Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I Can See Clearly Now......

*Warning, the following contains graphic information about eyeballs. If you have a slightly strong phobia about these squishy little vision orbs, might be best if you stop reading now. Or not. I’m not telling you what to do or anything. It’s not like I have any control over you? Wish I did though. That would be fun. I’d make you wear silly costumes and run about in the street banging baking trays on your head. Then if I controlled enough of you, I would make you all link up on each other’s shoulders like some giant Transformer and ride you into town. All kneel before the mighty MechaDan! Anyway, this is about eyes.*

I used to be short sighted. Like, really short sighted. When I wasn’t wearing my glasses, my world basically consisted of a little 3 foot sphere which was the limit of my vision. If anything happened outside of that sphere, I wouldn't really know anything about it and would remain oblivious. I would always end up walking past people I knew and ignoring them because of my poor eyesight (Plus I am rude as well).

Due to my upcoming police medical, and the fact that I was sick and tired of having to run my hands over the numbers on the front of buses to tell what they were, I decided to have laser eye surgery done.

I devoured all the literature on the procedure, had various people at work tell me about their sisters friends cousin, who all said it was one of the best things they ever did. How it was well worth the money. How it opened up a whole new world. All the usual stuff.

But you see, I, like most people, go a bit funny over the thought of someone playing around with my eyeballs. They are just so squishy and vulnerable, like walking round with two soft boiled eggs in your eye sockets. One little poke too hard and you’d have yolk everywhere.

“It’s nothing,” I would be told. “Just like somebody blowing into your eye, and then it’s all over and done with.”

That didn’t sound too bad? A little puff of air, then it’s all finished and I could start checking myself out in shop windows. So I did it. I booked an appointment.

I first of all had to do all the tests that came before the procedure. This consisted of having my eyes measured, scanned, light tests, the whole works. And lucky for me, they said I was suitable for treatment. I would never have 100% vision, but they could get me to about 90%, which was good enough for me.

So it finally came to the big day. The surgery. Now this isn’t a boast to prove how manly I am, and I’m not saying this with my shirt off whilst flexing my awesome pecs at you, but I don’t really get nervous. I am one of those insanely logical people whose outlook is “What's the worst that could happen?”, and that normally displaces any fear that I might have about something and just lets me get on with it.

So as Kates drove me to the opticians, I was feeling pretty A-OK, and was actually looking forward to having it done. Sight. How weird would that be?

When we got there, I was led into the little waiting area and met by the optician who would be doing my surgery. Leaving Kates in the waiting room, I went in confidently. It was a funky high- tech little room, all shiny machinery and bright lights, with a large chair in the middle of it that looked like the ones you find in a dentists room- a chair I was invited to sit in.

“Now Daniel,” the optician said, “I’m just going to explain the procedure today. We are only going to do one eye as the level of your sight is quite bad, so we need to make sure that the operation is a success before we do the other. We don’t want to leave you blind now, do we?”

Hmmmmmn. That sounded ominous.

“Do you understand exactly what it is we will be doing today?”

“Not really.” I replied. And I didn’t. Sure I had read all the pamphlets, but you skip over all the technical bits, don't you? Like when you get a new DVD player, you just want to know how to play the discs?

“OK then, well, what we will be doing first of all is holding your eye in place with a suction cap so that it doesn’t move during the operation. We will then be making an incision on the surface of your eye to make a flap, we then pull that flap back, where the laser will burn the lens of your eye to the correct shape which is what will improve your vision. We then will pull the flap back into position. How does that sound?”

That didn’t sound like a little puff of air on my eye. Suddenly my rule about not getting nervous was starting to look very stupid.

Taking my silence as a cue that everything was hunky dorey, he slapped my leg and said “Let’s get going then.”

The optician and nurses busied themselves around me as I lay on my back, staring at the harsh lights that were beaming into my face. Some eye drops were put in that made everything blurry.

The first thing they did was pin my eyelids back with these metal prongs that hooked under them (Think Clockwork Orange). This was not nice.

“I’m now going to put the suction cap on.” the optician said. And I could see him bring up a little plastic disk on a tube that was making a sucking noise. “This may feel a little bit uncomfortable.”

He then put it on my eye.

Sweet Mary, mother of God, what was he doing?!!!

Imagine if you put the nozzle end of a vacuum cleaner on your eyeball. That's what it felt like to me. I immediately started to squirm in my seat.

“Now Daniel, you will have to keep still otherwise the cap will pop off.” Which of course it then did, scraping harshly across my eye.

I moaned.

“OK, we will have to reattach the cap Daniel; you really have to keep still.” he said, crossly.

And as he brought that hateful little sucking cap back onto my eye, I really did try to stay still, I honestly did. The upper half of me was as solid as a rock. From the waist down though it was a different matter. My legs and feet were moving so much that if you stood me upright, I probably could have done a rousing rendition of Riverdance across the surgery floor.

“Bugger,” the optician said, as the cap popped off my eye once more.

Nuurggghle burf hurder!” I replied, the pain so much that I started to speak in tongues.

We tried for one final time. The cap popped off for one final time. It hurt for one final time. By now it sounded as if I was mumbling in Latin. Oblivious to nothing but my throbbing eyeball.

