Loving my LASIK!

**Warning: This post will be long because I can't tell a story without being detailed and/or long-winded (whatever you wanna call it) so go do your chores first if you don't have time to read this right now. :)

Thank you, Lord, for the miracles of modern medicine. Seriously. Who would've thought that I would walk into Dr. Lusk's office Monday afternoon with a -5 vision prescription and walk out the same day with 20/20 vision? I've dreamt of it for a long time and y'all, it happened!

I am nearsighted which means that I can see nearby objects fairly clearly but can hardly see anything far away. Sure, I could tell there was a person or thing in front of me, but I could forget about seeing any detail. I also had astigmatism, which means that my vision was actually blurred at all distances. So, remember how I said I could see nearby objects? Well, nearby for me meant just past the tip of my nose! And I'm not kidding!

I've always found wearing glasses & contacts to be a pain in the you-know-what so I've been thinking about and considering vision correction surgery for a long time. The two main things that had me hung up for so long were 1. the cost and 2. I didn't want any sort of blade anywhere near my eye! Then, several months ago, I heard an advertisement on the radio about a fairly new procedure that Dr.Lusk was performing that involved laser-only vision correction. The ad also mentioned a payment plan offering "no interest, no payments" for a year, and that was it. I was sold. Now, I just had to get Nathan's support (he'd been none too eager about the idea).

After Nathan first told me I could do this if that's what I wanted, I immediately called the office to schedule my free consultation. This would tell me if I was even a candidate for LASIK. I was really hoping I wouldn't be too blind for the procedure, and yes, some people are. Thankfully, though, my vision was in correctable range, my corneas were thick enough to make the flap, and my eyes were not too dry. Whew!

On to the next visit, which involved meeting the doctor and many more extensive tests to determine exactly how the laser would "shape" my eyes. You probably can't tell in the picture to the right, but my pupils are HUGE from the dilating drops they put in them. Everbody at the office even commented on it because you could hardly see any of the green part of my eye! Thankfully, they weren't too big though, because if your eyes dilate to larger than a certain # of millimeters (can't remember the number now) then they will not do the surgery because it would cause problems with night vision. Or something like that. I'm a nurse but I haven't thought about eyes since nursing school. Sorry.

With all of the preliminary visits and tests out of the way, I was able to schedule the BIG DAY! Monday, April 14, 2008 to be exact. *smile* I had to begin pre-op preparations on Saturday, which included 2 Aleve with food in the morning and 2 different eye drops several times a day. On Sunday & Monday, I had to take a Celebrex in addition to the Aleve and drops. All of these preparatory drugs were non-steroidal anti-inflammatory's whose purpose were to cut down on pain and swelling after the surgery.

Here I am about to leave the house on the way to my 12:30 p.m. appointment! I was so excited but a little nervous, too! Nathan took a half day off work to be with me and my dad met us at the surgery center. They said to wear comfortable & warm clothing because the room where the laser is kept is temperature-controlled and can be chilly. Also, I had to go makeup-free, which is just common sense if you think about it! So, off I go in my favorite long-sleeve tee and my super-comfy fleece jacket.

When we got to the surgery center, I had to check-in and of course you never get in right away. But, that's just how it is in the medical field so you just have to deal with it or let it get all over you. I say, life's too short to get upset, so I just tried to breathe calmly into my little brown paper bag not thinking about how my corneas were about to be permanently re-shaped. Just kidding, I wasn't really that nervous! A few butterflies short of a brown paper bag, I'd say.

When my name was finally called, I had to first sign the obligatory paperwork and then got my very first hospital ID bracelet. I've never been admitted to a hospital, unless you count birth and the time I had pneumonia as an infant, so it was a first for me. I was also instructed to place a Valium under my tongue and let it dissolve (I was a little leary of this since I've never taken it).

Then, Nathan and I were shown to a quiet nook where a tech dressed me in some lovely head-gear and began the first of many eye drops. Those white things covering my ears are paper towels placed to catch any errant eye drops that escape my eyes. I think my favorite drops are the ones that numb your eyes so that the doctor can draw on them with a marker and you don't even feel it! Yes, he really did that. Actually, the tech did it first and then the Dr. did it again to make his little adjustments! That really weirded Nathan out, believe me! I wish I had a picture of the horrified, yet fascinated look he had on his face! Ha!

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Before the marker incident, the tech had cleansed my eyelids with betadine. If you've never seen betadine, it's an orange liquid used to cleanse surgical sites in preparation for surgery. And, of course, Nathan took great delight in documenting that look, all the while saying, "Smile, Ashlie! Smile!" He loves to say, "You're such a little blogger!" when I'm taking random photos but I have to say, he got into it that day! See, there I am to the left in all my cleansed glory. That look means "I feel really stupid smiling while having to keep my orange eyes shut!" I think I was also starting to get a little loopy from the Valium. Speaking of Valium, I still have 4 left, but they'll just stay in their little bottle (unless one of you has a better offer? J/K) because those things are nasty! It tastes so yuck when it dissolves and I did not like the way it made me feel! I couldn't walk straight and when I stood up, I felt like all my insides slid down to my toes! Ick!

