the ceiling — there was a butterfly on the ceiling, wasn’t there?

And then I was wheeled out to post-op and another great team.

Soon, with a patch over my eye, I was off with my daughter and we met her hubby and went out for breakfast, after which we went for a trek on a forest trail. Word of caution here. For the first few hours after surgery, those trees or whatever you reach out to steady yourself with may not be where they seem to be. Distance perception will be a bit off for a few hours.

So, next day, off with the patch. This is when just how bad the eye had gotten came into focus, if you’ll forgive the expression. I didn’t need any glasses to use the computer, although I still need glasses for some reading.

The eye had improved from 20/80 to 20/10.

But then, a rude awakening. I realized my "good eye" was only good in comparison to how bad the other one had been. It really isn’t that good after all.

And so, with no more fear of the unknown, and the cheerful, skilled pre- and post-op teams at Waldo County General Hospital (thank you Susan, Megan, Colleen and Jen, and the delightful anesthesiologist whose face I can remember but name I can’t — by the time he came on the scene, I was enjoying the ju ju) and Dr. Morgan with the skilled and superhuman steady hands, I am now about to get the other eye done. I have no fear. And I’m thinking I’ll end up with sight just short of Superman’s.

Bottom line: If you are facing cataract surgery, or do in the future, don’t waste time fearing it like I did. Git 'er done.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools, now lives in Morrill. Her columns appear in this paper every other week.

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