Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Lasik Experience

So here’s the story. This may be lengthy because that’s just how I write:

I decided this was the year to finally get lasik. My prescription has been stable for a few years now and I was awful about removing my contacts daily, and taking proper care of them. So I went to my regular eye Dr cuz I was overdue and he did all the pre-operative checks. He did some extra tests with the thingy that they use to figure out how blind you are (AKA which is better, one or two? One or two?) I swear, sometimes they show you one lens flip it up and back down and call it the second lens. He also used something that looked like a stylus to test my corneal thickness and then did a map of my eye. He gave me three pairs of contacts and sent me on my way, with orders to call when I was ready. I was the “perfect candidate” and I would love the results. I called a couple days later and got my glasses prescription so I could order glasses. I putzed around for a few weeks because I needed another measurement and honestly when I got that it put me one step closer to the whole business of having my eyes sliced open. I finally ordered the glasses and when they came in I again lagged on calling my eye Dr to set up my final appt to see how much my eyes changed without contacts to change their shape. Finally, finally I did that. He declared me ready to go and the receptionist scheduled me. They wanted to do it the next day but I was a little nervous (who, me?) and wanted farther out. The first available on a Wednesday was September 15. Oh yeah, in the meantime I’d filled out the form on Dr. Coleman’s website for information and they’d sent me a book and DVD.

Fast forward to September 15. Dr. Coleman’s assistant had phoned me a few days before, verified information and told me what to do on the day of. Wash my eyelids well, no perfume, no lotions, creams or potions on my face and wear comfortable clothing. Also, make sure someone is there to pick me up. Well, that’s simple enough. She also informed me that they’d give me a xanax when I arrived and to expect the appointment to take 2 hours. And oh yeah, we’d like you to come in at 0945, not 0745. Whatever, fine.
Wait, let me back up to the night of the 14th. I was pretty nervous, but my friend helped calm me down. I even got a lullaby! I didn’t sleep very well, I woke up a couple of times during the night and at about 0630 decided to get up for good. I did all my morning routine except for sunscreen, made some breakfast and tea, took a couple Advil for the headache I had and sat and waited. My kiddo woke up and I got her dressed and we headed out to my mom’s house so she could drive us there.
I arrive at the office, sign a couple of forms, initial here and here and here, sign a huge check (possibly the biggest one I’ve ever written) and sat down to wait. I noticed that all the staff at his office were exceptionally pretty and friendly. They offered Autumn some toys, there were snacks and they chatted with us. In a few minutes Sam came and got me and allowed my mom and Autumn to follow. My mom decided she wanted to stay after she found out she could watch. I did a series of 4 topography tests, I guess and Sam pointed out that I had a slight astigmatism but that everyone does. I’m assuming all these measurements were fed into the computer to best calculate my lasering needs. Same then passed me on to another lady (not as pretty so I don’t remember her name) and she used the one or two? Machine one final time to get my prescription. She then gave me a xanax and plopped me into a chair to wait. There were three other groups sitting around waiting, all for the xanax to kick in I’m assuming, although one couple had been there since I walked in. Fast forward about 20 minutes, the girl that had been there since I got there was taken into another room and had a series of drops put in her eyes. About 10 minutes later off she went to the laser room and it was my turn. Holy crap was I scared. So scared I looked perfectly calm.
The procedure:
I was taken into the room with eye drops and got the same series of drops: an anti-inflammatory, the numbing drops that make your eyelashes feel like they’re stuck together and two more kinds that I didn’t ask about. As I sat there I could hear the girl in front of me getting her eyes done. Actually, I couldn’t hear her, but I heard the loud clicks of the laser. The first set was about 15 clicks, about 3 minutes later she got another 15 or so clicks. Fast as that. Next thing I know, maybe 5 minutes after I went into the drop room, Dr. Coleman came in. We chatted for a minute and like most of the rest of the staff he seemed more interested in how cute my kiddo was. He then went back into the procedure room and hi assistant (nurse?) led me around all the machinery, had me sit on the edge of the dentist-like chair, and put a hospital hair net on me. She helped me to scoot back and lay down, then covered me with a blanket. I had a tissue in my hand and was squeezing it for dear life under that blanket. Dr. Coleman put some more drops in my eyes and rubbed my eyelids. He explained that next I would feel pressure and pressed on my eye to show me what it would feel like. He put something ion my eye, a speculum of sorts, and told me it may get black. I was turned and put under a machine. I couldn’t see out of my right eye but with my left I saw a whole bunch of blue lights that made me think of what the bottom of a flying saucer would look like. There was indeed some pressure and then he took the speculum out and taped my eye shut. He repeated the same thing on the left side but on this one I could see what was above me. It was a blue light. This was the cutting of the flap. He then flipped me around, inserted something else to keep my eye open and told me to look at the orange blinking light. He lifted my corneal flap, which I could feel, did something, put it back down, did something else, then lifted it again. He then started the laser. Click, click, click, I could smell my eye burning and see a bit of a purple-bluish light and even feel tiny little stings on my lower eyelid. I had about 75 clicks. Dr. Coleman told me I had about 3 seconds left and then I was done. He put the flap back in place and used something to basically squeegee it down. This took longer then the actual lasering and was by far the most uncomfortable part. I could feel the instrument on my eye and the orange blinking light now had a bright light also and made me want to look up because it was bright. Finally, he took some other thing and pressed it against my eye. I was done on the left side. He laid a piece of gauze over my eye and removed the tape from my right eye. The right eye was a little harder to keep still since my left eye was open but the same procedure was repeated on that eye. All-in-all it took about 10 minutes for all this. They swung me around, helped me sit up and I could see. Not well, and it was like looking through Vaseline, but I could tell that there was a huge difference between when I sat down and when I got up. I was taken, by the elbow, to the next room over, covered with a blanket, put my feet up and got some more drops. Antibiotic and what again felt like numbing drops. I was told to rest my eyes for 20 minutes and then I could go home, take an Ambien and sleep. And that’s exactly what I did.
Waking up:
I got home around noonish I imagine, made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then went to bed. The next thing I knew it was 1900, I’d slept through my alarm and I could see. I got up, put in some numbing drops and went about my business. I could see fairly well, I’d imagine 20/30 at that point.
Day 2:
I had my follow up appointment. Went in, got some numbing drops and more antibiotics and read the 20/15 eye chart off the wall. The assistant looked at my eyes with a light, said everything looked great. Dr. Coleman came in, looked again and told me I was the strongest prescription he’d operated on this week, and probably even this month. He made sure I had my follow up appointment set up for the next week with my regular eye doctor and reminded me to use eye drops whenever I felt like my eyes were dry. I was sent on my way.
And there you have it. Now I have laser eyes. And I didn’t pass out!