After doing the math on the worst possible scenario (because the best scenerio already waved by me like a teenage girl popping gum on the back of a motorcycle wheelie), I calculated that yesterday, Friday, should’ve been the last day of delirious, mind-numbing pain shooting from my eyeball.
Imagine being dragged down a gravel road face down after someone duct-taped your eyeball open. I’m not trying to give you new nightmare ideas or anything. Then, letting it heal a day or two, and doing it two more times.
I was cryiing—ok, bawling like a baby— Thursday night before bed, but I knew that on Friday–Google, the doctors, and some statistic I dug out of an obscure optical journal said that I should have grown another epithelial piece of eyeball, and thus, be able to stop the hysterics.
If I had good hair and a sexy accent, you could mistake all this crying for Jane Austin week on the BBC. I inhaled and sobbed 54 times this morning, and it pretty much broke down like this:
–24 sobs for pain
–10 sobs because it is hopeless that the pain will ever go away
–10 sobs right before I threw up from the pain meds
–10 sobs because it is the last season of 24 and I bet they’re going to kill off Jack Bauer this month and then what will I do with my love crush?
It’s not my intention to scare you to pieces with my Lasik story. There are, after all, the euro, the bailouts, and our bankrupt government that can give you a tummy ache. But for anyone googling “Lasik Horror Story”, I want to give you something to read.
In December 2000, I saw an ad for “buy one, get one free” Lasik surgery, and so I signed up my husband and I for the deal. Because I am a sucker with a capital S, I can’t pass up garage sales, a foreclosure in need of “just a little work”, or “buy one get one free” even if I don’t need the first one.
As things go, of course, he came out with 20/15 and I went from a -5.75 prescription to about -1.75.
No problem, since this was “satisfaction guaranteed” and so I scheduled a touch up. On the morning of my enhancement surgery, the laser broke. (For real.) I told the folks that I wasn’t going to be the first one under the laser after it broke (knowing my luck, and all), so I waited a few extra days.
In the meantime, I found out I was expecting our third child, and so the surgery was put off indefinitely since you can’t have Lasik done while pregnant or nursing. Knowing my track record for reproduction and combining that with the fact nobody really prioritizes optional eye surgery that may result in blindness, death, or bankruptcy—I just didn’t get around to it until last week, which if you’re still following me, is about 10 years later.
Monday, May 3
I woke up with a bad feeling on the morning of the surgery, but Greg said that was because I am always nervous and why don’t I sniff a yankee candle and relax or something. I told him that there is a reason I am always nervous, and hello, did he not remember the doctor that wanted me for research before I was dead? I am special, but not in the way I think I am.
And so it happened. The surgery, which should take a few minutes, took 45 minutes. While it was happening, I knew it was wrong. But I didn’t want to talk and point that out, because what if my talking moved my eyeball somehow and made it worse? (I’m animated when I talk.) Besides, I figured the doctor wouldn’t be late for dinner on purpose — he was probably having quesadellias and would you be late for quesadellias? — and so I didn’t mention it because it might make it worse.
Tuesday, May 4
I kept telling Greg that I was blind and “submit, man, and get me a pain pill” because I like to live it up with some egalitarianism every chance I get. He calmly suggested that we wait and see (!) what the doctor said. He is one of “those” types if you know what I mean, all calm and half-dead about everything. I continued freaking out.
At the office, the doctor explained that I had a “little scratch” and that it’d be better in 24 hours. He patched my eye.
Same day, the afternoon
Still in pain, I went back to the office and saw a different doctor. He explained that I had a 80% cornea abbrasion and that was the cause for my pain, which is slightly different from a “little scratch”.
Now I’m annoyed in addition to being in pain because what, how, why, and when did this all happen? And hello, why am I blind? That’s not usually the point of Lasik.
They got very annoyed when I pointed out the inconsistencies in the explanations I’d received up to this point. Nothing got resolved, except now the pain meds were beginning to flow freely. I even have a personal menu to choose from. You have to make lemonade when life hands you lemons and all that.
Wednesday, May 5
My corneal flap fell off and got stuck in the corner of my eye. In between my sobbing and hicupping from the abbrassion, now the doctor explained that I’d need another surgery. I said nothing but started crying. (again)
Then he said the following:
“What is the big deal. Why are you overreacting?”
The nurse cringed.
There are moments in life that happen in slow motion. This was one of them.
I started out by explaining that I wanted to treat them the same way I would want to be treated if I made a mistake and BLINDED somebody, in addition to scraping off the entire surface of their eyeball. That I may not have went to medical school, but at least I didn’t fail out of Charm School. But that he was making this very difficult for me apply Christian charity when you obfuscate the truth about what happened and how it happened. I am losing patience here, because if you are going to blind and maim me, the least you can do is be HONEST about how it happened and what my recovery will look like.
By then the lawyers and entire staff was huddled into this tiny room as I railed out the doctor while my cornea bounced up and down, especially on the points I knew I had a good score on. The nurses were almost fist pumping me and yelling, “You go girl, it’s your birthday, uh huh!” but they just did it in their heart and nodded every now and then. It was me against the powers that be, but I had the truth and a very vertistile iPhone on my side. What did they have?
And what was I going to do? Walk out of the office with my cornea flapping in the wind? So they talked me off the edge, the lawyer left, and I lay down to have my cornea parts put back on. Plus a token epithelial scrape for good measure.
Thursday, May 6
Nothing big at this appointment, except Greg started coming in for the appointments. We got a babysitter, Greg cancelled his trip to Japan, and he got a front row seat for the action. But today, just a bee sting on each eye when he plugged my tear ducts with, uh, tear duct plugs.
Friday, May 7
The cornea flap fell off again. Lucky me, we caught it before it hit the floor. By now the numbing drops weren’t working that great. If you take heroin, eventually you need more and more for a good high (I heard that once), and that’s what was happening with me and my new BFF, the numbing drops.
I felt the pop and puncture of the needle and thread sewing it on. He even messed up on one suture. I know this because I felt him pull out the thread and start over. It wasn’t because I could actually see, of course.
If you see me at church and want to pull the thread hanging from my dress….DON’T DO IT. It might be the string from my eyeball. I punched the nurse with the throw up bucket that tugged me wrong during Labor #4. I’m just saying that I can get out of control and dangerous sometimes.
Monday, May 10
I paid some hot shot cornea specialist $200 for a second opinion that took 10 minutes. I am in the wrong line of work. He said that I probably had a free flap during surgery and that’s how all this went down.
Well, the reason I know this was true is because it corroborates with the files I bumped into when Greg’s iPhone accidentally copied my medical records (that’s what you get for making me wait an hour and nobody is babysitting me) and took screen shots before they could hack it up for some lawsuit they thought I’d be filing. But why not just avoid all the games and tell me the truth? Because I can handle the truth!
I’ve watched too many lawyer shows. It’s complicated and I’m leaving out a lot.
Trust is a great thing, and the doc eventually agreed that they probably shouldn’t have downplayed the seriousness of what happened or hope I wouldn’t find out (like, maybe, would I miss the fact that I’m blind?!) but that they are now doing the right thing. Like I need more drama around here. I have six kids.
The consensus is that it’ll be months before I know how bad the vision will be in my right eye. Just a few days ago, I was able to begin using my other eye without the pain it was causing when my bad eye tracked with it. (You have to read that twice for it to make sense. Congratulations if you understood it the first go around or if you’re even reading this far.) So I’ve got one eye, at least. Some days, I don’t care if I ever regain vision. I just want the pain to stop.
In the meantime, pass the pain pills and don’t sneak up on me on my right side. I’m testy, testy.