Perfect Sense

Tri-color Wing Spread

This is not a broken wing, but just a lovely reminder of
the beauty of unbroken!!

bottom flourish for vine

Lately I have been feeling a bit like a bird with a broken wing. Not that I could ever fly of course, that is saved for the realm of dreams. But, when it seems as if your very senses are abandoning you, you do feel kind of defective or broken going about your day…at least in those moments when it gets in the way of the normal functioning we might take for granted, like answering the phone or walking in bright sunlight without the light scattering uncomfortably through the diffuse haze of a cataract.

So with two senses on the fritz, the 80% hearing loss and the clouded cataract vision, I was particularly susceptible to the themes in a movie I stumbled upon one insomniac night on Netflix. And as I prepare myself for cataract surgery next week, I find myself thinking a lot about these precious tools by which we engage and interpret the nature of our existence. Other than the hypothetical question most people ask at one time or another, “If you had to lose one of your senses which would you choose?”….or “between vision and hearing which would you rather give up if you were forced to choose?”…we pretty much don’t think about what is working fine.

The movie I stumbled upon is entitled “Perfect Sense.” I think I found it browsing the International Film section. Here is a blurb about Perfect Sense off of the Rotten Tomatoes site: “A hit at Sundance ’11 and winner of the Ediburgh Film Festival’s prize for Best New British Feature, the amazing genre creation directed by David Mackenzie stars Eva Green and Ewan McGregor as witnesses to the end of the world– strangers who form a desperate romantic connection in the face of an apocalyptic epidemic of sensory loss.”

The title for me did not reveal at first the themes in the movie, as I wondered what made perfect sense to do or to happen. But, it didn’t take too long for the first wave of sensory loss to occur in the film to realize the thematic spin. The movie at its heart is a love story but set in a situation where people were losing their senses on a global scale, one by one. The first to go was the sense of smell followed by the sense of taste. The female lead is an epidemiologist trying to figure if it was a virus or disease or what was happening to everyone. The male lead is a chef in a restaurant. As smell and taste are important to dining out, the restaurant was in serious trouble and considered closing. But, as each sense was taken people seemed to simply adjust and get used to it before the next loss would hit with turmoil anew. There was a scene I liked where the chef was eating something crunchy and then something smooth and you see a light switch go on. You knew in the absence of taste and smell, he was thinking texture. I liked the idea that when we dine out, it is not just for the taste of food, but the companionship of others and shared experience. Experience shared trumps the vehicle detecting the experience.

In the story an event would occur before a loss, such as the world being consumed by a raging spate of  uncontrollable gluttony with scenes of people tearing raw meat off of bones and stuffing all kinds of things into their mouths with the loss of taste in its aftermath. Raging anger takes over the world with fighting in the streets, lovers saying the utmost in unkind, hateful words to each other…and this preceded the third loss which was hearing. And, this is when our lovers become separated. He is hit by the impulse first and she runs away from the hateful bombardment of words. Her anger phase happens after that, and ultimately they frantically seek each other out. But, they nearly miss, he is looking for her but can’t hear her car, and she can’t hear him calling out after he sees her driving away. Finally, he runs out into the vacant street and she somehow turns the car around and sees him. She gets out and they run into each other’s arms and the world goes dark.

Perhaps the event leading up to a particular loss adds a philosophic element to the story, not just physical. If we are screaming hateful things at each other, do we deserve to lose hearing, do we want to lose hearing? I think maybe it is more about what is the most important thing  we do with our senses. We need them to protect us…see danger coming, feel the heat of a stove….but maybe what is most important is how we touch each other and that is the ultimate connection….the ultimate solace.

But, for me right now, it makes perfect sense to do the thing I dread,  which is having a doctor operate on my eyes. And, while I am AWAKE!! Yikes! In reality I can’t wait to get rid of the obscuring fog and thickness of my  existing lenses. I want to once again see for miles and miles and take clear sight for granted!! Though it won’t be nearly as much fun as buying a new lens for my camera and a heck of a lot scarier. These new lenses must last a very long time and as a product are a true gift of modern medicine giving sight, where in the past, affected individuals slowly and irrevocably lost their vision.

top flourish for vine

Signed: Anxious in Lighthouse Point,

Judy 🙂

PS: Please feel free to tell me of all the people you know who had cataract surgery and thought it was easy peasy!!




~ by Judy on February 19, 2016.

30 Responses to “Perfect Sense”

  1. Praying for you Judy. I’ve known many who’ve gone through cataract surgery with no problem. ❤

  2. Judy, Great message. Hope it inspires others. Jack

  3. Good luck with the upcoming surgery! From what I’ve heard, it does wonders. (Also, thanks for the film recommendation; “Perfect Sense”sounds intriguing.)

