Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Surgery Story

Warning: this is a long and probably boring post! Just had to share my lovely experience with you all!

I'm ba-ack! Well after a disasterous recovery in the hospital, I'm very happy to say that my right eye is now doing very well, and my vision is getting better every day. We have now popped the lens out of my glasses (because I still need the glasses to see out of my left eye) so I'm looking a bit funny at the moment, but hey- at least I can see! I've got a delightful blood pool in my eye now, which I'm told will last about 10 days... niiiiiiice!

The surgery itself went very well - the surgery was about 2pm. The funniest thing was the anaesthetic. I've never had ANY surgery before, so it was all a bit new to me. The anaesthetist put the needle in my arm for the sedation (note: NOT a general anaesthetic) and I got wheeled into the theatre. I remember saying to her "Are you sure these drugs are working? Cos I dont feel any different..." and I dont remember if she replied!! LOL! The actual surgery, which I was awake for, is a blur. I remember the fabric coming down over my face, and then I remember all these pwetty lights... it was like a kaleidoscope! It was like "oooooh loook at all the prreeeeety colours!" - I was mesermised! The only time I realised what was happening was when the fabric came off my face, and the lights went away - I was like "oh dont take the pretty lights away.... oh... OH!... the surgery must be finished!"

In recovery, the problems started. The eye pressure is supposed to be between 15-25 - they measure it with a little device that puffs air at your eyeball. Mine was too high. So I had drops to constrict the pupil, which should allow the fluid to move freely about your eye. Every 30 minutes or so they tested it, it was still too high, so I'd have more drops. My OH came in to say hi for a few minutes, then he left and I had more drops.

The pressure kept rising... now about 36... and I had a corker of a headache starting so they called the surgeon who said to give me a tablet which should bring the pressure down. And of course more drops. 30 minutes later and the pressure is still rising and the pain in my head is increasing, so the surgeon came down to recovery. One doctor puts me in a headlock while my doc inserts a needle into my eye (Yes I could feel this happen... not nice!!!!) - so instantly I feel all this liquid run down my cheek and the headache instantly disappears! Pressure is down to 10!! Yay! Also, amazingly, I can see clearly out of my right eye for the first time!! Then, more drops, more drops, the nurses ring OH and tell him we'll be outta there in half an hour.

Within 5 minutes the headache was back... also I'm starting to feel nauseaus (this was a side effect of the tablet). Over the next half hour the pain in my forehead rises to a searing pain, the pressure is back up, and they give me 2 nurofen and more drops, more drops. By now I'm starting to really worry, and feeling sick, and with the headache... I start to cry and cry, which I was sooooo embarrassed about. The nurses ring OH who comes and sits with me for the rest of the time.

The surgeon came back, tests my pressure which is rising again, and decides that the only other thing he can try is to do more laser iridotomy holes to see if he can clear the possible blockage. By now I'm dizzy and dry-reaching, and also being told NOT to vomit because it can disrupt the new lens in my eye... also, the entire hospital is closed - it IS after 6pm, the place is dark and everyone else has gone home!!

Over the next two hours I have more laser holes in my eye, and also more drops... endless eye drops!!!! The pressure in my eye was up to 43, and the pain in my right forehead was excruciating.

The scariest point was when the surgeon was poking my eye and I felt this searing pain shoot through my head and it seemed to last for ages. I jumped back with a cry and put my head forward... and when I raised my head I was blind in that eye. I mean there was absolutely NO vision in my right eye - it was black. He shone a bright light in my eye - I couldn't see it. I F-R-E-A-K-E-D!!!! I mean - I FREAKED!!! I broke out in a cold sweat, panicked, couldn't believe it that "I'd gone blind"! LOL In reality I'd over-reacted a bit. What had happened was that the blood vessels that connect to my eye had gotten a bit stressed; therefore blood flow had momentarily cut out, causing temporary loss of vision. Within about a minute I was started to see outlines, and in a few minutes I could see again... phew!!!

