Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Flashback to the Day of my Eye Surgery

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As per me, women fall into 3 broad category when it comes to beauty –

1. Women WHO ARE CONTENT with god-given beauty. How I envy them!
2. Women WHO WILL BE CONTENT only if their beauty rivals that of Cleopatra. How I feel sorry for them!
3. Women WHO ARE NEITHER CONTENT NOR DISCONTENT. Now, I who fall into this category, am mad at myself for being blessed with an indecisive brain that puts me in this limbo-state.

Well,Overall I am happy with the way I look but there are times when I wish my nose was sharper, my frame taller or my vision brighter. The latter thought/wish has been on the forefront of my mind and kept getting stronger ever since I came back from my trip to Italy. Why? One big reason – SUNGLASSES. High-end designer shades adorned everyone’s face and I was green with envy by the time I came home. Now you all might wonder what I am getting at. Be patient and read on..

Due to my high power(Did I mention that I used to be blind as a bat without my soda-bottle thick-lensed glasses?) I can’t wear certain sunglasses, especially the “wrapped” frames. You see, high-powered prescription sunglasses can’t be bent due to refractive properties and such. I craved for wearing one such pair cause it gives an instant makeover to anyone who wears it. No surgery needed. LoL. Who wouldn’t want to look better than what they are? I did mention I wasn't a Category1 girl. Didn’t I? I could have tried it on with contacts in my eyes. But I am allergic to contacts. Therefore my non-surgical options were NIL. So I have to say this lust for Sunglasses guided me like a beacon to the Lasik-shore. Why was I hesitant to try this option before? Due to my overactive imagination as usual. I was under the opinion that for this surgery: 1.Steel clamps will be used to keep the eyes open. 2.Eyelashes might be shaved(oh, the horror). 3.Hot laser beams will be used to burn a layer of the cornea to correct the defects, like a welding Hey I did have a reason to assume this. I remember reading about laser back in High school. An intense beam of coherent light can't be cool,right?
Anywayz,I chose Sankara Nethralaya Hospital in Chennai due to its reputation. Using some high-level contacts I was scheduled for surgery with a doctor who operates on Presidents and bigshots. She is a pioneer in the field of corrective surgery and I wanted only her to operate on my eyes. You see, I couldn’t trust my eyes with anyone else.
She clarified all my doubts and I was all set for specks-free days.So it was scheduled.

Day of Surgery: No valium was given to calm my nerves. I was scheduled for 2PM surgery and I arrived at the hospital at Noon. Walked the corridors in a state of agitation until I was called to the OR Lounge where I had to wait a good 30 minutes or so for my turn. My eyes were cleaned,head was covered with a mask and I was led into the dark, frigid OR where masked faces awaited me. I was asked to lie down on the bed/gurney and surgical tapes were used to seal one eye shut and pry the other one open for Epi-Lasik procedure.My face was covered with a sterile parchment-like mask and anaesthetic drops were sprayed into my eyes.All went well upto that point. The doctor told me she was going to lower the machine(microkeratome) that was going to cut a flap of my cornea for the procedure. That was when I started panicking. I was blinded by the miniscule flash lights at the bottom of the machine and no one to hold my hands and calm me down. I felt like the walls were closing in on me and just when the doc was about to lower that machine I jumped the gurney screaming “Let me out, Let me out”. I scared the living daylights out of her. She certainly did not expect that bit of insanity from me. Lol.The nurse lady pulled me back and the doc asked me what would calm me.
I laid out 3 conditions: 1.The mask should be removed from my face or atleast slit open for me to breathe all that cold air. 2.The nurse should hold my hands at all times( I needed to feel that touch of reality). 3.The doc should give me a running commentary of the surgical process.
If all the above conditions were accepted I would undergo the surgery else I was gonna walk out and be happy with my good old harmless glasses that won’t cut a slice of my cornea like some fruit.
The poor doctor had no choice and agreed to all the conditions.A nurse came and lifted(without removing) that papery-mask off my face and held my hands. The doctor promised to talk to me throughout the surgery.I didn't feel any pain when the suction-ring was placed to keep the eyeball in place or when the flap was cut. The vision became very blurry and I could see the doc peeling the flap aside like a page in a book.I tried not to panic. Jumping the gurney at this stage would be a foolish move.Can't run with part of the eyeball hanging down now, can I? The crucial time was when I had to focus on the cooling-beam of laser(Excimer Laser) which looked like a smoky-green jiggly-spot.Yes, there was motion inside that smoky green spot.The spot was static though. Get it?   I loudly started saying GREEN GREEN GREEN for the 5 seconds that I had to focus on that beam.What the laser was trying to do was to reshape the cornea by vaporizing layers of tissue to make it defect-free. No sparks flew. Lol. Once that was done, the doctor used a small broom-like instrument to reposition that peeled flap of cornea back to its original position. Then the bandage-contacts were put on top to allow the cornea to re-attach/re-generate?? The doc asked me if I want the procedure to continue or I come back another day for the other for a penny, in for a pound. Right? I decided I might as well get it done with. Now that I knew the drill, I was cool with slicing and vaporizing. It took all of 20 minutes for start to end but it was the longest and scariest 20 minutes of my life. I have to say childbirth wasn't this bad.***Phew*** After the surgery, my eye voluntarily shut itself and wept tears of pain. I started feeling the pain 15 minutes later. Ouch Ouch Ouch. It was like poisonous sting of 100 scorpions inside my skull. Painkillers helped.
Road to Recovery: This is the most painful part minus the pain. There was no pain from Day2. Only mild discomfort due to those crappy contacts.Necessary evil! The painful part is that I was asked not to wash my hair for 2 weeks(Yikes!), Not to scratch my eyes at all times(A herculean task when my eyes are so itchy!), Ensure no rogue water-droplets enter my eye for 2 weeks(All senses on high alert for 2 weeks!). So I haven't washed my face with soap in 2 weeks, only wiping with wet cloth. Gross! I get nervous breakdown everytime I take below-the-neck bath and I haven't hugged my toddler son in 2 weeks..Boohooo..No pain, no gain,right?
But the best part is that I can see without my glasses clearly for the first time in two decades. The best part is that I can go buy my favorite pair of Dior and Maui Jim shades without a second thought of whether it can be made into a prescriptive sunglasses or not. Lastly, the best part is that the worst part is over.Woohoo.

