Chris Salomons: I can see again

Six weeks ago if I had been on the computer or watched some TV for about half an hour, my vision would become out of focus and remain that way for at least four hours. Reading a book was next to impossible. If I did read something, comprehension was not as sharp as it used to be, so often it would take more than one reading for me to understand.

I had already been booked for cataract surgery but at that time I did not think surgery would fix the problem I was having. I did not realize how much your vision can affect even your thinking or even your mental state.

Surgery was a very pleasant experience. I still believe we have the best medical system in the world, and this process only bolstered that feeling. The nursing staff at the Innisfail hospital were very pleasant and efficient. Recovery was easy as well, and I slept for the rest of that day and all night as well. That’s got to be the most sleep I’ve had in 24 hours in my life. Man, that felt good.

It’s a little bit of a process taking eye drops four times a day but with each passing day my vision at least in that eye improved noticeably. Then after three weeks, while sitting at the breakfast table, I looked across the street at the 15-meter spruce and poplar trees and it struck me I was able, without glasses, to see individual leaves at the tops of these trees, and they were at least 75 meters from me. I put my glasses on to see what my other eye could distinguish. It was still not as clear as my newly repaired eye.

Then five weeks after the first surgery I went in to have the second eye done. As I write this, two weeks have passed, and I am just absolutely amazed at what I can see. Add to this the other benefits that came as a result of finally being able to see clearly without the benefit of glasses, particularly the feelings of slight despair have gone. Just feeling better about all that is around me has made me take notice.

As I was reflecting on this, I got to thinking of others whose eyes cannot be repaired. I remembered seeing a fellow who lives in this area as he would walk around with a seeing eye dog. Then I thought that his sight was probably permanently minimal and it almost made me feel guilty my own sight could be so easily repaired.

The only downside (if you can call it that) is that right now the glasses that I had for reading are useless, so having been warned about this before, I now have to use a magnifying glass to read the fine print. I should have done that years ago, I may not have made some of the mistakes I did. So in all likelihood, I will in four more weeks, when I get my eyes tested again, have to wear glasses once more, but this time just for reading which I look forward to being able to do again.

It seems strange to spend so much time and reflection on this subject but when the thought hit me this afternoon, I realized just how blessed we are to be living in this beautiful country where my health, which includes my eyes, is of prime importance. We have it so good in Canada and even in Alberta during an economic downturn, that any complaint about health care should be quashed.

I guess my gratitude should be shouted out because now, once again, I can see.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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