Resolving Timeline Issues

I can see (almost) clearly now

Posted on: August 4, 2008

And not just because the rain is gone from Vancouver – in fact, it is. Its brilliant, and warm out.

No, the reason I can see (almost) clearly now is because of the laser surgery. There’s still a slight bit of blurring, but I think that’s more because I’ve had to wear temporary contact bandages for the last 4 days, and like any contact lenses they’re getting a bit foggy despite the 80 different kinds of eyedrops I’m putting in a billion times a day.

And now, detailed reminiscing of the last 4 days (below the fold for those who really want to know how it works):

BEFORE YOU READ THIS: there is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour here. Overall, it was an awesome experience (probably because of the ativan).

Thursday: mommy and daddy drove me to the laser surgeon’s office and waited the three or so hours it took to get in and out. They brought books and I think at some point dad went and had a nap in the car. I went and slit my wrists paid them and they took my blood and also my future firstborn credit card and then gave me a gravol to swallow. Apparently, this is to take away the nausea of forking over so much money (yes, I have actual money for it, with some left over – I just get 2% cash back on my visa). And I went and sat down again. Then a technician called me in and did a bunch of vision tests (I swear, I’ve had my vision checked more times in the last 6 months than I have in the preceding 8 years), including one that showed I am not colour blind and another that showed me which was my dominant eye, and then I sat down and waited again.

A bit later, I was called in by another technician into another room, where I was given: a tylenol 3 with coedine, two ibuprofen, another gravol and an ativan. Then she put a shower cap on my head, squirted drops in my eyes (about a gallon), and then put on a CD with meditation music that was supposed to relax me but actually had a voiceover of WHAT EXACTLY WILL HAPPEN.

Then the doctor walked in and said, “I thought you had thin corneas? How long have you been going without contacts?” and turned the CD off (the only part I remembered was “look at the green light” which struck me as oddly similar to “go towards the light” and I sniggered to myself – I blame the ativan).

My response to his question? “Dude, you just gave me more drugs at once than I’ve had in YEARS and you expect me to remember now?”

I called the doctor “Dude”. He laughed at me and then checked my chart, waffled about giving me the less expensive surgery and then decided to stick with his original plan. Then he squirted another gallon of drops into my eyes and left. Without turning on the CD. So I amused myself by going through the drawers I could reach from my seated position.

Then I was escorted into a room, with another technician wearing a shower cap, who squirted another gallon of drops in my eyes, including some numbing drops that were REALLY FREAKING COLD. They laid me down and the doctor came in (he wasn’t wearing a shower cap but he had rubber gloves, which, because of the ativan, made me snigger to myself). They moved some contraption over my eyes, put on a clamp to hold my eyelids open (really, not as bad as it sounds) and everything went dark, except for the little green light and some bright white lights around it.

Then he poured about eighty gallons of freezing drops in my eye. You know when you drink something cold really fast and you get a brain freeze? Imagine that with your optic nerve. Then a red light passed over my eye a couple of times, with the doctor crooning, “Look at the green light, darlin'” (odd, the “darlin'” coming from a Chinese man, but he told me at the pre-op that he was just a simple country doctor). Then he slapped a contact lens on and that was that.

Quite honestly, the weirdest thing was him taking off the epithelial layer and me not feeling a thing. Its a tiny window-scraper like device he passes over my eye. I guess that’s what the brain freeze drops are for.

Then he went to the left eye. I think he waited until I whimpered from the freezing drops and then he said, “Ah ha – the brainfreeze happened.” Red light, green light (darlin’), contact lens, done. They turned on the lights, the doctor waved at me to make sure I could see him (making sure he didn’t blind me, I suppose), and then left. The technician with the shower cap handed me a pair of oversize sunglasses, squirted drops in my eyes and led me off to the recovery cage. My mom came in with me (I am an only child. I am, and always will be, her baby).

Then they did a vision check, told me and mom how to use the 80 different kinds of drops (prednisone 8x/day, cipro drops 6x, lubricant at least every 2 hours but really as often as I need, voltaren – and anti-inflammatory and godsend because the itching a couple days later? CRAY-ZEE), Then they sent me off and told me to come back at 8:30 the next morning.

In the car once of my contacts came out. So we went back to get it replaced.

We went to the grocery store where mom locked me in the admonished me to stay in the car with my eyes closed and dad went to the liquor store (dad is a godsend sometimes). I napped in the car until dad came back.

I ate, had a drink and went to bed at 7 (on my back, with my oversize sunglasses and iPod on). Slept until Darren’s alarm went off the next morning and got up at 6 because my eyelids were stuck together.

(No, I did not manage the 8x and 6x for the various drops).

