Trading A Dream For Reality

Hallie’s Moon ~ Debbie Little-Wilson

Perhaps because I dream so rarely, or at least remember so few dreams of my own, frequent dreamers fascinate me. 

When friends report extravagant, tangled threads of narrative woven through their nights, I press for details. One awakens suddenly, her heart pounding, barely a step ahead of the ax-murderer with a grudge. Another, constricted with horror by the sight of luggage-toting reptilians at her door, thrashes awake, gasping for breath.

My mother once dreamed the Mayor had appointed her to be Keeper of the Kitties. Despite the honor of it all, the thought that she’d been charged with caring for hundreds of cats was, as she said, a real nightmare: fully as distressing as the week she spent all night, every night, searching the aisles of supermarkets for a product she couldn’t find, couldn’t identify, and wasn’t sure she truly needed.

But the Queen of Dreamers — the one to whom her faithful readers turn for entertainment, bemusement, and enlightenment — is Bella Rum. Bella dreams about house repairs, a variety of ex-Presidents, vampires, and the odd assassination attempt. There are Hollywood screen writers who would kill for the opportunity to adapt her dreams for their plots.

Because we’ve known each other for so many years, and because Bella maintains such a dream-friendly blog, I didn’t think twice about leaving an off-handed comment last March about a remarkable dream of my own:

By the way — I had a Bella dream last night. Things have gotten very complicated (not bad, just complicated) with the process of moving toward my eye surgery, and last night, after fussing and fuming over several problems that have to be solved, I dreamed that I went blind. Just like that. Poof! Everything went black.
I woke up convinced I couldn’t see, until I realized that I could.

By morning, the dream had faded. Finding my way to the coffee maker, I added an extra cup to the pot and pondered the issues still waiting to be resolved. Loss of sight wasn’t on the list.

First on the list had been moving from contact lenses to glasses prior to surgery. I wasn’t especially pleased, but I had no choice. As my ever-cheerful surgical assistant explained, hard contact lenses reshape eyes. To guarantee a perfect fit for implanted lenses, eyes have to be allowed to return to their natural state prior to determining a new prescription’s strength. Weekly appointments for measurements would be involved, as we kept an eye on my eyes’ progress.

When I asked how long the process would take, she laughed her cheerful little laugh and said, “We don’t have a clue. When the technicians get the same results two or three weeks in a row, they’ll know your eyes have stopped changing, and you’ll be ready for surgery.”

After only a week, there was no question my eyes had begun changing. My new glasses became less useful by the day, and my world grew increasingly blurry. “Not to worry,” said the surgical staff. “It happens.”

Two months later, I was back to the ophthalmological equivalent of square one, with nice, naturally-shaped eyes. After the removal of the first cataract and the implantation of a near-vision lens in my left eye, I was functional: though barely. I could work, use the computer, and read stop signs, but with one eye corrected for near vision and the other barely corrected at all, driving was difficult. “Not to worry,” said my surgeon. “Once you get your distance lens in your right eye, things will be better.”

And so it was. After a second blurry, post-surgery night, I awoke with no cataracts, and perfect vision. I was ecstatic until mid-afternoon, when something like zero visibility fog rolled into my right eye. Astonished by the sudden loss of vision, I thought, “Is this what it’s like to go blind?” Then, I remembered the dream: shuddering at the thought that it might have been a premonition.

It wasn’t, of course. In the end, reasons for the sudden fogginess were simple enough: a little inflammation here, some post-surgical swelling there. Adding antibiotic drops to my routine and increasing the number of steroid drops each day brought a marked improvement. For the first time in my life — including childhood, I suspect — I had 20/20 vision. 

“See?”said my surgeon. “I told you not to worry.”

In Tales of the Hasidim, Martin Buber tells the story of Rabbi Mendel, who boasted to his teacher, Rabbi Elimelekh, that “evenings he saw the angel who rolls away the light before the darkness, and mornings the angel who rolls away the darkness before the light.” “Yes,” said Rabbi Elimelekh, “in my youth, I saw that too. Later on, you don’t see these things any more.”

Perhaps. But when the day came for a greatly anticipated, long-scheduled, and oft-postponed trip to Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, I might as well have been seeing angels.

Everything in sight had been transformed into an astonishment and a marvel: great sweeps of basket-flowers along the ditches; patterned bricks in Bay City buildings; a miles-long view down Lavaca Bay; crisp, clear horizons; the vibrant, shimmering colors of businesses and billboards.

Traveling a randomly chosen Farm-to-Market road, I even found what I feared I had missed during my spring confinement: an extravagance of wildflowers. After stopping to photograph a field where swallows dipped and gaillardia spread their rich, colorful blanket over the hills, I laughed with delight to see my first pair of images.

Thanks to a still-unbroken habit of leaving my camera in front of air-conditioning vents, I’d captured a perfect memento of my journey toward sight: one of the best before-and-after pairings in the world.

What was then…
…and what is now
(Click either image for a larger size and more detail)

As I looked out over the hills, some words of the great Persian poet, Rumi, presented themselves as a perfect hinge between past and future:

your way begins
on the other side
become the sky
take an axe to the prison wall
walk out like someone
suddenly born into color
do it now

As for what comes next, the not-knowing is the best part. No doubt varnishing will be easier and my house will be cleaner, but I won’t be keeping my eyes at home. There are stars and dragonflies, hummingbirds and highways to be seen and experienced; words to read and words to write; births to celebrate and deaths to mourn; all within an ever-shortening span of allotted time.

The possibilities fill me with a certain exuberance, not unlike that found in a wonderfully exuberant video our League City volunteer fire department helped to create in 2012.  Though less elegant than Rumi’s poetry, it’s as deeply human, and filled with happiness.

I’m happy, too — and ready to see with new eyes.

(It’s worth watching on YouTube, or full-screen)
If all the days  that come to pass
Are behind these walls,
I’ll be left at the end of things
In a world kept small.
Travel far from what I know,
I’ll be swept away.
I need to know I can be lost
And not afraid.
We’re gonna trip the light,
We’re gonna break the night,
And we’ll see with new eyes
When we trip the light.
Remember we’re lost together,
Remember we’re the same.
We hold the burning rhythm in our hearts,
We hold the flame.
We’re gonna trip the light…
I’ll find my way home
On the western wind,
To a place that was once my world,
Back from where I’ve been.
And in the morning light I’ll remember
As the sun will rise,
We are all the glowing embers
Of a distant fire…
We’re gonna trip the light…

Comments are welcome, always

128 thoughts on “Trading A Dream For Reality

  1. Congratulations on the successful surgeries! Although not nearly as extreme as your case, I know how much I enjoy the clarity provided by my glasses or contacts. Have a fantastic time exploring the world again!

    1. Thanks so much. Because my cataracts developed so slowly, I truly didn’t realize how poor my vision had become. That made the change after surgery even more dramatic.

      There may come a time in the future when adjustments will have to be made — reading glasses, for example — but for now, I have perfection, and intend to enjoy every minute of it!

