Blurred vision progressively worsened after the incident. Doc Lynhurst arranged an appointment with Dr. Benjamin Woller. Lynhurst declared Woller the best Ophthalmologist in the country, running the best vision center in the country. Hell, I’d never heard of Woller, but visits to a doc who slices and dices eyebones isn’t an everyday thing. In less than a week, my right eye became uncomfortably foggy, so Doc Lynhurst expedited my appointment. Within a day, I visited the Woller/Mussoff lab and surgical center, something out of a science fiction movie.
Before I met Doc Woller, I’d decided he was a hep dude. Three women working his office. All jaw droppers. Good reason to keep your eyes in working order. The best looking of the three, Beverly, lead me back to the exam room. She ran preliminary “read the smallest line you feel confident with” tests, pretty much a waste with my right eye, marginal with the left. Blurry vision and all, it was nice watching her walk out of the room after telling me, “Doctor Woller will pop in shortly.”
Doc Woller was a genuinely likeable old duff. He maintained steady patter during a lengthy exam.
“Well, youngster,” Doc summed-up, “damage to both eyes is serious and rapidly worsening.”
“Worse than cataracts Doc Lynhurst said.”
“Lynhurst was correct. Complicated surgery.”
Doc explained unpleasant alternatives. Given expectations, I agreed to expedited surgery. Doc called-in Beverly and sent her off to alert the lab specifications for my new lenses were “in the system, and they should get cracking.” It was a treat again as Beverly sped-off. The kind of thing I’d surely miss, if, well, you know.
It took a good while for Doc to answer my questions.
“Your condition is worsening by the hour. There will be no ‘better.’ It’s not accepted practice, but we’ll replace lenses in both eyes the same day we repair damage. First the right eye, the worst one. After three hours, you describe changes. If it’s good, we’ll do the left. Because it’s more extensive than lens replacement, we’ll keep you here in the surgical suite overnight. You’ll be completely bandaged three days. No light. No vision. Noticeable pain. A nurse for meds and monitoring. At home. I’ll delay retiring.”
“Case is relevant to my research.”
“No, Doc. Why are you retiring?”
“I’m old. Tired. Retire to a pier in Florida to fish and drink beer. After I finish my research.”
“Developing new lenses. Bionic lenses.”
“All replacement lenses are bionic, right?”
On cue, a tech walked in with my replacement lenses. Doc gave them a quick look. “Yours here are not like the ones I’m developing. The ones I’m developing are special. Do amazing things to improve vision. Twenty-twenty will be a hot air balloon in the jet age.”
Doc was excited. He placed a prototype lens and one of the lenses intended to replace my damaged lenses side by side under a huge magnifier. Even looking through sterile housings and with impaired vision, the difference was obvious. Doc proudly explained.
“Lenses contain a computer controlling lens shape dynamically. Micro miniaturized and of course computer controlled laser sensors and assists. Inputs enhanced light pickup directly into optic nerves along with normal lens-articulated light relays. Like having a microscope and binoculars added to normal vision.”
“There’s a problem. Small as the computers are, and embedded completely in the lens, they’re still big. Right now, in a circle around the outer lens edges. Something of a distraction. Can’t yet get programming to cancel perception of the circuitry ring.”
Doc returned both lenses to labelled lab packets. Telling me he’d see me in two days, he had Beverly lead me out of the clinic area. A treat. This procedure didn’t work, I’d really miss things like that.
They almost cancelled surgery. Doc Woller suffered a heart attack and was himself hospitalized across town. Doc Mussoff, his partner, led the surgical team. It went as Doc Woller described. I left surgery for home, both eyes tightly and uncomfortably bandaged.
After three days at home, my rental nurse led me into Woller/Mussoff laboratories. Doc Mussoff took the bandages off, did a cursory exam then left me to let my eyes “adjust” for a few minutes.
My vision was insane. I could see pores on the nurses’ faces across the room. It was too much. Just as I felt my right eyeball muscles revolt, something happened and what I saw normalized. There was a brief period of frustration as things went in and out of focus. But that cleared. I passed further exams, was blessed and dismissed.
Looking up to walk out, I saw into the exam room next to the one I was in. No wall separated the rooms. Then my right eye pulsed, no other word for it, and the wall reappeared. Now and again, I was aware of a shadowy circle, a smoky ring around what I saw. Closing my right eye, the ring disappeared momentarily. With my left eye closed, the ring was sometimes present. Otherwise, my vision was unbelievable. I figured it needed a few days to sort itself out.
Waiting for an escort, I made a game of right eye only, left eye only, both eyes. My right eye was learning to cooperate with the left, but alone, sometimes went nuts. Beverly came to walk me out. Still playing left eye only, right eye only, both eyes, admiring Beverly as she led the way, I was in for a shock.
Beverly faced me to bid me goodbye. With my left eye closed, my right eye suddenly focused so sharply I felt a snap. Beverly’s scrubs disappeared. Though I felt a bit of shame at my ability to notice, Beverly appeared to be everything a man’s imagination might lead him to hope she might be.
At some point, Woller and Mussoff will discover they gave me one of the prototype lenses. I have no intention of giving it back.
© SPWilcenski 2021