“Daniel, we are going to have to leave it for today. Your eye is now quite badly bruised. You are going to have to come back in a few weeks to try again.”

Try again?! Was he mental?!! This was like something from a bad dream. A dream where some lunatic gets off on attaching things to your eyeballs, and then gets annoyed with you when for some strange reason you take offence to this. He might as well have just attached leeches to my eyes and electrodes to my testicles and just be done with it. The man was obviously a born sadist, and this was how he got his kicks. The filthy pervert.

I stumbled from the chair and tried to make my way back to Kates, a nurse leading me by the arm as everything was too bright and too blurry.

“Oh my god.” Kates said as she saw me. My eye looked as if it had been replaced by a red snooker ball. This was what it looked like about six hours after.

Nice huh?

So two weeks rolled by and I was due to return. Lucky for me, the optician had given me a dose of Valium to take before I arrived. So when I finally got there, to me, everything was like the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, I was as high as a kite.

“Hello Mr Keenan.” The nurse said, as she took me by the arm to take me to the surgery room.

“Hello you.” I replied with a beautiful smile, and carried on beaming with a grin so wide, the top of my skull nearly fell off. Everything was so warm and wonderful. Another nurse smiled at me as I was led past like a confused geriatric. I smiled back, even turning my head to keep on smiling as I passed her. She looked quite worried. She also looked like all her edges had been erased by a pencil rubber. These drugs were good.

So I found myself once again back in the chair with a suction cap attached to my eyeball. But it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. I was ripped off my tits on valium, and he probably could have gone poking around in there with the sharp end of a pencil and I wouldn’t have minded. The nurse put some anaesthetic eye drops in to numb the area.

“OK Daniel, the caps on, we are just going to make the incision now.”

And in my head, I had an internal monologue that seemed to be commentating on everything.

Ohhhhh, look. That caps on now. That feels weird, doesn’t it? Did he mention incision, that sounds nice? Oh my, they have just cut into my eyeball, how lovely. And now he is pressing a machine onto the surface of my eye, and its pushing down so hard I can see stars. Pretty stars and now some rainbows (that might have been the drugs though?) And now the machine is making lots of loud banging noises. Lights, noises, floaty Dan. And is that my eye that smells like it is burning?

“Ok Daniel, we have just reshaped the lens of your eye, I just need to move it slightly.”

Oh wow, he is moving the lens of my eye with what looks like a little cocktail stick. He is really moving it around. And now he is closing the flap. The flap he cut into my eye. How lovely.

“And we are all done.” the optician said, with a note of relief in his voice.

I stumbled to my feet. The room felt like it was spinning round and my face was hot. But the odd thing was, I could see out of one eye! True, it was a little blurry, but it was clear vision. No distortion or anything.

It was when I was being driven home that the pain started. Imagine if someone was scraping sandpaper over your eye every time you blinked. That's what it felt like. And it lasted for about two days. The eye wasn’t as bad as last time though.

The odd thing was, I was short sighted in one eye, and not the other. So i found it very hard not to stop myself from walking round in circles. In all honesty though, after the pain went away, the difference was amazing.

A few weeks after this, I had to go and have my other eye done. There was no valium this time, sadly, but I went in with a determination to just get this over with. Cap on, incision made, lens shaped, flap down, get the hell out of there.

Unlucky for me, I had no-one to take me home this time, and had to make my way back on the tube on my own. Bad mistake. The numb juice they had put in my eye started wearing off the moment I stepped outside. I was stumbling half blind down the road, my eye weeping continuous tears, bumping off things like a human pin ball machine.

The dusty train didn’t help matters much either. I was sat across from a woman, who quickly moved seats when this weepy, red eyed sex pest sat opposite her and kept on winking. To be honest though, most people that have to travel home on the Central Line at 5.30pm end up weeping at some point. It's that kind of service.

This was all about eight months ago now. My eyes have healed and my eyesight is great. Would I recommend having it done? Definitely. But I would also tell people what they were actually getting into. It's no puff of air like I was informed. It is someone slicing open your eye and doing lots of weird shit to it.

And it freaks you out.

And here is a nice song about eyes to finish this post off.


Susan at Stony River said...

Oh Dan, I'm so sorry, but I haven't laughed that hard in months. Halfway through your post my body gave out and I got stuck into one long Muttleyesque wheeze through the rest of it, oh Lord, the pain I'm in now.

But THANK you for detailing the reality of this 'procedure'. I've been tempted because I'm also blindish, and without contacts I have to bounce off doorframes a few times getting through the hole. But I'm also squeamish, and think I will *never* have this done unless they'd give me general anaesthesia before, and five pounds of good chocolate after.

Wooo. Still hurts when I breathe. I'd say that's a keeper!! ROFL

JenJen said...

Pecs and walking in circles....
is there anything else really important, really, from this post?

Midnitefyrfly said...

Well I am glad that in hindsight (heehee) you are glad you had the procedure and have good vision now. Valium is quite amazing huh. I had an impacted wisdom tooth pulled without the general anesthesia that was recommended, but my insurance would not cover, pulled thanks to some Valium.