    1. Where I really notice it, Terry, is in my distance vision. There’s no telling what I might be able to see from one of your mountains — and wouldn’t I love to stay in one of those fire lookouts now?

      Colors are much more vibrant, too. I’m surprised that even photos on sites like yours look better. What’s not to like about that?

      1. I can imagine how wonderful it feels to you now to have that clear distance vision! Years ago I had an older pair of binoculars. Then my son gave me a new pair for Christmas one year and they were much more advanced than the old ones. What a difference!

        1. That’s a perfect example. And what a thoughtful gift from your son. It’s always such fun to find the perfect gift for someone, and I’m sure he was as pleased as you were.

  2. Very good news. I like the comparison of images. Vision is so special. I’m glad you see improvement.

    I love the Matt videos. People are having such a good time. Inspiring.

    What a day! What a week! It has been a roller coaster.

    1. Despite the need for lengthy preparation, the medical aspects weren’t at all difficult. Besides, as I suggested to my surgeon, Dad’s old advice about measuring twice and cutting once probably should apply to surgery, too.

      I surely have been enjoying what I can see of the planetary conjunction — and other stars, too. Because of clouds and the Saharan Layer, we’re getting only intermittent views, but it’s still quite a show. I caught a glimpse last night, and hoped that you’re getting nice, clear skies for your project.

        1. We saw the two planets over Austin last night on the way back home from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, but I don’t think anything supernatural was involved in getting a clear sky.

            1. Thanks for pointing me to that. Now that I know about it, I’ll use it. I see that one of the low-water crossings along Spicewood Springs Rd. is closed. Those are often among the first to get closed when there’s a good downpour here.

  3. As someone who has just been told she has the first signs of a developing cataract, this is a reassuring post. Hooray for clarity of vision. May we all have it. Love the video.

    1. If you’ve just learned of it, Gallivanta, you may have some time to wait before treatment’s required. We tracked the development of mine for years: at least five, and maybe more. I kept asking, “When do we need to do something about this?” and my regular eye doctor kept saying, “We’ll know when it’s time.”

      When I went in for a six-month checkup in February or early March, he said, “When I can’t see into your eyes, you can’t see out. It’s time for surgery.” And just like that, it happened. I was in the surgeon’s office within the hour, and the snowball was rolling.

      I might add that I was amazed by the technology that’s been developed. Filling out the paperwork took far longer than the actual surgeries, which weren’t much more than fifteen minutes. What a world.

      1. Yes, I expect 5 years at least. The optometrist will check again in 2 years unless I am experiencing difficulties before then. I expect in my case the paperwork will also take longer than the actual surgery. Of sight and vision, have I ever mentioned to you the amazing Fred Hollows?

        1. You hadn’t mentioned Hollows (or I missed it), but it’s quite interesting — not to mention admirable. I did have to take a second glance at the page that opened. It listed glaucoma and such, but I didn’t remember hearing of an eye disease called “Samoa.” I got that straightened out.

          The Houston Eye Clinic has a similar foundation. There are many, many who can’t afford procedures such as the one I had: especially those whose vision is so limited they’re no longer able to work. I like the fact that my surgeon volunteers his time and skills with the foundation, too.

  4. I’m a dreamer and dreamed of my husband for three years before I met him and even longer before I realized who he was. So sometimes in dreams (often in dreams) one wanders blind. Ah, but eyes. In real-time. Seeing clearly. I am so very happy for you.

    1. Dreams are interesting, and the variety of experiences people have with them seems unlimited. I once had a chat with a long-dead friend that I keep thinking I should write about, but most of the time the ones I remember are what I call problem-solving dreams: clear extensions of issues I’m dealing with during the day. I like to think of it as my brain working the night shift.

      I’m slowly realizing how much energy I was expending just in trying to see. I could do everything I needed to — drive, work, and so on — but it was more of a struggle than I ever knew. Only now am I experiencing the ability to focus without strain. It’s really quite interesting.

  5. I love, love, love the accidental equivalent of the blurry-visioned eyes. I don’t know if I would have felt consoled by those blithe-sounding “not to worries” along the way–were you? But how wonderful that all came out as it should. Reminds me of my uncle, who wore bottle-thick glasses since he was a little boy. There he was, in his 70s, I think it was, and he pointed to his eyes: “See, no glasses, and I’ve got 20/20 vision!” The world made new.

    1. Susan, one of the things that was helpful was my years-long relationship with my regular opthamologist. I’ve been seeing him since 1990, so all of my trust in him transferred to the surgeon.

      And, he laid out some of the options before I saw the surgeon, particularly the one option he thought wouldn’t be good for me. Once I’d made the decision, I called him, told him what I’d decided, and he told me I’d chosen the very treatment that he’d opted for.

      Beyond that, once I showed up in my surgeon’s office for an extra, post-dream visit to make sure there wasn’t any unexpected problem, he wrote his personal cell phone number on a business card and gave it to me with the suggestion that, if anything seemed wrong over the weekend, I should just give him a call. In my book, that was at the top of the heap of medical miracles. It also reminded me that tribal healers assume many guises. That card on the fridge worked its magic, and there weren’t any more problems.

      I know something of what your uncle felt. It truly is a new world — and there were important lessons learned along the way. But more about that in the future.

      1. Those long-term connections with trusted physicians (trusted anyones!) are critically important, aren’t they? And yes, for a surgeon, particularly, to offer his personal cell phone number is a medical miracle. I’m so glad it worked its magic!

  6. I remember a time when I got new glasses and remarked that I could see every leaf on the tree. Until then I saw the group of leaves as a whole, rather than seeing each. It made an amazing difference. Be blessed with your new ability to see clearly. Enjoyed reading of your saga experience!

    1. I had the same experience when I was in grade school, Oneta. I wrote about it here, and was surprised after I posted how many people had experienced similar things.

      Isn’t it funny how we often do the same with people: see only groups, rather than individuals. New insight can help with that, too.

  7. I’m glad your surgery worked! I’m scared of the day when I’ll get mine done…which will probably be next summer.

    If you read the comments at Bella Rum’s blog you’ve probably seen me weigh in with my analysis of her dreams. I love her dreams and have plenty of my own as well. I feel bad for people who can’t remember theirs, although not all of them are fun.

    1. I was surprised by how much the procedure has changed since my mother had her cataract surgery. Hers involved needles, eye patches, and I’m just sure a couple of days in the hospital. I know my aunt came and stayed with her for a while. With my laser surgery, there were drops to deaden my eyes, no patch, and I was on my way home a half-hour after surgery.

      Not only that, when I opened the little bag they gave me after my first surgery to see what they might have put into it in addition to post-op instructions, I found chocolate chip cookies. Can you believe that? At that point, I was ready to turn around and go right back for surgery #2, so I could get more cookies.

      I do read all of your dream conversations at Bella’s. I think they’re fascinating, although I don’t always know the movie stars who are involved. It’s still fun, though. Me? I’m like H. I go to sleep, sleep through the night, and wake up. Nothing very exciting there,

  8. I remember as a seventh grader my parents finally took me to an optometrist in Placerville. I lived in a blurry world, Linda, and I pretended it wasn’t so. I remember memorizing the eye chart when the school nurse came to do eye tests. I remember always sitting in the front of the class so I could see the blackboard, and I remember getting bonked on the head with a hardball because I couldn’t see to catch it. And finally I got glasses and could see. It was as much of a miracle as I will ever experience.

