Yesterday morning I woke early and knowing it was really too early to get ready for the appointment I flipped on the television hoping for a calm preoccupation. Instead I was greeted with a news report of the first snow, horrible road conditions, multiple accidents (5 dozen crashes), many of them multi-car pile-up situations and one fatality. Yikes. The news reporter warned for people to stay inside unless the HAD to go out.
I worried that perhaps the doctor would have to postpone. I worried that maybe we should leave an hour and a half early since traffic was reported to be moving at 7mph if at all. I called the doctor's office at 10am to see if things were still a go and got scolded that if it wasn't they would have called me. :( That hurt my feelings a bit. The gruff tone of voice and scolding for something that was perfectly reasonable was not something I appreciated. So, my LASIK day started off with worry that turned into a sulky feeling of being mistreated. Good job people. I shook it off and said to myself that SHE wouldn't be doing the surgery so it didn't really matter if she was cranky to me.
Cro and I got to the doctor's office an hour before my appointment, the roads weren't bad at all by that time, and I signed in. A few minutes later the cranky woman came out to scold me again for being so early and said that it was going to be a long wait.
What did I do to make this lady cranky? I did not expect them to do the procedure early just because I got there early ... I was very well aware that I was early and prepared to wait even before she came out to tell me so. Maybe I was just sensitive due to my own feelings of being slighted earlier. They are busy, I understand that.
While we waited, I engaged in conversation with another lady who had overheard me comment to Cro my thoughts regarding the scoldings, lol. She said that she also had arrived early because she was afraid that the road conditions would be poor. As she waited for her husband and I waited for my appointment time to arrive we had a great time chatting. I learned that her husband was seeing one of the surgeons because his retina had become detached a long while ago and wanted to have the other eye checked to be sure the same thing wasn't happening. He had already gone through an ordeal with the first eye involving him having to be on his stomach for 3 months as he allowed it to heal!!. I can understand wanting to be proactive regarding the other eye. She said he was especially cranky because that was the year the Colts were in the superbowl. She set up a mirror angled in a way that he could watch the game without moving from his face-down position. After learning that I was having LASIK she let me know that her mom had also had it done and that one of the most amazing things to her was being able to see things that she had NEVER before been able to see. Like looking down at her feet and seeing ants crawling through the gravel of her driveway. Hearing such great things really put me at ease and the conversation made her wait less boring too. :) She was a sweety and I liked her lots.
When it was time for my appointment, well actually half an hour past time, my name was called. Cro wasn't expecting them to allow him to go back with me but they asked if he would like to so he did. Yay. I was very happy that he was invited to join me. :) They put some antibiotic drops in my eyes and gave me a squeezy stress toy saying that I should squeeze it when I get nervous. I didn't really want anything in my hands but I took it anyway. We finished the paperwork, payment and all that and then I waited with Cro until the doctor was ready. I put the squeezy toy down in the chair while I waited.
The doctor's assistant came to get me and the cranky woman asked where my squeezy stress toy was, then said to the assistant "She just doesn't want that thing" in a scolding talking-about-the-child-to-the-other-adult type of voice. What the ...? Whatever. I got up, retrieved the squeezy toy from where I had set it, and away we go.
The assistant took me back to the LASIK room, got me positioned correctly in the chair and was super nice, as was the doctor, in explaining everything and answering questions. I didn't really have questions at that point other than to tell them I was trembling (it was cold in there plus I was nervous) and to be sure that such involuntary movements wouldn't be a problem. They reassured me that it wasn't a problem, got me set up, moved me under the laser and put more drops in my eyes. This time it was a numbing solution.
The procedure began with the doctor taping my eyelashes away from my eye. He asked me to look up as he captured the upper eyelashes in a piece of tape and secured it down against my skin. He didn't have me look down as he did the lower eyelashes. Then the other eye ... look up ... tape ... lower eyelashes ... taped. Good.
Next they put in even more numbing drops and asked me if I could see a blurry red light above me. Yes. Good. Then they put a patch over my left eye. Next they put a device into my right eye that would prevent me from blinking. I recall at one point telling the surgeon that I had a strong urge to blink and asked if it was okay or if I should resist that urge. He said that it was okay, that the device in place would prevent it anyway. He warned me that I would feel suction on my eye and that most people describe the feeling as discomfort but not pain. It was discomfort but I knew it wouldn't be for long. I did feel extra anxious at that moment because I knew they would be cutting the flap soon and most of my worries were of the flap not being correct. Nightmare nightmare ... all in my head though.
