Sunday, September 12, 2004

gosh, last week was so bad, I lost track of time and did not post.

quick updates

Sara had part of her surgery Tuesday, then the laser broke
She had the rest of the surgery Wednesday

Thursday I had to go to work, and it was a rough day, lots of questions, not many answers, and a high stress level

Thursday night Matthew and I went to Tlaquepaque, the neighborhood taqueria, and I drank, a lot. LIke, college days a lot. I was drunk and sick, but felt emotionally much better

Friday morning sucked

Friday afternoon, Sara told me she had the patches off, her eyes were getting better, she can see, but has some cloudiness, normal!

Friday night we watched videos and slept early

Saturday we slept late. I pulled the ST apart, it got new tires, new front brake pads, changed the oil and filter, cleaned and reassembelled.

In the afternoon, we went to the Great Mall to get Sara some cheap sunglasses. Now that she doesn't have to wear perscription, she can wear cheap fronts. We got her some.

Also saw the movie "Napoleon Dynamite" which is fun at a matinee, but a rip at full price.

Saturday night we rode the ST to dinner with Eric, James & Tara at Albertos. I drank iced tea. :)

Sunday morning slept late, but woke up possessed. I installed a Power outlet on the ST dash (that's a cigarette lighter socket to anyone who does not know the new politically correct term.)

This will allow me to run power to my GPS unit

While I was in there, I wired up a set of Fiamm horns. OMJ used to do this on all his bikes, and I've done it on some of mine. These are very VERY loud horns. Helps people in cars watching TV to know you are there. It shoulds like a big rig.

Got it all wired up and prettified, reinstalled all bodywork, and took her out for a spin. Up to Alices, then back, very simple, but very nice ride. The new tires stick well, the brake pads are fantastic, and the one guy in a SUV who started to lane change me on Hwy 280 decided not to, after I banged the horn, and he thought someone kicked open the gates of hell.

Am home, Sara and I are about to head out for an early dinner.

My Lasik Saga

Yes, I got Lasik, but not without my usual "worst case scenario" twist thrown in.

They can now do the slice-the-cornea-open part of the procedure with a laser, also, instead of the traditional wood plane-ish radial keratome. It's new, more expensive and the healing is longer, but supposedly minimizes the chance of tearing or otherwise damaging the cornea during the flap cutting. One of the horror stories I heard one week prior to the surgery involved just such a case, so I opted for the more precise laser option.

Well, they get me in there and cut the flap, then they let you sit for a spell while the bubbles this causes in the cornea subside. Does it sound like fun yet? Oh, did I mention we had to go to San Leandro for this? They have the large diameter laser there that my large diameter pupils require. Joy. After the flap cut bubbles subside the idea is that they lead you into the next room where the next laser awaits. Well, I’m sitting there with my eyes closed, and sitting there with my eyes closed, and no one's coming for me. Finally the nurse takes me into a regular optometric exam room and the tells me, "It's bad but not real bad." What?!? I've got flaps cut in my corneas and I’m going in the wrong direction, away from the laser, but it's not _real_ bad?!?

The doctor comes in and tells me the second laser didn't pass the diagnostic. In between every patient he runs the laser through a diagnostic check and before my turn, it throws the "Check Engine" error. Nice. I'm a tad freaked out, the doctor doesn't seem to understand why. "It's a machine, these things happen," he calmly states. "We've got a technician on the way, can you come back tomorrow? We didn't open your corneal flap so you'll be fine for a day." Eep, doc, I’m still freaking out, this doesn't seem ideal. Anyway, they tell me my vision will be cloudy but not to worry, come back tomorrow, and throw me out.

Charles takes me home, I call my boss and tell him I’ll be out an extra day, and then hang around with my cloudy vision. Next day, Charles and I repeat the procedure but now I feel like an old hand. I know exactly where we are going and what's going to happen. Also, I know I’ll get another Valium today. They give you a nice Valium before they start shooting lasers at your eyes.

This time the procedure goes without a hitch and my eyes are taped shut and Charles is leading me out the door before you can say "diagnostic check." That day and the next you are to keep your eyes shut as much as possible. It was kinda fun groping my way around the house like a blind girl, but only because I knew it was temporary. Because I’ve been near-blind my whole life I’ve always felt it would be a handicap I would adapt easily to. But only in a theoretical sense. I know I’d have serious issues if I were to actually go blind.

