25 February 2022

Purple Rain

 Quick update because universe knows I'm tired of talking about it.  I imagine all y'all are tired of hearing about it. lol.  Kevin has stopped asking completely and I can't blame him for one second.

Currently, there is two inches of snow and ice outside.  Because we live in the woods and tucked into a mountain, it feels like it will be there until July.  All around us is sunny and thawed and then there's us. Winter Wonderland.

So, the white is purple thing is still a thing so it's funny to look out at the snow and see purple.  I tried to color edit a photo to show what I see but I can't get it right.  I don't know how long it's going to take my alphabet brain to figure this out but in the meanwhile, color me entertained.  (get it? lolsigh)

I am currently between two pairs of glasses. I can start the day with one pair and end the day with another pair. (lesser prescription in the latter) I have twenty three days more of this until I order new glasses.  

I need sunglasses outside no matter what or that cool strobe light thing happens.  It's on my list of Questions to Ask at my next appointment.

I no longer want to scratch my eyes in the morning.  Also, fun fact: if you pretend you're scratching your eyes, the brain will often comply as if you have. It might just be my brain but here we are.

Bonus: I can see first thing in the morning instead of waking up with the jolting thought that I've gone blind overnight.  Because that is SUPER FUN, let me tell you.  Also not being a nocturnal pirate is highly recommended.

One of the writers I follow on the social media mentioned that they were just diagnosed with cataracts at the same age I was.  They are super excited about getting the surgery and no glasses, etc. and I'm all "Do I just post a link to the bloggity?"  I demurred and will just follow along with her posts.  Her experience may not be mine, fingers crossed.

Oh, and double-vision is gone.  I have never ever had double-vision because of my eye situation and after the second surgery, totally had it.  Do not recommend, zero stars.  But this then made me wonder if I can now see those dumb 3-D, hidden image posters that were all the rage years ago.

Computer still has the darkening screens on the monitors and my phone is set to dark mode.  The only app that (I use) doesn't have dark mode is the snap one.  I tried to use my laptop the other day and that was not a happy experience.  I've added a darkening screen for it to my list. (link here, in case you're wondering what I'm talking about)

I've been able to work two normal work days, with vision breaks in between.  My eyes are sandpaper at the end but I can see improvement each day.  (I'm getting really good at vision puns)  Some, if not most, of this will be alleviated by correct glasses.  In the meanwhile, I'm back in my childhood with having regular drops in my eyes and a nap in the afternoon.  

I'm finally able to read again so that's the happiest of all the things. Sadly, the book that I wanted to finish had an unsatisfying ending so when I put it down, I actually said aloud to no one "I waited this long for THAT."

Last weekend, Kevin and I were playing the Dodge game (slug bug) and he mentioned that I had gotten a few before him...or to quote him "You're not sucking at this game today"  I did a little happy dance in my seat and exclaimed "Because I can see!"  It might not be correct color but I will take it.

Hopefully this will be the last update on this adventure.  Also, I have another doozy of a raising parents story to tell.  

20 February 2022

My Eyes are Too Big

Okay, where we were in this adventure.  Oh yes, so then on Wednesday....

I went for the post-op appointment and they did the tests and stuff.  They said it was okay to resume normal activities.  But it will be THREE, not two, weeks until I can get new glasses.  So that was disappointing but not the end of the world.  So I'm all skippity skip skip, I can start my life again.

Kevin asked what I was doing after the appointment because I am looking for a new loveseat/couch and he just wants to pick it up and not be part of the search.  I told him I was going home to work because I'm a grownup.  Then while driving, I seriously considered stopping at one store but decided not to.  I came home to try to get back to "normal".

Well, an hour into being home and I have a migraine.  UGH. MiGRaiNe.   So much UGH.  I think what had happened was they did not dilate or numb my eyes for this test.  I am unsure if it was intentional or not.  One of the tests is a pressure test that includes basically booping the actual eye with a lighted wand.  I'm guessing that's what the cause was.  Knowing the cause does not help but here we are. WHEW. I was so FRUSTRATED.

