Where did I leave off??? Oh yeah, the procedure and recovery!
I went to my "consultation" appointment on Thursday (the 23rd of Feb). I really felt "consultation" was a little misleading. The "screening" was more what I thought the consultation would be like. The appointment on Thursday was 3 hours long. They did every test known to man. I have decided they need to rename their appointments - the first appointment should be the consultation. The second appointment, should be the pre-operative appointment. Too bad they didn't ask my opinion. LOL.
Anyway, I was really holding my breath during that three hour appointment because I was afraid the doctor would tell me that I really wasn't a good candidate. At this point my mind was made, and to turn back would have been so sad! Anyway, all went well that day, and he cleared me for surgery.
So the next morning, I got there at 9:30. I was told I was the first surgery of the day, so I wouldn't be there very long. They took me back immediately and began to prep me. The prep was really just rechecking the measurements from the day before, cleaning my eye area and putting in lots of drops. When I say lots of drops, I don't think your mind can truly fathom how many. LOL. I felt like my eye balls would look like prunes when we were done.
Right before I went in the surgical suite, the doctor came in and "marked" my eyeball. Truly weird to think about. I guess it makes sense though... they do that for other surgical procedures. Anyway, next thing I knew, it was my turn!
I went into the surgical suite and got comfy on the table. When I laid (lied?) down, the technician game me two stress balls to hold. I have to be honest, that scared me worse than the procedure. I kept thinking, why do I need stress balls? And I going to be stressed? The doctor came in at that point and got started.
Initially, they taped my eyelashes down. Weird. Then they gave me more drops. They used this little retractor thing to crank open my eye and to prevent me from blinking. Let me say that this was the most stress inducing thought before the procedure. The thought of not blinking for any length of time freaked me out. I would "practice" not blinking before I went, and I never made it more than a few seconds. I couldn't wrap my mind around how I could not blink. I was also worried about seeing everything they did. Obviously, you are wide awake during the procedure, and the thought of "watching" it all completely unnerved me.
Well, I have to tell you not blinking is a non issue. They are using so many drops, you don't feel the need to blink. Never once did I think, man! I need to blink! Another thing that still seems odd to me, is I never really saw anything they were doing. I don't know if it was because it was so close or what, but other than shadows and a few colors, I couldn't make anything out.
Once he got my eye taped down, and cranked open, he cut the flap. I am not sure why he cuts the flap and other doctors create the flap with the laser, but it didn't seem to really make a difference. One person suggested the doctor was using an older method, but based on my research, that isn't the case. I guess it's just preference. So he used this little disposable blade to cut open the flap. He told me at this point, everything would go black for a second. Praise God he communicated with me, because that was a little scary. It went away after a few seconds though. Once the flap was cut, he positioned the laser.
Keep in mind that up until this point, there was no pain whatsoever. I mean none. No discomfort either. I could feel them doing stuff, but no different than lightly rubbing your eye. When the laser came on, I got nervous again because, well, because it's a freakin' laser. I could see a faint flashing red light and a morse code type sound. It literally lasted 30 seconds. Then it was done. DONE. One thing that may bother some people was the smell. It didn't bother me though, because I have been to the dermatologist enough to know what that smell is. It isn't a bad smell, just a burning smell. Ok, let's not linger there.
He then programmed the laser to the do the second half of my treatment. Remember the "double card" treatment? Once he programmed that in, the laser came on for another 30 seconds and it was done. They flushed my eye really good, put the flap back over, took off the tape and it was finished. It took literally 4 minutes from start to finish.
The right eye proved to be a little more difficult, but I don't know why. He explained it to me, but I didn't really understand. This time, it did hurt a little, but not because of the procedure. What hurt was the instrument used to create the suction (to keep your eye from moving). The suction itself didn't hurt, but the instrument hurt my cheek a little. That didn't happen on the first eye, so I really think it was a fluke.
