I’ll call this day 0 since it was the day of surgery.  I made sure the bedroom was all ready for me when we got home. Lights out, blinds down, blackout curtains drawn. On the bedside table were my 3 kinds of eye drops, earphones, and water bottle. I headed straight up to bed and threw on my audiobook. My super awesome husband came and hung out with me for a while. I started to doze off and he left me to rest (and enjoy one of his last days of vacation in the sunshine with a beer, I really can’t blame him).

One of the greatest things I found for my phone was an app called Twilight. I had been using it for some time already as a colour filter on my phone during evening hours to help me wind down for sleep. I realized a few days before surgery that it would probably help me while I am light-sensitive. I was right, it was extremely useful. In comparison to my iPod with no filter, it was blinding and I couldn’t look at it at all, even with the brightness down.

I woke up from my nap, and the pain was fast approaching. I was now about 3 hours post-op. My eyes were burning.  I wasn’t given anything but the numbing drops for the pain, and I didn’t want to risk delaying my healing. I knew I had some leftover Tylenol 3’s from dental work, but for some reason didn’t want to take them yet.  I was pacing, not knowing what to do.  It was a bright sunny day, but I ran downstairs and grabbed my gel eye pack.  This picture was modeling said gel pack a few days before surgery. The gel pack didn’t help at all. I tried my lubricating eye drops, no help.

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I kept thinking of that scene from Fight Club, the scene with the chemical burn and the word “sear” coming to mind whenever I tried to picture a beautiful forest. I couldn’t stay in any one position for more than a few seconds. I couldn’t sit still. I laid down on my side, on my back, I stood up, paced.  Finally I had to send a text message to Derek. “I’m uncomfortable”, I said, which is pretty hilarious looking back, considering I was beyond uncomfortable.

Literature from eye clinics never describe the searing pain.  One place even said it just feels like you have an eyelash in your eye. What a joke! It felt like what it would probably feel like if I went to one of those tanning booths and didn’t wear anything on my eyes.  Which I think is what the cross-linking was… it used UV light in the process.

Aside from the burning, there was the ceiling fan. Sounds like a small problem, but it just compounded my “discomfort”. The ceiling fan even at a low setting bothered my eyes.  Even lying on my side, the fan bothered me. I had to lie there with a sheet over my face.  It was too hot to turn the fan off.

Anyway, I wasn’t sure what Derek could do for me when I asked for his help, but when he showed up, I knew all I wanted him to do was to help me relax. He was an amazing help at calming me down. I was able to relax and even doze a bit, despite the pain. He brought me dinner, which I could barely eat (pizza). I could hardly open my eyes in the dark room with sunglasses on and just didn’t have the stomach for it.  He left me again after dinner and from my text messages to him, it looks like I beckoned him once more and that’s probably when I took the T3, at his advice. I now remember it was because I woke up to screaming kids outside.  It’s the middle of summer and I understand the need for kids to be outside screaming their faces off, it just wasn’t good timing for me, as selfish as that sounds. When you’re in pain, nothing else matters. I’m sure Derek could attest that I  was pretty cranky all evening.  I couldn’t get two words out at a time and when I had to repeat myself, it was exhausting.  Anyway, I had Derek find me the earplugs.  The timeline is a bit hazy. The Tylenol worked its magic and eased the pain and drifted me off to sleep. I woke up around 2 a.m. and took my sleeping pill.  Derek decided to sleep in my son’s room while he was away, but continued to check up on me. I honestly don’t know how I could have gotten through that evening without him.

Everything I read said the pain wasn’t till day 3 or so. I was not ready for pain so soon, that was unnerving as well… like if it’s this bad now, how bad is it going to get?

I forgot to mention my super cool protective eye thingies.

eye protection

I got a couple of these bad boys to tape over my eyes while I nap and sleep for the first 5 days.  They are actually really awesome. I can sleep without worrying about poking myself in the eye, and they are pretty comfortable, too. The tape is not so awesome, it is impossible to get off my face. I tried baby oil and olive oil with face wash. I read that alcohol wipes or nail polish remover works, but I am not allowed to put that stuff near my eyes for a week.

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