Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Me, myself, and eye.... final edition (hopefully....)

Over the past few months I've undergone a series of surgeries on my eyes. Last fall I had the "hole laser-punched through the eye" to relieve pressure on my right eye. And then starting in February I have had Ozurdex injections in both eyes, as well as cataract surgeries in both eyes.... the final being today.

I've already blogged about the laser iridotomy thingy, so I won't go into that. I also wrote about my first Ozurdex implant procedure. And the second procedure, two weeks ago, was weirdly fun because I knew the entire crew, so I spent the pre-op and post-op time just chatting with my "pals". (Highlight of procedure two: this time I was alert when they rolled me into the operating room. I heard Doctor Carroll tell someone he would be right back, and I just lay there waiting. Then I felt them moving me, so I assumed I was being moved into position in the operating room. Nope, they were done. Yeah, they laughed at me again.)

But I also want to write about the cataract surgeries I've been through -- if only so that *I* remember them.

The first surgery, on my left eye, was back in March. Same friendly crew at NW Eye Associates, and I was feeling okay. The anesthetist was actually the father of the anesthetist from the Ozurdex implant procedure, which was pretty funny. As a coincidence, that happened again with my right eye. I remember lying in the bed trying to slow down my heart rate and breathe deeply. It seemed like there was a bit of a delay -- the previous patient was taking longer than expected -- so I think I had an extra dose of the Lidocaine gel at some point to keep me numb. Then Doctor Carroll came out to say hello, and the anesthetist came out to give me something to calm me. And that's all I remember.

I worried afterwards that I had passed out or something -- because I know you need to be "awake" for the procedure so your eyes don't roll back, and so you can keep looking in the direction the surgeon needs you to look.

But I was assured that, no, I was chatting and alert during the procedure, but that the drugs often cause amnesia. I did have one slightly searing memory of super bright, multicolored lights, pressure, and fear -- but it was gone in a second. I suspect that my heartrate jumped and the anesthetist responded quickly.

So that was my left eye. I went home with little discomfort, though Wil said I looked sad and scared when I came out of the back room. The follow-up on the second day was also good, and my eye has healed well over the past two months. The only real change is that, because one chooses a synthetic lens that either gives you clear distant vision or clear close vision, I no longer have clear close vision. I had been warned, and warned again... but I essentially didn't realize just what that would mean until after I had the procedure. But boy, do I get it now...

Today was my right eye. I was sorry that Sean (Shawn?), my "main" nurse for the previous procedures, was out on vacation. But Erin was also nice and sweet and funny. Plus Jon was there -- and he got me caught up on my son's performance in the track meet. State meet starts tomorrow, so good luck to him!

I did the same thing pre-op -- tried to lie quietly, lower my heart rate, breathe deeply. But today I was very aware of them wheeling me into the operating room, taping my head down so it didn't move (TAPING MY HEAD DOWN SO IT DIDN'T MOVE!!!!), and even draping my eye to isolate it. I said, "Umm... I don't remember any of this from last time". They told me I would probably forget all of this, too... but I haven't.

Now, it's not like I felt any cutting, or anything... There was no pain. But I did feel pressure, the discomfort of looking at the light, and even "saw" the lens being inserted. It was absolutely terrifying. I kept worrying that I would start to feel something other than just pressure. I mean, I could feel when they were washing out the eye repeatedly... though of course that could have been coolness that I was feeling, or even the skin next to the eye. But it was very, very scary.

And it seemed to go on for quite a while -- my right eye is the more damaged of the two eyes, and the doctor told me after the first operation that it was harder than he had expected. In the end, he added extra fluids to my eye as well as some extra medicine to help it heal. Before I was wheeled out to the recovery area -- yeah, still completely alert -- he told me that it had gone well, but if I had a third eye, he'd see if I could find a different surgeon. Which did make me laugh.

Came home and felt a bit wretched -- was still feeling really frightened from the surgery. Maybe not frightened, but really shaken. I had to keep myself from crying at first. Not because there had been pain -- there hadn't -- but because it was really, really scary. Let's just say that I'm really happy that I won't have to go through it again.

Decided to try and sleep for a bit, and ended up sleeping for two hours. Here it is, another 5 hours later, and I feel okay. Of course, I will be taking it pretty easy for the next few weeks -- no boot camp for a while, and only gentle running.

my eye before surgery
my eye after surgery




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