5 things nobody told me before cataract surgery

I've been a quiet January, here on jennie's nails and tales, but only because I haven't been able to blog. Like, literally. As you've already probably guessed from the title of this post, I recently had my second cataract surgery and since then, I haven't been able to see anything closer than three feet away. I can't get fitted for reading glasses until 4 - 6 weeks after surgery, and in the interim, it's been quite the adjustment. 

However, even though it sucks to be unable to read, my distance vision is BANANAS. I literally feel like I should be inducted into the X-Men because my sight is akin to that of an eagle. Eagle Eye, will be my name! No wait, that sucks. Okay, I'll have to work on my name. My point is: I've suddenly found myself considering a career in law enforcement because I'm confident that I can spot a suspect from a helicopter without the aid of binoculars, therefore saving my county a crap ton of money by not needing to buy them anymore. The savings may be enough for them to come and pave my dirt road. Because binoculars are expensive, guys. Oh, how I dare to dream! Haha!

Potential career shifts aside, it's been amazeballs to see so clearly. Err...far away things, that is. Because as much as it's incredible to see all the way to British Columbia from my front porch, up close, I can see shapes, but nothing is in focus. The ripple effect of losing my close-up vision has spread much wider than I'd anticipated and since I believe in passing along information, I've put together a ridiculous list of five things that nobody told me before cataract surgery.

Let's get started. 

*bangs cataract gong*

1. Shaving becomes pretty much impossible.

In the best of circumstances (read: when I had the use of both eyes for close-up vision), I wasn't the greatest at shaving my legs. Inevitably, I'd look down at my knees one day and gasp in horror at one freakishly long leg hair that I'd clearly missed shaving for quite some time. But now, it's even worse. Because not only do I have to deal with my sloppy shaving technique, but now I can't actually see what I'm doing. And my legs are the easier part. What I hadn't anticipated at all, is how impossible it'd be to shave my armpits.

The first time I tried, post-op, I was bummed to see that...well...I couldn't actually see anything. I ran the razor over where I thought the hair was, thinking that I had to be close, but it was definitely like playing shave roulette. 

Did I get all the hair? Did I press too hard? Not hard enough? Do I need to switch up the angle of my shave to get ones that grow in sideways? And if so, which angle do I need to take? Have I gone low enough? High enough? Is all of the hair gone already? WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

I ended up giving myself razor burn and STILL managed to miss a few hairs. 


I've since informed The Remix that he's to be on the lookout (zing!) for excessively long, stray, armpit hairs. Naturally, he's quite psyched about this new level of intimacy in our marriage.

2. All pads of paper are too small.

In our house, post-it notes are our go-to option for leaving each other messages.  Not that we leave many, because of texting, but we still occasionally jot something down. But now, in order to actually write or read a message, the 3x3 inch pads are laughably small. Heck, even a standard size pad of paper can only hold 3 - 5 words.


A note left from The Remix, two days post-op.

So unless we take the time to write one letter per post-it note, I'm sorry to say that my days of super fun, brightly coloured notes are over.

RIP, my small sticky wonders of delight. 

3. Romantic restaurants are the worst.

White tablecloths, extra forks, real butter, soft lighting that makes everyone look like they've acquired a natural Instagram filter: these are the things I love most about a romantic restaurant. Or, they were the things I loved most. That last one is now the worst thing ever. Like, could menu fonts be any smaller? Are there even words on them? I don't know anymore because it all looks like one giant, blank page of paper, which spirals me into a tornado of uncertainty.

Is this even a restaurant? We've never been here before, so who knows! And sure, the environment suggests a fine-dining experience, but what if we accidentally stumbled upon an illegal organ harvesting business and the menu is actually a list of which organ I'm prepared to sell?! Is that why nobody's coming back from the bathroom? IS THAT WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING?

Okay, so that may be a bit extreme, but the point still stands: between the tiny font and dim lighting, I can't read a menu. Luckily, The Remix can step in and read me the damn thing, but even when my food arrives, there's still a considerable amount of danger. I mean, I can see that there's a plate in front of me, but it's filled with blobs of fuzzy colour.  

For the sake of argument, let's say I ordered chicken. What if it's not cooked all the way? And what if there's an accidental onion in my salad and I eat it? I'll die, that's what. Well...only the undercooked chicken would kill me, physically, but on an emotional level, eating a raw onion is just as bad (because raw onions are the worst ever gag me). Without my close-up vision, I'm none the wiser to either hideous option, so the next time we splurge on a date night, I'm going to bring a portable reading light with me. Or maybe a miner's hat. That's still romantic, right? Haha!

4. Face maintenance is now a thing.

Since getting sick, I haven't worn makeup often and my skincare routine pretty much consists of my Clairsonic brush, toner, and moisturizer. I'd never really thought much about it before, but now that I've lost my face accessory aka my amazing cat eye glasses, suddenly, it was all:

OMG, my eyebrows could give a caveman a run for his money! When was the last time I plucked?!


What's with these under eye circles? Do I always look this tired?!

Not good, folks. Not good at all.

By happy coincidence, my brother-in-law gave me a Sephora gift certificate for Christmas, which I used to pick up a new eyeshadow palette. And the last time I was at my mum's, I took advantage of her crazy-magnified, light-up mirror and whipped my brows into shape. However, it's only been two weeks since my surgery and already, I loathe plucking my eyebrows. The hairs grow so darn fast! Plus, I can't even wear makeup for another two weeks and I'm already over it, despite the super fun eyeshadow palette I have yet to use. It just seems like so much work. But I'm too vain to do nothing, so I'm stuck up maintenance creek without a paddle. 

