Last Tuesday was the day; Surgery Day to be exact. And oh boy, I was not looking forward to it at all. Better yet, I spent the last few days before the surgery being scared shitless. There wasn’t any real reason for it, it’s just that I’m a total wuss when it comes to doctors and everything that’s related. It’s quite sad, actually.
After finishing my ususal morning routine, it was time to go. The clinic’s in Rotterdam, so mom and dad picked me up early to avoid the morning traffic jam. Once in the car, my best friend (who had laser surgery done three years ago) called to tell me everything was going to be okay. Not that it helped; the closer we got, the more I started to tremble. I was even hoping they’d decide that my eyes weren’t suitable for the surgery after all. But of course, I wouldn’t be that lucky. After taking a “wrong” exit I had some hope again though; we were lost! Unfortunately, daddy’s a living navigation device, so we still made it in time. By the time we arrived at the clinic, I was shaking so hard, one would think I was a heroin addict going cold turkey. First, a checkup was to be done by the opthalmologist, who told me I could bring one of my parents along to the surgery rooms. I picked my dad, because mom was freaking out almost as much as I was. Although I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea; dad tends to get mad and yell at me when I fuck up (tough love ;)), and I had the feeling I would do just that!
In the pre-surgery waiting room, where three other patients were waiting, we had to put on paper scrubs, shoe covers and surgery hats. I’d already taken off my glasses, but I could still see that I was the only one who brought somebody in there with me. Then again, I was the youngest there, so I had a good excuse to do so. Then one of the surgeons came in, to tell us that it’s really important to be really quiet and still during the first part (she actually called it the “hard part”) of the surgery. She explained what was going to happen; first, they had to make the corneal flap. In my case, the surgery style was IntraLASIK, meaning that there weren’t any knives involved. Instead, we’d get a plastic thingy of some sorts in our eye, which was supposed to vacuum seal itself to the eyeball. After that, the femtosecond laser microkeratome would create the right flap. If any movement would occur, the vacuum would disappear, which meant they would have to start over again. And if you messed up multiple times, they would have to do something else, but she wouldn’t tell us the details.
Obviously, I was still pretty sure I would fuck this up, especially after dad told me that I was the only one who was startled every time the nurse gave us eye drops. Thanks, dad! I really needed to know that… A little after the doctor left, two other people came into the waiting room, and it turned out I wasn’t the only one being chaperoned! That made me feel a little bit better (or a little less of a loser), but I was still scared to death. And then… They called my name, and my heart stopped beating for a short while. Upon leaving the waiting room, they handed me this little sweetheart:
How can you still be scared after seeing this guy?
Crazy as it sounds, that little bear made me feel so much more relaxed! So I went into the surgery room, laid down really still and squeezed the lady doctor’s hand and the bear almost to death. The lady doc was telling me exactly what they were doing, and how much longer it would take. A little under two mintues later, the first part was done. And I didn’t mess up! Hell, I didn’t even feel a thing. The nurse took me back to the waiting room, where my chaperoned colleague was still waiting for his turn. He was even more scared than I was, so I told him it was a super piece of cake, and that he would be fine. Then it was time for the next step; the refraction surgery itself. I had to go into another room and lie down again, while the surgeon placed a sticky mask all over my face. He had to move it around a little, so I asked him if they were going to epilate my face as well. He laughed, and said I’d get a free facial peeling. After the mask was in place, I was supposed to lay still and look at the green light. This wasn’t quite as easy as it seemed, because the surgeon had to open up the corneal flap, and at that point the green light is pretty much dancing all over the place. Luckily, after opening the flap, the light stopped moving and I was able to focus again. The light then turned red and orange-y, I smelled something burning, and 30 seconds later the surgeon was putting the flap back in place. The same procedure was repeated on my other eye, I got some more eye drops, and then it was all done. And I have to say, the most awful part of the entire surgery was when the surgeon took the sticky mask off my face! I got up, blinked a few times, and it was insane how much I could already see.
After the surgery, we had to wait for another hour until the first checkup. Everything was fine, and the anesthesia was starting to wear off, which was a little bit uncomfortable but nothing big. The most awful thing after that was my light sensitivity; I was already wearing sunglasses but outside was still too bright, so I had to wrap my scarf around my head to make it stop hurting. When I got home, the curtains were drawn but the “light” still hurt my eyes, so I kept the sunglasses on. Gradually, it got better and better, and at the end of the evening I was watching soccer again. My best friend came by the same evening, and he was flabbergasted that I was walking around pretty much like nothing happened; he had spent three days in bed in utter darkness after his surgery! Then again, he didn’t have IntraLASIK but another form of refractive surgery, with a longer recovery time.
All in all, I can almost say that the surgery was an anticlimax. I spent almost a whole week freaking out, and in the end it turned out that it wasn’t necessary at all! I do have to say that there were a few factors that made it all the easier; of course there’s daddy’s company (and the bear), but I also felt very comfortable with the staff and surgeons. The entire medical staff was so nice and friendly, that it was hard to believe that they were going to do something that would hurt. So, if you’re considering getting refractive surgery, I had it done at VISUS Oogkliniek in Rotterdam, and I’m super happy that I did it there. I promise, they didn’t pay me to recommend them (although I did get some “€100 off” vouchers to hand out), but I know how scary refractive surgery seems, and now I also know you’re in really good hands at this clinic!
It’s been four days now since I had it done, and my vision has been almost perfect the same evening. I can still notice that it’s getting better by the day; yesterday I could finally read the microwave clock display! It’s truly amazing to be able to see again, all the time, without having to screw around with contacts/glasses. I couldn’t be happier.
I hope I haven’t tired you out with this ridiculously long post, and I hope this story has been of some amusement or help to you! Thanks for reading!
P.S.: If you’re interested in a voucher, let me know. I’d be happy to help!