    As for dreams, I dream every night. Sometimes they are nightmares with scary things lurking in the dark, or attacking when I can’t move. Sometimes Peggy gets kicked when I am fighting them off. She is quick to get out of the way and wake me up. But usually the dreams are fun or at least not scary. And sometimes I fly.

    Trip the light, Linda. Enjoy your new vision. Wander the back roads to your hearts desire. –Curt

      1. As long as she lived, my mother used the phrase “trip the light fantastic.” She often sang “Sidewalks of New York” to me as a lullaby, and the lyrics and tune never have left me.

    1. I suspect your early experience is part of what makes your travel and photography so very dear to you, Curt. You went a long time before getting those glasses, but you were a very good pretender. I will say that, even though I’ve never heard of anyone memorizing the eye chart, it does seem to be a very Curt-like thing to do.

      Bella dreams like you do, and her husband copes with it the same way that Peggy does. I did dream once about being in charge of a construction program on the Lofa Road (what a disaster that was!) and I’ve dreamed about losing Dixie Rose and not being able to find her. But that’s been about it — until I went “blind,” of course.

      I did smile at your reference to scary things in the dark. I’ve been reading your blog long enough to know those “things” can be entirely real. I’m thinking: bears.

  9. I am so glad to hear this news dear Linda, Congratulations for your perfect surgery. Your post is amazing and full of with so beautiful things… I love Matt’s videos, Thank you, angels, muses and The Sun be with you always, love, nia

    1. If I have angels, muses and the Sun, dear nia, I’ll never want for anything. Thank you for your good wishes.

      I’m glad to know you enjoy Matt’s videos, too. He certainly knows how to bring people together. It was fun to have him here in our town. The tower that the firemen are dancing on is part of a training site that they use. Every time I see their part of the video, I smile. ~ Linda

  10. Congratulations! I know sight is one of those senses I really couldn’t do without. To have that sort of return on your vision must be so joyful! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

    1. Thanks so much, Alex. Every time I come across one of those “which sense would you be willing to lose?” discussions, sight never makes the cut. Losing taste would be bad, and if I lost my sense of smell I’d move from gas to electric lickety split, but sight? I’m glad I’m going to keep it for a while. It is a joy — and a relief.

    1. As soon as I read “jeepers, creepers,” all I could think was, “But at least I got my peepers back!” It is a happy ending, indeed. I’m under no illusions that this is guaranteed to be a permanent fix, particularly since I have controlled glaucoma. But I’m not much of a what-iffer, and I’m perfectly content to celebrate what is.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. What a great piece you wrote and I love how you tie it all together!!! I savor reading your articles instead of my desert now, and it works. :)
    Love Matt videos. Thank you so much for all your inspiration.

    1. BeeHappee, I’m certainly glad I didn’t have to append “To be continued…” at the end of this one. Being able to tie it all together was gratifying, to say the least. I’ll need to be watchful for any signs of changes or complications, but I’ve learned so much through this process, I’m confident of my ability to spot trouble: although I don’t expect any.

      I was surprised to see that Matt began his videos in 2005 — and that he was part of a VISA ad campaign called “Travel Happy.” But best of all? One of his video games involved Lemony Snicket’s “Series of Unfortunate Events.” No wonder the man smiles all the time.

      Inspiration’s a good thing. If I provided just a bit for you, I’m happy, indeed.

  12. I thought you’d used some sort of digital effect in processing the first of your paired photographs, but then I read your explanation that air conditioning had done the trick. Who’d have thought that air conditioning could do the same thing as software? Now if there were just software that could cool us down, we’d save a lot on our electric bills.

    1. When it’s humid enough to fog cold sunglasses and keys when you step out of the car, can the camera lens be far behind? Answer: no.

      I’m not sure I would have thought of creating such a comparison with post-processing. But, when I reviewed my photos before hitting the road again and saw what had happened, I knew I had to do something with the pair. They’re such a good representation of what cataracts can do to vision.

      We could use some of that cooling software. If it could dehumidify, as well, there would be rejoicing in the land.

  13. Ingenious and left-field as ever, Linda! As one who doesn’t recall her dreams much, I did enjoy this post. But best of all – for reasons you will understand – was the eyes progress bulletin. Excellent news!

    1. Maybe we’re both day-dreamers, Anne. Who needs to dream at night, when we have the day?

      It’s taking some time to appreciate all the changes that have come into my life. For example, I no longer have to deal with sanding dust getting under my contact lenses. But speaking of contact lenses: I do wonder how long it’s going to take for me to stop thinking I need to take my lenses out at night. A half-century-long habit may take longer to break than a week.

      Here’s to good outcomes for us all!

  14. I’m gone only a few days, and you’ve got new vision, Linda?? How amazing is that — and how thankful I am to hear everything went so smoothly!

    I’m one of those dreamers. Many of mine, though, are frustrating jaunts into the past, where I can’t find my clarinet reed in time for a concert, or I can’t find my locker or classroom, or I’m taking a test and never get my grade! Probably something for a dream analyst to say about that!

    1. It’s nice to see you back, Debbie — although I read that you didn’t go very far, geographically speaking. It does sound like you had a great time with Domer, and I’m really glad you “vacated” for a while.

      The process with my eyes took about three months, but I didn’t say much about it because there wasn’t much to report. Every week I drove into Houston, spent ten minutes being tested, and drove home. Having technicians who were willing to answer questions did make it more interesting than it would have been otherwise. Once I figured out there’s an obvious relationship between our eyes and our cameras, I really became interested, and learned some things about photography, too.

      You played clarient? I still can taste those reeds. I used to get boxes of them in my Christmas stocking. It thrilled me, because the rule was that my folks paid for my lessons, while I paid for reeds, pads, sheet music, and so on. I’ve never dreamed about any of it, but I imagine during my first year or two of clarinet playing my folks probably thought they were living a nightmare.

  15. So very happy your surgery came so well. The contrast between the two landscapes is amazing. I never did see the bright colors after my two surgeries. Dr. Ad did, but it escaped me. My own sight has been getting foggier of late due to macular degeneration, and a couple of years ago I wondered about the onset of blindness. Since there is little they can do to stop it I was intrigued by the line in your poem “I need to know I can be lost and not afraid.”

    1. It must have been disappointing for you not to recover that perfect color vision, Kayti. I appreciate the bright colors, but as an artist, they’re so much more important to you.

      Like you, I have some underlying problems that may increase over time, but for now, I’m just going to make every day count, and consign every shade I can to memory. I still remember my red, blue, and yellow finger paints clearly, as well as the red, blue, and yellow chairs in the first grade classroom, so I would think I could expand the palette a bit in the coming years.

      I have a friend who claims that naming colors as we see them helps to imprint them. Whether that’s true, I can’t say. She has some other ideas that seem a little crazy to me. But it is true that red, yellow, and blue were names that we heard over and over as children. Maybe it truly does forge a connection.

