Thursday, January 20, 2011

the long-awaited LASIK post, of course. (Part 2)

so yeah. i had quite a bit of work to do on both eyes, but all in all, a minute's only a minute, right? it wasn't so bad. i just kept telling myself what Ryan tells us at kettlebell workouts: you can do anything for a minute. plus, it was nice; the doctor counted down at certain time increments to keep me focused and let me know how much work there was left to be done. he also hummed along with the Mexican music they had playing softly in there. i wonder if they knew that would relax me, rather than make me crave chips & salsa? (not that it doesn't do that, also. but i digress.) it made me laugh, and i wondered how many times a day he hears that song while he's lasering away.

when the laser was done on each eye, the doctor flopped the flap back down, flushed my eyes with some fluid, and got to work getting the flap in place. he used what looked to me like a soft foundation brush to smooth out the flap and make sure there were no wrinkles or bubbles. at the time, i realized that it should have grossed me out, but i found it rather comforting for some reason. i still think about what that looked like and felt like, and remember it as one of my favorite parts (second only perhaps to the excited vaporizing self-talk.)

when everything was back in its place, the doctor and technician sat me up, got me all full of drops, and did a quick check to make sure everything was good. then, while i clutched my tiny bear tightly, they led me down the hall back to the waiting area. earlier, i had watched another girl come out of surgery, smiling, but with her eyes very red and puffy, and watering like crazy, eye drops streaming down her face. it looked uncomfortable. i wondered, as i stumbled out of the surgery room, if i looked the same, and if it scared the other people waiting their turn in the staging area.

the nurse gave me a pain pill, some more drops, and then handed me back my bear and my little kit of drops and medications. she directed me to take a sleeping pill as soon as i got home, tape my eye shields on, and go right to bed. she said if i could sleep through the next 6-8 hours, i would miss all the uncomfortable parts of post-op recovery. i made obsessive mental notes of everything she said, and rejoiced inside that she let me keep the bear. he was so soft and small and wearing an adorable t-shirt. animals with clothes are awesome.

she led me down the hall again, to a different room than where she left Hubs waiting for me. the hall looked like it was under water, just like they said it might, and everything seemed very bright. Hubs was in the new room, waiting for me, annoyed that they had let him sit in the room with all the other patients' drivers until the very last second, when they moved him to this smaller, much quieter room. i could also tell he was bracing for me to completely lose it, as i had warned him i might do. he said some encouraging things, the nurse handed me off, and he guided me to the elevator and out to the car.

the drive home was sort-of surreal. i could see where we were going; obviously i knew the route well, but it looked completely different. everything was a little blurry, but not in the way things look when i'm not wearing glasses or contacts. it looked more like i was looking out a frosty window; everything had a soft, cloudy haze over it, which made the ride rather dreamy. mostly though, instead of feeling calm, i felt tired and anxious. i was working really hard to mentally hold on to all the information they gave me at the surgery center, so i could make sure to tell Hubs so he could help me remember. moments like this, even when i'm under the slightest amount of sedation, always send me into a panic that i'll forget something critically important.

anyway, Hubs got my nervous ass home, and struggled to get me tucked into bed while i rambled on and on about needing to take my sleeping pill. i asked for him to put in my Frida DVD, and when he turned on the TV, i realized that he had put it in already, knowing i would ask for it. (srsly guys, he's SUCH a keeper.) i couldn't really see the TV necessarily, through all the drops and plastic eye shields, but i could hear it, and that was enough for me. i've only seen it about eleventy billion times, and even just listening to it calmed me. i chuckled a bit that the surgery room was playing the same type of music. it made me happy that the day seemed to have a cohesive soundtrack.

Hubs brought me a bowl of my favorite butternut squash soup, with a scoop of Greek yogurt in it, and a square of leftover cornbread my sister had made the weekend prior. i downed it in record time, and he brought me more. about the time i finished the second bowl, i started to feel sleepy finally, and laid down to listen to the movie and fall asleep. everything was going so well! i was going to sleep straight through till late that evening, maybe till the next morning, and when i woke, i would be able to see! i reminded Hubs to check on me occasionally to make sure i hadn't had a freaky reaction to the meds and stopped breathing, and he lovingly complied. i closed my eyes and thought about staring up at the bedroom ceiling the night before, trying to remember what it looked like without my glasses on. then i fell asleep.

a mere four hours later, my pain meds wore off.

i woke up in total panic, as is my custom, and started feeling around frantically for the intercom thing Hubs had left me to use to call for him if i needed anything. i was too tired and weak to remember how to use the talking part, so i pushed the button that makes the crazy beeping tones. about 27 times. when i realized he couldn't hear me, i began flopping around and moaning melodramatically. my eyes felt swollen, painful and were tearing in an epic fashion. between the tears and the eye shields, i couldn't read the chart that explained what eye drops i should take and when. i couldn't find my other sleeping pill, and i definitely didn't know where my other pain pill was. when it became clear that Hubs could not hear my pleas for help, i flopped out of bed and dragged my limp body to the top of the stairs and called for him. it became immediately obvious that he was not home. i realized he must be working out, just minutes from our house, and had probably only planned on being gone an hour or so. leave it to me to wake up in a panic in the only hour he was unavailable.

i dragged my now sobbing, heaving self back to bed, and dramatically flopped around, feeling for something familiar. i eventually found that my other sleeping pill had fallen out of its envelope and onto the floor. i grabbed it, took it, and continued flopping around and moaning. soon i found my kit full of eye drops and instructions, and wrestled with the instructions sheet for a while. i think at some point, i must have found my pain pill and taken that, because i remember after Hubs returned that there was lots of exasperated attempts to communicate to him that i had lost my pills, but then found them and took them.

then i remembered that if i woke up, i was supposed to take some eye drops. but i couldn't read the chart, and was apparently in too much agony to remember that both the chart and the eye drop bottles were color-coded for my convenience. more flopping and moaning ensued. when i remembered the color coding and found the correct bottle, i found that in trying to help me tape on my eye shields, Hubs had done an exemplary job. so good, in fact, that i could not get them off. so i commenced moaning and flopping around, this time with a little less vigor, as the sleeping and pain meds were probably starting to kick in at this point.

soon enough, Hubs came home to find the melodramatic scene in the bedroom. i can't imagine what it all looked like, or what he thought had happened, but i could tell he immediately felt horrible. (please keep in mind that this story should in no way condemn poor Hubs for supposed neglect. in his defense, when he got ready to work out and left, i was so fast asleep that his pounding around looking for gym shorts didn't wake me, and he had plenty of reasons to believe i might not wake up for days.) he pieced together my moaning, half-sentence attempts to tell him what had happened, apologized about 87 times, and helped me peel off my eye shields and put in my eye drops.

once we got my eye shields taped back on, i felt immediately better and ceased all the moaning and flopping around. Hubs stayed with me for a while until it was clear i was asleep again, and then brought in his Kindle, on which he had playing some soft music. Over the Rhine, to be exact. he knows me so well.

the next morning, i woke up at like 7 am. realizing that poor Hubs had probably been up till Lord knows what hour the night before playing with his various new technologies, i went back to sleep. eventually, it got to be about 8 o'clock, and i couldn't sleep anymore. i got up, peeled my eye shields off, and got to work putting in eye drops and brushing my teeth. i felt groggy, but not in the normal morning way. more like i wasn't tired anymore, but everything was sort of moving in slow-motion. it took me a while before i realized i could see.

to be continued... still... ha...

read part 1 here.

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