So, I survived my eye surgery on Monday morning -- which, in medical lingo, is actually called a "superficial keratectomy." You can Google it, if you're interested, but be forewarned, it's not for the squeamish...! My appointment (at the downtown hospital we'd visited back in late April) was 8 a.m., and we got there early. (Got a parking spot, no problem.) I was the first appointment of the day, and I was in & out in half an hour, tops (although it seemed like a lot longer while I was in the chair...!).
There were a couple of surprises along the way. First surprise: the nurse who escorted me into the procedure room mentioned "she'll be with you in a few minutes." She?? I said, "Dr. Opthamologist (the older male doctor I saw back in April, who my referring optometrist had assured me was "the best there is") isn't doing it?" Oh no, she said, he hasn't been doing these procedures for about five years now (!). (He's probably winding down towards retirement; at least that's my guess.)
So my procedure was done by another opthamologist I had not yet encountered, a young-ish (mid-30s to 40s, I'd guess) woman, as well as a younger-still guy. They both worked on me -- and it soon became evident, from their conversation, that he was an intern she was coaching (greeeaaatt, I get the amateur!! lol).
Another surprise -- it was NOT a laser procedure!! (Perhaps that's enough said, lol.) They did put some freezing drops in my eye so I didn't really feel much. (At first, anyway...!)
At the end of it all, she put a contact lens bandage on/in my eye -- which will stay in place until my follow-up visit, next week -- and taped my eyelid down so that I couldn't fully open it. She said I could take off the tape when it started to lift. (I removed it before I went to bed that night.) And she handed me some prescriptions to fill.
One prescription was for Tylenol 3 with codeine, for pain. I told her my past experience with Tylenol 3 was NOT good (30 years ago, when I had my wisdom teeth out -- I had to stop after taking a couple of them, because I could not keep them down -- or anything else, for that matter!). She said I could try Tylenol Extra Strength instead -- and added, "I suggest you take something as soon as you leave here, before the freezing wears off."
She also gave me prescriptions for steroid eye drops (four times a day) and doxycycline (once a day for 30 days), which is related to tetracycline, which treats acne and other skin conditions (?!). It's an antibiotic, and apparently it is also effective in treating dry eye -- who knew??
She also added a few over-the-counter items to the list: Omega 3 vitamins, and Hydrasense eye drops for dry eyes (at least four times a day, or up to once an hour if I felt I needed it -- and I have). My sister -- who had a similar procedure done last year, for different reasons -- suggested I keep my eye drops in the fridge. The prescription drops must be stored at room temperature (check the labels, if you want to try this yourself), but I keep the Hydrasense in there and it DOES feel good!
I knew we had some Tylenol Extra Strength at home -- purchased at the start of the pandemic, just in case we needed it -- but it is (just) past its best before date -- probably still effective, but... I've been looking for a new bottle every time we've been at the drugstore for the past month or two, but the shelves for pain relief, cough and cold medicine, etc., have been completely bare (and people say covid is over??). There was a drugstore on the main floor of the hospital near the exit, though -- and I figured if any pharmacy would be well stocked, it would be one associated with a hospital -- so we stopped in there, and the shelves were full -- so we bought a big bottle of Tylenol Extra (it was even on sale!) and a bottle of water, and I took one pill in the car on the way home. (Dh went to our regular drugstore after we got back and got the prescriptions filled, and the rest of the stuff.)
By the time we got home, I was wishing I'd taken two pills. I won't lie, those first few hours were pretty painful! By evening. I was still hurting, and horribly light sensitive (I spent a lot of time lying in the bedroom with my sunglasses on and the curtains closed for the first two days) -- but overall, I felt like the Tylenol Extra was doing a pretty good job, and I'm glad I stuck it out and didn't take any Tylenol 3s. (Not sure what they'll give me or what I'll do for pain relief when I have my gallbladder out, a few weeks from now, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there...) I took close to the maximum daily dosage for the first two days or so, but I've been gradually tapering off. I took one this morning, but I haven't had another since.
So -- today is day 5. I have to admit, I was hoping I would be "back to normal" more than I am. My sister told me she noticed a significant improvement in her vision almost immediately after her similar procedure last year. My experience has not been that dramatic -- but I am seeing gradual improvement every day. My eye is still rather irritated/raw/dry, and my vision is still fuzzy/cloudy/blurry -- but it's better than it was -- getting a little better every day -- and my eye is definitely less red and less light sensitive.
It's been five (almost six!) days since I've been on my laptop. My sister warned me I'd have to lay off the screens for a while. Nobody actually forbade me from using them (except maybe dh, lol), but the dr did tell me to keep my eye closed and rest it as much as possible, at least that first day -- and I HAD to, because it was so uncomfortable, especially in bright light. I have been on my cellphone, increasingly -- liking posts on social media, glancing at email and notifications, etc. -- but nowhere near the amount of time I'm usually online (aside from listening to podcasts, which I've spent HOURS doing over the past few days). It's not so much a question of whether I should or shouldn't be on screens -- I just haven't been able to tolerate them. Spending too much time on my phone or laptop can get uncomfortable after a while, although that's been getting better as time goes on too.
So -- I'd better wrap this up! One more update: dh went to see our family doctor today, following up on his urgent care visit re: his eyes last week. The dr said the prescriptions were pretty much what he'd have given him. He is MUCH better since he started them, the ointment in particular.
So that's all the medical reports, lol. It will take me a while to get back online fully, but this was one of the first places I wanted to come, when I could! :) Thank you (again) for all your good wishes and tips/advice. (I'll need them again in a couple of weeks when I go for my gallbladder removal surgery -- eeek...)