Thursday, August 16, 2007

An eye-opening experience

My plan for today did not include getting zapped with a laser. Miraculously, the DSL still works...so here's a brief "glimpse" of what happened today.

My plan was to

1) Go to my routine contact lens checkup at 10:30, perhaps getting a new prescription to make things slightly less blurry. I've heard about new soft lenses that can correct astigmatism (I've had minor astigmatism all my life, but not enough to warrant constant glasses-wearing, which I detest).

2) Grab some lunch.

3) Run some errands.

4) Head over to Goodyear to have them look at our engine mounts, which they repaired a month ago, but which I suspect are loose again due to the immense vibrations during idle, and the grinding noise on initial acceleration.

Out of these, I accomplished 1. I did get one of the new lenses, which I got to wear for about 5 minutes before the optometrist (a great guy, head of Emory's contact lens department) said, "When's the last time your eyes were dialated?" I couldn't remember. For so long, we've been concerned about my corneas, I don't think anyone was bothering about my retinas. (I have Thygeson's, which in a nutshell causes bumps on the cornea. Mine's in remission right now, but it could pop up at any time.) Well, to make a long story (I was at the clinic for a total of 5 hours) short, the resident examined me, "squooshing" my eyes in the process (somewhat painful!), and found a small tear in my retina. She passed me to an opthamologist, who passed me on to a fellow in the Retinal department, who finally passed me to the Retina doc (Retinologist??) The fellow said he recommended laser treatment to "weld" the tear to my eye so that it would not lead to a detachment later, and he'd do it right then! I had to sign a waiver saying I understood anesthesia might be involved, and possible side-effects were brain damage and death! A lot worse than "dry mouth"!!

The whole thing was a very weird process...every time my eye was "squooshed", I would be unable to see for a minute or so afterward. Just a dark grey mist. After the laser surgery (it was an argon laser...the geek in me doesn't retreat even under the most dire circumstances, aparently), I couldn't see for a minute, then everything was magenta-colored for another couple minutes. I think the most exciting part of the day was driving with one contact in a dialated eye, the other eye streaming constantly. Fortunately, I was able to get to DH's office before the bad traffic started, and he shuttled me home, where I was able to lie down. I feel nearly human now, although 5 hours in a doctor's office with no lunch and no liquid certainly didn't help. But, "I am OK", which is the first thing I said to DH when I called after the procedure. I wanted to call before, but, alas, no cell phone service there!

The coolest thing was when I asked "How long will this take?" The fellow told me, "Well, for someone with skin as pale as yours, it could take a little longer." Schwunh? Aparently, the laser surgery is only possible because there is some pigmentation directly behind our retinas. This is necessary for the doc to see the scar tissue the laser is producing. If we didn't have that pigmentation, they wouldn't be able to use lasers. They'd have to use a cryo procedure that is more invasive and more painful. Now, I don't think there's any real "reason" for that pigmentation. But isn't it cool that God designed our bodies so that doctors could take advantage of technology?? We really are "fearfully and wonderfully made"....

4 comments:

kathyj said...

Glad your on the mend. Got you message after I got home last night... but I prayed for you when I was going to sleep. I now feel much smarter about laser procedures;) very cool. HOpefully see you Sunday :) peace girlie!

Susan said...

That's amazing - I had no idea (not that I think often about laser surgery!)

Here's hoping for a smooth recovery!

Jean in Georgia said...

Egad!! Howcome I have to find out about these things in your blog! Why aren't you calling screaming "They've put lasers in my eyes! Bring me chocolate!" upon which I would have made the Hummer fly downtown to take care of you! Hope you're feeling much better and have consumed mass quantities of chocolate to calm the nerves...

Heather said...

Chocolate has been consumed. =) I didn't think it was a big enough alarm to cause ITP travel. ;) Michael made sure to ask me if I needed a milkshake in order to recover....

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