So, now I was sleeping on the couch with all the lamps off for most of the day.  And copious pouting.

I emailed my job partner that evening when I could tolerate a screen.  The subject line: "gdammit" and the body just explained the above.

Thursday I could feel that my eyes were tired but they didn't hurt and the headache was gone. I felt dehydrated, if nothing else, which I wasn't but whatevs.  I kind of half-heartedly went about my day. The whole I'm Not Immediately Better After Two Surgeries thing really had taken a toll so the unreasonable pouting continued.

I discovered that the last pair of glasses I had were now working again.  I alternate between the pretty purple ones and those now, depending on the time of day.  Also, still not in the habit of being able to be without them in the house. (nowhere else, just the house).  I'm working in little increments of time so that I don't overdo it and have another episode.  I'm still limiting my screentime because even though they said go back to normal, I feel like it's not quite time yet.

Then on Friday,  Fridays are when I do errands like groceries, work, stuff for the racecar, and walkies.  I hadn't had a full Friday in a while. You can probably see where this is going...unintentional vision pun!

I did my errands, did walkies, stopped at the post office, then made the questionable decision to make one more stop because Lucy had been in the truck for awhile and I wanted to take photos.  By the time I returned to the truck, I knew I had made a mistake.

Back home and back to the couch with the lights off and a compress on my eyes.  I am a specific kind of stupid.  I was okay, just okay, by the time Kevin got home from work (and brought dinner).  He noticed I was quiet and I mentioned "I mighta overdone it today."  He just gave that disapproving glance that spouses given one another when one has been particularly dumb.  

After dinner, I snoozed on the couch while he watched car t.v.  Then I slept through the night so that was good. Oh, except at about 3:00 am when I awoke to find Lucy completely In The Bed, like a people.  I don't know how she managed that, but she did.  I do know that she's been on my heels or hip, depending on location, for the past week.  #goodgirl

Saturday I slept in a little bit then we went and bought a couch.  As I told my friend: "Have Two Surgeries, Get A Couch."  This process went better than when we bought two chairs this time last year. No major remodeling and Kevin's BFF just happened to stop by for a visit in time to load the old couch into the truck.  Hooray!  By the end of the day, I wasn't wearing glasses because my eyes weren't tolerating anything at that point beyond drops, compresses, and being closed. #Ineverlearn

I explained, perhaps too explicitly to my job partner, that what this feels like is that I want to pop my eye out with a fork.  It's gritty, swollen, and sore and feels like it needs to be soaked in a warm bath.  If I really overdo (just prior to migraine status) there is a funky strobe-light thing that happens around my peripheral vision.  On the regular, it feels like my eyes are too big for my head.  At the least, it feels like when you very first get contacts.

Oh! I almost forgot: so the white is purple thing.  (it's still happening btw) is kind of cool actually.  Because the cataracts were acting like screens, my eyes are having to relearn colors.  That's why everything was so VIVID when they were first fixed.  The most prominent color is blue and the brain has to decide what the actual color is, gets tired and decides it's purple. (quick synopsis, not gospel) THEN the eye doctor guy (not the surgeon) explained that it is thought that one of the Masters had cataracts because in the late days, his paintings heavily featured shades of blue. He couldn't think of the name so he googled it - immediately making him my best friend.  Monet!  One of my favorite Masters, actually.  So, I have that going for me.

I've resumed makeup, which I was really considering while I wasn't.  However, the vast improvement of not looking like near death overrode my decision.  The first day I put it all back on, I felt like a Jody Bergsma doll, my eyes just looked big in my head. 

Jody Bergsma is a regional artist, but you might recognize her work

Today my only job is to hold down the couch.  I'm going to try to read an actual book because I haven't really tried at all.  Screens are still not my friend unless they're set on dark mode, which not all apps feature. I have the protective UV/privacy screens for my computer but so far they've been more of a hassle than a help.  I'm waiting until this is all done before I make a decision about those.  

So one more time for those in the back:

If you need this surgery, don't hesitate because I'm whining about it.   Mostly I have unrealistic expectations AND it's not as easy peasy as everyone makes it seem.

