Friday, June 18, 2010

A Laser Light Show Sans Music

The eyeball adventure continues.
I must say, when eyes act up, they are dramatic and insistent and you are wise not to ignore them, as i was trying to do. Having been reassured by an indifferent ER opthalmologist that black drapes, though possibly high fashion, were definitely not something i wanted to see, and that i had very little chance of my injury being that serious, i spent Sunday and Monday pretending that the four bazillion tiny black pindots that were floating around inside my eyeball weren't bothering me, and that i was actually having fun trying to make out shapes and faces in the black blobs that were also in there. It was a little like cloud watching, only internal.
By Tuesday, i am thinking that perhaps this wasn't the best thing to ignore, so i got myself transported to a real opthalmologist who put drops in my eyes that turned my pupils into the Holland Tunnel. He took a look around. "You definitely need to see a retinologist," he said and while i mused on how specialized doctors had become - were there pupilogists? eyelashologists? - he immediately called one and made an appointment for the next evening.
The retinologist was pleasant but insistent that I have laser surgery.
"Do i have a choice?" I asked, planning, of course, to opt out. It sounded scary.
"No," he said and popped eyeball numbing drops along with a hearty dose of atropine into my eye. We waited for it to take effect while i nervously emptied a box of gummi bears and orange flavored tic-tacs,only making myself nauseous and giddy from all the sugar.
The retinologist explained how he was going to put a disc over my eye and then fire off a laser directly INTO MY EYEBALL to mend the tear. It sounded awful.
"What are my options?" i asked.
"None," he said. "Do it or risk a detachment and go blind." That sounded ominous.
"Hmmm," I said, as i was loaded into the chair and put in front of what looked like a perfectly ordinary eyeglass examination machine. My chin was placed in a chin cup and a plunger blobbed over my eye. At least it felt like a plunger.
The first shot was fired. A green laser with the power and brightness of what seemed like five suns combined. It made cute little beeping chicken- like noises, which didn't fool me, I knew it wasn't chickens, while it fired tiny micron-size beams around the retinal tear. After a while, I imagined myself being transported to another planet, the green light flashed away as i traveled through the space-time continuum, the beeping and humming became the nuclear fusion fueled engines of my late model space ship. The green lights were followed by red circles and black holes. Mostly painless, it was a spectacular performance of medicine and art. We were finished and i was totally blind in that eye.
"Temporary," the retinologist reassured me. I could see nothing but black until he urged me to open my good eye and look around. I had forgotten that i had squinted it shut.
I didn't open the bad eye until the next morning. Things looked pretty much the way they had before the treatment, though i am told that it will take about three months for the eye to form some kind of healing bond. The eye debris will slowly go away, i was reassured, and no bending, no lifting, no aerobics (ha, i hate aerobics), no hard work until the eye healed. And, I informed my significant other, I'll need a nice pair of diamond earrings to really feel better.
i'll let you know if they work.

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