Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Pain in the ASA

And so I survived. Not that my life was ever in danger or anything, but I lived to tell about my aweful (that's "awesome" and "awful" conjoined) experience.

Course, leading to the surgery, I was a slightly perturbed. But they gave me a nice Zanex to calm me down. After a quick test (which is better, 1 or 2?), I was led to the very sterile and very calming blue and futuristic laser room. They had me lay down on a bed thing and slide carefully underneath the laser. I was given a kewl football to keep my hands busy. Then the doc began the procedure, letting me know exactly what was happening as he proceeded.

First, after clamping my eye open, he installed tiny implants in my lid to help with tear production to combat dry eyes. Then he sat a tiny clear ball on my eye to numb it. Then came some wiping with a sponge. At this point, I can't feel a thing, so even though he said he was wiping the top of my eyeball, it felt like there was a sheet of glass over me and he was wiping the surface of the glass. Then came a metal instrument that scraped away the top layer of my eye. This was the weirdest moment because as I watched him sort of sweep away a layer of cells, my vision sharpened a bit. He scraped the layer into one section of my eye, as would happen when you sweep a room, and then he carried it off with a single swoop.

Then wiping occurred again. And finally, they were ready for the laser. I was told to look at a blinking red light (the laser had a solid red light and a blinking one). I was warned that the laser would begin tapping and when it does, that I'll want to breathe through my mouth. So I thought to myself, why would I want to breathe through my mouth? Then alluva sudden, I heard a pat-pat-pat-pat-pat-pat and could smell the scent of burning flesh. I realized, this is the laser portion reshaping my eye. I inhaled and exhaled through my mouth and tried to maintain focus on the blinking red light. But I was baffled because the light had become a giant red orby blur. Where was I supposed to look within this red fuzzy circle??? I just focused on one spot as the laser went on for what seemed like a minute.

The laser stopped tapping and the doc ran water across my eye and the world seemed a bit more in focus. He applied the bandage contact lens, unclamped my eye and my eyelids instinctively shut.

Then he repeated the same steps on my left eye.

In all, I think the whole process was extremely cool. I was way more alert than when I had my wisdom teeth pulled. The best thing is that I got to keep the football!

The recovery was hell though. Since ASA lasers the top surface of your eyeball, the cells recover like any other wound. LASIK has little to no downtime. ASA kicks your ass for 3 days after. I didn't face any dry eyes, but there was plenty of wet eyes. I guess because of the tear implants, my eyes were constantly watery, which made the 3 days extremely unpleasant. My eyes were so stingy that I could barely open them. Even when they were shut, they stung. The doc gave me a cool survival kit that consisted of Tears "A" (for discomfort), Xibrom (prescription Advil for the eye), Zymar (antibiotic), Pred Forte (steroid to promote healing), and Artificial Tears (eye lubricant). But using this kit only gave me about 2 hours of relief at a time. The Tears "A" was there if I needed it, but I was told to try not to use it much since it hinders the recovery process.

Also in these 3 days, I had to wear shields over my eyes while I slept to prevent myself from clawing at my peepers. I also had to wear goggles in the shower. It was not fun.

And to this day, after 3 follow up appointments, no longer wearing shields, down to just the Pred Forte and Artificial Tears, I'm still not seeing 100%. I believe it's due to the steroid. My eye is still healing, but it seems that whenever I use the steroid drops, my vision becomes very hazy.

ASA requires patience. I'm getting a big impatient actually. Work is a huge hassle because I can't stare at the screen for longer than 5 minutes without everything going blurry. But even still, I am glad to have shed my contacts and glasses! I'm still getting used to the fact that I don't have contacts on. Going to bed with clear vision is so weird.

I'll keep you updated. I should quit staring at this screen and get some rest.

Should I end this entry? Eye eye!