Thursday, October 25, 2012

PRK: part ii

The truth about PRK… it’s not… that bad.

I have a high pain tolerance and everyone is different, so take it all
with a grain of salt. Your PRK could be mind-crushingly painful.

It hurts.
I’m not going to lie.
It hurts a lot.

When I hit my wall, I knew this is “what they had been talking about”.
This happened at about 20 hours post-op for me, early on Saturday
afternoon. I excused myself and went upstairs to rest. However, no
matter what I did, I found that everywhere was too bright for me to
relax, even with sunglasses on top of other shades.

Since lying in a bathroom that a 2 year uses was not appealing, I went
to the only other place in our beautiful, window-filled home that was
sealed from natural daylight – our walk-in closet in our master
bedroom.

If you house-hunt in the near future, walk into that master closet and
think to yourself, “Hmm… could I sprawl out on the floor in pain if
need be?” You’re welcome.

I made a little nest for myself in our closet, and then I shoved
things against the crack on the bottom of the door. Yes, that was too
much light. With my blankets and pillows and iPod, I found a little
comfort. Life was tolerable. Again, other people can take “real” pain
medication, so I’m sure if you had some Codeine or whatever it would
have been much better pain-wise (not light-sensitivity-wise). I’d give
the pain a 7-8 out of 10. I won’t even type here how much Advil and
Tylenol I took – I’m not admitting that in public. My father would not
approve – it was much more than the safe/recommended amount.

In my dark nest, I listened to audio books. Tina Fey’s book,
Bossypants carried me through the dark, painful hours. Her humor and
light-hearted story telling was perfect for this experience. My mom
made sure I kept up on my medications (it’s hard to judge time passing
in a dark cave).

At one point, Robert came in to visit me. The odd thing? In the pitch
blackness, I could see him fine. I mean, it was a tad shaded, but
while he was totally blind, I could make out most of his face. The
body is amazing, isn’t it? So that explains that light sensitivity –
clearly I was getting way more in than normal! My family referred to
my new super-human night vision as cat or bat vision. For the record,
I didn’t make him stay in the closet with me.

When the sun went down (and it was time for more pain meds – yay!), I
went downstairs.

If you don’t know this about my husband, he is a technological genius
and lover of all things electronic. And what was the most painful
thing for my eyes to endure? SCREENS. The second? ELECTRONIC LIGHTS ON
THINGS.

You know what? Screens are everywhere in my house. There are always
blinking lights from devices that I don’t even know what they do. My
sweet, wonderful husband did make all of the screens he could dimmer
even though it meant everyone else had to watch a dim, dark TV. Still,
I couldn’t help but feel I was stuck in some sort of horrible,
pain-inducing maze.

So I took more Valium. I went to bed very, very early. I slept like
the dead for about 11 hours.

I woke-up on Sunday morning to Stage II of Recovery… “This is
okay-but-not-great-gosh-it’s-really-bright-everywhere”.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PRK - Part 1

So… I did it! I had PRK {laser vision corrective}surgery.

This blog post contains medical descriptions. If you have a weak
stomach, don’t read on. I am a medical over-sharer. I both share and
ask other people to share way too much personal, medical information.
Blame it on my dad.

When my grandmother offered, out of the blue, to pay for LASIK for me,
I was ecstatic. I was recovering from a bad cold when my mom told me
the news, so my voice could barely peep a noise out, but I was
screaming in my mind.

I have wanted laser eye surgery to correct my vision since I could
understand what it was.

For the record, my right eye had a -5.50 and my left a -5.75 with a
slight astigmatism before. If you don’t know what that means, I was
freaking blind, ok?

So, when I went to the vision center for my “free consultation” and
they said, “You are not a candidate for LASIK” I just about had a
mental breakdown… until they said, “You can get PRK!”.

I had not heard about PRK, LASIK’s cousin that no one likes. In LASIK,
you have a small flap made in your cornea so they can reshape the
inside of your eye to correct your vision. If your corneas are too
thin, like mine, you cannot do this successfully. Thus, they must
remove the outer layer of your cornea to access the inside of your eye
with the laser.

This was not shocking news to me. I have been told by medical
professionals that my ribs were small, my cervix is small, my feet are
narrow, my fingers are freakishly skinny (well, that was by our
jeweler, not my doctor). So, of COURSE my corneas would be “too thin”.
WHATEVER.

Anyway.