I had much the same expereince...
"Oh look! You are kneeling on my shoulder and prying half of my face more open than it should ever be with all of your weight while I hear cracking in my mouth and blood is choking me. What a beautiful day to be mauled by a dentist."

People wonder why Valium is like the crack of housewives. LOL

Jen said...

I definitely recommend drugs. I had cataract surgery and I'm not sure what they did to me. I just remember seeing pretty lights...

hope said...

It's really hard to type with one's eyes watering, you know. Yes, like Susan I laughed at first but the squeamish part of me was screaming at the top of my lungs, "Over my dead body will anyone touch my eyes!"

Old phobia. Ancient aunt HELD ME DOWN when I was 7 to put drops in my eyes because the pollen made them a little red. Since then, eyes are off limits.

I'm glad you survived. I do think you should've let your foot slip as you got out of the could've told the Doc it wasn't meant to hurt him. ;)

And oh the irony. In spite of the redness, I thought to myself, "What beautiful color eyes Dan has...swimming in that sea of red."

Betty said...

I was browsing and i found you.
Have a lovely time!

Love Writing Again! said...

Grim!! I can't believe it. Actually I thought about this procedure but I'm so convinced I'd flinch at the wrong moment and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Especially the vaccum cup thing- I didn't know about that. They definately don't tell you the truth, they said a puff to me too, and what you've written ain't no puff. But you made me laugh out loud! Thank you! ;)

f8hasit said...

And this is where I give my little yolk eyeblls a clap on the retina for being so good!

I am SO glad that (at least for now) I won't need to undergo and surgery like that!

I had my teeth whitened at the dentist and they said, "You might get a few zings".
It was the worst pain I'd ever experienced! And I PAID to hvae them do it!

Glad to hear your not still walking in circles.

ladytruth said...

Your outlook is “What's the worst that could happen?” Did you not remember the yolk-part?!!!!!!!

My sister had the same surgery done, I drove her cause the doctor said she wasn't allowed to drive herself for a while. But coming back it was like driving Miss Daisy. She also doesn't regret any part of it though, pain and all.

Judearoo said...

That was really funny - and plenty yuck!

The jerky riverdance leg thing I can imagine and your purring "Hello YOU" to the nurse, priceless!


Anonymous said...

I had squint operations in both eyes when I was 4 and 5. As a result, I have a total morbid phobia of ANYTHING close to my eyes. It's why I wear glasses and not lenses, it's why I will never have corrective surgery and it's why I only skimmed this posting.

My apologies - for what it's worth, I'm sure it was as exceptional as usual.

Dan. said...

Susan- Sadly they can’t give you general anaesthetic as they need your eye to be fully moving. I know it sounded terrible (and in ways it was) but the end result is well worth it.

JenJen- Sight?

Midnitefyrfly- It was rather good. I can see why people become addicted. It numbs life.

Jen- Surgery drugs rule, don't they?

hope- Amazing how all phobias stem from childhood? Bet you hate hay fever now?

Betty- I am, thank you. Pop by again if you feel like it?

f8hasit- Glad your eyes are still tip top. Always thought about teeth whitening. Does it really hurt though?

Ladytruth- Phew, was worried in case your sister took the pain well and I would look like a sissy.

Judearoo- Valium makes me turn into Leslie Phillips apparently.

Matthew- It was life changing (the operation, not my post) so I would never say to you don’t have it done. But I understand your fear of it.

Dan. said...

Love writing again- Oops! Sorry, missed you out there. It is worth doing, believe me. You just have to stomach some uncomfortable bits. Go on, get it done. Dare ya!

Kate said...

Yuk! Have just found you and now I'm going to have to follow you... Damn!!

JennyMac said...

I had this surgery done too...and was a bit knockered with fright. Eye ball suction cup just about made me cry. But I had not a single issue...sorry to hear about your plight..and thankfully I know what a snooker ball looks like..and yes...your eye looked just like one.

Dan. said...

Kate- I'm glad you have decided to stick around. Though as you have the same name as my other half, I might have to refer to you as Kate2 in passing.

JennyMac- I think the suction cap was the worst part. Something about it just wasn't natural.

livesbythewoods said...

Oh sweet baby jeebus that sounds horrific.

I have been half thinking about getting it done, but I think I'll stick with specs. Gah.

Glad you're able to see yourself in shop windows now, though.

Lorenza said...

Hey Dan it is so good to see that you have beautiful blue eyes! I am proud of your courage to have the second eye done! You are a boy and, by nature, you guys are not so brave in health problem related stuff...Well done. Can I adopt you?

jules said...

I want to have this done too, but I'm so terrified. Everyone I know says it's "unpleasant" but totally worth it. I work for an opthomalogist so I routinely ask him many questions. One of these days.

Anyway, your retelling of the tale totally cracked me up!

Dan. said...

livesbythewoods- I know it sounds really bad, but it is all worth it really. And I look great in those windows......

Lorenza- I fall just below monkeys on the "How easy am I to look after" Adoption is probably not a good idea Lorenza!

jules- Seriously, be brave. If I can do it, then you can.