      The thought of macular degeneration is unnerving. I had one episode of vitreous detachment some years ago, and the primary symptom of that was a nickel-sized blurry area right in the middle of my field of vision. Eventually, it went away on its own, but I wouldn’t like to experience it again.

      One fellow I know swears he’s been fending off macular degeneation with lots of fruits and veggies. Drink your orange juice, and eat that broccoli! It certainly can’t harm you, and it might do some good.

      As for that fear — there will be another post, related to that, but it’s focused on a different topic, and can wait for just a bit. One challenge at a time, says me.

  16. I am so happy to hear that things went well with surgery. My wife just had cataract surgery this spring, but she had progressive lenses put in and so is adjusting to that. It is amazing the things that can be done medically, and the new lease on life it provides us. It is no wonder that metaphors of sight have been so fundamental for theology, philosophy, etc. Seeing the world anew seems to make it new, and us as well. Blessings to you as you seize the day!

    1. That’s interesting, Allen. I think by progressive lenses you must mean what we call multi-focal: lenses with rings for near, intermediate and distance sight. That’s the sort my eye doctor recommended against, suggesting I’d do better with monovision : one lens for near, one for far. There are adjustments to be made with both, but one of the advantages of multi-focal (the ability to function without glasses or contacts) seems to be possible for me anyway, so I’m satisfied.

      There’s no question that the consquences of seeing anew extend far beyond the visual. My energy level is discernibly higher, and my ability to focus on tasks is better. Whether this is temporary and adrenlin-driven, I suppose we’ll find out down the road!

      Best wishes to your wife, too. I suspect she’s fully as pleased as I am.

  17. Love the poem.

    I’m so happy for you. I do understand this very well. My vision gets foggier and foggier each year. I’m annoyed when people write things so small that I can’t see. Can’t everyone accommodate me? :)

    I enjoyed this departure from your usual style. I know it isn’t your usual way to write about yourself, but I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the mention. I’m so glad our dreams are seldom true. Whew!

    1. The poem’s wonderful, isn’t it? I first used it when writing about the protests in Iran, then about an especially hot Texas summer. I never imagined I’d find it so relevant to my own life.

      I thought of you often through this process — not for your dreams as much as for your own eye problems. Believe me, when I found out that we’d be using topical anesthetic drops rather than a retrobulbar block (needle!) I was happy. I’m not exactly needle-phobic, but it’s better I don’t think about such things.

      I did have to laugh when I remembered my low-level grumping about lack of contrast on web pages. Funny how that all improved once the cataracts were gone. Not only that, the world seems awash in things I haven’t seen for years: dragonflies, hummingbirds, butterflies. I’d attributed their absence to the drought years, and that probably contributed. But to paraphrase the Bard, I suspect the fault lay less in the world than in my very own eyes.

      Thanks for being a friend, and for sharing your dreams. You don’t know how excited I was that I finally had one that was Bella-worthy!

      1. H spots wildlife and points it out to me. It’s interesting how aging couples begin to help each other with their diminishing abilities. We sort of fill in the gaps for each other. As far as memory goes, H says that we still have one functioning brain between the two of us, but he is definitely becoming my eyes in many ways.

        The poke in the eye is not as bad as it sounds.

        1. The same thing happens in groups of friends. I tote luggage and Christmas decorations up stairs for a friend with knee problems. In turn, she’s done the night driving. I still have a little residual glare, but once that’s gone, I’ll be able to drive at night even more comfortably. But I’ll still tote her luggage.

          As long as they don’t resort to a sharp stick for that poke in your eye, I think you’ll be fine.

  18. I had an artist friend who at 80 years old decided to have this same surgery. The only thing she said to me was, “I realized I have wrinkles!”

    Not exactly deep and not the stuff of Rumi. Thanks for adding him to your story here. Life is certainly multidimensional and it usually takes an event to bring us to view the miraculous other side more clearly.

    1. Oh, wrinkles. I prefer to think of them as “experience tracks.” As I once wrote (spurred on by my inability to keep shoelaces tied), there are problems, and there are facts of life. Wisdom often lies in being able to distinguish between them. Wrinkles (and graying hair, now that I think of it) fall into the “facts of life” category for me.

      Of course, one person’s fact of life may be someone else’s problem, and vice-versa, but that’s another issue.

      What’s certain is that the return on my investment has been incalculable. Some day I may face a problem that’s not so easily solved, but for now? I’ll celebrate this wonderful solution.

  19. Glad to hear that you are now seeing clearly! Do you remember the see clearly method? I know it had nothing to do with cataract surgery. It was promoted as a way to throw away your glasses.

    You must be somewhat relieved to have the surgery behind you. I love the Rumi and Buber additions to this post.

    1. I do remember the “See Clearly Method,” Cheri. I found a decent summation of the program here, including a bit of the history. I know it was advertised on Houston radio for a whlle, along with magic weight loss programs and $19.95 carpet cleanings.

      It always tickled me that the company was based in Fairfield, Iowa, home to the venerable Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his University. I often wondered if the business didn’t profit (in every sense of the word) from affiliation with a school known for developing proficiency in Yogic Flying.

      I am happy to have what seemed like a very long process (albeit a very short surgery) behind me. And, yes: I was happy to have Rumi and the Hasadim to draw on in telling the tale.

    1. Now, that was a fun post. Of course we’ve all been there, but I suspect not many have shared your efforts on behalf of grammatically-correct signs at express lanes. Except me, of course. The confusion of “less” and “fewer” drives me to distraction. As I once said to a store manager that I happened to know, “Fewer than fifteen items leads to less conflict among customers. Capisce?”

  20. I have to admit that I am one of those who love happy endings. So your story lifted me up, and gave me reason to smile, When the doctor is right, he sits next to god. When he is frustrated and disappointed, we realize he is just like us… flesh and blood. Unfortunately, I have witnessed other outcomes to eye problems and health problems, so I proceed with great caution. I enjoyed your reference to Buber. Ah, what fine stories he understood. And I congratulate you on seeing better. So good to see… so intoxicating to see better. With best wishes, Linda.

    1. In this world, Shimon, we have to take our happy endings where we find them, and this was a very happy ending, indeed. There’s a proper time for reflecting on experience, perhaps even for drawing life lessons from it, but there’s also a time for simple joy and celebration, for saying, “L’Chaim!”

      Your caution is warranted, of course. The odds may be in our favor, but nothing is guaranteed. I’ve known people who lived in fear because of that lack of guarantees, but I prefer to see their absence as adding a certain piquancy to life.

      I met Buber through his famous “I and Thou,” and have appreciated his writings ever since. “Tales of the Hasidim” still is my favorite. Remember this one? It’s a little long, but so, so good:

      “When the Rabbi Israel Shem Tov saw misfortune threatening the Jews, it was his custom to go into a certain part of the forest to meditate. There he would light a fire, say a special prayer, and the miracle would be accomplished and the misfortune averted.

