Thursday, June 6, 2013

Orange Creamcicle -- With A Side of Complications

I knew something was wrong.  As I  dressed for my commute to the Library of Congress Tuesday morning, I could tell there had been a subtle shift in the condition of my left eye, which had undergone a surgical enhancement Monday of the bilateral Lasik procedure I'd had last November to make both eyes farsighted (see My Vision For The Future).   Delight in my newfound ability to see clearly at great distance on the ski slopes and when driving had quickly given way to the realization that I could no longer read my own shopping list in the grocery store, nor even glance down at a document or a book without having to grab my reading glasses first.  Even my computer screen, a good 36 inches from my chair, was no longer clearly in focus.  So I opted to have one eye put back, essentially, to it's original but not quite so nearsighted stance.

Monovision, they call it.  I had practiced monovision for the past several months, wearing a nearsighted contact lens in my left eye to simulate what it would be like to have one eye see far and one eye see near.  As my surgeon had cautioned, it took my brain a good two weeks to adjust to seeing distance with one eye and close up with the other.   But once my brain adjusted, I loved my new ability to see clearly both near and far.  It was what I had always wanted. I signed up for the reversal on the day of my 6-month checkup following the original surgery.  The optional but fairly routine procedure was performed without incident five days later, after work on Monday of this week.

The customary post-op appointment the day after surgery was supposed to be no big deal.   After all, I had done the same thing last November, driving myself to my own eye appointment the very next day after surgery without any trouble.  I dressed with the intention of leaving the follow-up appointment and proceeding directly to Washington D.C. for a day of research on behalf of my employer.  Extremely dark sunglasses provided by the surgeon and artificial tears to administer every hour were the only conditions imposed upon resumption of my normal routine.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous all over the eastern seaboard Tuesday, with wall-to-wall sunshine, no humidity and a cool breeze blowing puffy clouds across a deep blue sky.  I was eager to wear summer brights, so I pulled on a crisp white maxi-skirt by Juicy Couture, a misguided on-line splurge two summers ago from Revolve Clothing when I couldn't find a long white skirt locally to save my soul.  But I love the breezy eyelet panels and the easy elegance of the washable fabric, so I have since made peace with its exorbitant price.

White and orange
are a great color
for summer

I was amazed at how well I was able
to coordinate inexpensive pieces from
JCPenney with my dazzling "statement
necklace" from Lisa Davin
I energized the ensemble with an orange tank top by St. John's Bay from JCPenney and covered that with a fabulous hand-dyed, silk shawl by Susan D. Luks in the same vibrant color, which I found at February's premiere American Craft Council show at the Baltimore Convention Center.  All of this was no more than a foil, however, for my prize possession: an exquisite statement necklace of brilliant branch coral and fat blister pearls, hand made by Lisa Davin, whose breathtaking work I discovered at last summer's Artscape, the largest free art festival in the country, which just happens to take place on the streets of Baltimore City every July.

Finishing with tangerine earrings and a bracelet from my local JCPenney store and a fashion ring from my best friend's mother in Spokane, I pulled on strappy, cork-heeled sandals by City Streets and sat down at my dressing table to insert the first of two different prescriptions into my convalescing eye.  I gently dabbed at a drop of thick medicine accumulating in the outer corner. Suddenly there was pain.  I felt a shift.  After a few moments, the pain subsided, but I knew something was wrong.  Hoping it was merely a movement in the position of the temporary contact lens inserted by the surgeon to prevent accumulation of epithelial cells beneath the corneal flap, I grabbed my briefcase and dark glasses and headed out the door to my post-op appointment.

It wasn't the contact lens that had moved.  "Did you rub your eye?"   The optometrist was alarmed when she looked through the microscope.  No, I insisted. "I just dabbed at the corner."  It was enough, unfortunately, to move the entire corneal flap out of position.  The optometrist hurried from the examining room to try to reach my surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Desh Goel, who was off that day.  When she finally located the doctor, I was instructed to return as soon as he could get there for corrective surgery to undo the damage I had caused.  There would be no trip to the Library of Congress this day.

Horrified at this regrettable turn of events, I drove home and changed into more casual clothes.   In the operating room once again, Dr. Goel removed the protective contact lens, lifted the corneal flap and carefully repositioned it, delicately smoothing out all the wrinkles caused by my inappropriate contact.

I wore this homemade patch at work
and then spent the evening typing a
blog post about my neighbor's party
using only one eye 
I was sent home to rest.  But I needed to work, I protested.  If I couldn't go to the Library of Congress, at the very least I would have to perform work at my computer.  "You've got to allow that eye to rest", Dr. Goel cautioned, "so you must type with the left eye closed."  That was easier said than done.  I'd been given a hard plastic shield to wear over my eye at night in order to prevent rubbing inadvertently as I slept.  Once home again, I took the shield, plucked a length of ancient elastic from my late grandmother's sewing basket and tied it to each side of the plastic disc.  I covered the patch with medical tape and slipped it over my head, pirate style.  I could immediately feel the eye relax at no longer having to focus on anything but the soothing white of the tape.  So there I sat in that silly get-up, typing at my computer for the rest of the day while ruing my attempt that morning to stem the dribble of medicine from my optical orbit.  Lesson learned.

The next morning I made yet another trip to the surgeon's office.  This time I was given a clean bill of health and the protective contact lens was removed for good.  My refracted eye feels as good as new and I can already see better at close range as well as at a distance.  Disaster seems to have been averted, thank goodness. I'll have another chance to rock my creamcicle outfit under sunny skies this summer.  Watch for it.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." ~ Marcel Proust

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear! I sincerely hope you are feeling better and are recovering from this glitch. Lovely outfit for the day. What a same to have to ditch it for scrubs. You are a very resourceful and independent woman, a real person whom I admire. Sending best wishes for your full recovery.