29 Shots

This was, by far, the easiest surgery I’ve had. I’m not sure we were at the surgery center for a full hour. Since there was no general anesthesia, it really only seemed like a doctor’s visit albeit in a different place, with some strange questions, and my vitals being checked before and after. Oh, and a higher copay.

After waiting about 15 minutes, we were called to check in and pay. That took about 10 minutes, then we went back into the waiting area for a few minutes before I was called back into the room with the laser. The nurse asked me some questions, like what are you having done today and on which eye. She took my blood pressure, which seemed a little high for me as of late. It was 131/78. She told me she was going to give me four drops – two to dilate, one to reduce my IOP, and one to numb my eye. Before she gave the drops, I asked if I could take a pic of the laser machine. She laughed and gave me a second to take the image (see it below.) After she put the drops in, she told me to close my eyes until the doctor came in. She left the room.

I grabbed my iPhone and opened the app for Absolute Radio (since I use the VoiceOver setting I didn’t need to open my eyes.) Absolute Radio is a station based in London that is my favorite. Geoff Lloyd’s Hometime Show was on. I usually don’t like listening to him while working (he’s on noon to 3.00 ET, 5.00 to 8.00 in the UK,) because he is so funny I end up listening and not getting any work done. As it turned out, I only listened to him for a minute or two, then a short newscast by Tania Snuggs, and then about half of a song by Manic Street Preachers before the doctor came in and I turned the radio off.

Dr. Ayres gave me another numbing drop, then lined up the machine. Before he started blasting, he put a lens with a lot of goo on my eye to help focus the laser. Then he started shooting. Besides seeing the flash of the light from the laser, I heard these pops in my ears. It was a weird sensation. After a bunch of shots, he paused for a few seconds then took a few more shots. He took the lens off my eye and started filling out some papers. That was when he said he took 29 shots. The nurse put a couple drops (Pred Forte, a steroid) in my eye. Dr. Ayres told me to take a similar drop twice per day until I visit him in a couple of weeks. I’ve been on the steroid drop since the endothelial transplant back in December 2008, but have only used it once per day for the past few months. That was it, I was done.

It’s now about 12 hours after the surgery and my sight is still weird. We went out to dinner tonight (Carrabba’s, it was just okay) and lights really bothered me, especially car headlights. Hopefully it is just the drops. I’ll know in about six hours when I wake up.

YAG Laser machine used on my left eye.

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It’s Been a Few Weeks, Not Much New

I haven’t posted an update for about three weeks.  In that time, my vision still sucks and I’m wondering if I made the right choice to have the surgery.  I visited the retina specialist on Tuesday and was told that there isn’t much difference on the macular edema from the last visit about a month ago (and that was only slightly different from earlier this year.)  Seems a bit odd since during my appointment in May, he was able to point out the differences with my OCT scan then and the one earlier this year.  I was also told that I had a bit of swelling in my cornea (cornea edema.)  I don’t recall if that was an issue at my last cornea doc visit, but I’m scheduled to visit him this coming Tuesday (22 June,) so I’ll ask.  At this point, my vision seems to fluctuate between slightly better than before the surgery to worse than before the surgery.

It is so frustrating to me that nothing can be done to get me back to where I was just days after the surgery.  For about 10 days from 18 April, my vision was the best it had been in years.  Seems now like that was a cruel tease.  I’m getting tired of running to the doctors multiple times per month and not making progress.

In other news, Jacob is in Japan with a group of students from Westtown.  The last few days they’ve stayed in Kyoto and taken day trips by rail to other cities and sites (Hiroshima, Miyagima-guchi, Miyagima, Kinkaku-ji.)  Sunday, they move on to Tokyo where they meet their host families and prepare for a week at Tamagawa, Westtown’s sister school in Japan.  The family Jake is staying with has a boy a year or two younger than Jake and seems to live a bit of distance away from the school.  Eliz and I hope Jake can manage the train transfers…

Jane is looking forward to meeting her favorite band All Time Low on Sunday at meet and greet during The Bamboozle Roadshow.  Monday, she heads to softball camp at Villanova for a week.  She is also doing two weeks at an overnight camp at Bryn Mawr College in July and going to the Outer Banks in August with Margaret, Meghan, and Chris.  Did I mention she spent yesterday (Thursday) in New York with her friend Rachel?