PRK has a much, much longer and more painful recovery time than LASIK.
Most people take Vicodin or codeine to cope with the pain. Yours truly
vomits on either, so I toughed it with enough Advil and Tylenol to
drug a small horse.

Here is my account of the first part of my experience, for your
over-sharing-medical pleasure. Also, I hope this may help educate
someone if PRK is his or her option. But you can read to be snoopy, I
won’t judge ;).

I arrived at the office excited for my procedure. I had worn no
make-up near my eyes, I slept as best as I could, and I drank only
half a cup of coffee and no Diet Coke (to avoid over drying from
caffeine). I did my pre-exam tests (re-checking my eyes and corneas).
They had prescribed me 2 Valium to take to assist in remaining calm if
I felt “anxious”. I felt ready, people, not anxious. I took half of
one pill. I’m not a very still person by nature, so I thought maybe it
would help my lie still for the procedure. They went over post-op
care. I put on a name tag with my surgery info, along with a scrub cap
and booties.

The procedure room was open through a window into the lobby. I waved
to my mom and Robert, very blurry images as I had no glasses or
contacts to wear. My mom looked nervous. I felt… not nervous. They had
me lie on the exam table and explained the steps of the procedure to
me. Numbing, scraping off my cornea, laser, cleaning the eye, laser,
done.

They kept asking me how much Valium I took because I was so calm. They
said they had never seen anyone that chill without taking both pills.
In fact, my half a pill hadn’t even kicked in yet and I told them just
to start – I was done waiting. It felt like my wedding day that way.
Everyone saying, “Are you nervous? Are you ready? How do you feel?”
when I was just… done. Ready. Over it. Excited. Let’s get the show
started, people, I’m ready to walk down that aisle and be married to
Robert. I was ready to march into that surgery room and have my inside
of my corneas burned off. So romantic, no?

I felt nothing, barely even the pressure. The “worst” part of the
surgery is when they rinse your eyes with cool saline, because of the
temperature. But… it wasn’t even uncomfortable.

When they were done, I COULD SEE. Okay, not like pass a vision test
see, but again, I went from freaking blind to “hey, that’s my mom and
husband out there and I know because I can actually see them!”.

I wore my goggles, went home, took a nap, followed instructions, and
took the half of Valium before bedtime. The next morning, I felt…
fine. I went to my follow-up appointment. They said the discomfort
would hit me at about the 24 hour mark. I went to Target with my mom,
Rick, and Emm. I bought artificial tears.

My niece, nephew, and sister came over to hang out with my mom.

Then that 24-hour mark hit.
And it hits hard.

To be continued….

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Some times I'm a whiner

Whiner

No, for real.

I’m whiney. A lot.

We are doing the study, “Lord Change My Attitude” for women’s Bible study this fall, and the whiner in me would like to whine about how hard it is not to whine.

This week, my adorable/wonderful/awesome friend, Bridget, Facebook announced her pregnancy. I love her and Ian so much, and I’m so happy for them… and then I felt it: the small twinge of jealousy - jealousy for the excitement, for a defined stage in life, for a little baby, for knowing you should have a baby, for all of it. Granted it was a small twinge, but it was there, and it was wrong.

I woke up this morning, early for a meeting at the clinic (a meeting at which I found out that one of my patients, who was weird but perfectly nice to me, had threatened to bomb our clinic and shoot anyone who survives – you know, normal meeting stuff). I was making coffee when Rick rushed down, running late. He called for a sleepy, not-really-awake 2 year old Emm to follow him. Drinking his sippy cup, looking like he wanted to pass out, Emm walked up to me with his arms up so I would pick him up. “Rissy…” he called happily as I picked him up while Rick got their stuff ready.

In that moment, with Emm trying really hard to say my name correctly, with his contentedness in my arms, with the little happiness that can only come from snuggling with a 2 year old while making coffee at 6:45am, I realized that I am not really worthy of what God has given me. Here I am, in a beautiful home, with a wonderful & loving husband, with coffee, with a friend, with a sweet little boy, about to go to a job that I love and all I could think of  yesterday was, “Lord, why is my life not like ____?”

My life is not ____ because God did not give me that life. God may never give me that life.

He gave me this one.

Regardless of what I do or do not receive in this one, I have more than I could ever need. MacDonald says in the study that even if God did nothing else for us for the rest of our lives, we’d still have received enough blessings to fill the rest of our days with songs of thanksgiving.

I’m hoping today that I will be singing more thanksgiving… and less whining.