I did have one small bit of excitement during my recent days of sickness.
Remember my eye thing in January, where the gel in my right eye detached from my retina quite abruptly, causing floaters and flashes in that eye? Remember how I had to visit a retinal specialist to determine whether or not my retina had actually been torn, because my regular eye doctor wasn’t quite sure? The specialist didn’t find any sign of a tear, but wanted me to come in for a follow-up appointment six weeks later anyway. That appointment was scheduled for one of those days that I was home sick, so I dosed myself up on cold meds, packed a bunch of tissues, and made my appearance.
The drill was the same: lots of eye drops and the accompanying blurry vision, lots of machines thoroughly checking my eye, lots of additional poking and prodding and examining by the doctor. I’d been expecting all that, so I was quite serene about the whole thing this time … in between coughing into my elbow and blowing my nose, of course.
However, this time the doctor informed me that I did actually have a small horseshoe-shaped tear at the bottom left of the retina in my right eye. I didn’t even know how to respond! I think I just sat there, stunned, and he blithely carried on to explain that if we left it, there was a 50% chance that the entire retina would detach and then I’d probably lose the vision in that eye. So the best option was laser surgery to zap together the edges of that little tear.
WHOA!!! LASER?!? YOU WANT TO PUT LASER BEAMS IN MY EYE?!? FUCK!!!
That’s what I was thinking.
But what I said was, “Um, that kinda creeps me out. I’m really very nervous about that.” Meekly. Quietly.
The doctor was just smiling reassuringly at me. I thought of another important question. “And when will this be done?” Again, meekly and quietly.
“Oh, I’ll do it right now,” he answered. “That way you won’t have time to get all nervous about it.”
So I signed some papers, questioned his assistant (who assured me that it was no big deal, that it wouldn’t hurt, that all I’d see would be flashes of bright light, that I’d be seeing normally maybe 20 minutes later), texted PG what was going on (he was my transportation for the afternoon), then sat in the laser room to wait. Yes, there was a laser room. There were three machines in there. The assistant plugged in and turned on one of them.
When the doctor returned, I asked him how long it would take. Depending upon how still I could keep my eye, between 20 and 30 seconds, was the reply. I let out my breath. I could do that! I could stand anything for 20 or 30 seconds … couldn’t I? Could I?
Turned out, I could. It truly didn’t hurt (I did have numbing drops in my eye, after all), though I did briefly feel like he was trying to pop my eye out of my head! There was a lot of poking and pressing, which was a bit uncomfortable, but nothing awful. The laser light was super-bright, but yeah, 20 or 30 seconds, in three separate blasts, and it was done. I told the doctor that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been thinking, and he told me that I’d done very very well, a lot better than he had thought I would do.
I had two final questions before I headed out to PG in the waiting room: “Is this unusual, that you would see no tear at first, then you find a tear six weeks later?” and “What are the chances of all this happening to my other eye now?”
And the doctor’s answers were: “It does happen, but only in 3-5% of the population. That’s why we always do a recheck six weeks later.” and “It’s pretty much a certainty that this will happen again, likely within three to five years. Just come back and see us when it does occur.”
Oh. Thanks, Doctor.
At least now I know for sure that I’m rather unusual in the eye department.