In sharp detail, if not relief

I am delighted beyond words that all of my close and loving friends are so assured of my general well-being in this world, and ability to bounce back from having lasers pointed into my eyes and corneas reshaped that they feel no need send out  well-being wishes. I am, as it turns out, extremely resilient and am now only reading the Web in a 36-point font. I am so pleased to have lived up to everyone's unexpressed expectations. Huzzah! (Exceptions: You know who you are.)

The friends list clearly needs a second looking into. Or maybe it's my armpit odor. I can't tell yet. But the LASIK trolls on Vox have been my bestest friends since my last post, as I've had one comment on Vox that was definitely troll-like (gone!) and one that was only semi-troll like (so it stays). The eye-zapper people, they love me.

For the record, and because I can finally stare at the screen without abject pain and-or the need to avert my head from the glowing, searing light, a brief recap and personal tutorial for those considering doing this thing to their eyes:

1) The surgery did not hurt.
2) The after-surgery has.

More detail? Well, okay, since you asked. I had to not wear contacts for just about a month pre-surgery (they call it a procedure, which really is more accurate). I had maps made of my eyes once a week for those three weeks so that they could get a de-contacted picture of what a normal eye looks like (a normal eye in my head, that is). I met the doctor on the final visit and he talked to me about how it'd be better if I did PRK over LASIK, because I had "asymmetrical corneas." PRK is close to the kind of surgery they did pre-LASIK, as I understand it, and rather than slicing open a flap and then zapping your cornea, they actually reshape the cornea.  Sports folks who have the surgery almost always have PRK, because once you make a flap, it can never 100% fully heal and if you're likely to get hit by a 300-lb linebacker the last thing you want is for your eye flap to open mid-field. These are things I've been told, if not quite in that graphic way.

So we set up the surgery for mid-afternoon. I get in, I fill in any leftover paperwork (including getting the scary Capital One no-interest for 18-months but then we hit you like a 300 lb linebacker with interest if you haven't paid us off paperwork) and they give me two Valium and I sit in the waiting room and immediately fall asleep. They rouse me and we go into a dark room where you lie back on a comfortable-looking dentist office's chair and put a blanket over you (it's chilly). The doc gave me two squeezy balls to hold onto if I felt stressed (I guess people putting nail-holes in the chair armrests got too expensive). I was quite, quite relaxed, but waiting for it to get bad.

It never did. He taped down one eye and positioned this machine over the other. It was a dark circle with a flashing orange light, and I was told to look at it. I asked if Hal was going to respond. There was stuff done to my eye — it was held open with plastic tiny speculum type devices and there was spray to make it hold steady. If I felt like blinking, the speculums (speculuii?) held the eye open but I still had the mental satisfaction of completing the blink move, so I wasn't all "Clockwork Orange" in there. The doctor reached over and did some prelim work — I believe there was some scraping involved, but again, I felt nothing, not even pressure. Finally, they put a hollow cup over the eye and the machine kicked on. Hal then ejected me from the spaceship. Actually, it just started to smell odd, whcih I'd read about — they are burning stuff in there. But again, no sensation other than the smell. That lasted maybe 15 seconds, and the nurse counted me down. Then it was done. Tape over first eye, move to second. At the end of each eye procedure they put in a tiny contact lens to, I believe, protect the cornea as it heals. That's what's so cloudy now, I beleive. Then they put these little plugs in my tear ducts, which I've been told will dissolve on their own.

And that was it. Since it wasn't LASIK, there wasn't that magical moment where you sit up and they say "look at the clock" and you go "Hallelujah, I can SEE!" but I already could tell that I was seeing better than when I'd taken off the glasses. (Which was kind of a sad, weird thing. I've had glasses since I was ten, contacts for a little less time, but I almost felt like there should be some kind of ceremony: The Casting Off of The Eyewear. Instead, it was just "ok, put your glasses away now" and then … they're useless.)

Since then, it's been less sanguine. I got picked up by Mike and we went home to my place and the idea was I'd take a nap, but I ddin't do much more than doze. I was already light sensitive, and I'd been warned not to watch TV or the computer, and listening to TV isn't really all it's cracked up to be. Not that I think anyone cracks it up to be anything. So the ensuing days have been a battle for me to keep myself resting and entertained without the computer, TV or any reading material. I am therefore very caught up on my NPR podcasts.

For the most part, everything's gone as they've said it would Day one after surgery I had to go in for a checkup, and I was already 30 percent healed. Day two, however, they found a small infection and made me get more drops. (I'd already been doing two drops, four times a day, plus rewetting solution whenever I liked; now I had to get rid of one of those and start with these two antibiotics. And I'll tell you, one of them is a mother. You keep it in the refrigerator and when you put it in it's cold and it feels like it's crystallizing your eyeball, the way that chocolate liquid would do on ice cream. The horrible one is called Vancomycin, the other antibiotic is Zymor and the final one, which is  the nice, nice one because it smooths everything over even if it does make everything cloudy, is Pred Forte, which is not an antibiotic.) Let me tell you, if you ever do anything to require Vancomycin, you are a bad, bad puppy. It is evil.

Most of the time my eyes have either been hard to see through, sensitive to any form of light, out of focus, crusty-feeling, or just tired. Usually some combination of symptoms. When I posted yesterday I was averting my eyes while typing, but today I can actually watch TV and work out (with a headband on to avoid sweat in eyes) and use the computer a bit at a time. This is what they've promised, and they've been right. The infection is less than yesterday, which thank God because I'm going to murder that Vancomycin if I get stuck with it any longer, and the mini-contacts come out tomorrow, hopefully.

And then the vision, she is supposed to get better and better and better.

Thus endeth the tale. At least, for now. Is it worth it? You better believe it. I just found it amusing that the hardest part was not the procedure: It's the after-procedure.

And I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do with all of my leftover contacts, solution and cases. Anybody need supplies?


  1. mikecap on 6/24/07 at 6:28 pm

    You have Magic Shell for your eye??

  2. Armchair News on 6/24/07 at 7:44 pm

    Yes. And it tastes exactly the opposite of chocolate.

    Nasty, nasty medicine.