PRK Laser Surgery!

First of all let me say, I feel GREAT!  I really wanted to post this yesterday, but there was no way!  I had to keep my eyes shut and the post surgery pain killers sent me to a deep sleep!  I pretty much slept all afternoon yesterday and all night.  Woke up at 8 am this morning, seeing fairly clearly, through my protective eye goggles and clear bandages!  Thrillng! Absolutely thrilling!    Rick just stepped out the door to do some grocery shopping and so I am sneaking onto the computer to finish this blog!!  (Big NO NO, not supposed to strain my eyes in any way today).

OK, so I was super anxious before leaving the condo for Bellevue.  I was able to write the following Pre OP Anxiety piece with my icy cold nervous fingers:

I am about to take off for the surgery center in Bellevue.  So, yes, I am having a big “Woody Allen moment” of anxiety.  WAIT A MINUTE! Did  I actually OPT for this?   Holy Crap!  Well, yes and no.  I wanted Lasik Eye Surgery to correct my vision.  My understanding is that Lasik is fast, almost painless, and promises a quick recovery with clear vision the next day.  But no, that was not in the cards for me.  Orb and Wave scans revealed that my cornea is shaped abnormally, is thin with less tissue to work with, and my pupils are larger than normal…. and so PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) Laser surgery  is needed and is what I am going to have done today…shortly.  Supposedly a safer procedure, but one that requires more recovery time (1 week recovery), and in general, is more painful.  I should have NEVER watched the PRK surgery on You Tube (YouTube PRK Laser Surgery with Audio).  Trust me, it is NOT for the faint of heart, so don’t even look it up unless you like that sort of stuff.  I felt queasy watching it and have not been able to stop thinking about it.  I wonder if it is too late to call this whole thing off??  What was I thinking?  Why mess with what is good enough?  Why mess with vision that can be corrected with glasses and contact lenses?  So, here I go.  Dr. Cowen awaits!

We arrive at the TLC Lasik Eye Center in Bellevue early.  I like to think that TLC stands for Tender Loving Care!!

As soon as we arrive, I took my valium as directed  (45 minutes before the surgery).  As I never take drugs, it took effect immediately.    Valium induced photo below:

After another wave/orb scan (to triply make sure all the calculations are correct), I am led to the surgery prep room!

My beautifully covered feet:

And I can’t believe I will actually post this ugly picture, but here it goes-I took it myself  (OK! I have now let go of enough ego to last me a lifetime!! No vanity here.).

And then Dr. Cowen walks into the room to lead me to the surgery room where I will lie down, have my head strapped down!!  and endure the 8 minute-per-eye procedure.  This is, obviously the last photo taken.  Like I said, no ego/vanity left.  Note the name tag I am wearing.  Good idea. They want to make sure they are doing the correct surgery on the correct person!

Thank God for drugs, is all I can say.  The valium dismissed my anxiety.  The numbing drops took away all pain.  My job was to cooperate, be still, listen to Dr. Cowen’s gentle coaching voice,  “You are doing great.  Keep that breath coming.  Nice job.  Keep focusing on the red light.  Don’t lose it.  Very good.  You’re doing great, Fran.  Wonderful.  Keep breathing.”  etc etc.  Yoga breathing. Red light is my drishti, don’t lose it.  Trance like state.   Numbing drops, Eyelashes taped back, Eyes held open with a device, red light, breathe, Epithelium removed (again, thank god for valium), laser, it smells like burning flesh-creepy  (I swear this is not made up…my mom and dad used to buy live chickens, wring their poor necks and clean them  and my mom would put the freshly plucked chickens one by one over an open flame to burn off the bits of feathers remaining on the skin -no wonder I hated chicken growing up- and this is what the laser’s action smelled like!)  My valium induced mind says, keep breathing, you are not a chicken. And then the ice. or the ice water.  Feels like the biggest and worst ice-cream induced headache you’ve ever had.  Dr. Cowen explains how the ice cold water will keep inflammation and pain at bay. Then a clear bandage is placed over my eye and on to the second eye.

When both eyes are done, I can see.  Blurry, fluctuations in vision, but hey, I can see fairly well. I see the nametags of the doctor and the assistants.   With this PRK procedure, it will be 6-8 weeks  before I can see clearly, but already this is amazing.

Thanks to Kathryn!!!, I got Dr. Cowen to give me a pain prescription ahead of time and got it filled before the surgery.  God, am I happy to have it. As soon as we get home, the pain sets in.   I am in a panic as I swallow the pain pill, but it takes affect quickly and I sleep for the rest of the day.

I feel great today.  Got to get off line before Rick comes home and sees that I have disobeyed orders.  I have my first post-op appointment with Dr. Cowen today at 1:30 pm and I PROMISE to rest my eyes the remainder of the day…no computer, no reading (darn it!!).    I AM THRILLED WITH THE RESULTS OF PRK LASER SURGERY.  I would highly recommend Dr. Cowen should you need any type of eye surgery (including cataracts).    Fran


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