      Later, when his disciple, the celebrated Maggid of Mezritch, had occasion for the same reason to intercede with heaven, he would go to the same place in the forest and say, “Master of the Universe, listen! I do not know how to light the fire, but I am still able to say the prayer.” Again the miracle would be accomplished.

      Still later, Rabbi Moshe-leib of Sasov, in order to save his people once more, would go into the forest and say, “I do not know how to light the fire. I do not know the prayer, but I know the place and this must be sufficient.” It was sufficient, and the miracle was accomplished.

      Then it fell to Rabbi Israel of Rizhin to overcome misfortune. Sitting in his armchair, his head in his hands, he spoke to God, “I am unable to light the fire and I do not know the prayer and I cannot even find the place in the forest. All I can do is to tell the story, and this must be sufficient.” And it was sufficient.

      For God made man because he loves stories.”

      Here’s to more stories with happy endings!

      1. This story that you recalled is perhaps the most important contribution of Buber in his writings, and I believe that it was a full justification of the role that Buber played. As you probably know, Buber came to the material as an academician. There are many here in Jerusalem (and I among them), who studied the original texts, and related to them a bit differently. But we are a minority, and our ability to translate the essence of these studies to the public at large is limited. Buber managed to convey something of the power and the wisdom of our traditional learning, and I love him for it. Just as I told you of my caution in another area… because I have seen people say, she is getting better, she is getting better, she is getting better. And then, she is dead… I have also seen miracles with my own eyes, and know that too is possible. Thank you very much for recalling stories and for telling stories. It is a true pleasure to read your blog.

  21. I was severely nearsighted and, since about the third grade, relied alternately on glasses and contact lenses to do anything but sleep. Around 18 years ago, I had cataract surgery on both eyes which had the happy collateral effect of correcting the nearsightedness. I had an exam about a month ago, and my eyesight still hasn’t changed since the surgery. Here’s looking at you, kid!

    1. Eighteen years. My gosh. Isn’t that wonderful? Throughout this process, it’s been amazing to learn of all the progress that’s been made, both in the procedures and in the sorts of lenses that are available. Friends tell me that new treatments for glaucoma and macular degeneration are bringing improved results, too. It’s all cause for celebration.

      I confess the most enjoyable and amusing part of the experience was the surgery itself. Without anesthesia, it was rather like being on the set of Gray’s Anatomy. My favorite line from the OR? “Hush! She’s not sedated!”

      I laughed and laughed — I’m still laughing — at your last line. I always wanted to be Ilsa. Just for a second, there, I was.

  22. Linda, I love it! I am so very, very glad that you shared your eye story. And that photo comparison — perfect. (I’ve done the same with my camera; it works that way in humidity, too — air con or not!)

    I think so many wonder — what will it be like? Is it worth it? Really, I can see ‘ok.’ To hear this and also your search is a good thing. A very happy story! (And I love your dream. I can’t remember the one I had recently but I rarely remember them. When I woke up it was clear as day and I thought, “OK, I know where that one came from!” Now, if only I could remember what it was! I wanted to share with Bella!

    1. It’s rather amusing to think of it now, but there wasn’t much of an opportunity to waffle ahead of time — at least, not about making the decision to have it done. I’d just been waiting for the word that it was time, and when it came, that was it.

      My primary concern had been having it done before my doctor retired. We’re the same age, so I suspect he’ll be hanging it up in the next few years. Now that I’ve met that goal, the good news is that my surgeon also is a specialist in glaucoma. And, he’s years younger, so he’ll be around for a while.

      Mom used to say she didn’t want some old geezer for a doctor — she wanted a young one. I’m beginning to appreciate her attitude!

  23. A friend had the near/far correction in her eyes and said it took some time for her brain to adjust, a phase you seemed to have bypassed. Your joy in seeing detail is contagious — congratulations!

    I inherited near and far-sightedness from my father, along with astigmatism that seemed to cause all kinds of problems when it came to corrective lenses. Though prescribed glasses since I was in fifth grade, it wasn’t until the last eight years or so that I’ve needed computer glasses. And now, near and far-sightedness is a thing!

    1. I had a little trouble when I shifted from my contact lenses to glasses. Everything that should have been straight, like door frames, appeared convex. It was strange, and very much like living in a circus funhouse. But it only lasted for a day or so, and I didn’t have any trouble at all with the new near/far lenses.

      I had astigmatism, too. I only recently learned that they’re using contact lenses worn at night to treat that. It works because the lenses reshape the eye: precisely the effect that had to disappear before I had my surgery. It’s a fascinating example of the same process being either a benefit or a problem, as happens so often in life.

  24. I’m so glad it all went well! Those two pictures of flowers remind me of how it felt the first time I got glasses – astounded by the beauty all around me! And you know about my lasik journey – how amazed I was at being able to SEE without my contacts/glasses! And yes, the worst part was having to wear my glasses for two weeks before the surgery.

    P.S. Great video!

    1. You were lucky to only have to wait two weeks, Dana. I confess I grew slightly impatient through the process. On the other hand, I couldn’t disagree with the tech who pointed out I’d had over fifty years of wearing hard lenses, so it wasn’t surprising that it might take a little time for my eyes to reshape themselves. Ouch — it was that “over fifty years” business that got me.

      I still haven’t quite adjusted to the loss of my contacts, at least in one sense. I still make a move every night to take them out. We’ll see how long that lasts.

      Isn’t that video fun? I think about it every time I pass the spot where they filmed it “our” part of it.

      1. I wore soft contacts, so that might be why my time was so short. I’d worn them for 37 years (37!!). My biggest adjustment after the surgery was in the morning. I was never truly awake until I’d put my “eyes” in – so I had to figure out another way to make my brain know it was time to get going :)

  25. Eyes are not meant to be kept at home. Time to see it all…each little bug, petal, cucumber, and dragonfly. How nice the grand show is right where ever you turn. Happy. What else can be said?
    (got a chuckle over the before and after landscape shots. AC vents doing more than their scheduled job!)

    1. Well, maybe not all. Bugs, petals, birds, and clouds? Those definitely are on the “let’s go look” list. Also: museums, prairies, open roads, and fruit stands. The Kardashians, much of Twitter, and almost all of the political spam showing up in my inbox? Not so much. “Passing glance” is a useful phrase!

      Remember my story about the beagle named Happy that would come over to our yard and point at the fire hydrant until someone carried him home? Sometimes I catch myself doing the same thing: just staring at something that’s always been there, but which seems to have taken on new life. Happy, indeed.

      1. Staring? You have to look in order to see. (So much of that not happening these days)
        Interpretations color thought: focused, mesmerized, or fooled?
        Only matters to the seer. Choose Happy!
        (You have too many Spam friends – whew. We should encourage them to go see all the alligators who have washed down and are confused and hungry in their new areas? Or let the confused go ahead and play in the Gulf waters right by fishermen…simply won’t listen to mom’s railing about bait drawing sharks. One way to protect the environment: eliminate people.)