Anyway, once I was prepped, it was time to go to the laser room. Nathan got to come with me and watch from outside the glassed-in room. Apparently, there was a TV screen where he could see the whole procedure because when I came out, he was telling me all about the crazy little instruments the Dr. was "sticking in your eyeball!" (his words, people). Now, usually they do both eyes at the same time but because my eyes are small, they had to do my left eye and wait about 45 minutes to do my right eye. The doctor said that when the laser creates the flap on the cornea, it creates gas bubbles that usually dissipate. Lucky me, since my eye is small, the bubbles went into the eye tissue and would have prevented the laser from being able to "see" where it needed to do its thing. So, I had to go back to my quiet nook and wait. This was actually pretty uncomfortable because my left eye felt fine and I could see, albeit fuzzily. My right eye, however, felt enormous and heavy so that I could barely keep it open. Nathan and my dad said it looked pretty bad too because of all the hemorrhaging. They use suction to hold your eye in place and it causes the whites of your eyes to hemorrhage; basically, it's like I have hickies on my eyes! Ha!

After a certain amount of time had gone by and the doctor had approved my lack of bubbles, I went back into the laser room for treatment of the right eye. By this time, that Valium was really doin' it's thing, and I was A-Ok! It was a snap and I was done in about 5 minutes.

Then, it was back to Dr. Lusk's office for one final check by another doctor before they sent me home. The surgery coordinator also put in the first doses of the 3 eye drops I would have to use for a few days. The pic to the left is me trying to say "Nope, don't need those anymore!" Kind of hard to pull that off though when you can't keep your eyes open and your slightly high on Valium. Please forgive my goofy look but I wanted to show you a pic from immediately after the surgery.

The surgery coordinator was nice enough to give me a handy little spreadsheet to help keep up with all the drops I'd have to use over the next 5 days. I was really excited about this because I'd been planning on making my own when I got home. When you have 5 different drops to put in your eyes and all of them are on different schedules, this comes in really handy! Wanna see my little pack of post-op supplies that they gave me? I thought you would!


Everything came in its own handy little carrying case, which is fashionably black and the perfect clutch size. I also received some snazzy sunglasses to wear after the procedure; these are UV ray-blocking, a must after LASIK surgery so I hear. The clear, round disks you see are the eye shields that I must wear while sleeping for the first 5 nights (they must have known what an active sleeper I live with). They are taped in place using the paper tape you see under one of the bottles of drops. The tabs on the disks go out toward my temples and that is what the tape is attached to. Next, is the PILL. Yep, it's the Valium (I won't be taking anymore of them, I just wanted to show y'all the crazy little devil). And, in the background are all my eye drops. The yellow one is an antibiotic, the beige one is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, the pink-capped bottle is a steroid, and the little green bottle is just moisturizing drops (my best friend the last couple days).

All in all, the LASIK was amazingly easy, minus some short-lived discomfort. I definitely didn't need the prescribed pain meds (Mepergan Fortis) that they gave me and it has been totally worth it so far. I still catch myself thinking I need to take my glasses off! Ha! Oh, and at my 24 hour check-up, they checked my vision and it is....drumroll please....20/20+! Which means that I missed a couple letters on the 20/15 line but hey! I'm not gonna cry about that! WooHoo, Y'all! I CAN SEE! It is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. I can see even better than I could with my glasses! God is good, I tell ya! Thank you, Dr. Lusk! I'll be giving you shout-outs whenever I get the chance!

If any of you want to know more details, don't hesitate to ask! I'll tell you right now that even though it sounds painful and scary, it's NOT! And you wouldn't regret it! At least I don't!

Comments

  1. Wow, that is amazing!! I have looked into this several times, but for different reasons didn't have the surgery. The first time they said my eyes were too dry and then the 2nd time I was still nursing Ella. I'm too scared now though! I'm so happy that you can see! That is so great. I know it must be so nice to not have to rely on glasses or contacts. :) Glad everything went so well.

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  2. Oh my goodness, I needed my speed reading skills on that one. You were so descriptive I felt as though I was there with you. I'm really happy for you. Can't wait to see the new eyes!

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  3. I stuck with you through the whole thing but had a hard time because I don't like eye issues. Can't stand them actually. I would have been like Nathan but FREAKING OUT!

    I'm so happy you can see, girl. There is a whole world out there waiting for you.

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  4. I am so excited for you. I would love to have this done. I am not a fan of surgery. You make it sound and look so easy.

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  5. Congrats! I'm jealous...lol. Hope you are healing well.

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  6. I am thrilled that it worked for you. I must say that you just crack me up! Snazzy glasses huh? And I love the picture of you with the post-op, drug-induced "goofy" look. You are quite the storyteller.

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  7. I am so excited for you!! Congratulations; I know that is a major burden lifted off your shoulders. I am so glad God has blessed you with being able to do it!

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  8. I am so happy for you! I may call you this week and get the info on it!

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