I'll try and give you a quick rundown of why my surgical experience was better than expected AND worse than expected. (But knowing me, I can't really promise it will be all that quick! No surprise there, I don't write quick! You'd better grab a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice), and settle in. This could take a while!)
Day 1 - Surgery performed
- They were a bit disorganized at the center and we ended up waiting longer than we should have, but that was ok. I was in no hurry! Ratchlet finally went and asked and the receptionist said, "They should have called you 23 minutes ago!" Uhhhh, well, they didn't! We were off to a bang-up start.
- They finally called my name and my darling Ratchlet, (who knows me really well!) said to the nurse (whom I had never seen before), "She's pretty nervous about this." The nurse looked at me like I was some demented child, and then in front of the entire waiting room full of people, she grabbed me in a big hug, patted me on the back about 15 times, and said, "Awwww, don't you worry! You'll be fine. It won't hurt a bit." Yep, that really helped!!!
- Preparation all took place in a communal prep area where there were 3 or 4 patients receiving eye drops, and IV hook ups (no meds, you understand, just the needle stuck in my hand). They hooked me up to the BP and O2 monitors. I was still nervous and getting more so each minute. "When do I get the anesth?," said I. "Oh, you won't get that until you're in the operating room", Nurse Touchy-Feely chirped cheerily. Oh great! I'm a nervous wreck here, and I don't even get any of the happy drugs until I'm already in there. Wonderful! This is just getting better and better! They did, at least give me a warm blanket without my even asking. One point for their side.
- The Anesthesiologist came over, and without looking at me once, said, "I'm Dr. ____. I'll be your Anesthesiologist." Good old Nurse T-F came over and told him, "she's a little nervous." Ha! A little nervous??? Boy, did she have a gift for understatement!! I, putting up a brave front however, said something like, "Oh you're the guy that's going to hit me in the head with a hammer. Hahaha!" I guess he must have heard that before because he responded, "We only use that as a last resort." And that is all he said to me, that's it, every word! Still no eye contact at all. Some pre-surgery consult! Really helped me feel confident and relaxed. Right! No points!
- I guess to kill some time in between drops, Nurse T-F came over and wanted to show me photos of her daughters....AND the fish they caught on a recent fishing trip! First of all, she had personally given my glasses to Ratchlet back in the waiting room! How did she expect me to see these gems anyway?? Secondly, I was seriously thinking about starting a rosary to pray for my survival. Looking at pictures of featureless blobs she said were her daughters was not helpful. -1 Point
- Finally finished with the gazillion eye drops and off we went to the O.R. Still no happy drugs. Climbed up on OR table, heard the surgeon say something to the tech, but I couldn't make out what he said. Then they finally attached the needle in my hand to something other than thin air. And I was gone, almost instantly. (Great stuff that Verset! Mega points!!)
By now you may be getting the idea that maybe they were nowhere close to understanding that I WAS SCARED!! Or if they knew, they didn't care! I don't know how far into the surgery I was, but at some point I definitely woke up! All I saw were some bright lights and a few shadows moving and heard some voices, but nevertheless, the good doctor had not told me the truth back in his office when he told me I'd be "sound asleep". Being able to see lights and shadows and hear voices is not my definition of "sound asleep"! -5 Points!
- That must have happened pretty close to the end, because I was mostly awake from then until the time I got back to the prep area where Nurse Touchy-Feely once again took over. I was in the operating room 15 minutes! That's all. I did not see the doctor again after the surgery was finished! Nurse T-F gave me a pill she said would "help me sleep". Oh, fine, NOW they want me to sleep?? Nurse T-F's parting words were, "Oh you're going to see sooo much better!" And she returned me to the loving care of my daughter! +5 points!
- Ratchlet helped a pretty wobbly me back to the car and took me home, where I did, in fact, sleep for six hours straight. And then the fun began!
Post Surgery - Day 1
When I woke up I needed to get more drops in the eye and as soon as we took off the plastic shield and I moved my eye, I let out a yell that probably could be heard around the block! It felt as tho there were loose shards of glass roaming freely around my whole eye scraping back and forth. YOWZA! It hurt! It wasn't constant but it was quite frequent.
Ratchlet re-read the post-surgery instructions which said that if I had any pain or discomfort, I could take 2 Advil or Tylenol or Midol. Huh? My eye feels like its being gouged out slowly one layer at a time and I can take 2 Tylenol??? I take more than that for a headache!! And there is no way this piercing pain could be considered "discomfort"! Stubbing my toe is discomfort; shards of glass in my eye is waaay beyond discomfort!
