A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I spy with my little eye

It's a week since I had my first cataract op and I'm doing okay :o) I had to be at the hospital for 8.30am and was told that I was near the beginning of the list, and then they suddenly realised that I'm MRSA positive (it's been in my notes all along so I don't know why they only just realised) so they moved me to the next door ward, put me in a cubicle, and moved me to the end of the surgery list :o( Consequently I didn't go into theatre until 11.50am. I was in for about half an hour, was taken back down to the ward, told I'd be able to go after 1 to 2 hours so long as my prescription was up. My prescription got lost and I didn't leave the hospital until gone 4.30pm. It was a loooooong day.

So how was it? Um ... okay I guess. It started with some kind of test done on the ward where the nurse numbed my eyes and then put a sensor wotnotthingumyjig (that's technical terminology) onto my eye ball that supposedly detects the strength of implant lens that the surgeon should put in once he's removed the lens with the cataract. It was odd being poked in the eye and not feeling anything, though I have no complaints that I couldn't feel anything! Then the nurse took my glasses away for another check on the implant lens that would be needed (I don't know why they needed to this and the 'poking me in the eye with a sensor wotnotthingumyjig' test), and while they were having whatever check was being done she brought a sample implant lens for me to see. The slight problem was that without my glasses, and with my pupil dilated, I couldn't see a sodding thing. Add to this the fact that the lens was supposedly tiny, transparent and floating somewhere in some clear liquid, the chances of me seeing it were slim to start with. After several times of the nurse trying to point it out to me, and my explaining that I couldn't see it without my glasses, I gave up, lied, and said, 'Oh yes, there it is. It is tiny, isn't it? Amazing.' The nurse seemed satisfied, and she went and got my glasses.

The op itself was weird. By the time I'd done all the waiting around to go up to theatre I thought I was more bored than nervous, but the surgeon had to remind me to breathe at one point. LOL I guess I'm so used to not breathing so well that when I get nervous and hold my breath I don't notice, but once the surgeon asked me to 'take some deep breaths and then just breathe normally,' I heard the beep of the oxygen saturation sensor was down in the lower range of things, but gradually rising as I took some breaths. I don't know what my sats went down to, but they had a little way to come up. I was fine though, and it wasn't anything to do with my asthma; just nerves.

So anyway, the op. It started with a sticky thing being put on my eye to keep my lashes out of the way and a brace being put in it to keep it open. Then a variety of drops were put into my eye, which made me jump every time they went in, although aside from a slight sting from one of them they didn't hurt. At first I could see all the things coming at me, despite the almost blinding theatre lights, but as more of the drops and then I think an injection were put in everything went misty, and then completely white. I thought about what my dad would say and knew he'd say it was interesting, so I concentrated on that thought, took it as my mantra for the whole op, and was thankful that my total blindness was only temporary. Apart from the white I could see the odd shapes that the theatre lights were now making - something akin to butterfly shapes, but with kind of holes in them - and vague, shadowy shapes of things near/in my eye. I could feel pressure at times, but there wasn't any pain, for which I am immensly thankful! And then the surgeon got the hoover out. That's not actually what it's called, but it's basically what it is. There was a lot of swirling in my eye, which I could see and that was very odd, and a weird 'sort of sensation' that I can't really describe, a lot of water dribbling down the side of my face, and a slightly disconcerting sucking sound. After the eye hoovering the synthetic lens was implanted, which I'm told is slipped in folded up and unfolded once it's inside the eye. How amazing is that?! It was another of those 'sort of sensation' moments, but fine. All done, patched up, and doing a fine impersonation of a pirate I was then ready to be taken back to the ward, where I had a lot of frustrated attempts at using my Nintendo DS, but without actually being able to see what I was doing. I had my glasses, but I couldn't get them on with the big patch and eye guard on my right eye bo) As the anaesthetic wore off my eye got very stingy, but I wasn't offered any pain killers so I waited until I got home. The patch had to stay on for the rest of the day and that night, but I could take it off the next day, and I now only have to wear the guard at night for the next week (having already worn it at night for a week), just to make sure that I don't rub it in the night. Mornings seem to be worse for swelling and bruising, but there hasn't been toooooo much of either. At first there was a lot of black and white flickering and it kind of looked like water was boiling in my eye, but that was just everything settling down. I'm still getting some flickering in the mornings, but mostly it's settling well bo)