        1. Be careful. There are people who would be willing to sacrifice other people for the sake of the environment, and they’d happily get rid of millions without a thought. They’re fringe, but they’re there. Don’t encourage them. People have value, too. :-)

          1. Bad joke…Actually I have heard a fringe group say just that…not realizing that if you take/change one component – even humans – out of the complex system, it’s gonna go whacky with unpredictable result…so obvious, but that keeps getting over looked. (We will not point fingers at the various parks services…..and Roll Over Pass controversy is still annoying to many)

            1. I just this minute heard the Wallisville story again on the news. That’s akin to the tales of wade fishermen who keep their catch on stringers, and then wonder why the sharks show up. I’m glad everyone’s relatively ok, but — people!

  26. Glad that all went well with your surgery. And how wonderful to weave your surgery into a fabulous essay. I have not come here for a while but I can see that you are still at your best writing and converting everyday happenings into fabulous stories to be told.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi, Maria! Yes, all went well, but as I’m sure you saw at Bug’s, it kept my attention focused (if not my eyes) for longer than I expected. I’ll not fuss about the process though, especially given a result that’s so much better than I expected.

      Now, it’s time to get out and about and start roaming the neighborhoods. See you soon!


  27. Thank you so much for this story! I learn so much from your writing, and it’s always instructive to hear (read) an experience from a patient’s point of view. I never did an ophthalmology rotation, and have never seen eye surgery first hand. I only recently saw a lens prosthesis for the first time and had the implant process explained to me–it’s awesome! Medicine has come so far in such a short time, I’m amazed and humbled every day at what we can do.

    You wrote in an early reply to a comment that your cataracts developed slowly, so that you did not really notice/anticipate the dramatic difference in vision between normal and surgical-grade cataract. And you wrote at least twice about appreciating the perfect vision you have now, knowing that it may not remain this way.

    Thank you for the reminder to appreciate what we have now, in this moment, and not take things for granted!

    1. Catherine, one of the best decisions I made was to have my second surgery without any sedation. Although I couldn’t see everything that was happening, I was aware of each step in the process, and it was fascinating. I especially liked the itty-bitty “vacuum cleaner” that suctioned up the bits of fragmented cataract.

      That the actual process took so little time amazed me. You might be interested in seeing the information for my lenses, here..

      As for the experiences of perfection that are granted to us, I think Robert Frost said it best:

      “Nature’s first green is gold,
      Her hardest hue to hold.
      Her early leaf’s a flower;
      But only so an hour.
      Then leaf subsides to leaf.
      So Eden sank to grief,
      So dawn goes down to day.
      Nothing gold can stay.”

      Understanding that, and accepting it, is a first step toward holding on to happiness, I think.


  28. Wow! This one leaves me breathless – particularly with that exhuberant Youtube video.

    Oh how wonderful it is to see.
    I, too, went from a blurred white-misted field of vision into new cataracts. Such clarity now and so many expanded colours to enjoy. I only need one pair of glasses, special bifocused lenses for computer and piano keyboard reading, and a special band at the bottom of each lens for small print reading. I don’t require glasses for driving now which means that I own only one pair to have to misplace and search the house for. I am so grateful for the wonders of modern medicine and surgery.

    1. It’s a fun video, isn’t it? I especially like the way everyone was included — even the seal from San Diego. I wondered if they trained it for its part in the video, or if that already was a part of its repertoire. It doesn’t matter, of course. I laugh every time I see it.

      Ah, those misplaced glasses. Once I was certain I wouldn’t be needing them, I gathered up all of my reading glasses, regular glasses, and contact lenses and donated them here and there. I was surprised that even contact lenses can be recycled, but they can. And, yes: I had six or seven pair of reading glasses: fair witness to my inability to keep track of the things.

      You’re right about the wonders of modern medicine. I suspect some in their thirties — or even their forties — wouldn’t believe what it was like when I was a child. If you add to the timeline what my mother and others of her generation experienced, it’s truly amazing.

  29. It goes without saying yet I am saying it just the same…I am thrilled for you that not only did the surgeries go well but that your restored vision has given you new joys to behold or old joys to behold in new ways.
    I have worn glasses since I was four and can’t imagine not. I also rarely remember my dreams.

    1. Today, it was dragonflies. I can’t remember ever seeing so many, and I certainly can’t remember ever seeing their fluttery little wings while they’re in the air, flying. I didn’t know mockingbirds have tongues, either, or that green herons’ beaks function like clappers when they chatter at one another. There’s a lot out there to see!

      Something else that’s been affected is my photography. My photos may not be any better, but taking them certainly is easier now that I can see what’s on the LCD screen.

      Something else I learned while reading about dreams is that some people dream in black and white. I had no idea — as far as I know, I never have. What dreams I remember always are in full, living color. I wonder if people who dream in black and white are predisposed to like black and white movies or photography, or if a preference for black and white influences dreams? I suspect that’s something we’ll never know.

      Here’s to many more seasons of “taking it all in” — for both of us!

      1. It’s amazing how our improved senses give us a new sense of reality. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose one of them nor can I imagine the joy that restored sight must be like. Your comments give a hint of that and I am really happy for your new or fuller experiences. It’s a shame so many people overlook such wonders or consider them unremarkable.
        I have heard about dreaming in black and white but, for what few dreams I have ever remembered, don’t think that I do. Maybe the unremembered are the ones in monochrome. :-)

  30. Oh….what a wonderful post! I really enjoyed this, I loved how you used the pics to demonstrate your new eyesight, and how wonderful that you can see so clearly despite a few setbacks! The Keeper of Kitties is the perfect title for a book, maybe you should write it? And as for Bella Rum….priceless!

    1. Snowbird, I think you’re the one to write “The Keeper of the Kitties.” You’re the one who’s been living it, after all. You always could throw in a few pigeons and hedgehogs, just to keep things interesting. (Now that I think of it, you’re blog postings are very much like chapters in that very book!)

      The pair of photos tickled me to death when I first saw them. Serendipity is a wonderful thing. If I’d set out to create such an illustration, I probably could have, but having them just pop up like that was much more fun.

      And, yes — Bella’s a fun, interesting woman. She was caring for her elderly father when I was doing the same for my mother, and we shared many a tale from real life, as well as some dreams.

  31. It was not discovered that I had vision problems until after I started school: 20/40 in my left eye but 20/200 in my right eye. (Now cover your left eye. Can you read the second line on the chart? What chart?) I also have fairly quirky astigmatism. Yet I have perfectly clear uncorrected vision in my right eye between the end of my nose and the end of my arm. The vision in my left eye is good enough that not having glasses was not that much of a problem, and I compensated well. Yet I clearly remember getting my first pair of glasses and wandering the neighborhood fascinated with my new ability to see things sharply and in focus for the first time.

    Cataracts, it appears, are a fact of life. I’ve been told that what causes cataracts is living long enough to get them. I’ve also been told that mine are starting to manifest. I have begun to note problems with driving at night due more to the lights than to the darkness. Having cataract surgery on my right eye would do me more than one favor. In addition to removing the cataract, it would remove the need for that lens to be so thick that I have to have plastic lenses, else the glasses would sit cattywompus on my head because the right lens would be so heavy.

