Friday, January 29, 2010

Things are looking up…

So, Saturday we went into town to do a bit of shopping and I suddenly noticed that the day was really clear. Now it's true, that it was a clear day, you know, one of those cold, crisp, clear days where everything seems to sparkle just a little bit and it was one of those days…but it seemed even clearer than that.

I suddenly realised that for the first time since the laser surgery, my eyes weren't sore and my focus was clear and even. I suddenly realised that looking at the world through grubby glasses, slightly out of focus contact lenses or (heaven forbid) the blurry world that I use to inhabit without specs is a whole different thing to what the world looks like when all you have is naked eyes to see. Everything looked so clean all of a sudden. Well, maybe that isn't strictly true, after all, it's our local town centre and I bet you know what yours is like(!) but it all looked like it does when you go to the optician, he looks at your glasses, tut tuts a bit, and proceeds to get out a bottle of cleaning stuff and a cloth. He works a few seconds of magic and when you put your glasses on the world is the clearest its been for months - only to disintegrate back into a grimy film almost immediately you leave the office! Well, my eyes are like that now (not the grimy bit, the clean bit), only its all the time. It has been the biggest revelation of all to me….

As to the rest of it, since that Saturday, day by day my focus is clearer and clearer - for a while I could read easily, see very far away, but mid distance (sort of 18 meters, 20 yards distance) was blurry - and that was both odd and annoying. Since then, that has improved too and I am getting more amazed every day by what I can see.

I am still putting in drops (not often) during the day and ointment (Yeuch!) at night and have to do that until my one month appointment next week. I am finding still that they get sore in the evenings but even that is getting better. I am much happier than my last blog entry….now let me see, am I happy I did this? Well, the answer is yes I am, but I would offer the advice to anyone thinking of getting it done that this is surgery and you need to heal. Although they occasionally can, in most cases miracles don't happen overnight - be prepared for that and you'll do just fine…

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

6 Days later….

This heading has been inspired by 2 things -
  1. We have just watched 28 Days Later (and then 28 Weeks Later) on DVD as hubby had them for Christmas and
  2. My eyes look like something out of the same films…

6 Days after my eye surgery, I woke up and looked at the clock - it looked odd but I couldn't figure out why. I could still read it, it just looked a bit strange. I covered my right eye and looked at it - perfectly clear and a pin sharp image - no problems there then. I covered my left eye and did the same - oops, that was it, there was the problem - the vision in my right eye was distinctly blurry and very dark it seemed to me. Left eye/right eye - I double checked them - same thing - for sure, through my right eye, the pale blue wall looked to be a much darker shade and I couldn't read the clock at all. In addition, my eye was sore and I felt like I had something stuck under my top lid.

Now at this stage I started to be a little concerned - I was, after all, only 6 days after eye surgery and things can go wrong. What made it worse, as those of you who know me particularly well may have already figured, is that this was my right eye we were talking about and I really tend to favour that one! I know both eyes are important, but I'm right eye dominant and so I was more than a little bothered by it all. I decided to sit down and give myself a good talking to….and wait until my 7 day appointment!

At 7 days my eyes were a bit better and I went in for my appointment where on the whole the surgeon was quite pleased with progress. It seems my eyes have developed dryness and I needed more drops (like already putting drops in 10 times a day*1 is not enough) and this has meant that I am healing a bit slower. In addition I seem to have been left with a small amount of astigmatism that may need retreating if it doesn't settle down on its own as my eyes heal. Time and patience (like I have much of either of those) were the order of the day…and those eye drops of course!

At 10 days I went away for the weekend and the BMB offered to drive. Now, in reality, I am sure I could have done the driving but my eyes are just getting so tired over the course of a day that I appreciated and accepted the offer. I'm guessing at this point that apart from the people who have already had their eyes fixed, most people are a bit like my mother who just can't quite grasp what its like to go through this and even suggested that I keep my glasses…just in case…! It's just not like that - once they've 'removed tissue from your eye' - you can see without glasses…it's not like wearing contacts that you slip out at the end of the day. TBH, sitting here, typing this 2 weeks on, I wish it was, as I'd love some relief from that sore gritty eye feeling that I seem to have so much of the time.

