Even two days later it is hard to remember the procedure in detail. It was very fast and my surgeon talked me through each stage, but the noise, vibration, pressure, and bright lights combined with firm instructions to stare at the lights, stay still and not talk (which is what I do when nervous) were pretty stressful, but not painful. My biggest fear was that I would cough or sneeze at the wrong moment and ruin the operation.
Afterwards a taxi was flagged down for me and, despite eyes covered in goggles and blurry from drops, I was able to text my daughter and a couple of friends without too many spelling errors. I came home and collapsed on the bed, and there I lay for a number of hours, fitfully dozing with one ear on the radio and the other on the noises floating up from the kitchen, and despite my best laid plans I did have to venture carefully down the stairs a couple of times to reassure the children. Those hours were quite painful and nauseous and sleeping through them would have been better. But soon after 10 I found myself sitting in my usual chair in the living room with Netflix for company, and I could see it! The following day the pain gradually lessened and my near vision improved so fast that I was sewing by mid afternoon, and it was easier than it had been for years.
Two days post op and I'm back driving and going to meetings and appointments, but on the downside I currently bear a passing resemblance to Miss Havisham and I can't wait for the makeup embargo to be lifted!
That's the potted version of what happened. I also learned a lot and in case you're considering this procedure too, here are the lessons so far:
If like me you've been wearing prescription sunglasses for years, you might want to get a pair of cheap glasses before the op: your eyes may be sensitive to glare post op and you may want to hide them for a bit too. I wish I'd bought a pair with pale lenses as well, for indoor use against bright lights.
Check your social calendar
I'm banned from wearing eye makeup for a week. So ideally I would have gone into hibernation or at least worn dark glasses all day (see above).
I was asked about allergies, but never thought to mention that I always use hypoallergenic make up and skin products, which I should have as it seems I may have a slight reaction to one of the eye drops that you need to use afterwards. Luckily it's the least important one.
Smoke and dust
This is an excellent excuse to give up the cigarettes as a smoky atmosphere will not help the healing process. Nor will lots of dust, so maybe check that the neighbours are not planning to gut their house, as happened here last year.
The last meal
Have a nice meal before the appointment. Otherwise you will be starving later, but may feel too ill to eat. Also I was offered valium pre-op, but only if I'd eaten. Luckily I had. Though two valium would have been even better!
Plan a staycation
Two days off work are recommended and I would agree. You will be able to do very little for a number of hours after the operation: just as well I had a babysitter booked, and I also felt quite shaky and sick on day two as I recovered from the procedure and my eyes learned to refocus.
Also there will be regular follow up appointments, so it's probably not good to book a week in Spain until your eyes are fully healed.
You should not plan to drive home from the operation - staff at the clinic that I attended flagged down a taxi for me and made sure that I got into it safely. I had to go back in for a check up the following morning and I did not drive then either until my surgeon told me that my eyesight was okay.
Plan your fitness schedule
Swimming, martial arts and any contacts sports will be banned for 2-4 weeks as well as relaxation activities like steam rooms and saunas.
Afterwards you may smell a little odd, at least that's what my honest children told me, but I'm thinking that had to do with the surgery and the eye drops.
But washing everything else presents a different kind of challenge, one that involves preventing water from getting anywhere near my eyes. I may need a solution like this:
In fact a more stylish version would be ideal for leaving the house until I can get my fringe and make up back to avoid scaring the locals with my pale ghostly appearance.
It's never too late
I thought I was too old, that there was no point in trying to do something like this when you're the wrong side of 50 and mostly stuck at home. But then a few things happened:
...My lovely Dad left me some money in his will, and I believe that he would've wanted me to spend some of it on myself.
...Neither my glasses nor my contact lenses were working for me properly anymore, so something had to change.
...Life is getting more challenging, and I always feel more confident when I am not wearing glasses, so I think the boost will help me to cope with whatever lies ahead.
...I promised myself that I would be brave this year.
So this happy post is my contribution to this week's reasons to be cheerful, see below for more...