    Oddly enough, I put a dance video up on my blog tonight too — I like yours. It is very joyful, which is what I like best about it.

    1. So many of us had our vision problems discovered at school. I suppose it partly was due to the obviousness of symptoms, like being unable to see the blackboard, and partly a result of teachers being more attuned to the possibility of poor vision. Lke you, many of us just compensated as best we could: but what a delight to move into that sharper, clearer world.

      I had the same experience with night driving. I began to realize that it wasn’t the darkness that was the problem, but the glare from headlights. Then, I started to get halos, but that came later. Another thing I didn’t understand is that cataracts don’t necessarily begin right in the middle of the eye. One of mine started at the edge and worked its way inward. I can remember taking out my contact lens and cleaning it, thinking that I’d somehow left a fingerprint on the very edge. It was a reasonable assumption, but it was wrong.

      “Glasses as thick as Coke bottle bottoms…” I haven’t heard that expression in a good while. I suppose it’s due to technological advances in lenses: particularly the “slimming down” that’s possible with polycarbonates and such.

      It’s that sense of joy that catches me with the video, too. And I really like the way it ends — in the family backyard. It’s a nice reminder that everything in life doesn’t have to be a production number.

  32. Wow, I had no idea you were going through this (well, and why would I? We only know each other through our blogs!) – your recounting is wonderful – I know cataract surgery can be a struggle. I really think this could be published somewhere else, were you to have the inclination…

    1. I didn’t say much about it, Courtney — just a stray comment here and there. For one thing, the process kept dragging on, and I thought it would be best to wait for it to be over before I wrote about it. Clearly, the final result would shape the telling of the story.

      There were a couple of lessons I learned along the way that I’ll be writing about later, but I must say the need to exercise patience was more difficult than the surgery itself.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. It’s true that, structurally, the video could be excised. It’s not necessary, and the rest could be fine-tuned for print. Maybe I’ll give that a thought.

      Happy 4th to you and Duncan!

  33. Fantastic video, Linda. I’m so pleased the surgery has gone well for you. As I age and hear less well and require glasses most of the time, and spend a lot of time trying to locate the right ones (which is difficult when you need to be wearing the glasses to see well enough to find them easily!), I often think that of all the things that might go wrong health-wise losing my sight would be the one thing that would scare me the most.

    1. I’ve been very lucky when it comes to my health, Andy. A torn rotator cuff here, a months-long hip injury there (no more pogo sticks for me!) and a couple of rolled ankles have been it. But injuries like that are of a different order. You’re suddenly non-functional, but the move is toward healing. It’s much different to begin with functionality, then be forced to cope with gradual loss.

      I’ll say this: I’ve learned in the most direct way possible that loss of sight means more than not being able to read a restaurant menu, and it was scary. One of these days, I’ll find a way into that particular learning experience, but it’s a little soon just now.

      That video is wonderful, isn’t it? There are so many subtle little touches throughout, like the group in Manchester (3:36). It certainly looks to me like a tribute to Manchester United!

      1. The older we get the slower the healing process. I’ve passed the video on to son and daughter – it’s such a clever video, and involved some very unlikely countries and people.

    1. Sometimes there’s not much difference between a “new world” and “a world seen new,” Otto. As I mentioned up above, at least now I can see my camera’s LCD screen — always a good first step!

  34. You have remarkable vision Linda, regardless of how well your eyes are functioning. Still, I’m glad you tripped the light. May your sight always be clear.

    I remember when I first got glasses. It was amazing to see the individual leaves on the trees and to the stars as distinct points of light. I’ll resist the temptation to start forcing metaphors on that and just leave it at I’m very glad that someone who sees as well as you once again has eyesight that is equally good.

    1. Bill, the number of people who talk about discovering the relationship between trees and leaves as a first result of improved sight fascinates me. I’ll have an opportunity to check out the stars this weekend: far, far from Houston’s lights. I’m looking forward to that, too.

      I’m hoping all goes well over the years, too. There’s a condition commonly called “secondary cataract” which isn’t really a cataract at all, even though it blurs the vision of people who’ve had lenses implanted. The good news is that the magic lasers can take care of that, too. You’ll not hear me grumping about that technology!

      As to the clarity of my inner vision? However good it might or might not be, there’s no question it’s improved over the years. Ironic, isn’t it? Age may degrade the quality of our sight, but it helps to clarify our insight. It may not be the worst trade in the world!

  35. I don’t know if you know this saying that goes: “Once a man, twice a child” to refer to the process of aging and the many negatives that accompany the process. In your case, happily, 20/20 vision was returned to you through the “miracle” of modern-day surgery. So, instead of the child metaphor referring to something negative, it does the exact opposite here.
    Loved the way you tied your dream to the reality of your fading eyesight, Rabbi Elimelekh’s comments“(Yes,” said Rabbi Elimelekh, “in my youth, I saw that too. Later on, you don’t see these things any more.”) your operation, and post-operation new sight.
    As for the poem-it’s a wonderful poem of optimism and hope. Although I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist, there are times when the darkness comes and my writing reflects this, as in my last poem.
    As always, a wonderful piece and looking forward to more.

    1. While I haven’t heard the expression, “Once a man, twice a child,” I certainly have experienced the reality, both with friends’ parents and with my own. It can be a hard adjustment for everyone involved when issues of dependence are involved. On the other hand, what’s not to like about regaining the curiosity, trust, and vision of a child?

      I’ve cherished that rabbinical story for years. While it works perfectly here, in the context of regained eyesight, it certainly has many deeper levels of meaning. Being advised to give up visions of any sort for the so-called “realism” of adulthood is common enough, and recapturing that youthful experience isn’t easy.

      The Rumi poem is wonderful, isn’t it? When I first came across it, I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that he beat out the Nike marketing team and their slogan — “Just do it” — by several centuries!

  36. What a great / amazing discoveries it must have felt like after your surgery, great photos. Also, there are nothing quite like dreams…the dreams I have at night end up setting the tone for the day. Cheers.

    1. It was quite an experience, Dalo — and so much better than I had anticipated. Good surprises always are a delight.

      I think it’s interesting that you say your dreams help to set the tone for your days. That kind of connection between night and day isn’t mine, but I have a friend who seeks daily wisdom in hers. I might, too — if only I could remember them.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for commenting. You’re always welcome here.


  37. Hahaha! I love it… “Keeper of the Kitties”! I’m one of those with the madly convoluted, long dreams — which can actually be quite exhausting the following day!

    And congratulations on your new vision; may all be lovely and clear for you!

    1. If you knew my mother, you’d know how much of a nightmare that was for her. She tolerated Dixie Rose, and may even have been fond of the little creature, but ,generally speaking, cats and dogs weren’t her thing.

      Just out of curiosity, do you ever dream about the places like the Everglades, the swamps and such? I would think tht spending so much time in environments like that would could lead to some interesting dreams. They’re rather dream-like in real life, when you get right down to it.

      On thing I’ve been enjoying is watching the birds at work. I’m seeing so many things I don’t remember seeing in the past: behavior like bill-clacking, as well as details of their appearance. It’s a new world, for sure!