Ratchlet called the surgeon, who actually called back himself! (Points added there). He said that this was something that happened to some people but not everyone. Oh Goody, Lucky Me! It would take about 12 to 18 hours to go away! It was caused by abrasions to the eye and that I should keep my eye closed as much as possible! Okay, you betcha! No argument there! A little warning of the possibility might have been a nice thing to add to the pre-surgery consult....but no, it was a surprise!
Unfortunately, if you stop to think about it, if you move one eye (like for seeing where you're going), the other eye moves too. Whether its closed or not! No choice, they move in tandem. So until I actually fell back to sleep (blessedly soon after I returned to bed), my poor eye was repeatedly scraped by the evil abrasions the good (!) doctor had caused on the parts of my eye that were staying! It was not helped by the 2 pills. It was not helped by the drops. It was not helped by closing the eye. It was not fun! What it was, was a big pain that woke me several times during the night!
(Minus all points and -10 more!)
Post Surgery - Day 2
When I woke up the next morning at about 6:30 a.m. I still had the pain, but perhaps not as frequently. I still felt extremely groggy and lethargic. What was in that pill old T-F gave me, anyway?? After more drops and other such necessities of life, I went back to sleep.
Next woke up around 10:00 and the pain WAS GONE!! Oh, blessed relief. Yay! It was such a joy, I went back to bed to celebrate!
When I finally got up and moving around, I began noticing my actual vision, something I hadn't paid any attention to up till then. Hmmm, I felt kind of wonky, like I was seeing differently from each eye. It was like the two eyes were focusing on different things. Very odd and very disorienting. The Big Guy told me that with the artificial lens I now had, it had a set focus point, unlike a natural lens which focused at different points depending on what you were looking at. Well! Hmmppf, another thing nobody ever thought to tell me! I was getting pretty hacked off by that time. In this day of full disclosure, I got nothing! (I gave up counting points at all!)
- Still feeling pretty wobbly, the Big Guy drove me to the center for the post-surgical visit that was part of the whole thing. Saw a doctor I had never seen before (I was beyond surprise at this point). He assured me that the pain thing was "normal" for some people. He looked into the eye and said it all looked "perfect" and I could go. I told him I wasn't feeling like I was seeing well enough to drive and asked if that was something to worry about. Nope, just don't drive till you feel comfortable. Okaaay, I wasn't planning on it anyway. In and out in less than 10 minutes. Not real big on bedside manner, these docs!
The rest of the day was pretty much the same, still a bit wobbly, still a bit sleepy, still not seeing the way I thought I should. Still not feeling like it was a "snap"!
Post Surgery - Day 3
- So I was putting more drops in the eye the next morning and I noticed that the pupil of the "fixed" eye was significantly smaller than the other one. That's a bit odd. I went into a darker room and had the Big Guy take a look. Yep, they are definitely different sizes. The "new" eye wasn't dilating at all! It was stuck in a pinpoint, no matter what the light level. Of course, I began to worry. Would it get better? Was it going to stay that way forever?? Why hadn't anyone TOLD me???? I was seriously upset.
- So I called my own ophthalmologist and was advised by the office staff to send her an email!! Do doctors not talk to patients at all anymore??? But, hey, I'm an obedient soul, so I wrote a big long email explaining all my concerns and worries. To her credit, she did answer the email fairly quickly. And I'm sure you can guess from the way all of this is going that her response was, "Yep, its all normal. Don't worry, it will get better." Okaaay, not overly reassuring but, maybe this is only a big deal to me! Then I asked her when I should schedule my appointment to see her for an exam and new glasses. She said she wanted to see me in a month! A MONTH!!
I can't quite understand it, but that somehow reassured me most of all. I guess it must all be normal, just like they said. She'd want to see me sooner if it wasn't normal, right?? I decided all I could do was wait and hope things got better sooner rather than later.
Post Surgery -- Day 4
So here we are at today (Friday). And finally, FINALLY, I feel like I can see like a normal person (almost)!! I feel comfortable in driving. I read a lot today, no problem. Pupil is still the same, but the truth of the matter is that as long as there is light, I can see just fine. "What a difference a day makes!!" It's true! It evidently take at least 4 days to readjust enough to feel like there isn't something out of whack. Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!!
Now that I am at the point that I can see comfortably again, I am ready to look back and evaluate this whole experience. The center even gave me a patient survey to complete. Soooo, they asked for my opinion, huh? Well, I will be more than glad to give it to them. Oh yes, I will! I think I'll start with "Sound asleep, my ass!"