January 20, 2016

LASIK: The Day of the Surgery

My appointment was at 11 am, which gave me plenty of time to get my last sweaty workout in for the next couple of weeks and eat a hefty breakfast. The instructions say no caffeine. Although coffee does not make me jitter, I still stuck with decaf to make it easier for me to fall asleep later.

Once I got to the appointment, I had to read and sign a two-page consent form that listed a bunch of possible side effects and complications. I think it's primary purpose is to make you change your mind, if you are not 100% sure. They sounded super creepy and all resulted in vision loss. Since I was sure I wasn't going to look my best right after the surgery, I opted out of having my picture with the surgeon posted on the Institute's Facebook page.

The bubbly and overall lovely assistant Chrystal took a bunch of pictures of my eyes again. A doctor performed all the checks and balances to make sure my prescription has not changed. I guess everything looked fine, as I was cleared to have the surgery.

While I waited for the doctor to finish the process on another patient, one of the assistants (who totally reminded me of Bing Bong from Inside Out. And I actually mean it as a compliment, because Bing Bong is adorable and so good-hearted.) gave me a cap to wear during the procedure, put four different kinds of drops into my eyes and gave me another lecture on what to do and what not to do after the surgery and how to take care of my eyes. The drops made my eyes feel goopy, but they didn't sting or anything. He offered me an anti-anxiety pill, but of course I refused. I want to experience life, not to daze through it. The surgeon came in and introduced himself (yeah, it is kind of weird that I did not get to meet him sooner, but he did shake my hand twice to make up for it). A couple of minutes later another person took me to into the operating room.


I laid down on the low table. The machine with bright lights came over my face. I am thinking it was a giant magnifying glass. I was told to keep looking a  green light above. The doctor put a plastic contraption on my eyes to keep them open. It looked like a suction cup, but it didn't feel like there was suction. There was no discomfort at all. The assistant kept putting drops into my eyes all throughout the procedure. I heard a noise like an electric saw. I figured that it a flap being created in my cornea. Drops. The  doctor removed the contraption. And placed some gauze over that eye to keep it closed.  Then the same happened to the other eye. Drops. Then the doctor placed a different contraption on the eyes. It looked like it was made out of thin wire, but I'm sure it wasn't metal. He moved the flap aside, and the lights overhead went blurry. Then he burned the eye with the laser. Yeah, you smell it, but no, it does not smell anything like when you have your hair laser-removed. Then he smoothed out the flap back over the eyeball with something like tweezers. And then pressed it in place with some other thingy. Drops. Then he did the same to the other eye. And then it was over with. There was no other machine. The doctor did everything himself. He moved from one eye to the other throughout the process. And moved the gauze.

It seemed like it was over before it even started. There was no pain or any discomfort at all. I did feel when the doctor was putting the contraptions on my eyes, but it didn't hurt. I felt like I was in the amusement park - looking at the red and purple lights, trying to understand what the doctor is doing - you forget to even think about that kind of madness is actually happening to you. I even giggled a couple of time during the procedure. I think the whole time I was more worried that I forgot my chapstick than I was worried about the procedure. Compared to my gum graft surgery, this was a piece of cake.

I was escorted to an examination room, where another doctor looked at my eyes again. He said that everything went fine, and everything looks fine inside of my eyes. He taped the clear plastic shields (pictured below) to my forehead and told me to wear the sunglasses as I would be sensitive to the sunlight outside. I was free to go, only to come back the next morning for a follow up.


Things were blurry. I fumbled with the app for a minute, trying to request an Uber ride. I am sure the shields that were taped to my forehead did not help and, although they have small holes in them, were still abstracting my vision. But I didn't notice any hyper sensitivity to the sunlight. Surprisingly, the Uber driver did not drive away after spotting me - I'm sure I looked like a total freak with the sunglasses over the shields. I tried to keep my eyes closed for most of the ride home. I did open my eyes when we were almost there, and I could see fine. The light did not bother me. I could even read the bumper sticker on the car next to ours. The driver missed my street, but I was able to see well enough to walk the block back to my apartment building.


When I got home, I set the alarms on my phone to make sure that I woke up every four hours to use the eye drops, and laid down. I was not able to fall asleep right away. According to my mother, I stopped taking naps when I was three. Even if I try to get in bed during the day, I keep combing through my mental space. Thus, I took a couple of Ibuprofen PM and listened to an audio book - Dale Carnegie "How to win friends and Influence People in the Digital Age" courtesy of the LAPL. But soon I fell asleep.

I got up at the alarm's notice and put all the drops in as prescribed. The second kind causes my vision to go a little blurry for a minute. But they do not hurt or sting. I didn't feel like eating anything. But finally around 7 pm I got up again, ate a bunch of cottage cheese with chocolate syrup, drank some hot chocolate, and took more Ibuprofen PM. My eyes didn't hurt at all. There was some grittiness in my right eye, but the left one felt completely comfortable. I could already see everything. Although I did not notice any sensitivity to light, I still kept them kind of low.

I wore the shields continuously for the rest of the day taking them off only to put the drops in. I slept fine for the rest of the night, waking up by alarm to put the drops in every four hours.

You can read more about my LASIK adventure on my official LASIK page.

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