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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

LASIK surgery

Back after more than a week... but with a really good excuse...

I had an eye operation.

See, told ya it was a good excuse.

So ok, the operation actually took just 10 minutes. 5 for each eye. So what? I've got to follow loads of special routines for one full month. ONE FULL MONTH.

The procedure is also known as:
1. Refractive surgery
2. Corneal reshaping
3. Vision correction

The past week has been hell. No reading/writing/watching t.v./using the computer/using the gas stove/washing my face...

Yes, I've had to wash my face in secret. So my mom doesn't see me. Because even if I try n explain that I'm just washing the bottom half of my face she'd just run on and on about how reckless I'm being. About how I shouldn't take chances. After I've already taken a really big one.

Lasik surgery is very safe. BUT... well there's always the chance that you could go blind if there's some instrument failure or through that good old standby - human error. And she didn't mind me taking a chance on that. Mother's!

Anyway, everyone's been demanding a special come-back post. I thought about writing about my fascination with guns/swords/bikes/guys who ride bikes/shaved heads/relationships/the purpose of life/inappropriate humour/death/sex/religion and ofcourse that old favourite - love.

But (yes,yes, heave a sigh of relief) I decided to stick to a very practical post for once. This is going to be a mere recital of how the surgery was carried out. Or as much as I could figure out. Every operation is shown on a T.V. screen outside the operation theatre so my folks could probably explain the whole thing a little better. I did try to watch an operation the day after mine, but my eyes kept tearing up. I think they didn't want to be reminded of the abuse they underwent. Or maybe it was just the strain of looking at the T.V. screen.

Ok, after running loads of tests the first day i was sent home with instructions to wash my hair and do everything I might want to do to my eyes. I'm not kidding. One doctor told me to do my eyebrows. Huh!

The next day they ran most of the tests again. I'm not sure if they thought my eyes would change overnight or if they didn't trust their equipment. I don't like either possibility.
They made me wear a green tie-around robe over my clothes and put plastic bags over my feet and my hair. (Maybe they weren't exactly plastic bags but that's what they felt like and I wasn't wearing my glasses so...)

Then they put anesthetic drops in my eyes and made me wait for the doctor. (Those drops really made a difference. I'm not sure how much actual pain they prevented but just thinking about them helped me convince my eyes they shouldn't be able to feel stuff they insisted on feeling.)
The damn chair didn't have arms and I was really surprised to find that I'd actually fallen asleep waiting for the doctor. The doctor was a really nice guy. The kind of guy who makes you scoff at the chance of the human error I mentioned above. Anyway, I was finally lying on the table, positioned properly under the machine, tucked in like a mummy. Then they covered my left eye and all I could think was 'just a few seconds, that's all it takes'.

They were very fast, I have to say. First they told me to hold my right eye open and they covered it with a clear plastic sheet/wrapper of some sort. My eye closed despite myself but they didn't seem to mind. I found I could still blink under the wrapper and I thought they'd have to do it again but the doc just started cutting through the plastic. It was scary enough when I was lying there, it was worse watching it on the T.V. the next day. I haven't seen scissors so close to an eye before.

Then he told me to focus on the pin point of green light above and told me I might feel some discomfort. I kept telling my eye it had been anaesthetised but I could still feel the pressure as he pressed down at the edges. As I saw the next day he'd put something round around the eyeball to prevent my eyelids from closing. Not a pleasant experience. My eyes started getting all teary immediately. I didn't know what he was doing the next minute but my folks said that's when he used a little brush or instrument of some kind to clean the surface of the eye.

Then came the worst bit. I saw it the next day and it looked almost as uncomfortable as it felt. The doctor told me to look straight at the green light and when my pupil was centered he put a suction thingy right over my poor pupil. It actually wasn't very uncomfortable when he did it to my right eye but but when he did it to the left eye, I had to focus pretty hard on the anesthetic drops.

After the suction came the best bit. The doctor had to cut a flap in the top layer of the cornea. This flap would be folded back so that the laser could be applied directly to the third layer. They'd warned me that everything would go black as the cut through and I'd expected to be scared but I can honestly say that I wasn't scared at all. My poor eye was so tired of all the bright lights and of being forced open that it was a relief when everything started to go black. It seemed to take quite some time and when they finally lifted the flap back and I could see again my eye was a bit rested and ready for what came next.

The next bit was the main part. I had to stay focused on the red light of the laser. Once or twice my eye started drifting but the doctor was a sweetheart and he kept telling me how well everything was going. It's so very hard to stay focused on one little light when your eyes are forced open. It's so damn tiring.

Anyway, getting back on track, the laser reshapes the thickness of the cornea by burning bits of it so I also had to put up with the burning smell. Again, they'd mentioned it before otherwise I'd have had a fit. In a way I enjoyed the burning smell. It seemed to carry with a it a promise that the whole ordeal was almost over.

After the laser bit my eye muscles were so tired of focusing on the red, I didn't really care what they did next. They put the flap back and then flushed my eyes with some liquid. I know I said the suction was bad but in a way this might have been worse. The liquid was so irritating I hardly noticed when they removed the clamp. I shut my eye and before I had time to let out a sigh of relief, they'd covered it and were moving on to my left eye.

The laser bit on my left eye seemed to take much longer because I focused so well, the doctor didn't stop at all. My folks said the left eye was faster but it seemed to take a looong time because the doctor stopped all his encouraging prattle, making me wonder if I would be blind in one eye and if he was just trying to cover up some horrific mistake he'd made!

After the operation he told me I could open my eyes and walk out of the theatre. Yeah right. I opened my eyes and wished I hadn't. The rest of the trip home was a blurry uncomfortable mess. Everything was too bright. Everyone was too loud. All I wanted was to curl up in a hole and sleep. Even after I went to sleep I had to wake up every hour for the eye drops.

And then at 4 in the afternoon after my dad put the drops in, I opened my eyes and all at once I knew it had been worth it after all. No irritation, no discomfort. Just a red mark on each eye that will take some time to fade. Life is so good.


tangled said...

I know!
I must write mine up too.

KD13 said...

@ tangled - You had it too!?!
Where? Write about it. I'd love to read it.

sudden_sue said...

A clamp? to force my eyes open?

No way one of those is getting near my eyes.

Anonymous said...

I want to cut open an eyeball...

[I'm in such a good mood today!!!]

Anonymous said...

Shit. I was thinking abut it. Can I mail you if I want more details.

Anonymous said...

You forgot tp mention the 'eye'cing on the cake :-(

Unknown said...

Great Experience!!!!!

Me Too Wanna Experience it....

Sharp Objects Playing close to my Eyes!!


fedes said...

why exactly did u have this surgery?

KD13 said...

@ sudden_sue - You don't need it right? Do you?

@ john - When you get those moods why don't you start with yourself first.

@ scared-but-hopeful - sure mail me anytime :)

@ MP - what icing? Really. what icing?

@ noel - Sure it's a great experience. I'm all for new experiences. Just glad I'm done with this one!

@ fedes - It's laser correction surgery. No more glasses/contacts for me!

Anonymous said...

your description makes me want my mommy. methinks i'm sticking to my good old geek glasses and -6 in each eye. so what if i never get married and turn blind by 40 anyway.

KD13 said...

@ OJ - Damn. I didn't want to scare anyone away from this. I wouldn't have even put it up but they explain the whole thing to you before the procedure anyway so I didn't think my explanation would make any difference.

I think I should edit it and emphasize how good I feel now. Everything is better. I smile everyday for no reason at all. I guess what I want to say is IT WAS WORTH IT! Even if it were 10 times worse it would still be worth it.