Dodging A Bullet

A week doesn’t sound like a very long time. Most of the time a week passes with lightning speed.

But a week after cataract surgery, in which I am to follow all the guidelines to protect my eye for one solid week, is seemingly endless.

Sunday afternoon I forgot myself and reached up to my right eye. I didn’t rub it, but my finger pressed down as if to commence rubbing my itchy allergy-irritated eye.

Then I stopped myself. But not before I had pressed down a bit. The eye that had felt so wonderful since last week, that didn’t hurt or cause me any problem, suddenly felt like it had a problem.

And of course it was a Sunday.

My patio garden container plants

Last week when I saw the optometrist to check my eye the day after surgery, he told me a story. It was about a man who had cataract surgery, but things weren’t quite normal afterward.

The man said his friend told him he’d had the same surgery, and that the symptoms he was having were nothing to worry about. So the man didn’t immediately go in to get the eye checked out.

When he did go in, Dr. Vincent, my optometrist, sent him straight to get immediate help. And they said, when all was said and done, that if he hadn’t sent him immediately, the man would have lost his eyeball. It was infected.

As it was, he lost more of his vision. So Dr. Vincent cautioned me that if anything seemed wrong or out of the ordinary, I was to call and come in and have him take a look post haste.

But of course it was a Sunday. And of course what he told me about the man with the infected eye weighed heavily on me throughout the day.

I worried, and I worried. Because suddenly I felt pressure on my eye. I felt like something was in my eye. But I managed to get through Sunday night and through Monday morning until I could get in to see Dr. Vincent.

He did all the tests, put drops in my eye, checked the eye pressure. He said the cornea was a little bit cloudy, but everything else was fine. I had not managed to scratch my cornea.

It was just irritated. And it immediately felt better, thank goodness, once he put those drops in, whatever they were.

Whew! I dodged a bullet.

Purslane flowers growing in the cement crack

I don’t know when I’m allowed to rub my eye, but my eyes are itchy and burn from whatever the Oklahoma wind is managing to sweep right down the plain. And it’s taking every bit of resolve I have not to reach up like I always have and rub it.

Tomorrow morning I see Dr. Vincent to see if I’m ready for the left eye surgery. And if I can manage to get to that point and it’s successful, at least I won’t feel drunk trying to see out of two very different eyes. One very much improved, one very near-sighted.

At night before I go to sleep, I am to tape a plastic piece over my right eye so I don’t inadvertently hurt it during the night. The instructions say to put a piece of tape over the plastic eye shield to hold it securely over the eye throughout the night.

As with most things, I seem to err on over doing. I put the tape they gave me over it. Then I add about 4-5 strips of regular Scotch tape. Just to be sure it’s really secure.

Then come morning I have to peel it off, and I probably take facial hair and a bit of eye brow with it.

Whew! It’s kind of a shock to the system. But at least I haven’t hurt my eye during the night due to the clear plastic eye shield falling off.

One more day and it will be a week since cataract surgery. Then I can ease up on the long list of instructions until the next eye surgery.

Dr. Vincent told me to go home and sit and relax. Me? Just sit and relax? He said why don’t you go home and watch a soap opera or something.

That kind of aggravated me. I don’t sit around and watch soap operas. And I hate to just sit around. It’s boring and not in my nature.

I told him that I have all these things I need to be doing. Dead heading the petunias that look so sad because they’re drooping. Clipping the many peppers that are ripe and dangling from the pepper plant.

But I know once I let myself get started out on the patio, I might forget myself and overdo or get dirt in my eye. So it’s best to refrain for now.

Peppers on my pepper plant

And I can’t for the life of me remember not to bend over. He said he didn’t think it was a big deal. But still I worry. You only get one shot at this cataract surgery I imagine.

Have you ever tried to go through your day, with all the things we women do during any given day, and not bend over? Not to mention getting through your day without walking into walls because your eyes are vastly different.

A week sure seems like a long time suddenly.

I didn’t mention this yesterday because I was so nervous about my eye that I didn’t even want to talk about it until I saw Dr. Vincent.

The day Abi died, I thought the remaining hours of May 10th would never end. For awhile it seemed like time kind of stood still. I thought night would never come so I could sleep and escape the pain for awhile.

Three months later, I’m still grieving. But time is not moving at a snail’s pace any more. I still look at her framed photo and my eyes tear up. I tell myself not to get so upset that I cry and irritate my eye right now.

In fact I had a talk with myself before I started this cataract surgery journey and told myself in no uncertain terms that I had to watch it with the crying.

This would not have been possible a month or so ago. But time does dim the pain of loss to a degree. Otherwise we’d never live through it.

