Those of you who had been following along with my Facebook status will already know this, but Monday I went in for laser eye surgery. There are two main types. The one most people are familiar with is Lasek. Not to gross you out or anything, but this procedure involves cutting a flap on your eye, then doing the laser work underneath. The second method is called PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy), in which the flap is not created but the “pithelium removed is discarded and allowed to regenerate” (Wikipedia).
The reason Lasek is most popular is that within 24hours you’re usually ready to go. See, by cutting the flap you’re tricking the eye into thinking nothing is wrong, and nothing major has been done. So as long as you don’t rub your eye that first night while you’re sleeping (they give you goggles to wear to prevent this), then everything should be fine.
With PRK it’s different. Because the assault (because what else can you call it) happens in full “view” of the eye, it suddenly goes into defense mode. That means recovery time is longer. Approximately four days, so they tell me…(my forth day won’t be until Friday.)
That’s right, I got the PRK version. Why? Well, apparently my corneas were just a little thinner than normal. When that happens, the success rate of the regular Lasek procedure decreases…not by a terribly large amount, but by enough that the doctors recommended using PRK. Strongly.
Fine, I thought. At least I work at home so taking the extra time off won’t be the end of the world. I was told I wouldn’t be able to drive for a few days, and that the full effects of my correction wouldn’t settle in for a month (apparently that’s what they tell Lasek folks too, but I hear it never takes that long.)
So Monday morning my girlfriend drives me to the clinic and I go under the laser. Really, it’s a quick procedure. I was in and out of the office in 60 minutes, and really, each eye took under a minute beneath the laser. As soon as they were done, they put protective contacts over my eyes to act like bandages, and told me I should have an increased sensitivity to light for a little while.
So off I went, and BOY was the world bright. I don’t mean just a little bright, I mean surface of the sun bright. (Here it is two days later and I’m typing this in a darkened room wearing my sunglasses. Which actually aren’t needed much as most of the time I’m typing with my eyes closed, and when their open, the screen is blurry.)
An interesting thing I noticed, though, as we drove back to my place. Things that were close to me were now in sharp focus. In other words my reading vision was fantastic. It was just distant things which were still blobs. (I’m told my vision will remain blurry until the end of the week.) Still, having this small victory was enough to excite me!
That first day progressed fine…lounged around, took a long nap, even read some of THE FOURTH WATCHER by Tim Hallinan. Then at around 7:30 that evening, minutes before my girlfriend was to pick me up because we were going to go look at a few potential places she was thinking of buying, the contact in my left eye popped out. Crap.
If I remembered the instructions I’d been given, I was to not worry too much about it and throw it away. So I did, then got in the car to go. The next two hours were two of the most uncomfortable of my life. My left eye felt like it had twenty eyelashes under the lid scratching and cutting my iris. I put as much lubricant as possible in there, but it still went on. I was a bit of an idiot because I’d been given some numbing drops that would have helped a hell of a lot (and did later), but had left them at home. Still I soldiered on, opening my eyes up long enough to get a quick view of the properties, then retreating into a fetal position as we drove to the next place. My poor girlfriend, all she wanted to do was drive me home. She even thought I should probably call the clinic. But NO…me macho man…me say it’s no problem. Me say, since we are in the area already, let’s continue to look. Me a big, stupid idiot.
That night dosed my eye with the numbing drops and took one of the sleeping pills the clinic had provided, knowing I had a follow up visit the next day so could get the situation solved then.
But first, boys and girls, before my appointment at the eye clinic on Tuesday, I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned at my dentist in the morning. So imagine me sitting back in the dentist chair, my left eye liberally coated with numbing drops and both eyes covered by sunglasses, AND the dental hygienist leaning over me and digging around my gums. My girlfriend says I have a high tolerance for pain, but come on, this was ridiculous!
Any way, 1 p.m. finally rolls around and I’m back in the eye clinic. “So how are you doing?” the clinical tech asks. “Well, my left contact fell out last night.” “Last night? Did you call our office?” Ugh…no, I was too manly, man to call. “Ah, no. I didn’t.” “Come on back, we’ll get you fixed up.”
Ten minutes later, a new contact in place, it was like I was a new man again. Today is even better. Though, as I’ve mentioned the light sensitivity is still there, but if I gradually brighten things, I can usually go outside after a while.
What’s any of this got to do with writing? Like the laser that reshapes an eye that works but could be better, a great editor does the same for a manuscript. Because no matter who we are, there are just some changes we can’t see without help.
HA! See, tied that one in nicely.
So let’s hear your medical stories…but nothing too gross, I prefer the funny ones that have a happier ending. So if you die in your story, please save it for someplace else.
OH…and because I can barely read the screen because of the brightness…there are probably even more typos than my usual post. I ask your forgiveness.
HEY…If you’re interested in taken a look at the cover to my new book (out next July)…click here…
Today’s song: I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW by Johnny Nash