For anyone who is considering this Lasik procedure, don't wait. Just do it. I hope my inside scoop helps. For everyone else, did it make for a good read?
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  1. A precisely said procedure. Lady.. you right really well. :) And happy for your successful surgery too :)

  2. Dear Lassie
    I am again marveling at your excellent command over English!!! So you had a great exciting date with the Doc!!! Apart from acquiring great knowledge on this surgery form the detailed description of the process, I also learnt about 3 categories of women categorized by another great lady !!! But your panic part is not fitting into the Lassie I know from this blog :-)
    You know lassie, when I was reading the description of the operation theater , masks and masked men, putting surgical tapes, flashing lights et al..I was expecting you would say some thing about vampire..New moon etc ..LOL
    Jokes apart, I am really feeling good that you are through, you can wear your sun glasses..last but not the least I like the way you narrate very serious matters packed with humor..hmmmm keep it up..humor is the key to a great living...'
    Have a great time in India...

  3. It is scary....whatever said & done....I'm scared of anything medical....I hate docs....


  4. Asha,
    yes the procedure does sound scary but it wasn't so bad when I think about it. Doctors are good guys(most of them atleast) with noble profession. Don't hate them so.

  5. Ushnish,
    My son is having a ball of a time surrounded by people who shower boatloads of love.I am having fun as well.
    Hey, i may like all the gore and blood related movies but when it comes to pain and such, i have very low tolerance and a cowardice too..

  6. Nithya,
    Thanks for your sweet comment. I love story-telling. Hehe.

  7. wow..u really did it. I admire u..I hate the docs..I too have a small eye prob and the doc said that need a very minor surgery..just scratching of a small layer of cornea...ya easy for him to say..but i never went back to the doc.. Maybe i should giv him a try once more...!!!
    hope u r recovering well!!!!

  8. Dear lassie
    Reading this post time and again is my favorite pastime. Great!!
    Finally how many branded sunglasses you bought or got as gift from hubby?
    Have a nice day

  9. Ushnish-Da,
    Enjoy! Reading it again sends shivers down my spine. The experience wasn't all good. But I did buy a couple of sunglasses after this.

  10. Hi Lassie...

    Ushnish gave me link to this post and i had to come...enjoyed reading it but yes i feel the same about that the panicking part :)

    You write well and you are definitely good at story telling. Saw many of your recent posts today , for a long time i have been a 'bad blogger' , but today i thoroughly enjoyed all your yummy food and so many beautiful kitchen utensils..:)


Thanks a bunch for your valuable comments and continued support.They are very much appreciated. Yes,like "Rain on Dry Land" and like "Oasis in Desert Sand".
XoXo, Cool Lassi(e)