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Madeline gets new eyes: Update

Posted Friday, June 3, 2011, at 9:51 AM

Cadillac Eyes

I've been near-sighted since the 6th grade, when my parents had my tonsils out at the Poplar Bluff hospital. We later figured that the ether experience pushed my eyes over the top, somehow. (Horrible thing for a child to go through!)

My mom used to say, "Madeline, you could NOT have swept the floor! Look at that dirt!" "Mom, I don't see it!" She never believed me.

I credit the drive-in movies for saving me. Mom would pop a big brown grocery bag full of popcorn, and she and Dad would take my brothers and me to the movies, sometimes in our pajamas. When I couldn't see the mouse in the Tom and Jerry cartoon one night, they realized I needed glasses.

I guess the Dexter schools didn't give eye tests back in 1952--or else I missed school that day.

This last year, I experienced dejavu: I just could not see! Road signs, messages on TV, instructions on small bottles--all a mystery. My situation came to a head when I was watching TV with my fiance, and I couldn't see the blood dripping from a man's nose. At that point, we made an appointment to have my eyes examined.

Yep--you guessed it! Cataracts! How could that be? Only OLD people get cataracts! When did I have time to get old?

I've always heard good things about this type of surgery, but I was still nervous. After all, they cut on the EYE! I can't imagine that! The eye is so delicate! How could Dr. Kinder do it without blinding me? And--heck--he looks like a kid!

Well, okay, I thought. What choice do I have? I couldn't go on like this. Dr. Riddle, who referred me to Dr. K, said that I wouldn't pass the eye exam for my next driver's test. No way I'm gonna turn into a little old lady who drives with a magnifying glass! You think I'm making that up, don't you? I knew an Advance lady who did just that! We all pulled over to the curb when we saw her coming!

I had the left eye done last Wednesday. Yes, they did put me "out" (thankfully), and it was over before I knew what was happening--almost. The procedure is like clockwork--gown that opens in the back, nylon booties and hair net, no fingernail polish..start the IV.."This will feel a little hot.." Wake up in recovery and it's over.

I wear the dark glasses during the day, have 3 different eye drops put into my eyes 3 times a day, wear a hard, clear plastic eye patch at night, and avoid lifting anything heavy. On June 1, I have the second eye done.

The results are nothing short of amazing! The computer screen is white, when seen through my left eye--yellow when seen through my right eye. Clear through the left--so blurry through the right that I wonder how I saw anything at all!

There are three types of lenses. The basic one is completely paid for by Medicare. The second one, the Toric, will correct astigmatism and is $800 extra per eye. The third one even has a bifocal and is, I think, $1,000 extra. I went for the middle one.

I'm not supposed to drive for a week, though I did drive to work Friday. I can drive that route from Tillman to Advance with my eyes closed, so I figured it was safe.

I'm not sure I would have had the nerve to undertake this project on my own, so it's fortunate that I met a wonderful man last year, and he's providing the care I need to get through it.

From the suddenly greener hills of Tillman, this is your one-eyed rural reporter Madeline, signing off on a sunny spring morning!

Final Results:

I had the last surgery Wednesday, June 1, 2011, and the results are spectacular! The distant vision in both eyes is 20/25, as compared to my former vision of 20/80 without glasses and 20/50 with glasses! I am amazed by what I can see: The small print on TV; people's faces , (both on television and when I see them across the street); highway signs; the FLOOR--you name it! I can see it!

Now, I have to work out a plan for a pair of glasses that have no correction in the top part but a progressive bifocal arrangement in the bottom part of the lens, so I can both drive a car--and do things like read my watch, read the addresses on my cell phone--and other such close vision tasks. As for working on the computer or reading a book, I'm finding that the cheap bifocals from Walmart are sufficient for that purpose.

Technology is truly a wonderful thing! I can now imagine how our forefathers must have felt when they began to lose their eyesight--with no recourse but to let the cataracts become worse and worse, until total darkness overtook them. So sad!

Thanks to my doctors for giving me back my eyesight!! Now I'll be around to torment my readers for another....unknown number of years!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Congratulations, as the song goes "I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way".

The new lenses as the doctor explained is much like a rolled up newspaper, when inserted in the small slit, the old lens is blasted away, vacuumed up, new lenses inserted like a folded newspaper and unrolls to make a new surface. Amazing.

Put away the magnifying glass and enjoy the days and nights ahead.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sun, May 22, 2011, at 8:49 AM

I'm going to have to inspect your car the next time I see you.

Mother said she had a friend who lived out in the country neat Advance whose eyes were so bad she navigated by the sound of the mailboxes on each side of the road.

She'd drift to the left side of the gravel road until she heard a mailbox crunch, then she'd correct her course until she heard a crunch on the right side of the car.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Sun, May 22, 2011, at 8:57 AM

It's my theory that these old folks who populate our small towns are able to drive the public streets longer than their counterparts in the larger cities.

I knew a lady who was still driving here at the age of 98. Of course, she's not much of a testimony, because she was killed in a car crash a few years ago. The accident may have been her fault.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, May 24, 2011, at 12:39 PM

Ken, this is Madeline. (The system won't let me use my own name.)

I don't believe that I'm the lady your mother knew who knocked down mailboxes, but I think that nearsighted yahoo must have hit my mailbox several years ago. Knocked it all the way over the fence into Carl Rehm's cow pasture! I had to get a new one. It's been hit a couple of times, but she must be getting weak, because she barely dented it the last time.

-- Posted by Tillman Lady on Tue, May 24, 2011, at 12:44 PM

You are right GL. I know a 94-year-old woman who has no problem driving around her small town in New Jersey (at least she hasn't hit anyone yet!?!), but when she has to go to nearby New York City she has someone drive her.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Tue, May 24, 2011, at 1:38 PM

What a funny story, ksteinhoff!! Loved it. I had lasik surgery a few years ago and it was just amazing to me how much better I could see for such a simple procedure. My sister-in-law had it done and to this day she can't speak of it without getting misty about it. One day she was near-blind, and the next day she didn't need glasses. Mine has pretty much worn off...I can't see distance as well anymore and I'm suffering from "long arm disease" where I can't see up close anymore either. My mom had cataract surgery and never used her glasses again. Good luck!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Fri, May 27, 2011, at 2:28 PM

Madeline, Congrats on the new vision!!!I had both of mine done about four years ago at KU Med/KU Eye Center, was awake the whole time, and the bandages came off in six hours!!!Talk about the scales falling from the eyes!!!!I had been trying to see through "wax paper" for some time, probably due to my time in the desert, but the experience when complete is nothing short of amazing!!Glad to hear you are no longer driving to Advance by Braille!!! Regards to all, kkr

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 3:05 PM

I know you're glad the two surgeries are over and as I understand you woke during the second procedure and told the doctors you were awake. Thank goodness they were on their toes and said "Not for long".

Wishing you great 'viewing' now.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Fri, Jun 3, 2011, at 10:50 AM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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