I’ve had it done and today is really the first day I’ve felt able to write about it.
I arrived at the hospital at half past seven on Friday morning and was taken to the ward shortly afterwards. Like an ordinary ward with lockers and curtains, but with armchairs where the beds used to be! I soon realised that I was to be taken to theatre fairly promptly as the surgeon, anaesthetist and another doctor asking me to sign to allow my removed cornea to be used for research purposes, arrived fast, one after the other. Then it was a quick scramble into one of those awful gowns and a rush to the theatre. I was attached to monitors and a cannula was put into the back of my hand. I was then given something via the cannula to relax me and it was quite amusing to hear via the monitors how quickly my heart rate slowed and steadied! Finally I was told I was going to sleep which I duly did.
I woke up about three and a half hours later with the headache from hell and a feeling of panic. This disappeared as I came too properly, although the headache persisted. I was given some water and some paracetamol before being taken to the ward.
Incidentally, does anyone actually think that paracetamol is ever effective? Not sure it is for me but they will insist on giving it in hospitals these days rather than anything stronger.
I had a very painful couple of hours on the ward until I saw one of the doctors. She uncovered my eye to make sure everything was OK, which it was, but this was a very stressful meeting. She didn’t see why I was in so much pain, she said, as all was OK. She kept asking me to look this way and that, and I kept telling her that I couldn’t move my eyes. She said I wasn’t trying and that the pain couldn’t be that bad. I told her it was nothing to do with the pain, it was my underlying eye condition which prevents me from voluntarily moving my eyes. By that time, the pain, frustration and recent anaesthetic had me in tears which really wasn’t helping. The nurse who was with me asked the doctor to write me up for stronger pain killers but she said I didn’t need them but that I should stay in hospital for observation.
I was then admitted onto the next door ward and put to bed! The pain was horrendous all evening, eye pain and a headache that just wouldn’t shift. They finally got me some stronger pain killers at about eleven and shortly after three I drifted off to sleep for a couple of hours. I felt much better in the morning and went home just before lunch.
I have to say, apart from the bitch doctor encountered on Friday afternoon, the staff were lovely. Often blind people have a bad time in hospitals and feel very out of control and isolated, but they couldn’t have been more helpful and were only too happy to walk with me when I wanted to go to the loo etc, as I am totally blind in what was my uncovered eye and didn’t want to cause any disturbance by walking into things.
As to whether or not it has been successful, I couldn’t yet say. I am finding it very hard to keep my eye open for long but when I can open it, there is a lot of blurry glare. There does seem to be more light getting into my eye so I’m hopeful. I was pleased to learn that instead of the full thickness graft they thought they were going to have to do, they only had to do a partial thickness graft. This apparently lessens the possibility of rejection afterwards.
At the moment my days are divided into four hour slots. The bit just after my drops and pain killers where I feel fairly OK, and the couple of hours before the next lot where I have to go and lie down again because of eye pain and headache. Each day it’s getting a little better though.