Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Last Thursday I had my second cataract operation and man, it’s a whole new world out there. Dr. Matthew Ehrlich, proprietor of Eye Center of the Rockies in Glenwood (, did the surgery and it was again a complete success.

My father had cataracts removed back in the ’60s and it was a very big ordeal ending up with coke-bottle glasses and no peripheral vision. Now they snip off your lens, snap on a plastic one and off you go. I arrived at the hospital at 9 a.m., saw the doc at 10 and was out of there by 10:30.

Everything is so incredibly BRIGHT and clear now, it is so dazzling that I can’t imagine how regular people can get around without sunglasses. It’s similar to the time when I first got my hearing aids and couldn’t believe how much DIN everyone put up with on a daily basis.

The brightness, as the din did, will fade as my eyes adjust, a process which will take about a month, following which I can get prescription reading glasses. I knew that cataract surgery was like getting permanent contact lenses, but it was still startling to go to Target, the day after my second surgery and my check-up with Dr. Ehrlich, to not only be blinded by the light of the fluorescent Target bulbs but to be unable to see on the labels whether the size of the nightgowns I was contemplating were small, medium or large.

I knew this ahead of time. In my short-term experience with contact lenses I had great distance vision but when it came time to take out the contacts I couldn’t read the directions telling me how to do it. I can deal with this, but I look forward to getting new reading glasses. Right now, I am dazzled by the brightness of the computer, and reading and writing are a temporary blur. It’s all part of the package.

On Saturday, two days after the cataract surgery, I went to see Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, at the middle school theater, and I have to say that I have never seen a ruder audience. The benefactors came late, if they came at all, leading to a last-minute scramble to fill their reserved seats, and the second the very entertaining show began to wind down the audience started to leave in droves.

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What was worse was the number of spectators who had those Smart Phones or I-Phones or I-Pads who held up their devices to film the show for their Facebook pages, not to mention all the flash cameras. How rude is that.

Throughout Cesar’s performance, the whole room looked like one big candlelight service with fireworks. The sensitivity of my eyes didn’t improve matters, and I wished I had been armed with a long broom to sweep the phone out of the hands of a man a few rows in front of me.

This guy wasn’t even filming the show! He was looking at the stock market, texting, reading e-mail and using various apps, all the while holding the phone up and to the side, giving it twists so that the light of it blazed across my eyes like a signaling mirror.

I asked my friend Hilary if it was just me with my new eyes and she said she had been as pissed off as I was at the flashing. Next time I’ll smoke.

This is a tangent away from the cataract operation, but I already described the details in my column two weeks ago and there isn’t much to add. My optometrist Amy Cecil said that Dr. Ehrlich had done a great job with my right eye and I expect will say the same for the left when I see her tomorrow.

Cataract surgery is swift and painless and virtually free with Medicare, so if you’ve been blurring up in your dotage, don’t hesitate.

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