Shaleena When we finally arrived at the clinic on surgery day, I had my first real case of nerves. We had to be there about an hour before surgery, so there was plenty of time to think about it. Actually, there were even a few more tests, I have never been tested so much in my life, and I teach kids! Couldn’t resist About 15 minutes to go time, they started prepping my face. There was this really sweet moment just before the surgery when they gave me these cute little socks so my feet wouldn’t be cold They assured me they were mine to keep, and ushered me into the surgery room. Then I was lying on the bed staring up into a red light. That’s the moment it hit me. I am really doing this. They were really about to point a laser into my eye and permanently change a part of my body forever, and, here’s the catch, I couldn’t just close my eyes and wait for it to be over!!!
The doctor and staff were awesome though, as usual. They talked me through the whole thing. I did feel a little bad about how non-responsive I was. Seriously, I was on a mission: keep my eyes open and focus on the little light. That was my one job in this, and there was no way I was going to mess that up! There was a bit of a burning smell, but I had been warned about that by the staff and a friend. I can always count on Victoria to impart some super reassuring facts or opinions on my surgery days
The surgery itself was pretty quick and truly painless. The oddest sensations for me were putting in and taking out the tool that kept my eye open and the times they flushed my eye. Of course those are the first and last things they do. In between, there was the application of an alcohol solution, the scraping away of a thin layer of epithelial cells, the actual laser correction, and the implanting of the temporary contact lens. The procedure truly was as brief and straightforward as they promised.
Afterwards, I was led past Tiana, who was prepping for her surgery , to a quiet and dim room to recover. I was able to have my iPhone and kicked back to the Wicked soundtrack to pass my 20 minutes until the doctor looked at my eyes and I was released. About halfway through, Mr. Choo administered some eye drops and assured me that Tiana’s right eye was done and she was doing well. With that update, I continued relaxing into the very comfortable recliner until Tiana was brought to the room. When she arrived, they brought us both cold cups of water and we spent about 15 minutes breathing and chatting about the surgery. There really wasn’t even too much actual discomfort immediately following the surgery. There was definitely light sensitivity, and all I wanted was to curl up with my eyes closed, but I really couldn’t complain.
We were also super lucky to have a friend, Miss Andrea Brock, that came and waited for us. She was our unofficial “mom.” It was great to have a friend with full vision there for us Most importantly, she helped us get home in one piece, a feat I am not entirely confident we could have accomplished on our own. That night we just decided to go with pizza for dinner and sleep as much as we could. We were told that sleep would be our best friend in a speedy recovery and in surviving the most painful part of the process: Days 3-4, when the epithelial cells would grow back. We were both determined to hit the pain patch as quickly as possible so we could be ready to go back to work Monday, day 4. That night, all three of us bunked down in my place, Tiana and I were sporting our super cool night guards.
Basically that’s it. The whole thing was pretty simple. Don’t get me wrong, the painful patch, sucked. I’m not going to lie. I felt like one of those cartoons that has stars exploding around its head. I called a friend, thank you so much for talking to me even though you were at dinner, to talk me through it. He even tells me I was pretty coherent. I’ll have to take his word for it since that night and Sunday are basically soggy, as in weepy, foggy blurs. On the upside, Tiana and I were both lucky enough to have the real pain start on Saturday night. This meant the weekend sucked, but, at least for me, I was pain-free by Monday.
For another perspective, you can check out my friend’s blog. This post, in particular, focuses more on the pre-surgery specifics and the Dream Eye Center in Gangnam’s amazingness