ONDBEAT: After cataract surgery, vision no longer on the blink

I find it interesting that in each decade that we live we often find ourselves surrounded by others who are just like us.

When I was in kindergarten at Peter Pan Schoolette, for example, I hobnobbed with fellow 5-year-olds who like me didn’t read, but we could color pictures and play rhythm-band instruments like little dickens.

This seemed to please our teachers so we kept it up until spring graduation in matching green gowns, granting most of us carte blanche into the same elementary school where we advanced to preliminary synchronized reading lessons and one-word discussions focused on young siblings Dick, Jane and Sally (Look. See. Spot. Go.).

This “me too” trend continued through my school years.

In sixth grade when The Monkees debuted their new TV show on one of the three available network channels of the era, my friends and I started a fan club and created a Monkees scrapbook, a red spiral notebook adorned with pictures of Davy, Micky (my favorite), Mike and Peter clipped from Tiger Beat magazine and our adoring writings about them. The scrapbook is still tucked somewhere in the back of one of my closets — or did I donate it to Goodwill?

After shared high school experiences mostly involving teenage rebellion, many of my colleagues and I went on to share our collegiate years with other like-minded peers attending various classes at various times, depending on our majors and penchants for rising, and weekend fraternity parties that were beery, beery fun.

Then all of a sudden it was time for another graduation. Like it or not we embarked on separate paths to pursue new lives and careers, not exactly sure where we might be going or what we would be doing.

As the years progressed, our shaky 20s cemented into more concrete 30s and 40s. Our interests stair-stepped on mutual topics such as: jobs, apartment dwelling, getting married, homeownership, having kids and so on, mostly in that order.

Now, decades later, the people and topics may have changed but the issues are still common.

Ripening Baby Boomers, as I like to call them, are often still facing similar matters, this time having more to do with parental rather than child care and — lately — cataracts.

For the past few months I’ve noticed that since my favorite team of Shallotte ophthalmologists has been carefully monitoring and documenting the “progression” (if you can call it that) of these little vision impediments, I’m encountering people dealing with the same issue.

I thought I was unique when I announced to several the April surgical date for one eye that finally had to be scheduled for an outpatient procedure this year so I can see at night. But no.

More often than not, people’s responses were about how they’d already had theirs done or were about to have theirs done.

On the day of surgery, I found myself lined up single file with more vision-challenged people in the surgical unit at Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport. It was akin to elementary school except this time we were lying on gurneys awaiting intravenous doses of sedative (please) as well as a heavy dose of that stuff that dilates your eye.

Having been ordered not to eat or drink anything after midnight, we were also hungry and dehydrated.

The procedure I had dreaded was all over in a few minutes. I left the hospital accompanied by a caring friend, aka seeing-eye person and designated driver, in a way relaxed mood demanding breakfast and water.

The next morning, there we all were again in the doctor’s waiting room for our post-operative checkups, sporting identical jumbo black sunglasses and carrying our little bags filled with eye drops.

I wasn’t unique after all, but I was surrounded by peers.

Here’s hoping we all have perfect vision in 2020.

Laura Lewis is assistant editor for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.