Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

This game isn't fun anymore...

Last Thursday I had laser eye surgery.  I know, sounds impressive right?  hahaha yeah, not so much.  Spent far more time in the waiting room and pre-appointment tests than in the actual "surgery" which took less than 5 minutes, required no special pre or post care, and I walked away from.  Only catch was I couldn't drive.

The point of this surgery was essentially to ensure the retina is affixed where it should be so when the oil comes out, it'll stay there.  Awesome.  They're planning to do it again next week.  The surgery itself was uncomfortable -- felt kind of like my eye was being squeezed tightly and poked at the same time, but so short it was really not tragic.

When I went in, I had a small shadow showing down near my nose, so the surgeon checked it and confirmed nothing to worry about *phew*.   He did say, however, that if the retina were to re-detach, that's essentially where I'd see it.   Any change in the shadow and I should come back in.  Oh, and he's on vacation this week.

You're not new -- you can see where this is going.

This week is the week I'm *finally* allowed to do stuff again.  And I've been responsible about it -- walking lots but not running.  Teaching but not riding.  Some basic exercises, but nothing with weight or that requires my head to be low.  Generally going along with whatever my eyeball tells me is okay.  And most importantly -- I can sleep lying down!   Woohoo!

And then we get to yesterday.  Work was normal, everything was normal.  Wed is usually date night, but Chris was working on the house so I thought maybe, just maybe, the stars would align and I could get in a sail.  And got super excited about this.  Checked in with the captain and he confirmed they were going out, but said may be no wind so might be more of a cruise than a race.  Actually perfect, since I wasn't convinced my body was up to racing yet anyways.  Not having to do anything and still getting to float out on the water in 35 degree weather would be awesome.  I haven't been out this year yet, no racing next two weeks, and then I have another surgery.  So probably my only chance.  AND no late meetings, so I could actually potentially get to Port Credit before the boat sailed at 6.

All good -- got out on plan, was heading to the train...  And suddenly started having real trouble seeing.  For those who wear glasses -- imagine one of the rims suddenly got very thick.  So down the left side of my eye and across the bottom was a thick shadow, slightly rounded.  Think a bubble-letter L.

Of course the first thing I did was take the glasses off.  Oops.  Significantly worse.  Fail.  Got on the train, moving around and trying to see what vision I had.  Got some weird looks from a random child and had to laugh -- suppose that behaviour really isn't normal ;)   Decided to just close my eyes and rest them for a bit.  Except when I closed them, instead of seeing the usual dark screen of the back of my eyelid, everything that had been shadow was suddenly glaring white light.  This can't be good.

Accept that there will be no sailing.  Clinic closes at 5 in Mississauga.  Train will pull into Oakville about 4:20.  It'll be close.  Called Mum and asked her to meet me at the station, so she did and we raced off to the clinic.  On the way I called them.  Oh, your doctor is on vacation and all the others have left for the day.  We can call you in the morning to arrange an appointment or you can go to emergency.

Awesome.  Thanks.  So debated the merits of this for a bit.  My surgeon had explicitly told me if I had any issues when he wasn't available to go to St. Mike's in TO.  This, when I'd just come from down town, at rush hour, was not even slightly an appealing suggestion.  Went to rescue my car from the GO station and signed in to finish off a few things from work.  Chris was pretty adamant I should go get checked, and to be honest, I really wanted somebody to look and tell me there was nothing to worry about.  The shadow changed in depth from almost not there (looked like I suddenly had a really big nose) to blocking about %50 of my vision in that eye.  And that part was scary.  But driving all the way downtown (and worse, needing Mum to come with me) to sit in a hospital for hours just for reassurance did not sound like a fun night.  But eventually fear and common sense won out.  If I went, and was wrong, I wasted a few hours.  If I stayed, and was wrong, I could end up blind.  This is not really a reasonable debate.

So Mum and I drove all the way back in.  Yeah for HOV lanes that thankfully are down to only needing two people.  Made the drive far better than it could've been.  Also amused by the cop on a motorcycle on the shoulder driving by checking HOV occupants.  That was sweet.

Went into emerge.  No line so saw the triage nurse right away and explained the situation.  She called somebody and told them to put me at the front of the line.  Ummm okay -- clearly we're treating this seriously.  Reception collected my info and I was sent straight back to the patient gathering area.  Had a brief wait in the hall before being shepherded into a room that had the usual assortment of eye equipment. Seriously the fastest trip through emerge I've ever experienced.  Unbelievable.

We were seen by a resident, who was quite cheery and personable, spent more time with me than my surgeon has in all my visits there cumulatively.  She escalated to the emergency room doc who came and they ultra-sounded my eye.

