Through a Glass, Far Too Brightly—Part 14 of "My Right Eye: A Blogger's Journey Through Cancer"

—Randal Droher Photo

Through a Glass, Far too Brightly
Although I knew I'd be sent home the same day of my eye surgery, I hadn't counted on the anesthesiologist telling me that all I'd be getting was a local anesthetic. A local? No, no! I wanted to be pulled completely under—give me the full treatment—knock me out, send me to sleep so deeply that when I awaken, I'll have no memory of the doctor cutting into my eye. But no. No. To my surprise, they don't do that. They did give me something that made me unaware of pain and discomfort, but it was not the full treatment. I'm not sure why, and I no longer remember. When the surgery was over, and they determined that I was sufficiently awake and aware, they told my son that he could drive me home.

I wish that my memory of all this were clearer. I seem to recall that the room where the procedure occurred was more like an examination room than an OR. I could be wrong about that. I was also surprised that they did not put a patch over my eye. Instead, the doctor used what he called a bandage contact lens. I was given a prescription for pain medication and post-operative instructions, then we were on our way and left to our own devices.

I was thinking clearly enough to ask my son to drop off the prescription at CVS before we went home, and it's a good thing, because when the effects of the local anesthetic wore off, I gained a real understanding of the Biblical expression "smite the eye." My eye had been smote. There was no other word for it. The pain was relentless and scissoring. The drugs were powerful and sent me tumbling back to sleep. That was good. Sleep was what I wanted. Sleep, and to not feel the pain.

All of this took place in late November—winter in northeast Ohio—the brightest, sunniest winter that we'd ever had. Or so it seemed. I loved my house—I bought it because its many windows let in the sunshine—but now I wished I lived in a black box. The sun just poured in, and there was nowhere to hide from it; I didn't have curtains or shades on any of the downstairs windows. I wore my sunglasses indoors, but they didn't help all that much. My only respite was my bedroom upstairs, and so I spent most of the day up there. When the sun went down, I went downstairs.

An email update that D sent to my family and friends the day after my eye surgery summed things up pretty well:

She is in typical post-operative pain and her eyes are very sensitive to light (she says: 'I feel like a vampire who comes out only at night') but her spirits are good, she's got good painkillers, and she's lucid and cogent. Because it's hard for her to read, she's listening to books on CD (Right now, 'To Kill a Mockingbird.')

I believe it was Joanne Woodward who read To Kill a Mockingbird for the release I'd wisely checked out of the library days before my surgery. Hearing Harper Lee's wonderful words in Woodward's beautiful, soothing voice gave me such comfort. It was like a lullaby.

Because I also knew I would need to laugh, I had checked out several David Sedaris books on audio, too. His unmistakable voice conveying his hilarious, lopsided view of the world was another dose of great medicine. David, you signed one of my books after a reading you gave at Oberlin College several years ago. I should have told you then how much you helped me after my eye surgery, but I didn't want to hold up the line. If you ever read this, please know that you saved my spirits. You truly did.

To be continued …

Part 1: The Baby's Nightmare
Part 2: The Nightmare Returns
Part 3: Room 101 and the Masquerading Marauder
Part 4: The Eye as Metaphor
Part 5: The Back Story
Part 6: It's Nature's Way
Part 7: Help From the Man on the Street
Part 8: A DES Daughter?
Part 9: Speak, Memory
Part 10: The Needle and the Damage Done
Part 11: Can I Get a Discount?
Part 12: A Call During Dinner
Part 13: First There is a Cancer, Then There is no Cancer, Then There Is



Marci Rich
Richmond, Virginia
The Midlife Second Wife


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