Now if I can just relax, but not to the point that I forget and rub my itchy eye.



  1. Charlie’s “problem” was more than likely caused by stress. Our animals respond to our own levels of stress. We had two collie dogs at one time and one of them had the same problem as soon as we just started to discuss moving. Very sensitive animals.

    I have very itchy dry eyes and lots of allergies. Taking Benadryl or another like Allegra which is a 24 hour non-drowsy formula might help. It does me. And when your eyes are all healed, try using Zaditor antihistamine eye drops for the itching. They are great and can be purchased at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, etc.

  2. Brenda, don’t take Benedryl. My doctor told me the last time I was there–a couple of weeks ago–that there have been studies recently that show Benadryl may increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. I haven’t seen the studies, but I do trust the information I get from my doctor. There are alternative antihistamines that you can use for the same results. I take Zyrtec for my mosquito allergy. There is a store brand of it which is cheaper.

    So sorry Charlie is having problems. I hope they aren’t serious. How disturbing to come home to finding the evidence. Especially after your worry about injuring your eye. I’m glad everything was okay with it. I hope you can give yourself some time to sit and rest. I know you read a lot. That might be a way to encourage yourself to just sit for a spell. Ask yourself what terrible thing will happen if you don’t get up and accomplish something. I find that works sometimes for me. The answer is usually “Nothing!”

  3. Ugh. Brenda, I totally get it. I tore my cornea this spring…no idea how, just happened. I had terrible drops and had to go back to the doctor every day for a two weeks until it healed. It was not an easy time…I hope you are feeling better soon…

  4. Charlie my be really stressed over all of the life changes he’s had to deal with. Having you change your daily routine may be disconcerting for him as well. Hopefully all will be well with him when your surgery/recovery period is complete.
    My post op eye patch was clear, the plastic had no visual distortion and was ventilated. I would wear it on various times during the day when I knew I might accidentally rub my eye(s). Call your doctor whenever you think something might not be right. Never guess when it comes to your vision.

  5. I rub my eyes a lot because of allergies. I don’t know what I’d do if I had cataract surgery. Yikes! Also, the not bending over for a week…that would be really hard, too. I bend over many times a day – to pick things up, wipe the floors, put the cat food bowls on the floor…how do you not feed the cats, right? How do you not bend over to pick up laundry or the laundry basket? Etc, etc.

    I read through the comments and saw that you came home to blood and diarrhea from Charlie. Oh no, that doesn’t sound good at all. Hope and pray all will be OK with him. Keep us posted.

  6. Our 14 year old Cocker has had diarrhea for almost a week. Everything he ate went right through him in about 2 hours. Of course, the vet wasn’t in over the week-end and when I called yesterday, they were full up. Fortunately, they had a cancellation yesterday afternoon so we took him. The vet examined him and ran tests and everything checked out okay. She couldn’t find anything wrong with him; she said he must have had a tummy upset. She gave us pills to settle his stomach down. We gave him one when we got him home. He is to eat boiled chicken and rice for a few days. He slept through the night last night without one incident. We gave him another pill this morning and fed him and he is back to normal. He will have to continue his pills twice a day for one week. We were really worried because it came on so suddenly, lasted so long, and he had not eaten anything other than his dog food. I know it is impossible but try not to worry because hopefully it is just a tummy upset, too. I’ll be praying for both of you.

  7. I see that another reader has already suggested Benadryl; this really might help with the itchiness. Glad that you had not damaged the eye; I remember being so nervous after my first cataract surgery — afraid I was going to damage my eye and going crazy just sitting around reading, etc. It would almost be nice if you could sleep until the eye heals completely and then just get up and go about your normal routine. But soon your eye will be healed, you will be ready for that second surgery and this aggravation will be a memory.

    I know that you miss Abi but time does make the pain less sharp. We all miss that beautiful Abi too but we love reading about and seeing pictures of your handsome Charlie. Take care of yourself.

      1. Oh my goodness; just went back and read through your responses to today’s comments. I know you are worried about Charlie — I hope this is just an upset stomach and that he will be better soon. Maybe he got upset with you being out of the house for a while.

  8. Thank goodness your eye is ok. I think that like everything else the more they tell you not to do something the more you want to do it. As for the itchy eye maybe he can give you something for that or perhaps as someone else suggested Benadryl.

    I hope your next appointment is a great success. Have a wonderful day.

    Today marks 3 years since I lost my sweet Munchen and I can tell you that I miss her as much today as the day I lost her and there are days I cry that she is gone.