Eric Bong had returned from Burning Man and he came over. We ordered Chinese food, Charles told me what o'clock the veggie rice was at, what o'clock the mabo tofu was at, and then we watched "Great Balls of Fire" about Jerry Lee Lewis. They watched and narrated for me. Good thing it's not a very complicated movie and the soundtrack was great. Rock n roll piano, dig it. Charles told me about the gi-normous brassiere Winona Ryder (Child Cousin Bride) was wearing in one scene. It wasn’t until 2 days later that I saw that Eric now has purple hair. I very cool-ly blurted out, “Your hair is purple!” when we walked into Albertos and I witnessed his hair color. It looks great, by the way.

The night after the surgery I also had a lot of pain, more than the sand-under-the-eyelid feeling they tell you to expect. I paged the surgeon and he kindly called me back, explaining that it is to be expected because when they peeled back the flaps to do the surgery they had already begun to heal so the edges were a bit rough. He had put a clear contact lens over both eyes to smooth the edges but even so it hurt quite a bit. He asked what kind of pain killers I had at home. Just so happens there is some Vicodin hanging around from some earlier mishap. He told me to take one plus 800 milligrams of ibuprofen. Yum, yum, felt much better after that cocktail. I don't understand why people take Vicodin recreationally cuz it has no effect on me unless I’m really in pain.

Thursday morning when I woke up I didn't have the amazing, "Wow I can see!" experience that so many people rave about. Sure, my vision was pretty good, but it was still very cloudy and my eyes still hurt.

Thursday I had the follow-up appt with the optometrist, which Joan drove me to. Of course my optometrist had left on her vacation seeing this was a day later than I was originally scheduled to have the follow-up appt. So we have to drive to Los Altos to see a different optometrist but still someone who works with my surgeon. (This is the story of my life, things always get complicated beyond expectation.) Los Altos, San Leandro, it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't need people to be driving me to all the appts.

The optometrist checked my vision and looked at my eye balls and said everything was looking great. She also peeled off the contact lenses, had trouble with one of them and at one point it felt like she poked me right in the eye, ouch! She checked everything out thoroughly afterwards and said that it still looked really good. I had visions of the flap getting re-opened when the contacts came off, but I guess that didn't happen.

Back home and more sitting around trying not to use my eyes. Really, what can one do without using their eyes? I laid around and listened to the radio, NPR mostly. Sadly we do not get my favorite radio station, KSCU the underground sound! at our house. If I could play an instrument without sheet music that would be grand.

Friday morning the cloudiness was better, and I only had pain in one eye anymore. And it's off to work for a full 10-hour day. Staring at a computer. Nice.

Friday was my first day to drive by myself, it was fine. I also drove home after dark so I got to see what the halo business was all about. Yes, I have halos, pretty severe. The thing about the halos is not that they are blinding, even though the surgery makes you sensitive to light, but it's as if the area of the light is increased two or three times, so if there is something right next to that light, you are not going to see it.

In the last couple of days the pain has subsided and my vision has become more stable, though there are still major conditions. My eyes are very dry and still feel a little rough. Vision fluctuates depending on the dryness, my tiredness, the position of the stars and the sun, whether or not there is a breeze and any other number of factors. It still feels like a bad contact lens experience so I’m not quite ready yet to sing "Hallelujah! It's a miracle, I can see!" But I know that everything I’m experiencing is normal so I can only have faith that my vision will stabilize and the general condition of my eyes will improve. If it doesn't, there's a surgeon who is going to hear from me.

I’m not riding yet because the wind and sun dry my eyes out and I feel my vision isn’t quite stable enough to trust yet. As one of my biker pals said, I’ve been dealing with bad eye-site for 40 years, I can wait a couple weeks to go riding. Two weeks seems to be the measure: Two weeks worth of steroid drops every two hours, two weeks of not going swimming, using the hot tub or doing yard work. I’m giving all these “conditions” two weeks, and then I’ll start asking serious questions if something hasn’t cleared up. Hopefully I won’t have to.
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