Well, I'm home. What an ordeal. I'm sitting here with my browser magnification set to 330% because I'm still a little bleary eyed. It hasn't been the best four days of my life, that's for damn sure. What was the highlight of it all... Having my eyes taped open? A destist's cleaning drill applied to the surface of my eye? The smell of burning flesh as they played a nice game of "Who Wants to Melt a Cornea?" Such fun all around, I don't know if I can choose.
I'll go with eyeball taping. That was a real blast. They tape the non-target eyeball shut. "Look down." I oblige. "Relax," she says as my eyelid muscles combat her efforts like a japanese fighting fish with the fins tied behind its back. It felt as if she were putting the tape on the actual inside of my eyelid. I didn't ask if I was right in thinking this because I really didn't want to know the answer. If you want to call it a "positive" it made it absolutely unnoticeable when they put the thingamajig in that holds your eye open that looks like a dual shoe horn.
While I'm laying on the table and they're getting me ready, there was this red laser beam illuminating my eye. I was reminded exactly of this particular sensation the next day. I just happened to look out my hotel window when the sun was exactly in the right position to reflect off of one single building on the whole skyline that was turned at a funny angle, reflecting the bright red morning sun right at me. The red laser looked almost identical to that reflection. Imperfect segments, blindingly bright red.
Having lots of eyedrops splattered into your eye while they're taped open is a somewhat violating sensation. But whatever those drops are, they work on contact. Instant and total lack of sensation. I was very thankful for this and I said it aloud as I faced the next horror. The surgeon should have worn a Steve Martin mask of the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors as this step was performed. If I weren't being blinded by the fucking Kenny Rogers Chicken neon red eye scanner, I swear I could have read "Dremel" on the side of the fucking thing the used on my eye next. Whizzzzz went the little tool. I don't know if they shut off the red death ray or it was simply obscured by the tool, but I could only see the round circle of the tool on the surface of my eye. She took her time. A swipe swipe here, a swipe swipe there, here a swipe, there a swipe... After she satisfactorily buffed away the covering of my eyeball, she used an actual broom to sweep away the leftover shit in my eye. I know this because I heard her say the word "broom" before she used it. There were other tools used. Again I express my thanks to the inventors of those magical eyedrops. She continues to remove the last remnants of the covering of my eye like one might remove a proof of purchase from a can of Jif to win the $300,000 grand prize, gently, don't want to ruin the serial number.
"Ok, we're going to use the laser now." Music to my ears. My vision is absolutely FUCKED at this point anyway. It's like trying to stare through cheesecloth or something. The pulsating red light that I was supposed to stare at was now completely melded with the light from a thousand red suns so that really the only difference was there was a section of the red light that seemed to actually be moving like a beating heart. Were it my own heart beat, it sure as fuck would've been moving a lot faster too. The red light vanished suddenly, replaced with a fairly small, light grey donut of light and a viscious intermittent crackling noise. Right on cue, just as I was cautioned, I could smell my eyeball flesh burning. Yep, smelled just like burning hair. This part didn't take all that long. Keeping my eye steady at this point was very very difficult since my vision was now horribly obscured and I couldn't see the red dot anymore, so I had nothing to focus on with my eye.
When she was done, she popped out the shoehorns, brutally removed some eyelash and eyebrow hair along with the tape, and told me I could close my eye. That was at least ten full seconds of joy. Pure satisfaction. In that same special way that it feels so damn good when you stop hitting your friggen finger with the hammer. This joy was quickly replaced with the realization that in a cruel streak of evolution, I have two eyes. I had to go through it again. It was only slightly less terrorizing in that I knew how long it would take now. My eyelid muscles disagreed with that assessment though. They fought much harder against the tape the second time. "Relax," she says. Fuck you. You relax while someone is inserting tape under your eyelid and yanking it open.
She finished up, ripped some more eyelashes and eyebrow hair out for symetry, and the deed was done. I had done it. There was no going back. My life was forever changed. Could I see yet, you ask? Are fucking shitting me? Did you not read what I've written up to this point? No, I could not fucking see up to this point. They just made sure my eyeballs weren't going to deflate or something drastic and they kicked me loose. I managed to hobble across the street to my hotel without getting hit by a car, which was good. I laid in bed and tried to calm the fuck down. They gave me a shitload of drops to put in so I started with some of the artificial tears. One of my friends had a reaction to them, so I thought I'd get that shit out of way if I was going to have one too. I did not. One less thing. I had antibitic drops, tear drops, minor pain drops, and my very own tiny bottle of the same drops they used to inhibit all sensation during the procedure itself. Brilliant idea. Why don't do they do something similar for other types of surgeries. It would be a very rich dentist indeed who gave his patients a bottle of the gas they use before they rip out your wisdom teeth. Relief was a couple of drops away when I needed it.
The first day wasn't that bad. I showed up bright and early for my appt and my vision was actually 20/20 and 20/25. Normally after PRK, your vision is like 20/70 so kudos to Dr. Nguyen. I managed to go almost all day without any of the good pain drops. I definitely needed them to sleep that night.
I definitely ended up having a rough night. The pain drops didn't last very long. But, at some point in the night, I turned the corner. I woke up about 3:30am and noticed that the irritation wasn't as bad. Bearable even. I threw some tear drops in and actually managed to fall back to sleep without pain drops! I was almost thrilled. And the cloudiness was barely 10% of what it was the previous day. I was getting downright excited. It was about the same by the time I woke up in the morning. I went to my appointment and they proclaimed me healed and kicked me loose! I actually rented a car and drove myself home. It was a little blurry, but I could see enough to drive. Just couldn't make out some of the details of the road signs until I was fairly close. Took me 6 hours to get home instead of the 4.5 it would've under normal circumstances, but I was fine with that!
It was so great to see my family. Man I missed them. Even though I was talking to them at least a couple times a day, I really needed them. It's always one of those little joyous moments of life for me when I haven't seen my kids for a bit and they come running up like I'm an electromagnet and jumping up on me screaming their heads off. "Daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy!!!!"
My wife had to get all mushy too. Then she was like, "OMG, don't look at me! Your eyes are too beautiful!"
Sigh... All this pain. The time in the chamber of horrors. Four agonizing days away from my family. Life altering surgery. All so I could be told my eyes were beautiful. Great. Fucking thanks babe. Just what I wanted to hear.