14 February 2022

Harder Yet Harder

 Okay, so.  Hey, Hi.  I'm on day six of post op for Surgery #2.  This is my first day being able to use a computer.

While the first surgery was easier yet harder, this one was harder yet harder.  Here's why:

1. This was more of an awake surgery.  Did not enjoy. Zero stars (but there's a story) (there's always a story)

2. This eye appears much more complicated, which is odd because it's the one that doesn't work well. 

3. Recovery is taking twice as long.

Beginning at the beginning:

Not eating all day is something I won't do again. My last food was 6:55 am. I hit 1:00 pm and was just UGH.  At 2:00 pm, I was deep cleaning the shower in the common folk bathroom - including washing the curtain - because I needed to do something.  As a distraction, my chores were done, I was 100% ready to leave for the surgery, I had cleaned my truck out of Lucy's belongings and hair, and I was cranky/spacey enough that I couldn't just sit and work.  I couldn't even nap because all my brain wanted to talk about was how I wasn't feeding it.  I mean, I actually searched "What can you eat/drink before surgery and when."  The results were you could have sips of water.  You can eat up to six hours previously, depending on the anesthetic.  By the time I had looked this up though, it was four hours prior to surgery.  Gah. Not helpful.

Anyway, Kevin gets home from work and we leave.  Bless his ADHD not-thinking-about-it brain, he asked if I wanted to stop at the coffee stand.  Lolsigh.

The surgery prep nurse was a different one this time.  She was nice enough but.  She pretended that she knew me from the previous surgery.  She did not.   She was a close talker, which feels weird considering the pandemic.  Overly friendly in an overbearing kind of way.  Not my favorite kind of person.  

After the well-check, I told her that I was a hard stick - meaning difficult to get a vein when placing an IV - and that using my hand was the best option.  She stuck me about five times and now I have a giant bruise on my hand.  Super.

She put the blood pressure cuff on my forearm because "It's more comfortable for girls who have bigger arms like us."  She is incredibly lucky that the sedative slowed my responses. W.t.a.F.  C'mon.  What good came out of saying that?  AND this is the first time that someone has ever done/said that.  So, Not Cool.  And yes, there IS a patient survey for the surgeries, I'm happy to report.

The wait between checking in and surgery was less this time so that's nice.  It turns out that it was an hour and a half between check in and surgery last time, Kevin did the math for me. Meanwhile, my usually low blood pressure was higher and that just made me all AUGH as well.

 They didn't make me as high as before because...  

...The anesthesiologist was kind of funny yet a little annoyed with me.  I asked her a question about the previous surgery and they told me that they had to keep adjusting the anesthesia because BIG SURPRISE: I kept moving.  Also, they were having difficulty keeping my eye staring straight ahead.  So they would knock me out so I would stop moving then lighten me up so they could have me correct my stare.    I know I thought it but I'm unsure if I actually said it: "Well, that's on you."  So, that's just funny.  Well, for me.

The actual surgery was a little ack because they kept me more awake so I was more of a participant.     Kind of like childbirth, the memory is fading now but ACK.  They taped my head down and I didn't remember that from before because they had already knocked me out.  Thank the universe for meditative breathing.  All in all, the surgery only took about fifteen minutes which makes the whole being there over two hours thing frustrating. (but understandable)

Kevin took us home after picking up Taco Time (fast food Mexican with sustainable practices) because Taco Tuesday.  We ate at home then I crashed on the couch for a few hours.  I had very little vision in my right eye when we went to sleep.  Just cloudy and painful.  I was still high and now tired so I didn't put any conscious thought into it.

I woke up a little after midnight and was absolutely starving.  I got up to get a snack and realized that I could see very little out of the new eye in the dark and not much better when I turned on a lamp.  It was just cloudy.  Unlike the other surgery, my eye was swollen - both eye and eye lids - and felt sticky.  I put in more drops, sat with a compress, had cookies and milk then went back to sleep.  Thank you leftover sedative because in the middle of the night is when you're most rational and problem-solvy.  Everyone knows that.  lolsigh.