Not to mention that I'll need to invest in a crazy-magnified, light-up mirror for myself, because I can't very well be hitting up my mum's forever. And do you know how expensive those babies are? Let me tell you, they're grotesquely pricy. But I have little choice because if I can't see what I'm doing, I'll probably end up looking like this:

My hope is that by the time my healing period is over, I'll be at least 30% less grumpy about needing to put in some effort regarding my face. Because as of right now, I'm all:

5. My general life expectancy has been cut in half. Maybe even three-quarters.

The first time I went to the grocery store, post-surgery, I felt like a boss because I'd remembered to bring the reading glasses my mum had accidentally left on our coffee table (meaning I'd actually have an idea on what I was buying). But when I got home, I didn't have them in my purse. I figured they must have fallen out, and since I'm not used to carrying glasses, I hadn't noticed. My plan was to call The Remix and ask him to pick me up another pair, which meant that I'd only be up-close blind for three hours, but then I realized I couldn't. Like, honestly couldn't.


Because my phone was one big ole blurry blob of Can't Read The Screen.

Naturally, I immediately began to panic, frantically attempting to remember where the numbers were on the screen.

They go clockwise, don't they? Or is it line by line? What about the pound and star keys? Which side is each one on? WHAT IF I NEED TO HASHTAG SOMETHING? 

Scrolling through my contact list (if it even was my contact list) had a similar effect. I couldn't see squat.


The only way I could read my phone was putting it on the floor and then standing up. For a blissful moment, I was so relieved that I nearly collapsed. I could call The Remix. It'd be fine.

But then I realized that putting the phone on the floor and leering down at it from a higher vantage point was all well and good during a casual time, but in an emergency, like if I started to choke on a Pinterest-inspired, caramel-covered grape or if I were being murdered by a country psycho killer, what happens then? Trying to arrange my phone on the ground while experiencing extreme oxygen deprivation and/or asking a psycho killer to give me a second so I can call 9-1-1 isn't the greatest of options. I mean, a murderous intruder isn't going to *want* me to call the cops, and that delicious stupid grape won't care that I can't breathe. 

Laugh if you want, but the truth is, I'm accident prone, live in the country, and suffer from an incredibly overactive imagination (as I'm sure you can tell by now, haha!). An ambulance takes about twelve minutes to reach us and a lot can happen in twelve minutes, guys and gals. And by a lot, I'm essentially referring to my death. 

That is, unless I can get this phone: 

With a screen like that, I may just survive. Haha!


So there you go: my list of five things that nobody told me before cataract surgery. I know it's kind of a silly bummer-y list, but don't fret readers, for jennie has found a solution to these problems! If you or someone you know is heading for cataract surgery, one small care package could literally save their life. All you have to do is hit up a dollar store and buy a million pairs of reading glasses, all in different prescriptions.

Yes, you read that right: dollar stores sell reading glasses! For the low, low price of $1.25 a pair, I was able to pick up four different pairs of glasses and through trial and error, I've discovered that I need +3.25 to do my nails (and shave), +2 to read my phone/iPad/Kindle, and +1.25 for the computer. It was like some kind of vision-related miracle!!

And you know what? I absolutely feel more relaxed in my home now. Because if I do end up pressing too hard while shaving and severing a major artery, or I decide to make mini oreo truffles, or if a stranger appears at my door with questionable intensions, at least I'll be able to call for help. 

So heed my warning people and buy glasses before your surgery. Buy ALL the glasses. It's the only way you'll look be able to look good, enjoy a romantic dinner, and otherwise stay alive. Haha!

(ps. If you live in Southern Ontario, shoot me an email if you're in need of an amazing ophthalmologist. My doc is the BEST and so are his staff, so I'd be delighted to pass his name along!) 


  1. We could call you Hindsight? :)

    Seriously, I can't imagine being blur city within 3 feet. How do you....everything? No reading, no writing, no nails? UGH.

    Dude, just go get waxed. One moment of searing pain, and two weeks of smooth skin. Or just go hippie (or, as I like to call it, 'growing my winter coat').

    So...romantic dinner is finger food? Or something so huge it can be seen 3 feet away?

    I dunno- not being able to see my face enough to put on makeup sounds awesome. Are those deep underage circles? Nah, probably just blurriness from the surgery. And speaking go eyeshadows....what colors do you wear? :)
    I totally want to send you a giant magnifying glass now. You could use it in conjunction with your phone, right? Plus, all you'd need is a deer hunter hat and you could rock an awesome Sherlock Holmes costume.

  2. I am pretty sure the worst of all of those is not being able to read, I mean that is the one thing you are supposed to do at all times but especially when sick or recovering from horrible life medical shit. Earlier this month I did something that made it so I could not move my neck so I propped up all the pillows to eye height, stuck my book on it and was set.

  3. I was hoping for a miracle on doing eyebrows. Guess I'll have to check into getting the mirror and all the different glasses. lol Thanks for the help.

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  6. OMG Thank You! Finally I see there are others out there as well facing those everyday "life" dilemmas after having cataract surgery.


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