OK, since my last update a few weeks have passed. It’s time for the first of my two scheduled glaucoma surgeries. (I’ll be getting the second as soon as they feel the first is stable.) They’re doing my “good” eye first because time is of the essence. My pressure must come down or I will be in total blackness by Christmas. There is no guarantee this will be effective, and there is a small chance my eye will not survive this sixth surgical procedure.
Nothing will restore my already-lost vision, and nothing will keep me from going blind – but this may slow down the inevitable by a few years.
On Monday July 20, I woke up at 6am. I was told to be there exactly at 7.
“Don’t be late but don’t come early, either.” I was told.
What a tight ship they run! I thought to myself.
When 9:30 rolled around, I was still in the waiting room – endlessly flipping through the sole copy of The New Yorker they had. When the nurse came and got me, C was sleeping on my shoulder and I hated to wake her.
In the back, I had a choice of two sizes of hospital gowns. One that would leave my butt hanging out, and one that was just slightly larger than a circus tent. I took two tents. (It’s policy that you wear two.) In the changing room, I stripped completely down (why do I have to take off my underwear for EYE surgery?) and swaddled myself in the acres of gown.
Then I sat around for another two hours “going commando” waiting for my turn under the big lights. I didn’t have my iPhone with me because they told me to bring ONLY my ID (and the clothes on my back)… and now I don’t even have The New Yorker.
By the time they came to get me, I was falling asleep. You can’t sleep during eye surgery.
The procedure itself took just under 90 minutes and was done to the soothing sounds of The White Stripes, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, Oasis, and The Raconteurs.
It was mildly disturbing having to listen to my doctor give instructions while the resident did some of the work… especially when he said “nononono! over… y… more… there.”
I hated to interrupt them, but the local anesthetic started wearing off and I could totally feel them stitching. (EEeeeewwwwwww!)
Then I saw a flash of light… through the eyeball they were stitching up!
I just had to say something.
Talking at this point was a bad idea (because then they wanted to chit-chat with me during the whole rest of the procedure! I usually don’t like small talk anyway, but when I’m watching a 3-D horror film I’m a bit distracted) but I had to get another shot of pain killer.
Are you familiar with the phrase: Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye? That’s a 3-D experience that never gets old. Six surgeries in, it still makes me grin and say “Cool”.
They squirted some gel over the eye, patched it up, and sent me home. They told me to get bed rest. I went to the grocery store instead. I was on Percocet. I was feelin’ fine.
The next day the bandages came off. I didn’t mind because my eyepatch wasn’t in the least bit piratey. I looked (at best) sorta like The Mummy (from certain angles) or (at worst) like Keyser Soze’s only surviving victim.
Sarah (of the BosTens) said that I’m about two bandages away from Phantom of the Opera.
The implant is set, and I’m not rejecting the donor tissue*. I’m on a pile of medications and have alarms set for 14(!) times through out the day. In between meds, I wander around downtown Ballard with my long white cane. (I finally got one of the “tappy” kinds, I’ll write about it soon.)
I go back on Tuesday to see if I’m still doing well.
My vision through the eye is blurry, but hopefully it will return to pre-surgery level.
*There aren’t words big enough to express the gratitude to the donor and his/her family for the gift of eyesight. Thanks so much to everyone who is a registered organ donor. Without this tissue, I would not have been able to have this procedure.