Anyway, otherwise same process. Over in less than 4 minutes total. When they were done, they sat me up and walked me to the exam room. At this point, I could see pretty well as far as the acuity was concerned, but the quality was not good. Every thing was very cloudy. My depth perception was wonky too.
He looked at my eye really good, gave me more drops and sent me on my way. I was instructed to go home and rest my eyes for about 4 hours. At this point, I could see the eye chart around 20/40.
I was home eating lunch by 11:30. Like I said before, I was in the surgical suite no more than 10 minutes. While I was eating lunch, I was checking my email via my phone. I had no problems reading anything. I took a 4 hour nap and felt great afterward.
When I woke up, things were still pretty cloudy. I could watch tv ok, it just wasn't great. Even though it was cloudy, I had NO pain or discomfort. When I woke up the next morning, I could see pretty well. I actually drove myself to the post op appointment. At that point, I was seeing 20/15 in the right and 20/25 in the left. My right eye was still cloudy, and as it turned out, it stayed cloudy for about a week or so.
I have to be honest, I looked awful. I had two huge red bruises on my eye balls. For about a week, my vision wasn't very stable. In fact, I was starting to get nervous. I really felt like my depth perception should have been better. Things like stepping off curbs and looking out over a distance was very... weird. I worried that it might be my new normal. Sometimes it would be very blurry, but then it would clear up. On Monday morning, I called the office. The tech told me that was completely normal and was expected.
I could drive fine, read fine, watch tv fine. It was just off - I can't really describe it. Well, on Monday a week later (10 post op days later), it was like night and day. I woke up and all of the issues were gone. The way the doctor explained it to me was like this - my brain had adapted to having my old vision. To change it drastically like that, my brain had to catch up. Kind of like getting a new prescription in your glasses, except worse. The worse your vision was going in, the longer it would take to stabilize. Makes sense. So 10 days post op and it was awesome. I mean really awesome. I felt like I was in a dream. It's been almost 4 weeks, and I still find myself reaching for my glasses!
With both eyes open, I can see 20/15. However, my left eye, which was the worst, is only at 20/25. I can choose to have an enhancement if I want. At this point, I am not sure. He said to give it 2 more months. It takes that long to really stabilize. We will see. 20/25 is still darn good, I think. As easy as the surgery was though, it would be a shame to not do it again, if it will make it perfect.
Sometimes, there is pain in the right eye now, but it is because I am not using the lubricating drops like I am suppose to. LASIK makes your eyes incredibly dry, so for 2 months or so, you have to use moisturizing drops a few times a day. When I forget, my right eye starts to burn a little from excessive dryness. Drops make it feel better though.
So that's it. I have had the best possible experience. I would recommend LASIK to anyone that is considering it. It has literally changed my life. Besides the obvious gift of SIGHT, I am more confident. I can do things I was unable to do before - like swim, watch 3D movies and actually wear the glasses, lay (lie?) on the couch and watch tv, wear sunglasses, etc...
If you are considering it, I would highly recommend it. Do your research though, and make sure you go to a reputable doctor. If you find a doctor that offers a two for one deal, or like a $500 per eye price, I would probably find another one. LOL.
The surgeon I used has a great, informative website. Maybe you could start there - www.charlestoncornea.com. Lots of good info!
So that is it. All done. All good. Best decision ever!
Just a little funny - Brad's vision is perfect. So perfect in fact, when we went for our physicals, the doctor asked him to read the smallest line he could on the eye chart. He said, "Um. Copyright 1995." PUNK. He could actually see the copyright on the very bottom corner of the chart. I swear that day, I wanted to punch him straight in the throat. Whatevs. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he said to me after my surgery, "Hm. Michele, do you think if I got LASIK I could read like 20/5? Or do you think I could see smells? How about see through time?" I had to walk away. Seriously. What a punk. I told him he just felt bad now that I could see as well (although probably not as well) as he could. We now have contests in the car seeing who can read the road signs the quickest. Just for the record - I am giving him a run for his money! LOL!