Friday: mommy and daddy drive me to the laser surgeon’s office. They take me pretty much right away (which saved for having to pay for parking). I see another technician, who checks my vision and peers deep into my eyes, then the surgeon who says, “How are your tiny corneas today?” (I either have the thinnest corneas known to humankind or this is how he remembers me). He peers deep into my eyes, then tells me my eyes are healing well and to come back on Tuesday to get the lenses out. I tell him my optometrist already made an appointment for Sunday for that, and he says, “Ooooh, no, darlin’, that’s too soon. Tuesday.” I negotiate with him to get cleared to go into work on Tuesday (he’s 10 blocks from my office).

He asks me if I needed to take any painkillers (to wit: ibuprofen, T3 and ativan) last night and I asked him if a drink with dinner counted. He said, “That’s probably the best kind!”)

I meet with the coordinator, who gives me new instructions for the 80 different kinds of drops: prednisone – 6x/day; cipro – 3x/day; lubricant – as much as you want, at least every two hours, and start using this OTHER KIND of lubricant that you have to buy (which are amazing, BTW), on Sunday. Oh and here’s a prescription for some other drops that you have to fill. Bring them in on Tuesday and we’ll tell you how to use them. No makeup or swimming for 2 weeks, and take baths for now, don’t wash your hair and when you take a shower next week, don’t have the water beat on your face – just let it hit the top of your head and run down.

Oh and you don’t have to wear the sunglasses at night, you can wear these eye covers.

Alrighty then.

Go to London Drugs, fill scripts. Decide to get only one of each rather than the 4x of each they prescribed me and will fill the others later. Pay about $10 total for the prescriptions (thank you extended medical insurance), $30 for the awesome eyedrops (Allergan Refresh Celluvisic), and $20 for a new wallet. Dad wants to go to Walmart, so we trundle out to Abbotsford. We visit Walmart* and I buy two sunhats that I start wearing in the store. One is brown with white polka dots and the other is white with black polka dots. I avoid the red-with-white-polka-dots because it makes me look like the Mushroom Princess from Super Mario Brothers.

Upon leaving, we see a tile business that’s going out of business about two blocks away and mom needs tile for her kitchen counters. Its just up the hill so we go there.

And we get lost (this is another post in itself).

After some trial and error dad buys some tile ($2.50/sq. ft.). Then we go home and have lunch. My parents nap and I flake out on the couch with my iPod and leftover spaghetti. Darren comes home in a bit with wine. My hero. 🙂 Mom makes a pot roast, mashed potatoes and green beans. And chopped veggies, most of which are from the farmer’s market.

I put on my eye covers and we start watching a movie. Dad goes to bed and mom and I fall asleep. We all go to bed.

“Bzzzzzzz” says Darren to me as he’s falling asleep. Apparently, the eye covers make me look like a bug. Imagine if I’d gotten the red hat.

Saturday: Mom and dad go to Ikea then home. We go to the chicken farm because my order is ready. Dad phones and leaves a message that Ikea is shitty now (apparently they’re using child labour rather than prison labour now?), we eat and go to bed.

Sunday: Vision is more blurry than the day before. I flake out on the couch and pretend to watch movies on Showcase all afternoon (with my sunglasses on) but I mostly nap. Darren goes to the driving range with friends and I tag along but do not hit balls. I go to the pro shop and buy my first pair of Oakley’s because my loonie store sunglasses (dollar store, for anyone from the US),  I got 6 years ago are scratched to shit.

LURVE. I get the idea behind expensive sunglasses now. Really. Am a convert to expensive sunglasses now.

We get home around 11, I put on my eye covers and listen to my iPod.

Monday (today): Vision is much better today. In fact, I started noticing it on Sunday night. I turn down the font size of my computers. Am comfortable so long as I use the lubricating drops at least every two hours.

Overall? I think this is a good thing. Like I said, I’m seeing really well, aside from the “contacts in too long” syndrome and one or two halos around really bright stuff. I think this is a good investment.

Anyone in the Vancouver (or even BC) area, I’ll be glad to recommend the clinic to you.

*And Darren would have gladly ferried me around – mom wanted to visit anyways 🙂

3 Responses to "I can see (almost) clearly now"

Sounds gross. Reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons where Homer has some eye surgery and refuses to pay for the drops and then his eyes crust over in this grossness. I’m sure it’ll be great to say goodbye to contacts though.

It wasn’t that gross. LASIK is worse because they actually cut a flap in you eye rather than scoring the surface. THAT is gross.

Okay, now I want to know which clinic you went to, because I’m in Toronto and they might have a branch here of your Vancouver clinic.

And is this getting better now, sight-wise?

I’m just dying to be able to see clearly but I think I’ll need a bottle of ativan!

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August 2008


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