EYE SURGERY ~ Intro, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight

    (April 9, 1999)

    I returned to TLC the next morning and underwent all the preliminaries again: consent forms, examination, etc. This time, Dr. Holland was waiting for me in the laser room, and I climbed into the chair again, a reclining chair such as you'd find in a dentist's office.

    Again, the speculum was applied to my eye, but it wasn't nearly as bad this time, since it didn't have to be as far open. The doctor took a tool that resembled an electric toothbrush and pressed it on my cornea. It was to loosen the outer layer; he had explained it to me in advance. But despite the anesthesia, I could feel the pressure and the vibration and cried out in surprise and pain.

    The next step involved a tool the doctor called a "hockey stick" (we're in Canada, remember). It was shaped like a hockey stick, but very small, and he used to to scrape off the outside of my cornea. I was expecting this, too, but having to hold still, with your eyes propped open, while someone scrapes at your eye, is very difficult. I couldn't really feel the scraping, but the idea of it (and the fact I could see it, fuzzily) was hard to bear. I released some of the tension by squirming my legs around.

    After that, the hard part was over, and I was placed under the laser for a very long 40 seconds. At this point, my eye has been propped open for five minutes or more. They've been putting drops in periodically, but not being able to blink is torture by this point. I experienced the laser as nothing more than a flashing light, and when it was done, the doctor put a "bandage contact" in my eye and removed the speculum. Relief.

    I get a minute or two to rest before it is time for the other eye. Throughout the surgery, Dr. Holland has been extremely helpful - he kept a steady stream of encouragement coming during the hard parts. "Perfect. Doing good. Just a little longer... Perfect." I can't overstate how much that helped me.

    Before I knew it, we began the other eye. The process was the same, and just as uncomfortable. Except the outer cornea on this eye was extra tough, so it took extra scraping. I gritted it out, though, and a few minutes later, both eyes were finished.

    I lay with my eyes closed for fifteen minutes (as instructed), and Steve read me an article from a magazine. Soon afterwards, we left and stepped into the Vancouver sunshine. One side effect of the surgery was (temporary) extreme light sensitivity. They had given me a pair of large, Ray-Charles-like sunglasses, and I found myself wearing them indoors for the first two days.

    As Steve guided me to the car, I could briefly open my tired eyes and evaluate my vision. It was very blurry, but it was a different kind of blurry than before the surgery. Even then, I could tell the surgery had been a success.


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