Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lasik: A Follow-Up (or, I can see clearly now, the glasses are gone)

*Warning - this post is not for the squeamish.  Like me.  But I survived, and chances are you will too.*
*But don't say I didn't warn you.*

I am 24 hours out from yesterday's Lasik surgery, and I am on top of the world.  Here's a rundown of the last day.

The surgery itself was billed as essentially painless, and it was.  Mostly.  I wasn't nervous until I was about to be led, bootied and hairnetted, into the surgery room itself.  Then I was glad I had been given a valium to take the edge off my nerves.  (Really it just made me sleepy, but I definitely did not get as worked up as I do when a dentist is scraping me with some medieval torture device.  Maybe I should start taking valium at the dentist.)

I lay on the table underneath the first laser, which cut a flap in my corneas.  This was the worst part.  The doctor put a ring into my eye to hold open my eyelids, then he pressed it down to create suction.  Ick.  The laser did its thing, which I can't even describe because I was too busy thinking there's a thing on my eyeball! to focus on the details.  The doctor put extra numbing drops in my left eye and it was less uncomfortable, except that there is still something on my eyeball! The creepy factor never goes away, not completely.

Flaps cut, I was moved to a waiting area for 20 minutes or so.  This was the best part.  I sat in this massage chair that was, to put it simply, phenomenal.  I almost got out and made Ryan sit there, to show him how amazing it was, but then again, I was the patient here.  How weird would it look if the nurse came back and Ryan was lounging in the massage chair while my flappy corneas and I looked on from the hard wooden chair nearby?  So really, I stayed in the chair out of propriety.  The chair thumped and rubbed and rolled and squeezed and vibrated and pounded my body until I had to wonder just how much of this I could take and still stand up, considering the valium.  At one point, the headrest lifted so that a different roller could concentrate on my neck, and if the massage chair salesman had been standing there, I would have signed on the dotted line.  When the nurse got me, about five minutes after the massaging stopped, or just long enough for my bones to coalesce, I said, "You guys ought to have a side business selling these chairs, you'd make a mint!"  Either she didn't hear me or she'd heard that quip from every doped up massage-ee to pass through and chose to ignore it.  Whatever.

After my visit to the massaging wonderland, they brought me back in for another round with the laser.  This one did the actual reshaping of my cornea.  First, though, the flap had to be peeled off.  This is as disgusting as it sounds, although at the time all I was aware of was some tugging that made my vision completely whack out.  I was telling my eye to focus on the light above me, but my eye, instead of obeying me, was off looking at the corner instead.  Come to find out (when I watched the way-too-vivid dvd of my surgery for Family Home Evening afterward) that the doctor was, in fact, yanking my eyeball in order to pry open the flap.

I think watching the dvd might have been more emotionally scarring than the actual surgery. Here, you watch it.

This one is the flap-cutting ceremony.

And here's the other half, the actual cornea-reshaping.

Gross, huh?  Add to these lovely visuals the smell of burning flesh and you'll understand why this was much more an emotional trial than a physical one.  The amazing thing was that when I sat up from under the laser, I looked out the window into the viewing room and saw Ryan - and by that I mean, I SAW Ryan.  At the risk of sounding melodramatic, to be able to see Ryan so clearly with just my regular eyes felt miraculous.  And yes, I cried.  Just a little.  Then I spent the next five minutes pointing to all the things I could read.  I love it.

Other than a burning feeling that lasted for about an hour, I had pretty much no pain.  Some dryness, but that's about it.  My vision was foggy at first, but now it's totally clear and the doctor today said my vision is 20/20.  Considering glasses could only correct me to 20/25, I call this a win.

So my plans for the future? Go swimming. Put eye makeup on without having to be so close to the mirror I'm fogging it up with my breath. Have the world's largest collection of sunglasses. And I'm totally serious about that - I plan to buy the biggest, tackiest, most outrageous sunglasses I can find and wear them everywhere. After years of wearing stupid clip-on sunglasses like an old fogey or foregoing them altogether, I cannot wait to wear sunglasses. But mostly, I'm just happy to see. Life is amazing today.


Rachel said...

Jeff was told he HAD to wear sunglasses (polarized ones) for the rest of his life because of the Lasik. Did they tell you that too? Maybe things have changed.

Emily said...

No, I wasn't told that. If I was told to wear sunglasses (and that's an order!), I'd probably be a little peeved. After all, wasn't the whole point of the surgery to stop mandated glasses-wearing? Luckily, I get to do it as a fashion statement. Kind of like Audrey. :)