The Day Befores

When I was a teenager and working at Todd Pharmacy, a salesman took out a pencil to note something that I thought was easy to remember.  Commenting on this to him, he simply said, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.”  He might not have said it as advice to a smart-alec teenager, but it sure was.

I am writing this for all of you who might read and say, “Yeah! That’s me, too! People always say, ‘You worry too much,’ and I argue, ‘No, it’s not worry. Because you are a worrier, you aren’t grasping what I’m trying to convey. I just have a bad case of The Day Befores.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The plan was to have all of my surgeries done in 2017. I knew there would likely be one more in 2018—well, two, actually, though both would be the same procedure—but, wow, after the long list of doctors and appointments last year, which had begun in 2013—in which I have done one hundred person’s shares of keeping the health insurance market healthy—I didn’t want to think past my final hospital visit in November.

Tomorrow, I will have the cataract removed from my right eye. I am scheduled to have the one in my left eye taken care of the following Tuesday. The procedures are short—ten minutes, the doctor said—and the odds are good—85%, he cited—that I will no longer need glasses for distance—and I am experiencing this thing which bugs the snot out of me.

I have a bad case of The Day Befores.

I am neither a worrier nor one who gets nervous. I attribute both of these to how the Lord formed me to be a logical and trusting person. I work to learn a thing and keep it in perspective. I do my homework.  I prepare and then rehearse things in my mind, all so that I can have confidence regarding the thing. Because of this practice, as a pastor I ably entered hospital rooms where patients and family members were in the worst way, and I confidently officiated funerals in tragedy after tragedy, and I went into all three of last year’s surgeries totally at ease.  (Yet, during both of my weddings, I was a total jitterbug.)

Regarding surgery, I give the benefit of any potential doubt to whomever I am entrusting myself. By the time the big event arrives, I know what I am getting into, I have confidence that the person to whom I am entrusting myself will do the job well, and I place myself into the Lord’s hands that, come what may, I belong to Him.

Yet . . .

Once again, on The Day Before, my mind will not rest for the ever-present thought that tomorrow will be a different day, and today already is different. Today, I began instilling (that’s the word used in the directions) two eye drops, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, but not an antiperspirant, with the one to be instilled four times a day for another week after surgery, and the other twice a day for three weeks and, you guessed it, each next scheduled instilling will constantly be on my mind until I am done with this regimen on February 27. Tomorrow, I have to fast—no morning coffee to greet my day, so don’t screw that up, Eilers. Around 7:30, Julie and I have to depart for the surgery center.

For one week, I will have one corrected eye and one, um, old eye. How will I see? Will I be able to use my glasses, or will that be a confounding experience? I didn’t think to ask the doctor about that, but I can imagine his answer: “You’ll have to experiment.”

A week from tomorrow, my hope is to fall into the 85% category and have two farsighted eyes, only needing glasses for reading. I have required glasses for far vision since I was in tenth grade, when I recognized that I could not read what Mr. Peterson wrote on the chalkboard in biology class. I have worn contact lenses since I was twenty, and after turning forty—what we older folks call “The Bifocal Years”—I have used a combination of glasses and contacts.

Since I transitioned in 2015, my “chick glasses,” as I affectionately call them, have felt like a trademark for me, and have been complimented as often as my cool purse. I hate for them to go as to how people see me, as much as I long to see people more clearly.

When I awoke this morning, I was not surprised to recall what I had been dreaming last night. Of course, my slumbering thoughts had me in today, using the eye drops, forgetting to instill them on time, putting them into the left eye and then remembering that it’s the right eye, you goof, and trying to accurately place Xs in my if-you-record-your-drops-you-can’t-screw-this-up chart, but over and over not being able to make sense of the thing.

This morning, I got off to a good start, instilling (I am installing instilling as the word of the month) the two drops without trouble, hitting the right spot in my eye, pleased that neither burns or affects my vision, and Xing the correct spot on my chart. Step one is done; onto the rest of the day.

I keep telling myself, “You have a good day planned, and you will have fun making roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower for supper. And if it is too cold and windy to run, yesterday you hit the goal you had set for yourself for January, the most miles you’ve ever done the first month of the year. Relax. Enjoy the day!”

And yet . . .

I can’t escape that now-familiar feeling. I have a bad case of The Day Befores.

I sure will be glad when Julie and I get home from the surgery center, tomorrow. I sure will be glad when the second eye is done.  This all will finally be off my mind when I can drop the constant drops.

Then, with my new peepers, I can look forward to the rest of 2018, when, after five long years of seeing therapists and specialists, I can finally relax.

Did you hear that, teeth? No root canals for you, this year!

Did you hear that, heart? Keep ticking as nicely as you have since getting those stents in 2007!

Did you hear that, right foot big toe? The podiatrist finally has you set up with that carbon plate in your running shoe so that you experience little pain!

And, did you hear that, gender dysphoria and transitioning?  You’ve been stared down and fully addressed!

Then, it’s onto the year . . . after I get through yet another funky one of The Day Befores.

2 thoughts on “The Day Befores

  1. I think of all my surgeries my eyes also bothered me. I guess because if something went wrong it’s my site that would be affected. But I can tell you it was a piece of cake.

    Sent from my iPhone


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