So far, I have been asked several times if I would recommend the surgery and my answer has been the same in all cases - ask me in a month! I know all the adverts tell you how cheap it is and give testimonials of how wonderful and amazing it is to be able to see and how it is all pain free and sorted within 24 hours, but that's not been my personal experience and when I questioned the surgeon about this he said that recovery largely depends on your prescription. All those people who have a wonderful experience have a mild prescription - as he put it "The more tissue we have to remove from the eye, the longer it takes to heal". So with me, being very short sighted and having a bad astigmatism, they knew it would always take longer. Add to that the unexpected dryness in my eyes and we have a situation which is really taxing my patience.

Right at the moment I feel that I have vision that is as good or slightly better than with my contacts in but not quite as good as my glasses. My eyes are tired, get sore easily and look bloodshot. My focus seems to mildly fluctuate through the day and is poor in low light and I am getting glare and haloes around lights, my phone and my computer screen - I have also spent a lot of money. All in all, in answer to the question "would you recommend it?" I know you'd think the answer would be no, but I repeat my earlier statement and suggest that you ask me in a month. You see, my eyes really do seem to be a little better day by day. I can see to do some things with amazing clarity when my focus is right and reading is comfortable and easy without reading glasses (which I was told I would need). For every day 'looking' my eyes are working fine without specs (even though I really want to be able to do more than just 'look') and I am sure they will be even better once all the tiredness and soreness goes. I'll let you know my progress in another two weeks….

Different eyes

*1 Seriously..I am not exaggerating here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The eyes have it...

My only entry since the new year was actually written before Christmas as I have been 'out of commission' having surgery on my eyes. That's right, my days of peering myopically at everything have been brought to an end by a nice man and laser machine (or to be precise, two laser machines)!

Now, I am one of those (oops, sorry, was) one of those short sighted people who can never remember being able to see anything clearly unless it was less than 4" from my nose. In fact, when I first started school, I used to wonder what the man at the front was doing waving his arm around - I actually couldn't see the chalk on the board from the back of the class *1 and didn't realise that he was writing on a blackboard (how old-fashioned!)! I have never in my life been able to read a clock from in bed in the morning without shoving specs on first and I can't drive a car without them. Hell, I probably couldn't even find the car without them so driving was never on the agenda without help!

Over the years I have tried everything - hard lenses , soft lenses (the early ones were like inserting a small jellyfish into your eye), extended wear hard gas permeable (look 'em up - a truly hideous invention), monthly lenses, fortnightly lenses and what I ended up with, daily disposables for when I really didn't want to wear glasses. I still liked the lenses and live and die in them on holiday (I am a sunglasses tart and prescription Oakleys are out of my league so it's lenses and the regular Oakleys for me) but on the whole, for me, they are too much of a faff and too expensive to wear every day and so I simply wear specs the rest of the time.

For a variety of reasons, I decided to look into getting my eyes lasered - OK, I'll be truthful, there was a suggestion that I might get them done for nothing a while back under a scheme that nothing ever came of and it just sowed a seed for me. In the way that I do I started looking at the process and getting information and thought a consultation where I could ask loads of questions was the next step. The consultation went well - all my questions were answered, the price (although still requiring a sharp intake of breath and saying very quickly) was not as much as I feared and the success rate was quoted at 99.6%. So that was it, after a couple of weeks thinking and the offer of some interest free credit I signed on the dotted line.

Now I am not going to go into any gory details here (even though I know there are some of you who love a bit of gore), because I know some other people are a bit squeamish about eye things. All I will say is, to all of you who fit into this latter category, you are expressly forbidden to read any more footnotes on this entry…or if you do - don't say I didn't warn you…

That was how I found myself lying on a table and having my eyeball suctioned into place to hold it still while they create a corneal flap*2. It didn't hurt at all - anaesthetic is a wonderful thing and its all over in less than 20 seconds. They them moved me onto another machine which did the actual business of reshaping to correct my vision*3 and then the surgeon gently wiped over my eye*4 and it was all over. It took less than 10 minutes in total for both eyes and that was it. I was told that my vision would look pretty steamy until the following morning and that I was to go home and rest for a couple of hours while the anaesthetic wore off.