  9. Would a pair of non-prescription glasses (clear) be helpful to keep you from touching your eyes? Or a cheap pair of sunglasses with the lenses knocked out? And, this is going to sound silly, how about putting a rolled up towel around your front waistline with a belt to remind you when you start to bend over? I hope you keep doing well.

    1. Charlie’s nearly 13 pounds the vet said today. When I left the maintenance man was around to help me. But when we got back home, I had to carry him in. Too hot to leave him in the car while I go find someone.

  10. I don’t know if you want to bother to purchase more tape at this point, but I use a blue tape made by Nexcare to help hold my oxygen tubes in place at night. It stays secure but is easy to remove from your skin.

    Gorgeous pictures!

    1. I have to put the patch on tonight, and then I think I get a break till the next eye. I’ll pick some of that tape up before the other one. Thanks for telling me about it.

  11. You won’t ever forget Abi, and there will be times even 20 years after her passing that you will think of her and tear up. Love doesn’t disappear, and neither do our memories unless we get some dreaded brain disease. But time moderates all things, even if initially we don’t think it could ever possibly be so.

    I recall reading in miscellaneous articles and such that, in several different studies, a person touches their face in some manner a shockingly high number of times just in a day. I forget the number, but the research is probably out there. We get an itch, we want to scratch, it’s an automatic reflex. Those are particularly hard to try and control. We think a sad thought, we often tear up automatically. I have noticed that my emotions are now MUCH closer to the surface of my skin than they used to be, too, and I don’t know if it’s just related to getting older or what, exactly. Why would getting older cause one to get more emotional? I find myself sometimes tearing up several times a day, even from just reading a news story or recalling a memory – and not always SAD things! I’ve turned into a regular water spout. Perhaps its part of getting older too, that what seem to be allergies have multiplied many times over. It seems I can’t walk two blocks outside these days without stopping to wipe my eyes and blow my nose! Sigh. You are wise to take it easy and limit your exposure to potential irritants until you are fully healed.

    1. I thought for sure I was going to cry after walking in today and seeing blood on the floor. But I didn’t. Maybe as we get older, we just can’t take as much. Maybe we’re just not as resilient.

  12. I had cataract surgery on both eyes about 2 years ago… I found all those drops to be the worst part of the experience…glad when I was done with them. During the 2 weeks period between the surgeries whenever things got wonky with my vision I wore an eye patch over the eye that I hadn’t had surgery on… it was easier just looking out through the one that had been corrected. As for bending over I think they are more concerned about bending and picking up heavy objects or being bent over for a prolonged period of time…. you should be fine just deadheading petunias for a bit…and its a task I find very satisfying and calming to clean up around the garden. Hang in there … another week or so and you’ll be astounded at how much better you can see and will be aghast at all the stuff you didn’t see before. I know you did some cleaning before the operation …so did I…and then afterwards I did even more when I actually saw the dirt that had been invisible to this near-sighted old lady…take care….hugs!

    1. They told me I could water my flowers with the hose, but that was it. Afraid dirt will blow around in this windy state I guess.

  13. I’m glad your eye is healing well. A couple months after my dad passed away, I had to have a vein cauterized in my nose that was causing frequent nosebleeds. Afterwards, I wasn’t supposed to blow my nose for a few weeks, so I had to deliberately avoid situations and triggers and refocus my thoughts so as not to think too much about my dad and start to cry. I actually felt better, grief-wise, after that.

    1. Isn’t that strange, not feeling the grief after that? Of course when they tell you not to do something, suddenly you need to do it.


  15. These are always the problems Brenda between the necessities and then real life. Stopping for anything isn’t an option for lots of people. The daily grind holds them to it and it’s unrelenting. Take care of another thing, pay never ending bills or whatever it is that demands you – lots of people don’t feel choice for time out and justifiably so.

    We always miss them and we will always love them. Time does have it’s own anesthetic in it as something sure has to help because we just cannot live in torture every day. Over 5 months here and moments when I feel the pain like it was yesterday still happen with great regularity.

    Love is like this of course but I try to put faith in that love and know that it’s a powerful force always mean’t for a purpose. We won’t fully see or even understand that purpose ourselves until we too have gone full circle …but put faith in it I do.

    Get well.

    1. Lord, I just got home. I had a doctor’s appointment with my intern this morning. Had to fast. Had not eaten. Got home at noon to do my eye drops, and there was diarrhea and blood all over the floor. I immediately called the vet and they said bring Charlie in. So I did, but his bladder was too empty to see much. So I need to figure out a day when I can take him and drop him off so his bladder can fill and they can do the ultrasound again. Like to scared me half to death.

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