The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Cataract Surgery Wasn’t As Bad as I Thought

When I was a kid, I started out listening to classical music because that’s what my dad had in the house. Beethoven was one of my favorites. I was impressed with the fact he continued to compose wonderful music even after he was deaf.

I thought, sure, a deaf composer. The gods can be cruel. As soon as I thought that, I believed they’d look at me and say, “Okay, ace, how would you like to be a blind writer?”

Screw that, I said.

eyedoctorFor years, I didn’t even need glasses. Then a few years ago things started getting foggy and I didn’t even live in San Francisco. The optometrist said I’d probably need cataract surgery in a few years. Excuse me, people poking at my eyes with sharp knives, I don’t think so.

I needed a really bright light to read. I used the zoom function to make type bigger on the screen. It got to the point where I couldn’t see well enough to drive at night. Then, the last time we grove from north Georgia to see family in Memphis, my wife asked why I missed some turn-offs. When I told her I couldn’t read the road signs, she said it was time to take care of those cataracts.

This probably happened because the gods remembered my “screw that” comment when I was in high school.

The doctor fixed the right eye last fall. The surgery probably took only 15 or 20 minutes and the fact that I was awake (sort of) didn’t become the huge freak out I thought it would be. The next day, the right eye had darned good vision in it. Having to put eye drops in my eye three times a day for ten days was worse than the surgery. They tickle.

So, now it’s time to fix the left eye. It seemed to me that it had either gotten worse or I was more aware of its blur a lot more now than I was six months ago. This morning the doctor said it had gotten worse.

Now, I’m not a big doctoring kind of person, so even though I’ve done this thing before, I’m not excited about doing this thing again. I do like the idea of seeing a lot better. Unlike the talented and impressive blind cook from Master Chef, Christine Ha, I don’t know quite how to do what I do without seeing what I’m doing.

Somehow, we always manage to worry about stuff and then when it comes and goes, it turns out that the worry was worse than the event. Perhaps my writer’s imagination gives me too many ideas about cataract surgery gone wrong, you know, like having the eyeball end up facing inside rather than outside or suddenly being able to see ghosts.

Until mid-April when the surgery is scheduled, I plan to live in denial about it. If I can maintain the pretense mid-April is a hundred years away, I’ll worry less and think of fewer horror movie scenarios.

I mean who the hell wants to write a novel called “The Man Whose Eyeball Fell in the Disposal,” (based on a true story)?


AtSeaBookCoverMalcolm R. Campbell is the author of “At Sea,” a novel about an anti-war sailor serving on board an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War.



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2 thoughts on “Cataract Surgery Wasn’t As Bad as I Thought

  1. Best of luck on your surgery. Seeing is a pretty cool thing.

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