Yeah, I'm not even kidding.  Who knew?   This was a new procedure for me, and while the messiest, definitely the easiest from my perspective.  They had me lie down and close my eyes, then put a bunch of goop on it and rolled a machine around my eyeball, occasionally telling me to look various directions.  Completely harmless from my perspective, but really interesting since it was a teaching opportunity so the emerge doc was explaining to the resident everything he was seeing and what he was looking for.  Just wish I could've seen the pics at the same time ;)

 He didn't find anything with the ultra sound, but said any change like that in shadows is an issue and he wanted me to see the ophthalmologist.  So far, so good.  Pretty much going with the "you're fine, wasted evening, go home and get some sleep" theory.  The only down side to that one is it still leaves me with unresolved shadows in my eye, but sobeit.

We're led up through a locked "staff only" area to the 8th floor and told to grab a seat in the hallway and someone would come see us.  Okay.  There were a few other people hanging around so we joined them.  All the literature in the hallway was about dialysis, but all the conversation in the waiting room was about eyes so we figured we were in the right place.

Hours pass.  Slowly.  Very slowly.  People are moved to a different set of seats and then into another room to be seen.  Talked to people who had driven here from Peterborough and then others from Sudbury.  Suddenly my re-commute to TO seemed slightly less of a hassle...  It also seemed this was, in fact, the place to be to have an "eye disturbance" (as it showed on my chart) handled.

Eventually there are only 3 of us left.  More hours pass.  It seems there's one person working and spending about an hour with each person.  My phone was dying.  Fail.  Not that it really mattered since my eyes were blurred and I couldn't see anyways but still.

One got sent away with an appointment to go "across the street" tomorrow.  The next people went in and then we were alone...   It's a very different feel being in a place like that completely deserted.
Not even exaggerating.  Well except for the ghost.  She was cool.
Anyways -- it was eventually our turn.  Another resident, but this one had all the toys.  I was amused by one though -- you know the black disk they give you to cover your eye?  It looked just like that but had holes poked in it.  And through it, I could see!  Even with the bad eye I could read the letters on the wall.   I was super stoked about that.  hahaha it's the little things in life.   Anyways -- this doctor took a lot of time and was very thorough.  Have to say I was super impressed with everyone there -- especially when juxtaposed with the people I've been dealing with (think the Dr House of eyes).  She said she thought she saw a tear, but wanted the surgeon to look.  He, however, was currently doing surgery (this was after midnight) but would be back shortly.

So back to the hall we went -- us and one other pair were waiting to see the surgeon.  While we were waiting another person came in.  They saw the resident, the surgeon, and were out again in no time at all.  Not quite sure how they pulled that off.  But after they left, I could hear the surgeon talking to the resident about the admittance times on our charts and how this was totally unacceptable that patience be waiting so long and they'd have to do something about it.  Not aggressive towards her at all, but clearly annoyed with the system.

The other people went in first so Mum and I wracked up some steps pacing the hallway.  We were being pretty silly by this point -- very tired, hungry, thirsty, and cold.  The AC was something special there.  I should not be cold in a heat wave.  Sheesh.

Eventually it was our turn.  Surgeon reviewed my history with me and asked some further questions and then did some more tests.  Turns out there's scar tissue from the last surgery, and the weight of that has pulled the retina to re-detach.  They need to do surgery -- take the oil out, fix the tear, and then put either oil or gas back in.  Essentially the same procedure I had four weeks ago.  Starting over.  Frig.  So very not amused.

Not even slightly.

Went home, signed in to work (at now 3am) to let people know I wouldn't make it in the morning and fell in to bed.  Now off to see the new surgeon and find out the rest of the process.


As a child, I always figured that one of the perks of adulthood was that I wouldn't be able to be grounded.  I now know differently *sigh*

The surgery went well -- or so the surgeon says.   I have no way of judging as the next one isn't scheduled until the end of August, and I won't be able to see clearly until after that.  However, the restrictions are making me feel like a grounded teenager.  Seriously.  No car, no horse, no activities, limited screen time.  Is that not the definition of grounded?  Add to it an inability to lift more than five pounds.  This one has been a challenge -- especially given that we're in the process of moving.  I'm pretty sure even my laptop ways more than five pounds.  It's not like I'm trying to break the rules; they just don't even occur to me.  Like bringing in groceries -- nope.

On the plus side -- I can focus for noticeably longer periods every day and the headaches have been much less lately.  And it was all kinds of nice to get to live with my husband for a week -- what a concept ;)   Back to work on Monday -- if I pull that off without a migraine strength headache I'll be good to go.

And that's enough screen time for me.  Have a good weekend!