He then marked two places on my eye with an ink dot (I suppose it was a dot, I couldn't see it) Then he moved something into place that caused my vision to go black. That lasted for a few seconds and then the blackness went away. He was talking to me the whole time, saying things like "perfect. good. good. perfect." Then I asked if the flap was made and he said yes and it is perfect. Whew! Happiness! Then he said that things always go perfectly when Julie is in the room to help. I said "Thanks Julie." She didn't hear me so the doctor said "She says thanks Julie" and Julie laughed and said "You're welcome!". :) I liked her too.
Next the doctor warned me that I would hear some clicks but not to be concerned, there would be no pain and it would only last a short while. That was the easiest part of the procedure. I did notice the slight odor ... hard to describe but not unfamiliar. I've smelled things like that when around machinery before and though I know it was the smell of my cornea tissue being evaporated it wasn't a bad smell and didn't bother me.
The doctor then used a small handheld tool which I couldn't really see at that close of a vantage point but it felt like a teeny spatula. He used it to smooth the flap back into place and smooth it down into a perfect position. He was saying "perfect. good. good. perfect" as he did this.
I asked again if the flap was okay and he pronounced it perfection. :) yay
Then I had to let it set for two minutes. He said that was to give it time to re-adhere. After the two minutes, which Julie counted off, he removed the blink-prevention device, then the tape, and relief! Oh no, one more eye to go.
Everything went the same for my left eye other than the discomfort was actually pain. I mentioned that my left eye was feeling a good deal of pain and the doctor reassured me that everything looked great and that it would be over very soon. When it got to the blackness part I remember thinking that I would not be very good if tortured. I would spill the beans pretty quickly. No, it wasn't that intense of a pain, but pain combined with fear of messing something up if I moved had me hoping for the seconds to go by quickly. Hurry. Hurry. Ow. Hurry. Oh ow. Hurry. Hurry. Almost done. Almost done. DONE! And I asked how the flap was for the left eye and the doctor chuckled and said that he didn't know yet but would know in just a moment. FEAR! And then he said "It's a perfect flap" WHEW! I rambled on about how I was so relieved, that the thought of flap complications were my greatest worry ... that I am JUST SO HAPPY that everything looked good.
The rest went by quickly and even though my left eye hurt during it, it was over so quickly that it was fairly easy to get through the scary owy moments. My joy in knowing that the flaps were perfect overwrote any short-lived pain or discomfort. Happy happy HAPPY!
They sent me home with a small bag of eyedrops in different bottles and instruction that I shouldn't open it but bring it with me on the following morning's appointment and they would explain what things were and how often to use them at that time. They doctor said that I might experience pain when the numbing drops wore off within the next four hours but that I could take extra-strength Tylenol or the prescription pain reliever if I needed. He also said that I should keep the googles on overnight and not touch, rub or allow my eyes to be bumped. No eye makeup for at least a week, no strenuous activities, no swimming, and no water in my eyes for at least a week. No problem.
I had amazingly clear vision by the time I got home and it was a struggle not to peek. I was very good though and kept my eyes closed as much as possible. I took Tylenol PM (which they said was fine) and Cro picked up my prescription for the stronger stuff. Although they were prepared to write a prescription for Vicodin I asked if they could give me something less strong. When I had rhinoplasty I was given vicodin and experienced extreme nausea ... not something I want to experience again. They gave me a prescription for something that is half as strong but still stronger than extra-strength Tylenol. I didn't even need it. :) The Tylenol PM was just perfect.
They warned me that my vision may fluctuate for a few days, be blurry in the mornings and clear later in the day, and would gradually stabilize over time. It was extremely clear last night, blurry this morning, clear again within a few minutes of waking (but I don't think it was as clear as last night). I was slightly disappointed that it didn't say crystal clear but I know this is normal and it should settle down soon. I also have a bit of blood in my left eye, which doesn't surprise me because that is the one that hurt. I think the suction device is what caused the pain and from what I've read it is normal for the eye to burst capillaries from the suction device and that it will clear up. My eyes do feel like they've been lifting weights (they feel like mildly sore muscles) today. The doctor didn't seem anything but pleased when he did the follow-up this morning. Yay.
Right now, I can see better than I did with the old glasses I have been wearing for the last 37 days (and since they were several years out of date they were a bit too weak) and I think I can see as good as I did with proper prescription contact lenses. If the vision stays were it is at this moment I am very very happy. If it gets even more sharp in a few days then I am ecstatic!
Now you know all that I went through and I didn't sweeten it up so you know the real story. So far I'm VERY happy to have had this done. No more contact lenses. No more glasses. Woot!
Below is a snapshot of me with no make-up nor hair products (I'm not allowed yet!) and showing my bloody eye. It isn't that bad. A BIG thank you to everyone at my surgeon's office!! And I'm sorry that something about me made one of them cranky ... I don't know what I did but I do know that I am forever grateful for a perfect LASIK procedure. :) YAY EYES! Now I must stop blogging and go heal ... lol.