Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stick a needle in my eye....

I've got eye issues. I've had them since I was a kid. It seems like I've had different sorts of issues, at different times. Things will be fine for a few years, then something flares up and I spend some quality time with my eye doctor. After last November's big eye pressure action, we decided that, this year, it would be time to do the cataract surgery we started talking about over a decade ago.

I went in last Friday to have my eye measured. They used several different machines, including one where I looked into a cone shape of concentric circles... sorta like this, only purple and black


It produced a brightly colored printout that looked a bit like this:


After that machine, there was another machine, and then a really terrible one with water, a laser, and a cup over my eye. The less said about that one, the better...

Then I was taken through all of the cataract surgery information .... the nurse was very, very thorough, and there were lots of slow, detailed explanations. We both kept laughing and saying that, well, the standard patient for this procedure is, well, thirty years older than I am. So it's good to be VERY CLEAR with instructions.

Then yesterday I had a "procedure" to help prep my eye for the cataract surgery next month. I was having an Ozurdex injection -- basically having a pellet of steroids injected into my eye. The pellet will slowly dissolve over the next few weeks, serving the dual purpose of cleaning up any inflammation in my eye before the surgery, and helping recover faster after.

I didn't really know what to expect. Other than that they were going to STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE. So I guess I expected something like this:

Antique Dewitt & Herz Veterinary Syringe, Chrome Plated, Germany c. 1890
I am smart enough not to actually look at what the Ozurdex applicator looks like, even now -- heck I'm having this done on my other eye later this year. So for now, ignorance is bliss.

I didn't realize until the night before that I would actually have the option of being knocked out. What? You mean I don't have to WATCH you come at me with a needle? Sign me up.

When we got to the doctor's office, Wil settled in to the waiting room while I was whisked back to get ready. Booties on my shoes, one of those lovely caps on my hair (bringing back memories of my mom and her fellow O.R. nurses), and a fetching hospital gown over my clothes. Sean, my nurse, helped get me comfortable on the chair/bed thing, while another person gave me a heated blanket. Ahh, the joy of a heated blanket.

I signed paperwork, confirmed that, yes, it was the LEFT eye we were going to work on, Sean drew a big black X over my left eye -- something I forgot about until hours after I got home and Wil asked if I was planning on removing it. Ha.

Then the drops started. A simple numbing drop -- probably the bright yellowy one. After that was in for a while, they put a bunch of lidocaine gel in my eye -- which was weird because I could see it, but I couldn't feel it. Look down at my feet, look up past my forehead, and then close my eyes. Okay. While that was taking effect, they put the IV shunt in my hand and started hooking me up to a bunch of monitors. Sean told me that, if they had it in stock, I was probably going to be given Propofol -- Michael Jackson's drug of choice. OoooooOOOOOOooooohhhhh. Because they were going to knock me out, they put a small oxygen tube in my nose and told me to try and remember to breathe through my nose. Even when I was out.

Though the bustle I just tried to lie there quietly, breathing deeply. Through my nose.

They gave me a second gloop of lidocaine gel, and, while my eyes were closed, wheeled me into the bright lights of the operating room. Eric the anesthetist told me that he would be there throughout the procedure keeping me happy (I had told him that I was 'pro-drug, anti-discomfort' when medical things were concerned). I heard Dr. Carroll and remembered to ask him how long before I could run. He said, "Saturday".

And then they were sitting me up in the chair. My eyes were closed, I felt a little funny, and the first thing I said was, "When can I run?", which made them laugh. I opened my eyes and said, "Oh. You're already done, aren't you?"

Yep.

I sat there for a little while as they took all the various sensors off, took the IV out, and basically came to. As I sat there I heard the Eric say quietly to Sean, "Yeah, but who's Charley?" I said, "Oh, that's my brother. Did I say his name?" They laughed -- a little embarrassed -- and said, "No, no. That's just an anesthetist joke. I used to always say that when people came to, but then one day a woman was horrified that she might have said the name of her brother-in-law, because she had a huge crush on him. Awkward!"

(How great is it that there are anesthetist jokes?)

Then after a few minutes I basically got up, gave them my booties, hat, and gown, and left. Rebecca had arrived to drive us all home, and that was it. No pain -- other than slightly itchy eyes for a bit. The one weird thing is that I can actually "see" the steroid pellet bobbing around in my eye. It's not visible to anyone else -- it's inside my eye, after all -- but it's always there, just at the top of my vision. I know that I will probably stop noticing it -- and that it will dissolve away in time -- but boy oh boy is it distracting now.

I'm taking it easy the rest of the week -- no boot camp, no running -- though I might go for a tiny little run on Saturday or Sunday.... So hopefully this blog can go back to running soon!

1 comment:

skroman said...

I was wondering how your procedure went. I'm glad this first part went well.xoxoxo.