I've been reading a few blogs in the 5 or so minutes that my eyes want to let me read, and it's been very enlightening. Would I have still done this after reading other people's experiences? I think I probably would have. Mostly because I would have regretted NOT trying it if I just chickened out and had my eye exam/contacts/glasses extravaganza again.
That said, I would have done this differently if I would have given myself a chance to step back a bit. Mostly, I would have read REAL people's blogs instead of just wikipedia or medical info propaganda. In those areas, they tell you about what happens, or what might be going on, but in reality, there really isn't a whole lot of information. I was surprised. I thought I had read up quite a bit about the procedure and what to expect before I went in. But what you REALLY experience is a bit different than what the medical community writes up on their sites.
First off, and I know this is totally petty of me, but I can't wear makeup for like a month. Yes. I know. I'm so lame. But when your eyes are slightly puffy with big dark circles under them as they're healing, I really look terrible without makeup! It would have been nice to know that. I read on one med site that you have to go a week. My doc here said 3-4 weeks. It's better to be safe than sorry, but still. I would have liked to have prepared myself. Ha!
Second, all the med sites tell you you'll have 20/20 or close to it by 10 days to 2 weeks. Now, I'm only 5 days in, so I don't know if that's totally true for me or not, but from what I've read from real people, it's more like at LEAST a month to 6 months...some it takes a year. Oh boy. One person mentioned the fact that finally, a year after surgery, they were able to see the stars instead of a massive blob of halos. How sad I will be not to be able to see the stars for a year! I'm only hoping that they'll at least come back. I love the stars. How am I supposed to teach my kids astronomy next year if I can't even see the stars?? :(
Plus, no one mentions anything about the halos. I think it's funny right now, but I can tell you, if you have to drive or do anything that involves night vision, you're out of luck for quite a while. ALL lights look like halos...like shining bubbles floating about your vision. It's a creepy sensation, really. It's impossible to judge distances or anything with these little halos of light. They're pretty...but not overly helpful. I hope they go away, too.
For some reason, I was also really surprised to find that I still can't read. I guess I should have assumed that that would come with recovering eyesight--that having had my eyes blasted with concentrated light sabers, the near vision would be messed with, too. It'll come back...right?
I suppose the hardest thing is the fact that I just can't function at 100%. By the middle of the day, I HAVE to take a break--the kind of break where you lie down and close your eyes for like an hour. If I do that, I can make it through the rest of the day. If I don't...well, I haven't found out what happens if I don't. I almost did today, since I felt pretty good this morning and had lots of things on my list of things to do today. But by 3pm, I was just so exhausted that I had to lie down, close my eyes, and listen to documentary hour with my kids. I know, I know, it's good to have down time and take breaks and have naps and things, but that's not how I roll. I'm sure I'll get my energy and drive back once my eyes have a chance to heal. I need to let them do that so that the recovery time doesn't drag on...but boy, oh boy, is it ever hard for me to do!! It would have been nice to know that naps and frequent breaks are recommended for the first, oh, month or so. The first few days, obviously. In my mind, by day 5, I should be fit as a fiddle! That's ok. Now is a good time to slow down a bit and finish the school year with the kids. (Which, of course, opens up a whole other can of worms...how am I supposed to be teaching my kids and keeping them up in their school work if I can't even READ????)
Overall, I suppose that I'm in the "What in the Heck have I DONE?!?!?" stage. From what I've read, that seems to be a normal thing. I read one person's comments that on day 5, they started to freak out and cry when they woke up and the world was STILL blurry. It's nice to hear that, because that's EXACTLY what happened to me this morning. I opened my eyes hoping that overnight they'd magically improved...at least a little... but no such luck. I felt deflated, exhausted, and pretty freaked out. Sort of like that one week post-partum...every new mom cries uncontrollably about a week after birth with that feeling of being overwhelmed and 'WHAT HAVE I DONE??
Will my vision EVER improve? I have hopes that it will. The doc said that by my next visit in 10 days, my eyes SHOULD be about 90%. I hope so. I want to read. I want to exercise. I want to read some more. I want to put on makeup (yes. I admit it. It's on my top 5 list of things I want to do.). I want to SEE!! I want to see my kids' faces. I want to see the pictures they draw and read the stories they write. I want to watch the computer screen while I'm typing. I want to go swimming and scuba diving. I want to drive my car instead of making poor Devin chauffeur me around town. I want to read. Have I mentioned that I want to read?
With all this negativity, there ARE improvements. They're slight, and I really should be celebrating them instead of dwelling on the fact that I can't focus to read yet. Every once in awhile, I'll have these glimpses of clarity. If I'm not focusing on things, I'll notice that edges will all of a sudden become defined...then it will go away when I try to focus. It's looking through a glass, darkly. And I still wish that I would have been warned a little more about the extent of the healing/recovery process. I suppose I just didn't read up enough.
While it's frustrating and, quite frankly, rather terrifying (WHAT IF IT DOESN'T EVEN COME BACK??), I'm grateful for this self-inflicted trial. It's an exercise in patience, and an experience that will definitely give me the ability to empathize much more with difficulties and disabilities. Yes, hopefully this is short-lived. But it's a trial nonetheless. Yes, I chose to do this, but quite frankly, living life with glasses and contacts can be just as much of a trial! Ha! Ok, so maybe not so much a trial, but it's something you have to deal with on a daily basis. If you're out and about and your glasses are broken, then what? Or if your contact falls out, then what? Or if you're not able to get new glasses or contacts...what then?? I felt really good about this decision. Devin and I DID discuss it at length, and he agreed with me. I had a blessing just before I went in and I felt very calm. Now, it's a test of my petience and a good exercise in trusting in God even more to help and guide me.
But I still want to read. And put on makeup.