      1. Hahaha! That makes her dream all that funnier. I LOVE IT! :)

        My dreams are usually very Fellini-esque — of places and people I don’t encounter in everyday life. I call it my “shows” because they’re so entertaining!

        How fun you’re able to distract yourself a bit with the lives of beautiful birds! I learned about bill-clacking not that long ago, actually — while watching our wood storks!

  38. Greg way out in Almost, Iowa sent me your way. Enjoyed the coupla’ posts I read. They are like perfectly-crafted works of art. I may never return, but don’t think it’s from the overwhelming sense of envy I experienced while here–for I know I’m unwilling to put the work in to get that good. I even mix up less and fewer, although I do it fewer as time goes on. I shan’t be back, likely, because I’m over-committed as it is, and because I’m envious I just don’t have time for reading another blog that is too d#mned good. Greg’s, and Michelle Green’s The Green Study, and a whole buncha’ others, are about all the quality writing I can handle.

    Wanted to add: My high school, my freshwoman year–1969–had a gentleman come and read Sandburg’s pieces to us, for an afternoon. Made a huge impression on me. (The good kind.) Yeah–I shoulda’ put this in THAT post, but I’m typing one-fingered on my phone, and I’ll have to Sisyphus this whole thing uphill again if I stop).

    Thank you for a worthwhile visit. And: I had never heard of Rumi.

    “If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
    don’t try to explain the miracle.
    Kiss me on the lips.”

    “The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf or blossom.”

    I might never have read lines like those had I never have stopped by. Thank you also for introducing me to him.

    –O. Babe

    1. O.Babe, I enjoyed hearing about your experience with the Sandburg reading. Poetry really is meant to be spoken, and hearing it can make all the difference in the world.

      Rumi was a real revelation for me, too. I especially liked that line you quoted about the garden being bewildered by what’s leaf, and what’s blossom. We’re the ones who make those distinctions — the garden doesn’t. It just produces different forms of beauty.

      I certainly understand that feeling of being over-committed. I figure there are a few thousand blogs out there that I’d really enjoy if I just took the time to find them and read them, but then I’d have to give up working, eating, sleeping, and writing, and that doesn’t seem especially practical.

      So thanks for stopping by, and thanks for taking the time to comment. If you happen to come back, that would be lovely, but if you don’t, that’s cool. I understand perfectly.


      1. Thank you, Linda. One of the blogs I already follow is Cynthia’s at which/whom you might enjoy not only because many of her poems are frigging brilliant, but because she accompanies them with recordings of her reading them aloud. Here’s a “simple” one I liked.

    1. Best of all, Mother Hen, things seem to be continuing to improve. I had a lot of floaters for a while — mostly what I call the “pepper grain” variety — but I just realized yesterday that they seem to be decreasing. Much of what I read online suggests complete healing can take 2-6 months, so patience is key.

      Thanks for your good wishes!

  39. I have always been a vivid dreamer but luckily only a few made me so happy when the dream trace of a scary one fell away. Most are just convoluted jumbles of a mind sorting out the input of a day. Usually you can tell what triggered the elements if you think about it. Last night I had vivid dreams about eating bread and I have been following a very low wheat/gluten routine for some time. I only do bread now if it is worth it. My husband has never really remembered dreams much at all. The one exception was when he was taking EFA supplements. You might try taking essential fatty acids etc and see if you dream vivid dreams. The brain is 80% fat and I think there is something with fats and dreaming.

    On the cataract front, I am facing the same thing this coming February and am in the process of debating whether to keep it simple or go for the multi-focal lenses. I am thinking of simple since my husband did and he is over the top happy with his IOL. The multi-focal require a bit of brain training and for the multi-focal capability you sacrifice some sharpness and have issues with night vision halos. As a photographer I don’t think I could deal with the lack of sharpness choice. Even though it might be sharper than my blurry natural lenses with cataract. Luckily there are many choices and one has to just evaluate what fits with their main activities.

    In the waiting room during my husband’s surgery I sat next to a 90 year old lady who had already had IOL’s put in years ago. Looking at her beautiful perfectly clear pupils, she could have been 18. The ability to have clear lenses replace clouded natural ones is truly one the greatest miracles of our time.

    Congratulations on your great results and the world being made new again as a result. We don’t take things for granted the second time around!!

    1. I laughed at your suggestion of supplements as an aid to dreaming, Judy. I don’t necessarily want any more dreams. My mind is so full during the day, I figure it deserves a rest at night. Besides, I’d really prefer it busy itself helping me sort through whatever I’m working on at the time. It’s like your bread: paragraphs and words that just don’t quite “work” at 10 p.m. can be rearranged by morning by my subconscious.

      Everyone has to make their own decision about the lenses, of course, but I will add this: when my eye doctor had the surgery, he opted for monovision. A little snooping revealed that many eye doctors have gone that route, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

      There’s clearly at least a degree of marketing in the push for multi-focal lenses. People who want the latest and greatest iGadget are predisposed to accept the latest and greatest in lens replacement. Multifocal may be the latest, but they they aren’t always greatest — at least for everyone. Tried and true has something going for it, too!

      1. I’ve read you can actually have the IOL’s “explanted” but I’d rather get it right the first time!! Gosh, these things might have to last 30 years!! Very best wishes for wonderful sight forever!!

  40. Bravo for your new eyes, dear Linda, for the new world around you, for all that you will see differently. A great adventure indeed. You reminded me of a cousin, an elderly lady named Angeline. She was operated too and as soon as she went back home, a tiny apartment in a mountain village, she opened her shutters, windows, then she looked at the Alps and the valleys, crossed her fingers like in a prayer and said :
    -“How large and beautiful the world is !”

    All the best, Linda, I am truly happy for you. And thankful for your eye doctors.

    1. I understand your Angeline. I’m especially glad now that I wrote the post, and added the photos, because it’s almost impossible for me now to remember what it was like before the surgery. But there are reminders. I went tonight to get my flu shot, and filled out the paperwork iwth no problem. Last year, I barely could read the forms, and only strong reading glasses could help.

      My surgeon is the best. And he’s relatively young, too! He not only does the surgeries, he’s a researcher, and a specialist in glaucoma, which I also have. It’s controlled now, but if I ever have need — there he’ll be. It’s a great comfort. (And now I’m smiling, remembering a friend’s advice that we always should have doctors and hairdresses younger than we are, so we can be spared the need to look for a new one!)

  41. I enjoyed your story and love the two before-and-after photos. That sums up my experience to a tee.

    1. I’m glad I made that “mistake” with my camera. Otherwise, it might be hard to remember what it was like before the surgery. Sometimes I still find myself just stopping and looking around at the world. I’ll bet you do, too.

  42. An interesting story rendered compelling by excellent writing — also a hallmark of telling dreams effectively, because not everyone manages it well.

    1. It’s hard to believe five years have passed — and my vision’s still as good as it was post-surgery. I still watch that video from time to time, too. It’s fun to see my fire department as part of it, but all of it’s good — so good that I may post it again. In the midst of all the current chaos, it’s a nice reminder of what being human, and in community, can be.

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