"We're doing the left eye, correct?" "Right… er, I mean yes, correct, left!"

This morning I had the second cataract surgery, replacing the lens of my left eye with a synthetic replacement. It was uneventful, which is — in its way — an interesting comment on human adaptability. I was surprised by how a procedure that I had experienced for the first time in my life a few weeks ago could feel routine. Of course I’m not planning to do this again, so this learning and adaptation is largely wasted, but even so….
The process was not exactly the same, of course. I had a different anesthesiologist who dialled in a slightly lower level of sedation. This meant that I was much more aware of things: while I didn’t feel any pain, some steps were slightly uncomfortable, and therefore more distinctive. So I could tell when the broken-up remains of my lens were being aspirated, and the way the doctor “polished” the capsule prior to inflating it and inserting the new lens.
After the first procedure on my right eye, the contrast between “old” and “new” was so startling that I overlooked the fact that my eye was quite uncomfortable for a couple of days, and it took over 24 hours for all of the effects of the procedure to subside. Unrealistically, I expected the second operation to give me perfect eyesight immediately, and I was briefly disappointed. But over the rest of the day things settled down nicely.
One consequence of the second operation is that I can no longer cheat: I really need reading glasses for all close work. During the period between the first and second procedures, I could read things by bringing them close to my “old” eye, even without glasses. That’s over, for ever. I’m not sure exactly how I will organize my life going forward; right now, my impulse is to leave reading glasses all over the apartment, just in case I unexpectedly need a pair! (Don’t worry, Kate — I won’t!) Perhaps I’ll switch from wearing t-shirts to shirts with front pockets, just to carry my glasses. I certainly don’t like wearing them around my neck on a lanyard….
Tomorrow morning I have my first post-op checkup. Hopefully my intra-ocular pressure will return to normal more quickly than with my right eye. I’ll be working at home for a couple of days, since I don’t want to drive until everything’s settled down. When I do, I’m looking forward to improved twilight and night driving. Even with glasses, my cataracts used to cause glare from headlights and streetlights, which was becoming quite stressful. And now… well, I just looked out of the window (it’s 11:30pm here), and light sources were beautifully clear, with no glare at all. Let’s hear it for bionic eyes!