Thursday, December 22, 2005
Pay your damn utility bills!
OK, this might be showing my age, but growing up, there was this cartoon about a crotchety old man who was blind as a bat and who always seemed to foil the crooks or save the day, despite not being able to see a thing. After my LASIK surgery yesterday, I am no longer Mr. Magoo! The procedure went well, but no one seems to tell you that it is going to hurt like hell! Suzy and I left Albany around 2PM headed to Valdosta to make my 4PM appointment. We get there about 5 minutes before my scheduled appointment and the office is jam packed with folks - always a good sign, along with the awards on the wall for Reader's Choice as best eye clinic in Valdosta. I go through the check-in process, and of course the payment process - guess they want your signature before the fact in case they mess up and leave you blind and not able to sign your credit card receipt. I opted for the Custom Vue LASIK treatment, which means they got me for even more $$ than just the standard procedure. They sat me down at a machine called a wave front analyzer which supposedly mapped out my corneas and created a custom profile for the laser to use instead of just a standard treatment based off my prescription. Anyway, they sit me in an exam room, put some numbing drops in my eyes, give me a Valium, and swab my eyes down with Betadine to sanitize the surgical area. They let me sit in the room for the numbing drops and Valium to kick in, then the led me off to the room with the laser wearing sharks. They had me lay down on a table and put a patch over my left eye. They then taped down my upper and lower eyelashes and placed an instrument called a speculum in my eye to crank open my eye lids so they could work without me blinking. Now comes the part I was dreading, the cutting of the flap. To say that hurt would be a bit of an understatement. I wasn't really prepared for the sensation of having an object pushed firmly against my eye tissue and then the feeling of the flap being cut, not to mention the loss of vision that entailed after that was done. Next up, the laser is turned on and you can hear it clicking away and doing it's thing, then they flush your eye, lay the flap back down, flush it again, then use some sort of tool to smooth back down the flap and make sure there are no air pockets there - think a small squeegee, and you'll get the idea. Total elapsed time for the first eye, probably 2 minutes total. The laser was only on for maybe 30 seconds or so.
Now for the fun part. They start to prep my left eye, taped down my eye lashes, placed the speculum, and are ready to insert the tool to cut the flap and the power in the building blinks. Yes, you read correctly, the freaking power shut off. So, there I am, already apprehensive and trying to be a good patient, and the lights go off. The Doctor and the 2 laser techs take it in stride, remarking how it's no problem, and even if we had been in the middle of the procedure, the laser has fail-safes and would save it's position and pick up where it left off. Well, I got to lay there in minor discomfort and major terror for about 10 minutes while the laser powered back on and re-calibrated itself. We then went through the process and finished up on my left eye. They led me back to an exam room, brought Suzy back, gave me my sporty goggles that I get to sleep in for the next week, as well as those old people shades to wear - over the goggles. Yes, I was the epitome of style, let me tell you. They go over my care regimen and give me some drops to use in conjunction with the antibiotic drops that I had already gotten from the pharmacy, and send me on my way.
The ride home was pretty uneventful, my eyes were starting to hurt more and more, so I kept them closed for most of the ride home. When we got home, any light hurt my eyes, so I called my folks to let them know I was ok, put in the first round of eye drops, drank a beer to fortify the effects of the Valium, and tried to sleep. Pain. Lots of pain, my eyes were tearing a good bit, they stung, burned, felt like I had sand in them, hurt to open, etc. I was laying there wondering just what I had gotten myself into, and finally drifted off to sleep. When I wok e up about midnight, the pain had subsided somewhat, and I COULD SEE THE CLOCK ACROSS THE ROOM! Hey, this thing really worked! I got up, put more drops in, drank some water, chatted with Suzy a bit, and went back to bed. I got up at 6AM this morning to drive myself to my Post-Op consult with the Doctor in Tifton this morning - by myself. They told me that my vision is 20/20 and that the procedure went perfectly. I've got some dryness, a little sensitivity to light, and a bit of cloudy vision, but I can see great. All in all, the discomfort will be worth it in the long run of being free from glasses and contact lenses. I'll be sure and update my progress as we go!