A long time ago I took a quilt class from a teacher who lives on the east coast. She told the story of teaching at a quilt conference in California many years in a row. There was one lady who joined her class year after year. (I have to admit I would have loved to have been able to do that too.) Each year this lady’s quilts got gaudier and gaudier… or so I understood from what I was told. Then the lady had cataract surgery. It wasn’t the colors. They weren’t gaudy, it was the brightness. When she returned to the conference the next year she discussed how bright her quilts now were. I was worried about my quilts even though my family and Otterbees haven’t seen anything wrong with them.
My eyes have been getting foggier and foggier. I have to renew my driver’s license in a year so I decided I had better get new glasses. I was not surprised when my Doc said new glasses would not solve the problem. New eyes, or essentially cataract surgery, was the answer. My husband had one done two years ago. He is about the most squeamish person I know when it comes to seeing Doctors or having surgery, but he managed to have the surgery and came out from under the eye patch with his famous words “HOLY COW!” Two years later he didn’t even flinch when he went in for the second eye. If he could survive that, so could I.
Last week I put my head down on a table, had my head taped so it would not move and stared into a light which I will swear was for no more than five minutes. The doctor said it was probably more like 18 or 20 minutes. The I.V. in my arm must have put me out and I never felt a thing. I went home with a patch on my eye and could barely see the TV that evening with the one bad eye I still had. The next day the Doc took off the patch. I did not say HOLY COW, but I did notice that the picture on the wall with bright colors, was even brighter. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and the lights in the store were brighter. I could see the faces of the other customers. The soup and cereal aisles were bright. On the way home I could read the street signs before I was on top of them.
My living room quilt was brighter and the quilt I had just made and had titled “EYE TEST” was brighter. The colors were the same, it was the brightness that stunned me. If I closed the good eye, I could see things the way they were. I spent the day blinking on and off between the good eye and the bad eye looking at everything in the house. The worst of it is that I am more wrinkled than I used to be. I see scrapes and scratches on our wood floor that were not there before. I got onto the computer and it was brighter. That is a good thing . I could tell the time on the clock across the room. I must have looked pretty silly blinking on and off because my husband made a face at me, blinking the way I did. It snowed over night and the snow on the trees was clear and bright. It was pretty, but I would be happier to have it go away now.
I had lunch with my daughter on the weekend and told her of my brighter world and I think she cringed at the thought that I have been driving around town like this. I don’t drive at night and I only go to places I know. I could see the street, the lights, the cars I just couldn’t see the names of the streets. But I knew where I was going. Then she wondered about the 90-year-old ladies at her church who are driving around town and proud of it – but maybe they have already had cataract surgery.