Tomorrow is PRK - Day!!!


I am writing this on the evening of the 9th, Wednesday. It probably won't get posted until sometime on Thursday, and for that I apologize. I'm having technical difficulties with Blogger at the moment.

My PRK procedure is tomorrow!!! Although it is technically a "surgery," I feel a little odd calling it a surgery. It is, even more technically, an ambulatory outpatient surgery. That means I will walk in, have the surgery, and walk right back out. Here is how I'm expecting things to happen:

I'll be working Thursday morning, mostly to keep the anxiety at bay by keeping my mind off the surgery, and also to avoid an unnecessary PTO day. Then I will come home, pick up my dear mother, and we will drive to the eye doc's. I'm supposed to be there at 1:20, but will probably arrive a little early, because that's how I roll. There may be some last minute topography of my eyeballs taken, they will give me a valium, and then wait for the valium to kick in. The procedure is scheduled to happen at 2:20. That's a lot a waitin'.

After the valium has kicked in, they will take me back to "the room," where I will lie down on a dentist-type chair. I'll get lots of various eyedrops administered, one of which will numb my eyeball. The doc will then put a solution on my eye to dissolve the top layer of the cornea. The doc explained this part very well at my pre-op appointment this morning. The topmost layer of the cornea is about 5 cells thick, and is really more of a "skin" to the cornea. After the dissolving solution does its job, the doc will then scrape off the remaining cells, position the laser, and set the computer to do its work to re-shape my cornea. After the re-shaping, each eye will get a bandage contact. I expect that whole process to take less than 5 minutes per eye.

Dear mother will then drive me home, and the plan is for me to sleep the afternoon away. I was informed to expect things to go fairly smoothly Thursday after the surgery, as well as Friday, but to expect extreme light sensitivity and irritation/pain most of the day Saturday. The tech said I will probably just want to spend the day in a darkened room, sleeping. I can think of worse ways to spend my time. The doc also gave me a script for Tylenol-3, so hopefully the painful bits will be tolerable.

I have a follow up appointment Friday morning, and another one Monday morning (when they will remove the bandage contacts). I expect weekly, then monthly follow ups after that. My vision will be corrected immediately, but my vision will be wonky for a while (two weeks? two months?) while my cornea is healing. The process of the cells growing back is what causes the light sensitivity and vision problems (hazing, ghosting, starbursts), and my vision will fluctuate during the healing process. From my online research, I think the fluctuating vision should calm down significantly within two months, and the corneas should be completely healed by six months.

It sounds like a lot to go through, especially when people who get LASIK talk about their instantaneous vision correction and lack of healing time. To that, I say that PRK has been performed a LOT longer than LASIK, and I also say that the flap they cut for the LASIK procedure never fully heals. The PRK may have a more involved and more irritating/painful healing process, but when I'm healed...I'm healed.

Yes, I am very nervous. The emotional bit of the nervousness hasn't kicked in yet. Of course, I haven't really had a chance to stop and think about so far today. But intellectually, I'm nervous for the procedure, I'm nervous for any pain that comes after, I'm nervous that I'll be discouraged while my vision is still fluctuating, and I'm nervous--in a VERY good way--about no longer having "nearly blind" as part of my identity.

Keep me in your thoughts, prayers, vibes, what-have-you on Thursday, and through the weekend. Cheers!


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