  4. Well, hooray for you! I’m so glad to hear that you’re finally having your cataract surgery. You know my story, of course, and now that I’m eight months past surgery and all is well, I certainly can say with some confidence that you’re going to be more than happy with the results.

    I do know one person — and only one — who had a bad experience. However, he was someone who almost literally picked a surgeon out of the phone book, and who didn’t know the surgeon at all. It was a bad decision-making process that led to that bit of misery. You won’t have that problem.

    I presume you’re going to have new lenses implanted, too, rather than just cataract removal. Yes? No? I have friends who’ve gone both ways, and all have seen improvement. (No pun intended there.)

    I was trying to think of what helpful hints I might offer. I’ll add them here, rather than in an email, just so anyone else reading can see them, too.

    1. There was no pain at all. My surgeon used deadening eye drops, so there were no needles, either. And, there was no need for an eye patch, as they used to do. I was ready to head home a half-hour after surgery.

    2. With the first eye, I accepted an oral sedative. The process was so simple and painless that for the second, I didn’t even have that. It was most interesting to experience the process, and to listen to the surgical techs debate whether to have chicken wings or Chinese take-out for lunch — at least, until the surgeon hushed them.

    3. The first night after each surgery, my vision got progressively worse, and I was scared to death. No reason to worry. It was post-surgical swelling, and the steroid eye drops I was prescribed got things back to normal within a day or two.

    4. Your eyes may stay dilated — really dilated! — for some time. For about two weeks, I had to use sunglasses to use the computer, because the screen was so bright.

    5. My vision did keep improving for about a month, as swelling went down, and etc. Today? I’m at 20/20, and happy as a clam.

    Best wishes! It’s nerve-wracking, no doubt, but before long your vision’s going to be as good as that heron’s!

    • Great rundown!! I have to take antibiotic drops and anti-inflammatory drops two days ahead, nothing day of…and the steroid drops afterwards. After much debate I decided to go with the doctor’s recommendation for the multi-focal lenses in both eyes. My surgeon is highly respected and did my husband’s one eye…his other will be due in the not too distant future. His lens was the adaptive type and I guess the second eye might be multi-focal…even though this doctor is not for mixing as a strategy.

      I guess my fear has been, what if I do something to screw it up like look the wrong way or something. But it sounds like that isn’t possible for me to do. And they fix it so you can’t blink. Or if they ask me to do something, I don’t think I will be able to hear, so I worry about that too.

      But, your words really help and I am just going to trust, after all if you did it, so can I!! Right!!

      I’ll keep you posted. Surgery on the first eye is Wednesday the 24th. So maybe no computer for a couple of days. Oh they did give me an eye patch to tape on just to cover the eye while asleep.

      In my grandmother’s day, cataract surgery meant loss of peripheral vision, but not any more. I remember helping her with drops after her surgery years and years ago.

      Thanks for weighing in!!

      • Re: peripheral vision — I’ve had no loss at all. I go back in April to be tested again, but they’re more concerned with my (controlled) glaucoma than the lens implants, if I understand things corrected.

        And no — you don’t have to worry about blinking. They somehow fix your eyelids so that doesn’t happen. And, they put some masking tape across my forehead to keep my head from moving. I asked if they were using duct tape, and they just giggled and said, “Everybody asks that.” But, no: it was some sort of gentle surgical tape that came right off.

        I’m trying to remember any post-op pain. I did have some with the first eye, but I took one Tylenol, went to sleep, and the next morning all was good. It wasn’t really pain — more like having sand in my eye.

        The funniest thing, for me, was that it took nearly two months to stop going to the bathroom at night to take my contact lenses out. And, after decades of not being able to rub my eyes because of those lenses, now I can. It’ll be fun to hear all your tales!

      • Funny how ingrained habits are. We used to have a light bulb in the utility room with a string to pull it on. Now we have a wall switch, and I still sometimes reach up for that string if I am not thinking.

        I did ask the surgical coordinator what things after the surgery would mean a trip right away back to the doctor, and basically it was sharp pain that doesn’t go away in 30min with pain killer, or the vision goes dark. But, those things aren’t the norm. There is a post op check the next day though for everyone, then 1 week out.

      • That’s exactly the routine I followed — a check the next day, then in a week, then in a month.

  5. Good luck Judy, I’m sure the surgery will be successful and I hope you have a quick recovery.

  6. I hope cataract surgery goes well for you. From friends and relatives who have had it, it will be and you will see as well as when you were a teenager!

