As regular readers know, on Monday I had eye surgery. I had hoped to be back up and ready to talk applesauce and last minute fall crop options but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for a while.
Here’s what’s up: I was put under general anesthesia and my surgeon cut some of the muscles that control my eyeballs and then re-positioned those muscles into a more optimum position on the eye.
Typical recovery for something like this is 2 to 3 days if all goes well. All has not gone well for me. I have had a particularly dramatic inflammatory reaction to the surgery. This swelling has pulled my eye muscles out of alignment and prevented my eyes from seating back into a parallel position.
This eye pull has caused double vision. Whenever I look at anything, I see two of it. Looking at things while moving is particularly difficult. The double vision has led to headaches, nausea, and some difficulty with focused tasks, like reading and writing. In order to prevent the double vision from overwhelming my ability to do anything, I must cover one eye and block out the stimulus from that eye.
Currently I am sporting a fab pirate patch. Arrrrgggghh! I’m a pirate.
Which reminds me,
Q: What is a pirate’s favorite vegetable?
A: An Arrrgghhgh-tichoke!
(See, this is kinda gardening related…sort of. Maybe.)
I won’t beat around the bush: this eye thing fucking sucks. This is far worse than two natural birth deliveries. It is scary, it is intimidating, it is debilitating, it is emotional. This is my eyesight, and right now it’s just not working right.
The good news is that my surgeon is really, fantastically good at what he does and very supportive. I’ve talked to him twice in the four days since my surgery and he’s talked me down from the ledge of panic each time. He assures me my eyes will straighten and the double vision will go away. But instead of a 2 or 3 day typical recovery time I’m looking at 2 to 3 weeks.
You guys know how I roll. How do you think I react to 2 or 3 weeks of more or less forced inactivity?
Not good, people, not good. It’s been an emotional few days around here. Every 6 hours or so I have a complete breakdown and start sobbing and then I fall asleep for awhile.
But there are some upsides, believe it or not.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Friends are Indispensable
A few of mine have borne the brunt of helping me out over this difficult period, and they have been really amazingly supportive. Thank you, my lovlies. You know who you are. They’ve let me nap, taken my son for entire days, gotten my daughter to and from the bus, brought me food and let me cry and vent and be scared.
They’ve lied and said, “oh that doesn’t look so bad” about my crossed and bloody eyes and they’ve been honest and said, “What you look like when you recover from surgery doesn’t matter for shit. So stop worrying about it.”
Homebrew Husband has been awesome. He has been unable to take any time off work right now but he has tirelessly been doing his job and then coming home and doing my job. The man has halved plums for the dehydrator every evening this week.
Interestingly, the majority of friends who’ve really come to bat for me at this time are, themselves, surgery survivors. I think this makes sense. It’s hard to relate to what someone is going through unless you’ve run up against your own version.
Say No To GoogleMD
One of my good friends is a major surgery veteran. She had hip surgery that kept her from walking for 6 weeks. The woman is a trooper. I’m not sure how she knew I’d spent 8 hours intermittently searching for terms like “eye surgery complications” on Google and YouTube, but she did. She told me to knock that shit off, and she’s right. Don’t do that. It’s torture. It doesn’t help anything. When it’s videos of eye surgery, it’s special torture.
Suck It Up. Ask For Help
This is where I have been a little better. I’ve reached out to a number of friends for little favors, and when friends have asked if they could help I’ve said, “Yeah, I’d like to take you up on that. Can you watch my son for 10 hours?” This is relatively difficult for me, being something of a control freak. But none of my friends have said, “Suck it up, half-blind girl. Don’t be a whiner. And stop bumping into me for godssake.”
Allow Yourself To Rest
Naps. Wow. I’ve slept more hours in the past 4 days than in the prior couple weeks I think. Everyone is willing to let me sleep. It’s quite a strange occurrence since over the past two year my son hasn’t been big on letting me sleep much at all.
Worried? Call Your Damn Doctor
Because this surgery has not healed as quickly as we hoped, and there have been some side-effects, I have called my doctor twice. He’s called in supplemental prescriptions and recommended herbal supplements (“I want you taking 12 fish oil capsules a day!”) to help with the inflammation and told me when I can begin stretching the eye muscles that were repositioned.
My surgeon happens to be really awesome at his job. All the parts of his job, not just the cutting people’s eyeballs part. Which means he has really taken the time to reassure me that things are ok and are – while not ideal in terms of healing – not something that I need to freak about over. He specifically told me to call him, on his personal cell no less, rather than freaking out for days at a time. He has reassured me that my specific surgery went really well and there were no indications that this was anything other than a larger-than-typical inflammatory reaction. After I talk to him, I feel better, and he doesn’t make me feel bad for needing to talk to him.
It’s Okay If Not Everyone Is Really There
Surgery, like a lot of things in life (childbirth comes to mind) is one of those things that you probably only really understand after you’ve personally been through or been close to. If some people aren’t lining up to help out, or don’t seem to get that this is “big deal” time, try not to take it personally because they honestly probably just aren’t aware of what you are going through.
In my particular case, and because I’ve tried not to make a big-f’ing-deal about this, a few people thought I was undergoing something equivalent to Lasik and didn’t recognize that this is more of a full anestesia and stitches-in-your-eyeball type thing. So, just try to gracefully accept assistance from those people who do get it.
On the flip side, recognize the gift that this experience gives you: the gift of having more understanding and compassion for people in your life when they go through something similar. When the time comes that you can be there for someone, you’ll better know how to help and how to empathize. I know I will.
Have you been through surgery? Got any advice?1