“Like masturbating with a cheese grater.”
That is how I would describe my experience so far. I was unable to get Lasik surgery on Saturday because they found that after I had had my contacts out for over a week, and my cornea had returned to its normal shape, there were a series of inconsistencies that made the surgeon wary of doing Lasik. So they did something called PRK.
In essence, the difference is that with Lasik, tiny butterflies make a little flap in the soft tissue of your eye and then little furry bunnies operate under the flap while angels gently sing Yanni in your ear. With PRK, they pour acid on your cornea, scrape off the top layer with a three year old toothbrush, and use a high powered laser to reshape the cornea. There is suppose to be about a 24 hour recovery period with Lasik and the literature for the PRK says that “the excruciating pain should ebb in only 5 days, followed by just normal pain for a week, then a dull ache for about 3 years.”
Actually, PRK is supposed to be safer, and use less of your cornea, but the healing time is a great deal longer. Don’t ask me right now if I would do it again. There are moments when I can see clearly, but those moments are brief. Most of the time, everything is blurry, as if someone has put Vaseline in my eyes, and my eyes have a constant dull ache.
To make matters worse, I can’t see close up or far away. I can’t read. I can’t watch TV, I can’t go to a movie, I can’t really write (I have WORD set to 200% and a 30 pt. font), and I can’t play the piano (other than the first stanza of Journey’s OPEN ARMS which I memorized for Tonya Ousler back in 1988).
The Vicodin is nice, however. Very nice…
The only problem I have found with the Vicoden is that it gives me colossal constipation – since Saturday, I have created only one cantaloupe shaped and sized turd – almost a perfect sphere. Thank God I had Vicodin. I can see how people get hooked on this stuff as it is a vicious cycle.
Two of my friends took me to the strip mall to have my eyeball reshaped and I cannot believe they gave up their Saturday to sit with me. The waiting room was in the back of the office and one side of the waiting room was a floor to ceiling glass wall, and on the other side of that wall sat the three lasers – each for a different kind of operation. You could watch as each patient/victim was shuffled in, tied down and Laser’d.
On each machine, a camera would show a close up of the patient/victim’s eye and what they were doing to it. I imagine this was to bring a certain amount comfort to those waiting. I refused to watch. My two friends watched and had worked out between the two of them when to jump or scream together, as if watching some sort of Wes Craven horror movie. They went on to say that they thought they had seen the Surgeon out the night prior doing “Jaegerbomb shots” and wondered out loud why he kept bumping into things.
The jokes dwindled as I got more and more pale.
As I was waiting to have my eyes scraped, my mother called and asked “what I was up to this weekend…”
After a moment’s pause, and with all the steadiness of a swordsman eyeing his coup d’grace, I said “I am having my eyes operated on today…what about you?”
She had forgotten. Panic ensued and I sat back to hear the hysteria on the other end of the phone. Rarely, if ever, does my mother miss an opportunity to worry about me. She has always been there when I needed her, her phone is never busy, and when I was an actor, she saw every show I did.
The National Tour of Gypsy.
Gypsy WAS my ace in the hole. I brought it up whenever I needed leverage. But now… NOW I had: Forgotten Son and the Eye Scraping. When I called her after the procedure, I might have accidentally dramatized the gore and pain, and crushing silence that met me when I called out for my mother from the operating table…
And I milked it. To make amends, last night my mother came to the house and I got my very own pan of homemade Cheese and Macaroni, Blueberry Cobbler, homemade meatloaf (that she had cut in two so that there were FOUR ENDS), and Mississippi tomatoes. I kept saying “Tell me, mother, does it look as good as it smells?”
She didn’t think it was very funny. On the other end of the empathetic spectrum is L. L. has been somewhat impervious to my attempts at sympathy. My heavy sighs from the sofa are met with “Why don’t you get some fresh air. You know that lawn isn’t going to cut itself” and “this was ELECTIVE SURGERY, wasn’t it?” That isn’t totally true and L. has been an angel in fielding calls from our worried friends.
I am trying to keep my spirits up. This has been a great deal more painful than I had anticipated. Everyone I spoke to said it was the best decision they had ever made. I keep telling myself that I need to relax and be patient; not two of my stronger suits.
I have enjoyed my time at home. Not being able to do anything like read or write or occupy my mind with frivolous stuff, I have been able to cogitate on some of the bigger questions in life. And here are my conclusions:
I feel lucky. I love. I am loved. I have friends who are family and family who are friends. In a world where I can’t see the hand in front of my face, I find comfort in this very clear, unblurry truth.