Kimberly (kimberly_a) wrote,

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Post-Surgical Ramblings

How Things Are Looking Today

Well, the giant patch is now off my left eye, but my vision is so wonky that I'm probably going to wear a less giant patch on my right eye until the next surgery next Wednesday. On my way out of the post-op appointment this afternoon, I tried wearing glasses with the left lens taken out, but that was actually worse, with the world constantly swinging around me every time I moved. So right now I'm just going glasses-less, with my left eye seeing well and my right eye completely uncorrected. It's disconcerting, which is why I plan to just slap a patch over the half-blind right eye tomorrow morning. (I see little sense in putting a patch on right now, when I only plan to go to bed soon.)

I've come to truly realize exactly how much I'd gotten into the unconscious habit of closing my left eye over the past several months, because today I often closed it instinctively when I was having trouble seeing something, and suddenly I'm blind! I'm blind! Ack! It cracked me up each time.

If I'm going to put a patch over the right eye for the next few days, though, I needed to get reading glasses, because I now absolutely cannot read anything close to my face with my left eye. As a result, since I was walking around today without glasses and unable to read with my de-cataracted right eye, whenever I wanted to read something (like the labels on the reading glasses at Walgreens) I would have to hold it up about 2 inches from my right eye. It was pretty silly.

Two things I now cannot do (much to my annoyance and inconvenience) without wearing reading glasses:
  1. read my watch
  2. check my email

The reason these are so inconvenient is because I do them all day long without any planning even a minute in advance (unlike art, reading a restaurant menu, or playing games on the iPad).

So today, post-post-op appointment, post-seeing what my seeing is like now, was a shopping day. We went to Walgreens and experimented with about 400 different pairs of reading glasses, then tried another 393 or so pairs of sunglasses, because (1) for the next 2 weeks I'm supposed to wear glasses or sunglasses whenever I'm outside and (2) I can no longer wear the sunglasses that hook over my regular glasses.

But I now have tolerable reading glasses and sunglasses, so our mission was a success.

I also ordered myself a watch with a larger face & greater contrast between the face and the hands. My current watch has such little contrast that—even with comparatively perfect near vision—I often had to tilt my wrist this way and that in order to get the right lighting to read it. Now it's impossible. So I bought a new watch online & will just have to ask people what time it is in the meantime. I've gone ahead and taken my watch off, because once the patch is on my right eye, this watch will be completely useless to me unless I want to go hunt up my reading glasses whenever I wonder what time it is.

I now understand why people talk about walking all over the house looking for their glasses. This never made any sense to me, because I've never been able to see a thing without my glasses, so they were always on my face unless I was showering or in bed. But now when I decide to check my email, I have to walk around looking for my reading glasses. This has only been going on for one day, but I'm already developing plans to stash reading glasses in multiple convenient places—in my backpack, beside where I watch tv, beside my computer—once both eyes are done & I know my vision has stabilized.

At the post-op appointment this afternoon, they told me that my vision in my left eye is currently 20/25, but is likely to fluctuate a bit before stabilizing. It most likely will end up being a bit better than it is now.

The doc told me that my eye looks perfect & that I don't need to wear a patch at night. Huzzah! I forgot to ask him about sleeping on my left side, so I'll just follow the post-op paperwork & see how I do with that tonight & possibly phone tomorrow & leave a message for him (or my surgeon, as they are two different docs in the same office) to phone me, since the receptionist was 100% non-helpful when I phoned previously. "Just have the doctor phone me" — that's my plan this time. Then I can ask if the side-sleeping restriction, like the patch-wearing restriction, is not as necessary in practice as the paperwork made it sound.

Looking Back: The Surgery Itself

In the mail today, I got a "Get Well" card from all the people at Aspen Surgery Center who were involved in my surgery (the prep nurses, the anesthesiologist, the surgical assistants, and the recovery nurse). How incredibly nice is that? My experience there was just amazing & they all made me feel relaxed and actually pampered. The anesthesiologist (Dr. Green) told me they would be putting a drape over my face, but there would be an oxygen mask to make sure I could breathe, and I warned him that I can be a little claustrophobic. I started to feel a tiny bit nervous, but he was so kind and reassuring, promising that he would make sure that I wasn't scared, that I immediately felt all right about it.

In fact, I don't remember anything about an oxygen mask or a face drape or anything at all. I remember the surgery people talking to me—the anesthesiologist telling me about his plans, Dr. Lim (my surgeon) saying hello, some random other doctor asking if she could observe the procedure then making me sign something saying it was okay, and everyone joking about how the whole surgery would be broadcast large on a screen. If I remember correctly, I drunkenly slurred something about how my eye could become famous on YouTube.

And then suddenly, out of a fog, a nurse was buckling my Birkenstocks onto my feet (despite my protestations that I could do it myself) while I was still lying in the hospital bed, and then I ended up in a lounge chair with Shannon sitting on the tile floor next to me, and the nurse seemed distressed by this odd behavior, and I pointed out that there was a small wooden chair on the other side of me, and so he sat there, and the nurse asked me if I wanted a blanket, and I decided that this sounded like a fine idea, and she brought me a blanket that felt like it had just come out of the dryer & I sat there feeling like a queen. A queen with a big funky colander on her eye and tape in her hair, but a queen nonetheless.

On the way home, I sat in the back of Crystal's car & listened to Shannon & Crystal talk in the front seat. I tried to make a couple of contributions to the conversation in the first few minutes of the drive, but my attempts sounded kind of wonky even to my own ears, and so I decided to just go to sleep, which I did with great vigor.

(Oh, also, at the beginning of the day, I somehow appointed myself navigator on the drive to the surgery center in the morning, reading Google Maps directions to Katherine and helping her watch for signs on the freeway. It was only maybe half-way into the trip that I realized how ridiculous it was for the person on their way to vision-correcting surgery to jump in and take responsibility for watching for signs. Sheesh.)


The headaches have seemed better since the surgery, but I'm not sure how much of that could be psychosomatic. It's only been such a brief period of time that I think it's impossible to tell. I had a headache much of the early evening, but it didn't feel like the headaches I've been having for the past several months—it was more of a standard eye-strain headache.

Today's Tylenol+Codeine Usage
1/2 Tylenol #4 at 8:10 a.m.
1/2 Tylenol #4 at 5:00 p.m.
1 Tylenol #4 at 6:30 p.m.
2 Tylenol #4's at 12:30 a.m. (planned)

I'm pretty sure that's considerably less codeine than it's been in more than a week. Possibly considerably more than a week. I'd have to look back at my records to tell for sure, and right now I would definitely rather just stop peering through these new reading glasses at my computer screen & go rest my eyes until I can take my Tylenol #4's at 12:30 & go to bed.
Tags: cataracts, central nervous system, doctors, friends, headaches, meds-codeine, meds-tylenol, people who rock, reading glasses, sleep, surgery, vertigo, vision

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