Monday, January 14, 2013

Shades of Kurt Weill...

I promised to post a pic, and here it is: about 90 minutes post -op, shortly before I took a long, much needed nap!

Last night I got a nice note and good wishes from a new friend, Janine. That meant a lot to me, because she's had this surgery. Her hilarious account of her vitrectomy, posted here, is well worth the read; I promise you'll laugh so hard you'll cry.

The surgery went very well. It was done in an outpatient facility. Anthony drove me there, and stayed with me until it was time for my surgery, when I was taken to a curtained area. There, I answered the usual questions regarding my medical history, allergy history, etc., after which I was instructed to remove everything except my panties and socks (it was cold), and to put on a hospital gown and a cap to cover my hair. I was given a local anesthesia as well as oxygen, and other than some pain at the start of the iv anesthesia, I had no discomfort. When the vitreous was removed from my left eye, I saw (or perhaps had the illusion of seeing) what appeared to be a screen covered with grey squiggles/floaters across my eye; then they were gone. I was under the influence of anesthesia at that point, so I'm not sure what exactly I saw, but I think the surgeon commented on it, or perhaps I imagined all of that. The rest of the time (and it didn't seem to be very long) I was there but not really there; whatever drug I was given was wonderful. Afterward, the surgeon told me he was able to remove all the excess tissue on the fovea in just two swipes, which is why the procedure was so fast.

After the surgery, I was wheeled to a recovery area, where I was given a small bottle of apple juice and some peanut butter crackers. At that point, I hadn't had anything to eat or drink for about 15 hours, so the apple juice and crackers tasted great. In the meantime, a very nice nurse called Katharine to come and pick me up. Before I could be wheeled to her car, Kath had to sign paperwork that she was a "designated responsible adult" who agreed to accept custody of me post op. She got a laugh when she said she wanted a copy of that paperwork! She then drove me to Target to get the script filled for the pain medication: six 50-mg Tramadol tablets, to be taken as needed, with a note that I can request more if I need them. The only wrinkle in the entire procedure was that Target once again managed to mess up filling my script. The result was that instead of taking the 50 minutes they'd initially said it would take, it took almost 2 hours for them to straighten it out, by which time I was getting a headache, my eye was beginning to bother me, and I was really beginning to fade. I was very grateful that Kath was there with me.

When I finally got the Tramadol, she drove me home and dropped me off. I immediately got into a pair of comfortable pajamas and made myself a quick late lunch: a bowl of Trader Joe's organic tomato soup with some gorgonzola crackers on the side and a Mexican Coke. I managed to do all of that pretty well, except for one thing: when I first reached into my pantry to get out the soup, I couldn't pick it up. I tried several times, but each time, although I could see the box of soup, I seemed to be grabbing at air. I have Elfa wire shelves in my pantry, and the soup was on one of the lower shelves; after looking more closely, I realized that the reason I couldn't grab the box is that my hand was on the wrong shelf, because right now, my depth perception is screwed up. I've been very careful when walking, but didn't think about the effect when simply reaching for something. 

After finishing my lunch, I took a Tramadol and immediately fell asleep. Apparently I slept very soundly, because although the ringer was on, I slept through all the phone calls from family and friends, but awoke for a call from the Dominican Republic telling me I need a new burglar alarm. Uh-huh.

Alex sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers (see pic, above); Mike & Brooke sent good wishes for a speedy recovery, and Chris & Caitlin came by this evening with one of my favorite meals: tortilla soup, chips, & salsa, which I happily devoured. Chris also scooped Ike's litter for me, because bending over would be very bad for my eye right now.

Tomorrow morning I'll go back to the surgeon for my first post-op visit, at which time he'll remove the patch and examine my eye. The skin above my eye is beginning to itch, and I can't scratch it, so I can't wait. I think he'll also provide a script for an ophthalmic antibiotic and perhaps some steroid eye drops. I'm still on PTO tomorrow, but I'm scheduled to work from home for the rest of the week, beginning Wednesday. If I feel well enough to do that, I will, but I'm not going to push it. 

Right now, I'm feeling very glad that I had the surgery, and very grateful that I have a supportive family and friends to help me through this.

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