Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Gory Details

Ok, I miss everyone. I miss reading your blogs without squinting at the screen. I miss typing and (re-)editing my own humble posts. I miss shamelessly stealing images from Google. I miss finding typos. I miss reading the newspaper. And I'm missing the book that I started before the surgery. It will take a few weeks for the vision to clear up more thoroughly, but I'm certainly functional. I've even driven twice and didn't even have to parallel park using the Braille method. You see, with LASIK, you get x-ray vision right away. With PRK, you have to be more patient. But I've already yammered on about that.

So... wanna hear about the operation?? Squeamish folks, leave a kind comment now and head to your next blog.... it's ok. I'll understand.

About 1 1/2 hours before my appt, I had to take a pain killer. And it makes you feel weird. I don't know how else to explain it. It isn't punchy or dopey or anything. Just weird. Like you took something. Best Namma Ever! returned for more punishment -- er, came back to help out -- and we all headed to Urban Kid 1's soccer class. She felt like she would be ok bringing the UKs back home (city driving scares her a bit), so I left to grab some transit to Northwestern. Feeling all weird and full of nervous energy, I walked more than I rode. I was making good time and don't often get the chance to take in the Mag Mile area anymore.

Once I arrived, they had me sign my life away (I understand that the power may fail and my procedure may not be completed????? wha'?). Then they gave me 5mg of Vaaaaaliuummmm. Then the good doctor took me into an exam room and gave me numbing drops -- seriously, they rank right up there with the laser for making this all possible -- ok, that and Valium. Then he touched each of my eyes with a pen...TWICE. As he did this, I sat silently, exhaled slowly and screamed inside of my head. I figured that if I screamed out loud, I might not get my vision fixed after all.

After donning a fashionable shower cap, we were off to the procedure room. Once flat on my back and noticing "hey, look at the neat little flashing orange light," they gave me a sweet teddy bear to hold. Awwwwww........

Somebody then covered my left eye with a patch, scrunched a headrest around my ears and asked if I was comfortable. Hunky dorey, dude!

Someone then proceeded to tape my eyelashes open! The first image that came to mind was Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory -- if you don't know what I mean, be glad -- and my knees and sneakers started to move up towards my torso. There was a chorus of, "are you okay?????" But either my zen started grooving or the Valium started working or (probably) both. But I managed to relax and stare obediently at the flashing orange light.

Next came a gallon of numbing drops. Keep 'em coming doc, keep 'em coming.

I think I saw the scraping next. Didn't feel a thing. But I saw some sort of instrument going back and forth. And a film of some kind going with it.

My left eye was blinking like mad, but I kept that right one staring straight at the flashing orange light. Which sometimes looked a little stripey, like it was moving.

I think some more fluid was dumped in. I can't quite remember. Then came yet another reminder to keep staring at the orange light. And the doctor's fingertips on my forehead with a gentle reminder of "don't move." (eeeeyuh. no worries, dude) Then, "zap zap zap zap zap" while a woman counted in the background. The whole world went away in a darkening circle of black, but guess what was in the middle of it? That's right -- a flashing orange light!!

Then more fluid.

Still that damn light. And I think the teddy bear's arm was about to get wrenched off. But I was not. going. to. move.

Then some nice cool fluid. And it kept coming. Then more of it. And it was feeling cold. And colder. (remember the flashing orange light is still there) And then really cold. And then came a bit more silent screaming in my head because I was getting a blaring headache from the ice-cold s*** being dumped in my eye could you please knock it off already!!!!

I focused my way through it with thoughts like: "Remember labor with UK1...and you've run a marathon...and you've taught high school...and for god's sake you've worked in advertising... you can certainly do this."

Then a contact lens. "Aaaaand gently close your eye, Valerie."

Same thing on the other side, of course.

As I was there with both eyes closed, the ever-so-nice assistant helped me sit up, then asked me to slowly open them. And I had a really emotional moment where I said profound and deep things like:

"Dude, I can see your face! I can see that clock! I can see this entire room!"

He reminded me that this wasn't going to last, that things would deteriorate and then improve. We then went back to the exam room, where he talked me through how to use about 15 different drops (ok, three). I listened politely and reminded myself to check the written instructions later. (i mentioned the valium, right?)

My girlfriend Sandra picked me up downstairs and drove me home. I was having a really hard time keeping my eyes open. The surgery? The valium? Dunno. But she saw me to my door, where Best Namma Ever! saw me to bed. I went into the bedroom at 2pm and emerged at 7pm. At some point, Urban Dad popped in to say hi and ask how I was. I looked at the clock on his side of the bed and said, "It's 5:17." He smiled and let me go back to sleep.

The next few days varied. One morning, I could not open my eyes. They just refused to listen to my commands from the brain. One night, I sat in a dark room wearing sunglasses and still complained about light sensitivity. But the worst seems to be in the past now. I'm down to one set of drops. I can see well enough to drive short, familiar trips (*ahem* says me). Now we wait. Those who I have spoken to say that it will happen. It's just hard to be patient.

Ok, I'm off to bed. I get to put in a set of drops and don an attractive mask so that I don't rub my eyes in my sleep. New baby cells forming there -- don't want to smush them away. That, plus my mouthguard are making me really, really shexshee.

Thanks for checking in. Looking forward to catching up to your blogs tomorrow and over the weekend!

Oh, and I have no idea how that poor teddy bear did by the end of things.


melissa said...

O.K., I've been missing out by not popping in over here. I gotta get you added to my sidebar. (Like it's so hard, right? Gah, I live in the dark ages) I now feel very, VERY happy to have 20/20 vision. Very happy.

Mom2legomaniacs said...

Glad to see you getting back into things again. You've been missed!

Maria said... cool is that? I'm glad you're doing so much better. I want some surgery! Well, the Valium part sounded really good, anyway...the orange light thing: not so much. Looking forward to more of your posts!

Tiffany (aka T, Tiffers, Tiffster, and Pally) said...

OMG...I think I'll stick with the contacts.

I'm glad you're on the mend.

This was a hilarious post, especially the "I worked in Advertising part" I laughed out loud.

But seriously that does sound like something out of Conspiracy Theory or Alias.

I hope they at least threw in night vision for all your troubles.

my5wolfcubs said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) Just read about your eye surgery (my dd's had 2)! Glad you're recovering!!

You asked about the table I made for my schedule. Are you asking about how I made the document? I used iWork's Pages, but it can be done the same in Excel or Word.

Or are you asking how I uploaded it? I did that by saving it as a jpg.


PS I grew up about 40 miles west of Chicago! :)

Heather said...

I think I kinda pulled my knees to my chest just reading about it! Hope you're on the mend and doing better. ;)

Dy said...

{{{hugs}}} Recovering from anything is always weird, but with the eyes... um, yeah. The screaming inside your head? Yup. I can appreciate that. It will get better, and will be wonderful. I'm glad you're getting up and around. Keep it up, lady! Way. To. Go.


Jenny in Ca said...

oh, you poor thing. I don't think I could get through something like that, it makes my skin crawl.

So glad this is in the past now, and that you are doing better!

good thoughts being sent you way...