Jun 1, 2005

My Laser Surgery Experience

(The procedure was done on April 2005)

I was looking forward to getting laser surgery, but I was scared. Even though Anthony went through it and was fine, I was worried that something may go wrong, or that I would not be corrected to the fullest extent. But I was sick of wearing contacts and glasses so I decided to go for it.

The morning of the surgery, I went to eat at our local diner, Bel Aire. I ordered pancakes, but had no appetite. I picked at my food and barely ate.

At the waiting room I had to sign some papers. One of them was a long list of disclaimers. I anxiously initialed each page, dreading if one of those rare complications would happen to me.

I got re-tested again. They measured my pupils, created a map of my eye and took my prescription. I spoke with the doctor about my concerns and then I was given an eye drop kit and a Valium and was sent to the waiting/recovery room. It was a room with 5 leather reclining chairs and two regular chairs. I sat with my eyes closed, as it was important to keep your eyes from getting dry. After a few minutes I got called. I was taken to this machine and was instructed to lie down. It was so cold in that room. An assistant put drops in my eyes to dilate my pupils. It is a strange feeling. I lay down and the machine took pictures of each eye. Afterwards, I was taken back to the recovery room. I sat and waited for another couple of minutes and I got called again. This time they took me to another machine. I lay down and one of the assistants put a blanket on me. I really needed it because that room was really frigid. She said, “This is the part where they create the flap.” I remember feeling like backing out, but instead I lay anxious. She puts a series of drops in my eyes to numb them. The doctor comes in singing. They taped my eyelid open, put something on my eye and the machine came down. I felt a pressure on my eye. I started to say something, but the doctor quickly told me not to speak as the machine was cutting my flap. I lie silently, but felt like I was going to move. The assistant was holding my arms. I asked her to so earlier so that I wouldn’t move by accident. I really felt like I was going to move, but I laid still. Finally it was over. I don’t know if I was imagining it, but it was like I felt the laser cutting the flap around. They did the second eye. It was more bearable this time. After they were all finished and they were praising me like I had just done a miracle, I told them that my right eye hurt a little bit. Nothing major, just a little. They put more numbing drops in my eyes and I was sent back into the recovery room. I sat there with my shades on, eyes closed. One woman asked how I was doing. I told her they created my flaps and the worse was over.

A couple of minutes later, they called for me again. This time, I was taken to the first machine and it was going to be the actual laser. I lay down, and they put more drops in my eyes. I wasn’t even nervous at this point – It was probably the Valium kicking in. So they taped my eyelid open, put a patch on my other eye and slid the flap off my eye. The doctor told me to look at the red blinking light. I looked into it, and it began ticking. 10 percent complete…20 percent complete…. I continued staring into the red blinking light. 70 percent complete…80 percent complete…. 90 percent complete…100 percent complete! The doctor then slid the flap back in place; they put a bandage contact on my eye and put the patch over it. To the other eye, they taped it open and slid the flap off and told me to look at the red blinking light. I told them it was hard to focus. The machine was already starting up, and soon it started ticking away, so I did my best to stare at the red blinking light. After it was done, they put the flap back in place, put on the bandage contact, sat me up, told me “You did so good!” and sent me back to the room. “You’re all done! You did greeeeat!” They cooed. And like a little child I smiled. At the recovery room, I sat with my eyes closed, but took little peeks. Finally, they sent me to this other room where the doctor will examine me and discharge me. I sat in that room with my eyes closed. When I peeked, I couldn’t see that well, but I noticed that the edges to contours were sharp. I already knew that the surgery had worked. Anthony was finally let into the room. He told me how he couldn’t read or concentrate in the waiting room. I told him I did fine, and that I wasn’t nervous. (Valium’s a heck of a drug) The doctor took a look, and discharged me. I went home and ate pizza from Sac’s with Anthony. Anthony sent me to bed to get some rest. I lay down, and as I was lying there, my eyes went to the clock in front of the bed. I started cracking up like a madwoman because I could already read the time. Anthony came in and was wondering why I was laughing. “I could read the time!” I screamed, followed by squeals of delight. I took a long nap. When I woke up, I felt my eyes were dry, so I put some drops in. I have 3 different drops to take. One for 3 days, one for 7 days, and one for 9 days. I was to put them in 5 minutes apart. I also had Refresh Tears, which I could use as much as I wanted. My mom came over, and we talked until it was bedtime. Anthony took her home, and I went to bed.

The next morning I could see even better. I slept in, and took a long nap in the afternoon. Later that day, Anthony and I went to the Nursery to look for a Red Japanese Maple tree. On the highway, I could see really far and crisp. In the evening, my eyes were tired. On the way home, it was dark and I noticed the halos around the lights. I asked Anthony if he had that, he said he had starbursts around lights. I got worried. I was wondering if I was going to see like that at night or if it was going to go away after time. I took two days off from work. I basically slept a lot on those days because I couldn’t read, watch TV or go on the computer. The first 3-4 days, every day, you see better than the last. Eventually, the halos around the lights went away.

Now, almost 3 months later, I can see crystal clear. I am amazed at how good I see without contacts. I went for a follow up visit and I am now 20/20! I would advise everyone to do it. It’s a low-risk procedure, and not wearing any contacts or glasses is priceless. To wake up and see is a wonderful thing.

1 comment:

Gata said...

How detailed and informative!