Life with a new lens 

Ranger Rich

A guy stuck a needle in my eye the other day. Here you might be thinking:

— Perhaps I was undergoing a procedure to replace my natural lens with a permanent intraocular lens implant.

— You'd rather have a needle stuck in your eye than listen to even 10 more seconds of fiscal cliff babble from House Speaker John Boehner (pronounced BAY-ner, to which I say, "Sure it is").

— I probably deserved it.

— If Interior Secretary Ken "I'll Punch You Out" Salazar actually tried to throw a punch, would his silly cowgirl hat fall off?

(Note: That had nothing to do with the needle in my eye and I hereby apologize to Mr. Salazar. Frankly, it's none of my business if a man wears a funny hat. And where is it written that a man cannot ride a horse sidesaddle?)

Anyway, the correct guess was the first one. I had eye surgery to replace my own lens with an artificial lens. Today, I'm happy to say I see things very clearly.

For example, I see the owner of The Broadmoor resort has purchased our village's daily newspaper. That's nice. Now, when you have a complaint about the Gazette, instead of talking to a customer service representative at a phone center in Florida, you'll be able to talk directly with a poor, sad, homesick Russian or Irish servant woman carrying a stack of freshly starched bedsheets.

Also, with my new eye I can clearly see Gazette editorial wizard Wayne Laugesen learning how to mow fairways.

My actual procedure was cataract surgery, in which the clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with one made of plastic.

Common misconceptions about a cataract include it being a "film over the eye" and that it can "spread from one eye to the other" and, not to be forgotten, it's caused by "too much masturbation." (Scientific footnote: While masturbation has not been linked to cataracts, overdoing it can lead to optic nerve damage and blindness. Not to mention being thrown out of Pizza Hut.)

The surgery was performed by Dr. John Wright at the Wright Eye Center here in our village. Dr. Wright operated on my left eye, which confused me a lot. (I had assumed it would be done by his colleague, Dr. Wong. I guess I didn't know Wright from Wong.)

Sorry. I'm on pain medication.

This was my second cataract operation, the right eye having received a similar fake lens two years ago. Doctors told me back then I was a bit young (55) for cataracts. Conversely, one of them told me I was a bit old for unlaced sneakers and gigantic baggy gangsta' pants with my boxer shorts sticking out the top.

(When that doctor went to sit down I pulled the chair out from under him and he understood.)

The procedure last week began two days before the operation with a long series of eye drops. I do not like eye drops. I blink and close my eyes and turn my head away and swat at the hand holding the dropper — even when it's my own hand. I also hear the voices of elderly women speaking to me in Armenian, but that's probably a separate column.

There were more eyedrops the day of surgery, and then the anesthesiologist entered the room. He made me listen to portions of Mitt Romney's campaign speeches and I awoke half an hour later with a new eye.

For several more nights I have to wear a plastic eye guard/goggle thing so I don't gouge my eye out while I sleep. But the good news is that for the first time in years I can see things in sharp focus. It's amazing and fascinating and exciting. On the downside, exactly when did I start to look like Queen Elizabeth?

Oh, and the post-op guidelines include this actual sentence: "Check with your doctor before resuming sexual activity or driving."

More importantly, check with your wife before trying to resume sexual activity WHILE driving. I'm still scrubbing the passenger-side dashboard to remove the coffee she blew out of her nose.

Rich Tosches (rangerrich@csindy.com) also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.

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