Waking at 5:00 a.m., I proceeded to the kitchen to prepare the insulin shots for our two diabetic dogs and feed them. For me, mornings without coffee are like an extension of the dream-state, I am not fully present, yet I somehow manage to trod through the necessary motions and obligations to arrive at my goal. This morning, my motions were simple; after caring for our pets, I showered and dressed into a pair of jeans, a button-down shirt and a zip-up sweatshirt. Even though it is very warm outside, I was instructed during the pre-op phone call to dress warmly since the operating room is kept “very cold.”
It was raining heavily during the one-hour drive to the surgery center yet it did not cause us to be late, actually, I felt certain that we arrived only minutes after the two office girls, who greeted my husband and I.
Harry went to use the Men’s room while I checked-in, before I headed to the Ladies’ Room then headed to the sitting area where I sank into the nicest upholstered chair I have ever sat in, in any waiting room! My husband later told me that he was so comfortable in his chair that he actually fell asleep during my surgery! Not more than a minute after being seated, my name was called and I followed the nurse to the pre-op area.
I was instructed to lay upon the bed with my head cradled in the circular extension (similar to a doughnut hole) attached to the head of the bed. I believe the extension served to hold my head in a confined position, limiting movement.
Another nurse came to the bed, confirmed who I was and reviewed any medical conditions (I had to emphasize that I was NOT diabetic since during the pre-op phone call, the nurse mistakenly had me listed as a diabetic! Serious complications or even death could occur if I were treated as a diabetic.) After confirming my drug allergies, she placed a red wrist band on my arm which listed these drug allergies. She also placed a green wrist band on the same arm with a warning of a gas bubble in the eye.
In no time at all, the IV was started and a relaxant would soon be flowing through my system. At the same time, the other nurse began administering drops to my eyes. I do not remember how many different types of drops were given, I do know that one was to numb my eye and another was to dilate my eye, perhaps another was an antibiotic – I know there were more than four different drops. I also remember that same nurse asking if I was allergic to iodine. At the time of her question, I was beginning to drift away and was surprised that anyone might be allergic to iodine. My lips moved with great effort to say, “No, I’m not allergic to iodine, why?”
“Because,” the nurse explained, “I need to wipe the eye area with iodine.” And, that is precisely what she did.
A short, older man appeared at my bedside and introduced himself as the anesthesiologist. I think he may have asked me some questions which I cannot recall because I was no longer lucid. I do remember telling him that I liked him. Gheez, I’m such a little kid sometimes!
Next thing I know, we were off to the operating room. The doctor greeted me and explained that a covering was going to be laid over my lower face and other eye to lessen bacterial exposure. I was agreeable, of course. “Ok, now, you are going to feel a few little pricks as I numb the area around your eye,” the doctor warned.
I felt the first of six stings around my eye cavity, evenly spaced. After that, I heard activity but do not remember any conversations nor pain, and I dozed off.
I began to awaken as the surgery was completed and the doctor was removing the three “ports” anchored in my eyeball. He alerted me of what he was going to do and might have said something like, “you might feel a bit of a tug as I remove three tools from your eye.” As he pulled the first one out, I said, “Ouch!” As he pulled the second one out, I said, “That hurt!” When he pulled the third one out I think I said, “Whew!” and was glad there were no more to be removed. There actually is a very good video on this surgery at youtube ***Warning*** the video is not for the squeamish.
Surgery completed, post-op instructions reviewed with the nurse and doctor, now, the worst part of this procedure was just beginning. I climbed into the back seat of our vehicle, clutched a pillow and hung my head down to begin the face-down positioning required for healing my stage IV macular hole. Two weeks of hell was just beginning…