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….

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