I put down my coffee cup, took off my glasses and put my left hand over my left eye. I looked over at My Life’s Editor with my right eye. as she did the Sudoku at the breakfast table. There she was, her normal self. Then I put my right hand over my right eye and looked at her with my left eye.Her face had developed a sepia tone like a Matthew Brady civil war photograph and was slightly out of focus like a glam shot. I repeated the process on objects around the room: a lamp, the chairs in the living room, one of her paintings. Same thing. My left eye gave them all a dusky hue. “What are you doing?”, she asked, putting down her pencil. “It’s time,” I said. “Time for what?” says she. “A cataract operation” says I.
Two months prior, Dr. Buzz, eye maven, seated at his desk, had put down his glasses and stared at me significantly across the forest of his ophthalmic doo-dads. “Afraid we can’t do much more for your left eye. You might consider cataract surgery.” I responded, “Uh, when?” He said, “When it affects your lifestyle.” Lifestyle? I had never thought of myself as a lifestyle-type person. I reviewed what I had going for me: middling game of tennis, check; close personal relation ship with the TV remote , check; stack of unread books on my bedside table, check; chronically unsuccessful fisherman, check. But wait. There was that last item.
Increasingly, in recent years as I stood on the bow of a flats boat, doing my Queequeg thing, as the guide implored and then begged, “Bonefish forty feet out at 10:00, there! there!”, I had been able to see nada. Even with my cool new Maui Jim’s, I saw nada. Maybe with a cataract operation…?
On the day of reckoning, as I lay on on operating table awaiting the tender mercies of Dr. David, cataract surgery whiz, I had second thoughts. What if the intraocular lens slipped from his grasp, fell on the floor and rolled under a nearby cabinet? Would he simply pick it up, give it a swift swipe with a tissue, maybe his sleeve, and pop it in? By that time however, I had popped something myself – a Valium pill. My BP had slid from a white coat syndrome 156 to a more manageable 130.
Five days later, my left eye was a prodigy of distance vision. Once again, I sat at the breakfast table with My Life’s Editor. I smiled benignly at her. I placed my left hand over my left eye and gave her the once-over with my right eye. She had the deja vue, dusky hue. Time to call Dr. David.