Since Eliz and Jane won’t be here on Sunday, I’m planning a day of football…  Well, at least the last two games (Azzurri/All Whites and Brazil/Ivory Coast (sorry Slovakia/Paraguay, I’m not rolling out of bed at 7.30am.)  So, if you want to watch some footie, come on over!

Finally, I’ve lost another pound, which I am trying not to do.  I’m trying to maintain 163 pounds, but have been between 161 and 162 the last couple of days.  I’ve bumped to 1800 calories per day (from 1700) to try not to lose any additional weight.  It’s been tough this week, because we’ve eaten out four times and I’ve had to estimate my calories once and calculate my calories after the fact another time.  By the time I added ’em up, I was short by 200 calories (ate 1600 calories) and it was too late to have anything else if I wanted to go to sleep by 2.00am.  At 161, I’m down 73 pounds since I started on 10 December 2009.

More next week, after my cornea doc appointment.

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Second Post Op Visit

I was looking forward to my second visit to Dr. Ayres since the surgery on 15 April.  The last few days have been trying.  I began to notice that my vision was changing.  I was getting a bit nervous as I was having difficulties seeing things close to me and up to five to 10 feet away.  Some of the problems, I figured, had to do with my eye healing and changing.  The eye drop regimen also could play a part in my vision.

While we were in the waiting room, Eliz and I did the word scrambles in the Inquirer (her mother gives that section to us after she finished the crossword puzzle, so we usually have a few days of scrambles to do.)  I realized today while we were doing the scrambles that I am a visual thinker when it comes to these puzzles.  That is not good since I can’t see the puzzles at all.  I have no trouble doing math in my head without seeing the numbers, but I am slow, usually, with the words.  I do occasionally get the words before Eliz, but she is usually quicker than I am.

After completing three puzzles, we were called back to Pod 2.  I was able to read the OBLB (20/100) line, though it didn’t seem as crisp as it did the day after the surgery.  The pinholes brought it into focus, but I couldn’t read any of the CAV8 (20/80) line.  Dr. Ayres came in and had a look.  He said things looked very good.  My IOP was up to 10 (which is higher for me than normal,) but he believes it is from the steroid drops that I was taking four times a day and believes that will fall back a few notches as I lower the amount of those drops (I take them three times per day for the next week and then two times per day until I see him on 21 May.)  I hope he is correct about the pressure…

After he finished looking, we talked about what is going on with my vision.  I told him of my difficulties seeing things close to me and the trouble I had since the weekend even on the computer.  He apologized about not giving me the whole story before the surgery and said that the lens he put in was for distance.  I told him I was happy with how I could see things in better detail than before.  He explained that, like a person 10 to 15 years older than me, I had lost the ability to focus at things close up.  He hoped that the problem could be fixed with glasses, but it was too soon for that since my eye is still healing and will continue to change as it does.

I brought the pair of reading glasses I’d been using since the surgery to read on the computer and see food on my plate so he could check the strength.  I’ve used several different magnifications since the transplant in December ’08 and I wasn’t sure which pair these were.  I was also concerned, since they were less effective over the last few days.  Fortunately, they were 3.5X.  I knew that I had a pair of 4x glasses at home, somewhere.  When we got home, I found them and was relieved that they made reading my screen much more comfortable than the 3.5X pair.  I hoping I don’t need to go up to 5X, but they would still be cheaper than prescription glasses.  They will do a refraction at my next visit on 21 May.

I don’t know if it was the 4X reading glasses or what Dr. Ayres had to say about how good things looked, but it seems that I can see better after the appointment.  I only have to wait two weeks before I see my glaucoma specialist, so we’ll see how the IOP is doing then.  I’d also like to get a fields test to see how that has changed since the surgery.  Maybe I can have that done then too.  I’ll post it here on the blog if I have it done…

Generally, I’m happy with the results so far.  Eliz and I may go to the movies this weekend (her birthday is Saturday and she’s requested Mexican Post for dinner, then a movie at Regal across the street.)  Jane’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah schedule (six in the next eight weeks) may force us to reschedule…  I tried to help Eliz prepare some parts of dinner tonight, with limited success.  Shooting pictures and video is something I’d like to try soon.  I tried taking a picture a day or two after the surgery, but couldn’t see well enough through the viewfinder.  I may have to leave the lcd screen on for pics and videos to be usable…  For now, lets see what tomorrow brings.

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