Kevin went to work the next morning because there was no reason for him to stay with me. I didn't mention the feeling blind thing because I was mildly sure that it would improve.  Also, the parents are next door if something goes wrong. And again: I'm feral when I'm sick/hurt.  I slept for about two hours but I had to be at an 8:20 post-op appointment.  I don't know what I was thinking with early morning appointments but here we are.

The surgeon wasn't surprised that I had limited vision with the "new" eye which was both relieving and disappointing. The eye was still very dilated so that was part of the issue. I felt vindicated yet frustrated doing the vision testing because it wasn't working and that's why I did it in the first place.  I've never worried about that eye working well because it never has.  Now I did the thing and it's worse.    

 He reminded me that this surgery was different than the first.  I didn't ask how, I didn't need that information in my head.  He cautioned patience, which is not my strong suit. They put numbing drops in that eye so I actually felt better afterward, even though I still couldn't see.  Now I'm wearing sunglasses at 8:45 on a cloudy/rainy February morning in the PNW.  

I bought myself a treat at Starbucks then went home to go straight back to bed.  Lucy and I stayed in bed until after 1:00 pm, when I got up more because I thought I should than wanted to.  My vision was still fuzzy in the new eye and I still needed drops in the other one.  The numbing drops had worn off and now I'm bedraggled, swollen, and grumpy. 

Meanwhile, Kevin had entered into Hostage Negotiator Mode.  Checking in without being pushy, being positive without being condescending, all the while backing away slowly and leaving me to my own devices.

Screen time was/is a thing that week and the weekend.  My phone is already on Dark Mode so I could use it for a little while but any other form of computer was a big Nope.  That probably added to my surliness because computers are such a big part of our lives now.  Couldn't play a game on the tablet, couldn't write my BFF, couldn't (and didn't anyway) check in with work.  

So now Today: white still appears purple, especially first thing in the morning.  Rinse and repeat with the green urine and greasy hair for two days post-op. #sexyaf   Slowly, the glasses that I'm using are starting not to work as well.  My readers are now mostly useless.  It will still be weeks before I will have new glasses so I'm at the frustrating time of not having adequate vision with or without them.  I knew it was coming and it's mostly fine but still annoying.

Funny thing, because there's always something funny to be told:  Kevin put a sticky note on the bright-as-the sun refrigerator light to thwart the attempted murder on me every time I opened the door.  I told him that I was frustrated but laughing at the fact that I couldn't do it myself, it was like a Three Stooges episode.

I'm back to work, sorta kinda today. I'm working in two hour shifts until everything settles down.  I'm grateful for being able to work at home and that it's during a slow time.   I go back to the surgeon Wednesday morning, then not again for two weeks.  I think it's after that appointment is when I can finally get new glasses.  My insurance pays 75% so I have to decide what I'm going to do: a whole new pair of glasses? put lenses in the frames that I have and love already?  I will decide when the time arrives.

After all of that, then I will know if there is any sort of a game plan for the macular degeneration thing.  I don't believe there is, beyond perhaps more frequent exams.

As with the two previous posts:

Again, if you NEED vision correction surgery, then absolutely don't let my whining and crankiness deter you from getting it done.  Just know it's probably not as easy as it sounds.  If you're doing it for cosmetic reasons, then have a think on that.

05 February 2022

At Least I Have Magazines

The other day I learned that the restrictions that are given upon eye surgery are for a reason.  Everything is fine, I'm fine. I'm just an idiot.

One of the restrictions is not lifting heavy things.  I thought that because I was seven days past the initial surgery date, that meant I could unload the truck of multiple 40 lb. bags.  To be fair to me, I waited the seven days and the weight limit was 50 lbs.  I know, I know. I KNOW.

This choice landed me on the couch for the afternoon with ibuprofen, saline drops, and warm compresses.  Again: because I'm an idiot.  Especially since I didn't necessarily NEED to do it, I wanted to do it.

Now I'm days until the second surgery.  I'm not as anxious as I was before the first surgery.  Some because I now know how it's going to play out and some because I'm trying not to let it get to me like last time.