Eventually he said that if the pressure didn't come down he'd have to take me up to the PA hospital, as they had some other drugs we could try to use to bring the pressure down. We had ONE LAST GO at the laser iridotomies, as by now my pupil had constricted enough to allow enough fluid to flow. The laser was done, the headache started to ease, and my pressure went down to 15. Everyone in the room (4 nurses, the surgeon, and my OH) did a little happy dance!!! We had to wait another 20 minutes to make sure that the pressure really was staying down, and it did... so we got discharged, and finally made it home by 8.30pm.

So!!! I felt like I'd been through the wringer after all of that! I went back to the surgeon yesterday for a check up, and the pressure was 9. So everything is looking good. I've got a few more days off work, but I cant do much. I cant drive or anything.

I asked the doc yesterday when I can exercise again, and I'm not allowed to do any weight training or intense cardio for 3 weeks. As of now all I'm allowed to do is gentle walking - absoluely no jogging or cycling. I asked if I could put the treadmill on an incline and I was told a very very small incline. So I'm going to go mad over the next few weeks! Anyway, I can always regain my fitness, but I've only got two eyes so I'd better look after them!

Anyway, thats all folks! Hope everyone is having a great week and I'm off to read a few blogs (with one eye open of course!)


Kelly said...

What an ordeal. Will you be OK to get the other eye done, or will the same thing happen? I hop eyou're feeling better, get some rest and you can hit the exercise hard in 3 weeks time.

Magda said...

Hi Hilary,

boring post? That was the most riveting bolg post I've read for ages. So glad it was all ok in the end but what a torture to go through!



Tracey said...

sending you wishes of a speedy recovery!!

Janew said...

Yowzer!!!man I was freaked out reading that Hilary! hope everything is still heeling well for you :)
and like you said dont worry about fitness at the moment just get better.

jane xo

LizN said...


What an ordeal. You poor thing. Hugs and prayers for a smooth recovery from here on in. Don't you dare worry about your exercise in this condition, getting those peepers perfect is the big priority.

Huge hugs

Hilds said...

Oh my god you poor thing, I don't think you over reacted at all. I would have completley freaked out, I hope the second time around goes much more smoothly. Good on you for resting up it will be well worth it in the long run. I've got my op on Monday (don't know if I should have read your blog!) and I'm not alowed to exercise for a while and already stressing out over it. But I've learnt my lesson before and you don't get better if you don't REST! Take it easy. Hilds

Ali said...

Hilary, what an ordeal you had to go through thank goodness you ended up okay!! Hope it is all still an the mend to a speedy full recovery

take care of yourself


Sue Heintze said...

All I can say is - OMG!!!! I thought I was in pain when I had my PRK eye surgery done many moons ago (and I was) but that sounds absolutely excruciating. Eye pain is the worst thing imaginable! Glad you made it out the other side, vision intact!!! See you soon!

Kerry said...

Oh, Hilary, I always thought you were incredibly brave jsut to have the pre op stuff done and now you have gone a million steps further. I am so glad you came through that gruesome ordeal in good order and hope for your sake that the next one goes exactly to plan with no dramas.
Well done

Mel said...

Oh my goodness!! You poor thing! I would have totally been going mental (am not the bravest person in the world)...but sounds like all is good now and you are right, you do only have 2 eyes :)
Take care,

little rene said...

Wow Hilary! What an experience! Hope you are recovering nicely and OH is looking after you :)

jodie said...

Ouch Hils! I hope you are feeling better and I am sure it will be all worth it when it is all over and you are recovered!

Shar said...

WOW, you certainly went through the ringer Hilary!!

Hope things are better now.

Shar x

Andj said...

Wow Hils what a story. I am glad that everything is OK again now.
That would have been really scary.
hope you are feeling well.

Tom said...

Sounds like you had a busy day at surgery. These postop spikes can be terribly difficult to treat, and from what you are relaying, it sounds as if you're eye surgeon did all the appropriate things in the correct order: drops, "burp" excess fluid from the wound, laser iridotomy, followed by possible admission for IV osmotic drugs.

Now that you've recovered from this ordeal, you might find this video of a laser iridotomy interesting:

iridotomy eye video

The video shows the laser being used to pop a hole through the iris.