Second Time’s A Charm

A few days ago, I had Lasik administered again, but only on my left eye this time. I had actually asked to have the enhancement done in early December, but they wanted my eye to stabilize. Trying to read signs in stores during the holidays, searching for special toys, etc. was a challenge, and driving at night was uncomfortable and disconcerting when it was raining.

I didn’t wake up extra early with worry. I had been walking around with subpar vision for a few months and I was just ready to do it.

It was quite busy and several cars were in the parking lot (totally the opposite of how it usually looks). Many people were in the lobby waiting, probably because there were a few patients ahead of me and each person is supposed to have someone else drive him or her home. (I didn’t this time– but you should.)

The Entry

After a few standard tests on the machines (they like to triple-check their numbers for each patient), I went back into a small room that had a large massage chair and a screen playing a DVD menu. I turned the remote to “Full” for the works. One of the techs came in and gave me a new consent form to review and sign. It basically said that enhancements may help or worsen the treated eye(s), and that I couldn’t sue them if anything went wrong with my eyes after the surgery. (At least that’s how I interpreted it.) Then she reviewed the post-op care instructions and the two sets of medical drops I was to use for the 7 days (one is an antibiotic and the other is a steroid):

  • No eye makeup for 1 week
  • No swimming for 2-3 weeks
  • No eye rubbing for 4 weeks
  • Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection outdoors for 3 months minimum

I wasn’t worried, so I told her I didn’t need valium this time. She left and I watched a video that was less than two minutes, then closed my eyes and relaxed (that massage was feeling GOOD). Again, totally different from the way I felt the first time I was in this room back in September.

About 10 minutes later, the doctor came in. I’ve seen him before, but he was not the same doctor who operated on me before. We spoke briefly, then after few minutes, another tech came to bring me into the OR (or whatever it is called).

My turn had come. It was time.

The Second Time Around

I put on a white cap (similar to the blue ones you see people wearing in hospitals) and the tech dropped something in each of my eyes that made them numb almost instantly (only one eye needed it, but it helped that both eyes felt the same). Then I laid down on the matted table. Another tech covered my right eye and taped up my left eyelid. This is where I started to get nervous and uncomfortable. The techs told me to relax and breathe. I thought about my quiet time that morning, when I was studying a couple of Bible passages about the names of God. In particular, I remembered the name El Roi, which means, “The God who sees,” and El Shaddai, which means “God Almighty.” Thinking about these names and characteristics comforted me.

I felt a little pressure, and the bright lights above me were intense (remember, I couldn’t look away because my eyelid was taped up), but I just kept taking deep breaths. My vision didn’t go dark this time, but there was a lot of tearing and fluid. I even managed to interject a few comments with the doctor and techs, who were talking about take-out food (even though it was only about 10 a.m.). I felt even better knowing that the whole thing would be over within 3 minutes, and they didn’t have to do anything to my other eye.

At the end of the procedure, I saw the laser “sizzle” across my eye like lightning, but I didn’t feel anything. A few seconds later, it left a foul smell (like sulfur), and it was over. A tech took all the stuff off both my eyes and helped me up. I went to a machine and the doctor looked at my eye briefly, then led me out to the lobby. I did not have anyone to drive me home so I drove myself (I know, I know), but I was ok because A) I live 2 miles away, B) I had not taken the valium or any other meds this time, and C) I still had one perfectly good eye!

At Home

As I left, I didn’t feel any pain. When I got home 5 minutes later, I made pancakes before lying down. That’s when my eye started to hurt.

And tear.

And throb.

I felt intense pain and pressure, so I took an Aleve, which always works. But for the first time since they’ve been selling it, it didn’t alleviate anything. My eye continued to water even while it was closed. So I rested fitfully until my daughter got home from school, and she knew I would be in bed. I had already set out her snacks, and she didn’t have homework since it was Friday. After a while she left to hang out with the neighbors (I’ve got some great neighbors).

Around 5-ish, she came in my room with a small plate of homemade pizza she made with her friend. I got up for real and I was no longer in pain. I felt ok.

At 8, I turned on the TV, and immediately I knew.

Crystal-clear vision. No one on my show was blurry. I don’t have an HD TV, no 1080i or 720p or any of that stuff, but I may as well have.

This is what I’ve always wanted. This is marvelous. I was so excited, I wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them I could see. It’s hard to describe the feeling.

The second time around was a charm.

Thinking About It?

Many of you read my previous post on this subject and decided against getting Lasik because the account was so graphic, real, and well, negative. But I don’t regret it at all. I’d do it all over again from the beginning if I had to.

Lasik is considered a cosmetic procedure, so my insurance doesn’t cover it. I used my flexible spending account to finance it. I encourage you to plan for and take steps to do whatever you have been thinking about doing but put off last year– a lavish vacation or dream trip, an “enhancing” procedure of some sort– whatever you have been putting off. Pull out your bucket list (or make one), and start saving and planning so you can make it happen this year.

As for me? I think I’m going to have to make a standing appointment for a monthly massage– with a human.

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