Saturday, June 09, 2007

The blind shall see...

So I know Dr. Kirzner isn't Jesus, but he does know how to manipulate some really funky machinery that points flesh-dissolving laser-beams into your eyeball and wham! I'm supposedly going to have 20:20 vision without glasses or contacts, something i haven't had since I was... 7? He doesn't do this for free either so I might have to get creative with some monies to keep myself all in the black.

Anyone really want to know what it's like to get PRK (NOT lasik) done?

In all the research I did, no one talked about the actual procedure. i'm doing to do my best to remember my adavan-induced hazy memory before it becomes to too sketchy to recall.

If you're squeamish or easily faint, I suggest you go read someone else's blog right now.


You sure?

You've been duly warned.


Receptionist: Are you here for surgery? I shrink about three inches and squeak out a meager nod. She says don't be so scared, it will be fine. What time is my appointment? Not for a half hour? We decided to go for a walk outside. There is a sculputre of a small church and steeple upside-down, with materials that reflect the new buildlings across the park that are definitely right side up, if not lopsided looking. The path continued along the waterfront until it was obstructed by new construction, and to get all the way to the ferry terminal, which is kind of a cool place to check out, we would not have had time to take the detour. So we went back.

You are told what is going to happen to you and your eyes are checked like a typical vision check except that this time you look at this fuzzy Christmas tree on a nuclear landscape as it comes in and out of focus, maybe after and before the neutron bomb destroyed all the other Christmas trees that used to be around it. They you look at this black circle, but wait there are two black circles, and they appear in a rectangular bright blue shaped light, and it starts spinning. Okay sign me up, you've hypnotized me and I will sign on the dotted line. No wait. I already did. And initialed about thirty other places that says hey if this doesn't work out like you thought, really we're not responsible, and what ever gave you the idea that you would have improved vision after this procedure? The doctor asks me if I understand everything I've read and initialed. I said I certainly hope so.

Eyes double rechecked again by the surgeon himself.

A nurse leads me off to the surgery waiting room and I get to wear a lovely hair cap, the kind nurses wear in the o.r. and line cooks wear in the kitchen. Very attractive, I'm sure.

They take my glasses from me and have me lie down on a long black bench that is padded, with a little bowl for my head that hangs down below the bench just a little bit. There is a supportive pillow / rest thing for under my knees.

They turn on the laser and move it above me. It's a flashing red light, and sometimes a non flashing red light. They say always look at the flashing red light, or the green light which is not flashing. It appear small and sharp in an otherwise blackened area straight over my eye. It's size is about the size of the tip of a pen and is only as fuzzy as my prescription make is fuzzy.

I start muttering that I am scared but probably not loud enough that anyone hears, or pays attention. They put a paper or cloth covering over my non-operating eye. A drop is applyed to my right eye, then a circular plastic thing locks around my eye to keep my lids open, clockwork orange style. At this point I can't feel much of anything. A swab is applied to my epithelium (clear part over the center of my eye). I can see it moving around and I know that this is the part where it's being dizzolved and removed. He withdraws the swab, twirling it to pick up any epithelial residue.

Now there is that laser and it starts pulsing and then there are loud noises, noises like an emergency center might make, sort of a cross between a truck horn and a bass note, or that fire warning they sounded in 1970s elementary schools. I was told of the smell of burning flesh but I really didn't like it when it happened, so I started breathing through my mouth. The sharp red laser point turned into a big blurry red blob closer to the size of a nickle, with lots of smaller streaks kind of forming a large circular object, and a green one below it. I tried to think of something meditative. I decided that light was Jesus, and no matter how painful it got I would look at Jesus. Not a bad metaphor, I mean, He is light, right? The red and green blobs grew and grew and then they were encroached upon by three round pale purply-white objects in the periphery, unicorns perhaps? and then I heard him say "blocking your vision" and everything went black. Or white. I'm already forgetting. Next thing I know a contact lense is being placed in my eye, and the black ring is removed so I can blink, and the whole thing starts over with my left eye. I wasn't quite as freaked out over the left eye because I knew what was coming. That and the atavan kept me somewhat calm, even though my palms were sweathing as I held onto my thumbs with a death-squeeze.

I'd been charged for a tissue sparing cartridge so I asked the dr. afterwards if he used it. Said no, didn't have to. I said then I wanted my one-fifty dollars back. I guess there had been some miscommunication and the dr. was embarassed by that whole thing. To me it was no big deal, but I guess to him it was. They did reimburse me, although reading fine print right now is not much of a strength.

They gave me my glasses back along with a pair of really sexy blue-blocker style sunglasses you see on the elderly. Now with my hair cap that really would have been an image. The sun was so bright that on the way home, I ended up wearing my Vaurnets and these blue blockers together, and it still wasn't dark enough to end the pain.

During the recovery waiting period, one of my contact lenses got really gooey and I could feel like it slid downwards. I was seeing double in my right eye now. The doctor took some poker and shoved it back in place, but said I might need a tighter fitting contact on that eye. Sure enough ten mintues later, they fitted me with a different contact. It seems to be staing in place, but they both feel like I've taken a fresh water shower with them in. All the time. They do give you extra contacts in case you lose one.

Back to the hotel next door I laid down and fell asleep for a bit. Eventually we decided to get dinner. Looped out on atavan we walked several blocks to an Irish pub for dinner. It was Kilt night, and the band was playing fun songs and I stuffed some food down. I wished I'd been in the mood for more merry-making, as it was that kind of atmosphere the band created with their Irish ditties and cover songs.I could hardly read the menu, and I can't remember what I had. A salad with mango and avaocado, and chicken wings, I think that was it.

I woke up with a sharp pain in each eye. Today my eyes feel a little worse, dry, extra sensitive to light, hazy, blurry, just yech. I know it will be better eventually but this healing time really sucks. I was with a friend the whole weekend and we discussed starting a creative agency, and I think it just might work with her and my skills combined. We've already almost launched her husband's company with a logo I designed that will go out onto over a million phones. Next is the web site and then there's the whole marketing wagon. fun stuff.

Wednesday I go back up there to get my contact lenses removed. The brochure says my vision might be a little worse after getting the contact out, but it will improve as the surface gets smoother. It's strange to think that part of your eye will simply grow back, like skin. I guess the epithelial layer is like the skin of the eyeball. This procedure is safer than lasik because in lasik they cut open the epithelial and make it a flap, then put the flap back in place. That healing takes a long time and you have to be careful that you don't injure it. However short term you have your sight quicker and there's less healing time that is noticeable.

I got it done at Coal Harbor laser eye center in Vancouver, British Columbia. They're kind of a no frills shop without the spa-like nurturing comforts, but they have been doing this longer than anyone around, and seem to know what they are doing. They also turn away about four percent of those who want this done, which is higher than most.

Anything you want to ask me about the surgery I'll do my best to answer. Now i have to go rest my eyes. And maybe take another atavan. woo-hoo. Day three they said my vision may be worse. That would be tomorrow. I've put my computer at 640 x 480, so I gues there is a use for ridiculously large type. Also changed the brightness and contrast super low. Still hurts a little so remember this was written in a state of pain.


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