A living being is a remarkable thing.
My cornea transplant was my surgeon’s first surgery of the day, and after my hour of lying in recovery at the hospital, I was taken home around noon.
This first day of recovery was a little rough. For the remainder of that day, and two days more I was to lie flat on my back. Before the surgery most of my apprehension focused on whether I could actually manage the three days of bed rest. For the first day, boredom is not an issue as you are recovering from the sedation and feel quite sleepy. In my case after lying on my back for a couple of hours I had an excruciating pain in my back. I told my caregiver (my mother) this and she it was really too early to have back pain from such a short time lying down. As the day progressed and my discomfort increased, I began to realize that the pain was being caused by what was happening in my lower abdomen. I was bloated and not feeling well at all. It was at about 6 o’clock in the evening when I got up for a bathroom break that my body decided it was time to get rid of whatever was bothering me. I became very hot and I called to my husband saying that I was going to faint. He arrived to find me ripping off all of my clothes because I was burning up, and just in time to catch me and to bear the brunt of my being sick to my stomach. He had to catch me because I was afraid to put my head down to stop the fainting as I had been told to keep my head tilted back and my eyes to the ceiling. It is very difficult to vomit with your head tilted backwards and I was terrified that I would undo this surgery and ruin the precious new cornea I had just been given. (Subsequently I have found out that lying on my side would have been the best solution and I am keeping this in mind for next time!)
This little episode necessitated a call to the surgeon, and as I had none of the other symptoms of rejection, he figured it was a reaction to the sedation and perhaps other drugs that had been put in my eyes for the surgery. He suggested Gravol and I took some which helped a little. The next day when I saw him, he said the eye looked fantastic.
To combat the boredom of the next two days, I had several Podcasts downloaded, and I listen to a whole season of the CBC’s “Someone Knows Something”. And while I drifted in and out of sleep and probably missed a whole episode, it kept my mind occupied with its mystery. I was now allowed 30-minute breaks three times a day to get up and move around a little, eat, and use the bathroom. After the first day I no longer had to keep my head tilted back which made doing those things a whole lot easier.
After three days of lying on my back I was allowed to be up as per usual. Immediately I could see the difference in my eye. It took about three days to recover from the three days of lying on my back. My lower back had seized up so that even walking was difficult. But I did walk as much as I could bear.
At my one-week check-up I asked my surgeon when he would determine that I could drive again. “Let’s do that now” he said. So, I read the letters and I with my new, one-week-old eye, I surpassed where it was legal to drive. He said, “Drive when you feel comfortable”, and so I did. One week earlier, my vision had been so bad that I was limiting my driving.
I recently had my four-week check-up and the result is so good that I am now on the list to have surgery on my other eye. After only four weeks, I am back to all of my regular activities. But more than that, I am no longer on the downward spiral to total blindness. I can only marvel at the awesome healing properties of my living body.
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