Now, if you want my advice at this stage what they should have said was this:
"Go home, take paracetamol, take Night Nurse, take Nytol, have a slug of whisky to wash it down and then maybe add some Natrasleep into the mix. If you have any harder drugs, heck take them too…for the next two hours you'll be in agony unless you sleep though it…go with the best cocktail you can!"
But they didn't.
What they said was:
"Go home and rest, take paracetamol and try to sleep. You may have a little discomfort"

Hmmm, I wonder if I can get them on trades descriptions?

Anyway, to be fair to them, 2 hours later and the pain had eased and my eyes had stopped streaming like Niagara Falls. I went to bed and slept and when I woke up the next morning my eyes only felt like I had been to a really wild party and had left my contact lenses in all night. I went for my first post op check and discovered that apart from looking like I was peering at the world though a steamy window, my vision was now 20/20 - in fact, better than that - I could even read the bottom line on the eye chart! 24 hours later, the steam started to clear and I felt like my lenses had been in for 14 hours and my eyes needed a rest; another 24 hours and I felt like I'd had my lenses in for about 8 hours, but in a hot dry climate and this was all having a rather Benjamin Button kind of ring to it… the longer it went on, the more my eyes felt like they still had lenses in, but for a shorter period of time. At this stage now though - I still can't get my head around the fact that this is a permanent change - I think because I still feel like there is something in my eyes - I assume it is lenses. Even now, I can't believe that this is it…once everything has all healed up, that will be it, no more glasses or 'artificially' corrected vision…I will just be able to see….
:eyes: revamp

*1 I was always at the back of the class - much easier to misbehave when you are hiding behind everyone else….
*2 Which is a very polite way of saying they cut your the cornea around the top of eyeball almost in half with a laser and fold it back to get it out the way so they can get on with the next bit!
*3 OK, so they burn off the surface of your eye with another laser - and yes, it does smell of burning!
*4 Well, they have to replace your cornea at some stage!

Friday, January 08, 2010

You did what with your crutches?

Quite recently I mentioned DP and I guess he was having a really on-form weekend when I saw him. Not only did he attempt to go sideways down the steps in his wheelchair, but he managed to tell us a really funny story later of how he managed to shoot himself when he was a kid. Now shooting yourself really isn't that easy, especially with a bow and arrow (as that was what he used) but when he told us that he had not only shot himself, but that he had shot himself in the back, there really was an amazing amount of frivolity around the table. It seems that at the tender age of about ten, he made himself a bow and arrow. Now I remember making bows and arrows out of bits of twig and string, but I never made anything that would shoot an arrow (another twig) more than about 5 inches before the whole thing broke! Anyway, it seems that DP was quite the little engineer and he made something that actually worked. Of course, in his ten year old brain, he decided he needed to test it and to do so decided to shoot an arrow in the air to see how high it would go. In fairness, he decided not to shoot it straight up and stand there as that would just be silly, so he shot it up at a slight angle and started to run...He had a couple of choices of which way to run, but he just picked the wrong way and discovered that what goes up must come down! So, the arrow went up and then it came down and so there he was with an arrow stuck in his back. That's not too easy to explain to the parents....

You can imagine the atmosphere around the table by this stage after he's now recounted his recent adventure with the steps and then of how he shot himself. His eyes are twinkling (told you he looks like Santa), his cheeks are ruddy and he is chortling at everything and everyone else is in a similar mood. It was sometime around this that people started talking about how they had slept the night before and I mentioned that I had had a nightmare. Now that wasn't in any way funny, but it led on to sleep disorders and the like. Somehow another conversation started at the same time (in the way that conversations do around a table) and someone else asked DP if he could get around with out his chair. He mentioned something about sleepwalking and also that he could get by with crutches in an emergency and I completely misunderstood what was going on and thought he meant that when he was sleepwalking he used crutches. In fact, there I was eating my dinner, with a mouthful of carrots and I damn near sprayed them way up to the far end of the table. You know what its like - someone whacks your funny bone dead centre and its hard to keep your mouth shut when all you want to do is scream out loud with laughter! Eventually I managed to calm down enough to swallow(!) and then, due to the fact that I was red in the face and had tears streaming down my face, I got asked what was wrong...

"....sleepwalking with crutches...!." , I gasped and fell about laughing again...and then so did everyone else.... was one of those times when for ages afterwards any time we looked at each other, we started to giggle I said, DP was truly on form...!