She had cataract surgery. While they were operating she experienced the subjective sensation of "extra" colors.
The issue came up discussing augmentation of senses and what transhuman entities will be able to experience, in the context of trying to convince her (an atheist) to sign up for cryonic suspension.
She describes this experience vividly and with fascination. She used to be a painter, and reports:
"Normally when you paint you put all the colors you have in front of you on the palette, then you mix them to obtain yet new colors. But these colors I saw were something I cannot describe... and I cannot think of any way to mix the colors I already knew, that would produce these new colors... they were completely beyond description".
It was then, after countless hours or enumerating the advantages of diamondoid mechanosynthesis, molecular manufacturing, nanomaterials, infinite lifespans, space exploration and exploitation, virtual reality, nanomedicine, respirocytes and much more - that I found her button.
"Imagine being able to paint with those colors on your palette"
That moved her and made her think and FEEL. I felt I took an 82 year old person who thought she'd had everything in life, and opened her up like a flower thinking about something new and beautiful. It was a very intense half a second.
She's still not signing up but I'm happy to have shared my passion for human augmentation with my grandma, a very important person from my childhood, someone who saw technology progress from when she was young and people went around on horses. And, in this conversation I was on the theoretical end explaining something she had incredibly already experienced first hand and I can only dream about.
Then I went on explaining sensations of color could be orthogonal to what we consider color to be, that the palette could be as large as the galaxy, but that didn't matter to her.
What felt close enough to grasp, to her, is the thought of 1 or 2 new colors, on a palette, and that that would bring a sense of wonder and the unknown back into her life. It was one of the most meaningful exchanges in years.