Friday, July 20, 2007

The Zapping of the EYES

CC came and picked me up around 12:30 yesterday -- after running the children to the sitter's and stopping back at the house to grab a hair clip, we were on our way ... I vented, she vented, we had a safe trip to the vision center.

I checked in and paid and they took me immediately back. Checked my blood pressure, gave me a Valium (which helped my mood immensely), handed me a bag full of stuff (sunglasses, eyedrops, sleeping goggles to protect my eyes after the surgery), a card detailing what would happen, and took me back to an exam room, where I waited for a while, read the card a couple times. Okay, it made everything sound kind of scary. Ack. The optometrist checked my eyes once again to make sure my prescription was, indeed, stable. It hasn't changed over the last several months, so that's good. Then the actual surgeon came in to meet me for the first time, introduced himself, and then looked at my eyes and my chart, too.

They then took me back to sit in a chair outside the first laser room. That laser is called Intralase. It's the laser that makes the incision in the cornea so they can get to your eyeball -- so it's all bladeless and much safer than the old blade type LASIK procedures. So, I'm thinking, I read the card, I've typed reports, I know what this is going to be like, right? Wrong. Let's just say I'm glad I took the Valium. They took me in the room and had me lay down on the table. They then realized the assistants hadn't Betadined me or numbed me (!), so they took care of that. They started with the right eye and gave me one more numbing drop, then attached a suction ring to the eye (my eye is twitching as I'm typing this). The suction makes your vision go bye-bye. You don't get to see the laser then dock into its position in the ring. Except, my left eye was watching all of this (I'm left eye dominant) and I started freaking out and almost said, "nevermind!" when they said, "it's 16 seconds to create the flap ..." and started counting. That was fast, the suction removed, but I still couldn't see. They moved to the left eye but didn't give me that last numbing drop. I couldn't feel the flap being made, but that eye hurt mucho within a few minutes.

After they made the flap, they guided me to a recliner in a back room. I couldn't get anyone's attention for the eye pain since there was a wall and I was instructed to wait there for 10-30 minutes with my eyes closed. The Intralase process creates bubbles in your eye that have to dissipate before they can do the actual LASIK procedure. So I waited. Someone finally came to get me and said, "how do you feel?" I could barely voice out "hurts" (it's summer, I'm a bit dehydrated, and the Valium was making me funny). She took me to yet another chair and gave me more numbing drops until they quit burning. Thank heaven. (I even said, THANKS!). The optometrist then came at me with a wire that looked a bit like a tuning fork to make sure the flap was good and would open, and then did something with some funky marker.

Then right on into the LASIK room. They laid me down, asked me if I needed anything to hold. I had stuck my hands under my rear to make sure they didn't flip out and punch the doctor (I did that during the Intralase, too). Things I learned while taking my child to the dentist -- hands have to be held down or kept busy when we're anxious. They handed me a tightly rolled gown and had me hold that. Chatted with the nurses/assistants about paint (one of them is a single mom and her ward painted her deck, but painted a color she's not crazy about. she's leaving it alone so she doesn't offend anyone). She also said I'd notice a difference as soon as I sat up from the table. Then the doc came in. While they were prepping my eye, he realized I'm allergic to latex (thanks, I made sure to hand them my allergies while I was getting my BP checked) and tape, so he changed gloves, but said there wasn't a whole lot they could do about the tape. They have to tape your eyelashes out of the way, then put a ring in your eye to keep the lashes open so you don't try to blink during the procedure. They did the right eye first again. So, the worst part for me was him actually opening the corneal flap. They always say "gently" but he used a whole heck of a lot of pressure. *sigh* Once that was done, I stared at a green blinking light for 30 or 35 seconds. Moved the flap back in place, more drops, more swabbing, removed the tape, then taped the eye shut. Then they had to move part of the machine -- right into my boobage, ramming my breast several times. I didn't say anything, but did move it out of the way. lol. They prepped the left eye, then the machine moved over there, and I got to stare at the green light again. 35 seconds. Moved the flap again, more drops, more swabbing, removed the tape, untaped the other eye. They had me lay there for a few more minutes then took me back to the original exam room. The nurse came in and gave me verbal and written postop instructions, asked if I'd have someone at home who could read them to me if I couldn't read by last night (yep, hubby and both kids), and then had me wait for the optometrist again. She had to give me more drops while we waited for him. He did another exam, then they handed me some random stuff and a bag of candy, and escorted me to the lobby, where CC was waiting.

While sitting in that exam room, I could see the chair and desk across the hall and OUT THE WINDOW above the desk -- I could even see the bushes on the mountain across the street. It was a bit filmy, but I could see it.

CC took me home -- saw the sitter outside her place. She said the other kids' mom had taken them to the pool, and they'd be coming home at 4. I told her to just go ahead and send them home when they got there. :) CC and I then made it home and had Stouffer's flat bread for lunch. (at nearly 4 o'clock ...). Then she left and I laid down. When the girls got home from the sitter's, they were so proud of themselves since they had been good for FOUR whole HOURS. hahaha. I said, "I have to sleep a while now, think you can keep being good?" And they were. When I got up an hour or so later, hubby had brought dinner home and brought me some in my bed. I wandered out in the living room and hugged the kids and snuggled Munchkin (Small Fry is a hugger, Munchkin a cuddle bug), sat there for a few minutes and tried to watch a movie with them, but my eyes just got too tired and itchy. So hubby came and put me back to bed and we watched some anime (with me putting in my drops per instructions and closing my eyes when I needed to), put the kids to bed, and watched more. I ended up passing out long before he did (yes, with my sleeping goggles), but he upped the dose of the Tegretol per the doc's orders last night (and took B vitamins with it per my orders .... hehehe), took his Lunesta like he was s'posed to, slept 8 hours straight, and when he woke up, he took his Wellbutrin (more B's with that, too). And he seems fairly coherent today, unlike the past few days, so we're hoping he's adjusting well to his meds.

This morning, I can read. The close up vision actually took the longest -- and this morning my eyes are barely itchy at all -- I'm using my drops and stuff, but the itchy was so bad last night I HAD to sleep. hehehe. I'm not working today or tomorrow -- we're going to my postop visit in a few minutes and then off to the store to get ready to go camping tonight, and then ... well ... I'll probably work Sunday night and Monday and the rest of next week around my brother's visit from Japan. We'll see.

Hubby asked me first thing this morning if it was worth it. I said I didn't know, but now ... I really think it was. :)


Kipluck said...

you are brave! I DO want to do this... eventually... when my dumb diabetes is under control anyway. But yeah.

stewbert said...

I figure, after open-heart surgery, not much else is scary.

Of course, in prepping for the open-heart, they gave me Xanax the night before, a "happy drugs" shot in my butt right before they started trying to find my arteries, and then completely knocked me out ... so ... it was way different in that sense. hahahahahahaha