The thing I've learned is that: this surgery is not as easy peasy as they make it seem.  Also, this surgery is different than vision correction laser surgery that most people get.  I somehow didn't realize that.  Still not as easy as the "You'll be great in a few days." that I was told/had heard.  If you know me, you know I'm not patient in these situations.  

Then I thought: let's reframe this.  I was on bedrest for almost two months, not walking for however long.  How did I deal with that?  Oh, yeah.  HIGH.  That's how I dealt with that. Painkillers and nerve blockers. So, that reframing didn't work At All.

It's been decided that I need to have drops in my eyes every four hours after all; when originally, I wasn't supposed to.  To add insult to injury, they are not the little eye drops that you get for a dollar when you're hungover .  They're expensive - bearable but expensive.  Also, my little green heart is hating that they are single-use packets.  I'm going to figure out another brand of drops that come in a bottle, not single-use, thus preventing filling up the landfills.  Also, because alphabet brain, I need want to have them on the even numbers so like 6:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., etc.  It is super fun in my brain right now.  Instead, I have set an alarm on my phone for every four hours. 

I still see purple when looking at pure white.  I thought it was caused by blood but I'm wondering if it's the shiny new lens in my eye. It makes looking outside at the sky A TRIP when I first awake and I have to continually remind myself that the sky is not purple.  My glasses are still working well but that all changes after the second surgery again. Worse case, I will take out one lens and look like a complete dork until I get the new prescription in a few weeks.  The vividness is less - or I've adjusted - so I feel less like a cat that is high on catnip.

Like when I was on bedrest, etc. years ago, I forgot that I go feral when I'm hurt or sick.  Just leave me be and let me do my thing.  Kevin's handling this pretty well, not hovering and offering help once then leaving me alone, which is what I prefer. (and him, if we're being honest)   He doesn't comment or remind because he knows it will just make me stabby.  I am super extra fun to live with in these situations.

Because I needed something to distract me, I colored my hair a darker color.  I forget that when I do this, my hair gets ginger accents and that the darker color washes me out. And bonus: no makeup to try to offset it.  I'm switching it back the day before the surgery.  (oh, and I taped my eye shut when I did it the first time, in case you were worried)

The surgery on Tuesday is late in the day so that will be fun with the not eating thing.  I have a plan: right after Kevin leaves for work at 5:15 am, I am going to have a legitimate breakfast.  Then right before the not-eating deadline, have a Luna bar and some smoothie. I'll work like regular to keep me distracted, then take a nap so I'm not crabby and hungry.  Hypothetically.

I'm self-quarantining because I am taking zero risk of having to postpone this business. (also, it feels like a good human thing to do for the surgeon, etc. who are working literally IN MY FACE)  I'm already bored.  My chores are completely done.  I did a computer project for Kevin and I even deep cleaned the dishwasher.  

As a result of that boredom, I sorted through all my glasses.  I'm sending the ones I don't want to donation and keeping two frames that I'll have lenses put into.  (one sunglass, one regular)  It's been a little over a week and I'm not needing the readers for the computer now so that's intriguing.  I still need them for actually reading though.   

Then I was thinking "Oh, I'll gather all the stuff for donation and take it on Monday."  Umm, no because you're quarantining you silly rabbit.  Now I'm annoyed about that.  I bought a star gazer lamp for my bedroom, because I'm six, and it arrived broken.  I need to send that back and nope, gonna have to wait.  Add two levels of annoyance with that.  

Now Kevin has left to go to the fabricator's shop.  I was originally going to watch television with Lucy but in my cleaning, I realized that I can actually read that giant stack of magazines that I keep moving around the house.  So, if you need me I am on the couch, under my Snoopy pity blanket, reading literally and not figuratively, one year's worth of magazines.  (People, HGTV, Real Simple, Country Living, and Vanity Fair, if you're curious)

Again, if you NEED vision correction surgery, then absolutely don't let my whining and crankiness deter you from getting it done.  Just know it's probably not as easy as it sounds.  If you're doing it for cosmetic reasons, then have a think on that.

There's another stack in the living room