    • That is a really good thought!! Even though I never wore glasses or anything and only developed the typical ‘long arm disease’ people get in their mid 40’s, I probably have forgotten what my vision was like as a teenager! I suppose this means I will be able to see my wrinkles much better too!! Aging soft focus isn’t entirely without its silver lining.

  7. COUNTLESS thoughts and prayers to you as you approach, go through, and heal after your surgery! I’m sorry that your other senses were failing you as your poor eyes were weakened, though. I know how frustrating (frightening?) it can be at times. I grew up with a sibling who spent childhood in a world of being borderline deaf, and to this day I speak to him to his face so he can see me speak. 🙂 But I know you’ll see all the beautiful birds, and wetlands, all that better with your new eyes! XOXO!!

    • Right, that will be nice. In fact yesterday my husband took me to Loop Road in Big Cypress since he knew I’d be a bit out of commission for a month probably. He was a great spotter for gators and birds for me..LOL! And, it was a stellar photo day. Seemed like at every opportunity a skittish bird would land in great proximity for me. Sounds weird but I had quite a bit of fun shooting some black vultures. They usually lope along or hop away on approach. One even left me a feather. Yesterday they just stood around and looked at me. Ouu, is that bad?

      Sorry about your sib with the hearing problem though. I didn’t grow up with hearing issues but it is definitely frustrating to not be able to carry on a decent phone conversation. Even with people looking at me, I have trouble. Some days better than others. Grrr!! Unexpected to say the least. My CapTel at home is a HUGE help but I need one here at the office too.

      Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!! Will keep you posted.

      • OHHHH I adore the vultures. LOVE them. Always have — they’re such amazing creatures, so vital to any ecosystem. I actually know a woman who works with wildlife rehab / rescue (with raptors), and she says they’re a continual favorite among the wildlife raptor rescuers. I’m thinking b/c they’re so critical in the ecosystems, but so very looked down upon!

        Definitely keep me in the loop with your procedures and healing. I can’t imagine the frustration — it’s one thing to be born with it, but another to learn how to cope with it and re-learn. Above all else, be gentle with yourself!

      • Oh thanks!! I look forward to posting the vulture faces. Black vultures and Turkey vultures both actually have very warm expressive eyes. That actually did surprise me first time I saw that!! More later…just have to find out the rules on looking at a computer afterwards.

  8. I LOVE this photo! My husband still talks about how happy he was with his cataract surgeries – easy and with great results in terms of vision.

    • While image isn’t a brand new one, it really does remain one of my very favourites. The Louisiana Heron has beautiful coloring and the feather layers are just gorgeous!! I really thank you for commenting on the picture.

      And yes, I do hear of such great success from so many on the cataract surgeries that I just have to expect the same. My doctor has had great success with the multi-focal lenses and despite the nighttime halos, I decided to go with his recommendations. I’ll be bionic!!

  9. I have held off commenting on your message. As a friend, your upcoming trials hit too close to home. I am fraught with anxiety and concern. And as your friend, I pray that everything comes out better than expected. But as an outdoorsman, I DEMAND that the surgery be successful! You are a magnificent resource – a treasure too valuable to risk.

    • Well, not to worry!! Even though I am not exactly looking forward to the experience, I know this is an often performed and successful process. I can’t think of any special case on my part which would preclude a great outcome. I am just a worry wart that I could be one of those exception cases. Can’t take things for granted…even though I would like to. I have accepted my doctor’s advise on choosing the multi-focal type lenses which have a night time halo side effect. But, I understand that the brain gets used to that and the trade off is the ability to focus near, medium and far. Technology has advanced a lot in this area since my Grandmother had her surgeries done years ago.

      I really like being considered a magnificent resource….so heaps of thanks for that!! 🙂

  10. Hi Judy. My father had cataract surgery just before Christmas. He’s 96 this year. He said it was a doodle. Didn’t take long. In. Out. Sudden new vision. After 85 years of wearing glasses, he doesn’t need them. He’s tremendously happy about it. Didn’t hurt. Weren’t any fuss. He wishes he’d had it done years ago.

    • Right, especially when you realize how yellow tinted the world was, not just the lack of clarity, you get that wonderful color perception back and such pretty light. How did we ever take that for granted. Course I can see my wrinkles so much better, that is the one kindness of age related soft focus. Not cataracts tho,,they just grow and take away your sight completely.

  11. Hope you are on the mend Judy. Loving that image.

    • I have always loved that wing. Love the feather patterns on it and the way the feathers lift up on the top, and just the general drape of the wing..well and the dusky blue colors. So happy you like it as I know you are particularly observant on things like feather textures and show it in your lovely bird art.

      On the mend for sure with one to go.

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