I have to wait until I've had the left eye done before I can get a new prescription for my glasses - should be about 6 weeks till the second op, but no date yet - so it'll be a while till I get the full benefit of all this, but already I can tell a difference. For starters, I have the central vision back in my right eye! That's amazing! Everything's brighter. Colours are so vivid and vibrant! I hadn't notice how dulled colours had become, probably because the colour was leeched out of my world slowly as the cataracts developed, but now half the world is alive in a romp of colour again bo) And even though I'm yet to have my glasses prescription sorted, things already have more defined edges. The world is made of crystal, not frosted glass! Mind you, now that my right eye is done (the worst of the two) I see how bad the left eye is and I can hardly wait until both eyes are cataract-free and my glasses sorted. At the moment the world's a bit lopsided, but it's already a lot better than it was.

One of the temporary downsides is that I'm not allowed to drive for three weeks from the op - so I have another two weeks to go - and I'm feeling rather cooped up. Until both eyes are done then it seems that I won't be able to read or do any close work bo( I'm getting bored. I want to be doing cross-stitch and reading the novel I started shortly before the op, and I also have some reading to do in preparation for my next OU course. I've ordered some magnifying sheets from an online company but they haven't arrived yet. I'm okay using the computer as I can enlarge the text on the screen, but doing anything else much is proving very difficult and frustrating. The other thing is that I'm not allowed to get water in my eye for two weeks after the op, which isn't generally a problem except for when it comes to washing my hair. I don't have a shower, just a shower hose that attaches to the bath taps, but I can't easily use that backwards. My mum and step-dad stayed with me and looked after me from the day before the op until Sunday (and a marvellous job they did too!), so Mum helped me to wash my hair (leaning backwards over the side of the bath. That is, I was leaning backwards over the side of the bath, not Mum!) while she was here. Since Sunday though I've been to the hair dressers for a wash and blow dry, and have booked in for three more between now and next Wednesday, when I should be okay to do my hair myself again. I have to say that I was surprised at how expensive it is just to have a wash and blow dry (£13), so I'm just thinking of it as post-operative pampering ... or at least trying to.

All in all, it went okay. I was nervous, and it's not an experience I'd suggest putting on your 'Things To Do When Bored' list, but it's going to be fab when I've had both eyes done ... and when I don't have to put eye drops in four times a day ... or take other anitbiotics three times a day for the chest infection that I've managed to pick up along the way. Yes, another one! Still, on the bright side (that'll be the right side, now that the cataract from that eye is gone ;oP ), the driving restriction from the eye op is making me rest up, sofa surf and generally take things easy so my lungs might have more chance of clearing the infection.


Dawn said...

Hi Becky! I've been thinking about you and wondering how it went. I'm very glad to hear the op went well :)

Kate said...

I can only relate your experience to how excited I was to discover that clouds are in 3D and that trees have individual leaves when I eventually capitulated on my eyesight and admitted I needed contact lenses. Re-discovering saturation must be a very exciting process indeed!

BeckyG said...

Dawn, thank you for thinking about me. Sorry it's taken me a while to update things and let you know how things went. I'm relieved it's over ... until next time.

Kate, it must have been wonderful to see in 3D again, and to see individual leaves etc again. It's amazing when you get these things back, isn't it? Although it's a week since I had the op I'm still startled by the intensity and vibrancy of colours. Maybe it's because I still have the dull opacity in the eye that hasn't yet been operated on to compare it to. The eye that has been done (right) was worse than the one that has yet to be done, but still the loss of colour saturation is very noticable, and now I can compare it to 'normal' saturation. It's quite amazing! It's absolutely wonderful!

Georgina said...

so pleased you can 'see' a diference already. Thanks for insight into op (i'm really not trying to fit lots of vision gags in!), Shout if you need/want a lift anywhere or just some time out,
Ginge xx

BeckyG said...

Thank you, Ginge. It'd be great to catch up sometime and maybe go for a drive to coast if you're up for it. This coming week is getting booked up with one thing and another, but the week after would be good :o)

ginge said...

yes please lets get together. Am off from now til 16th x

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Interesting. three weeks is nothing in a way. Good luck.