Quick post to let you know that I just made a new page which covers the chronology from my first Dr. appt to one year after the surgery. Same posts, but in chronological order.
Category Archives: Pre Surgery
Just about everyone I’ve talked to at the Eye Center have asked me which eye they were operating on. I’m sure it’s part of quality control. Anyway, I thought I might play a joke by arriving with this helpful note affixed.
Well, tomorrow is the day.
Developments today are minimal – verified that pharmacy had new prescriptions and asked nurse about migraine medicine and surgery. I have gathered up my plungers and other supplies related to my scleral lens and will put those in storage after tomorrow.
All in all, I’m ready to go.
On Monday or Tuesday, someone is going to die.
A man, a woman, older or younger, black, white, Asian, Christian, Jew, Atheist, Gay, Straight…. someone will be lost.. Thanks to a 10 second investment, signing a donor card or answering a donation question, an eye will be harvested, sent to an eye bank and the corneal tissue delivered to Dr. Holland. The unselfish act of a total stranger will give me better vision, someone else life with a kidney, another dying person a heart or lung, perhaps.
I was surprised to learn that 95% of Americans “support” organ donation, while only 38% are registered organ donors? I think it’s probably a combination of laziness, ignorance, paranoia and anti-scientific leanings. But mostly I think it’s the ridiculous opt-in system that we use in the US right now.
If you believe in heaven – donating your viable organs will look very good on your resume at the pearly gates check-in queue.
How many people die because people, rather than having some deep philosophical misgivings, simply forgot to sign their card? I’m a major advocate for opt-out organ donation nationwide and presumed consent.
Presumed consent, advocates argue, combines the principles of supply-side efficiency, respect for individual conscience, and individual’s positive, yet qualified, duty to promote the good of society.
-Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network
If someone is bothered by the donation of their organs, let them do the work of un-registering themselves. During that process, they will take an internal ethical journey, at each step justifying their position. I think many would reconsider after reflection.
More than 100,000 people are currently waiting for organ transplants, and close to 20 die each day because of organ shortages.
- National Institutes of Health
I’m also an advocate for preference of donors in receipt of organs/tissue should they need it. Excepting those with health issues that prevents donation, I think that when there are two people with equal need for a given organ, preference should be given to the one who has signed their donor card, such as it is in Israel
All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
Created and maintained by Donate Life America, www.donatelife.net contains important facts and information about donation and transplantation as well as details on how to become a registered organ, eye and tissue donors in each state.
Donate Life America’s Spanish web site, www.donevida.org contains facts and information about donation and transplantation and addresses concerns that are specific to the Hispanic community. It also details how to become a registered organ, eye and tissue donor in each state.
Created and maintained by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), www.unos.org is the organ transplantation information resource for medical professionals and the general public. UNOS brings together medicine, science, public policy and technology to facilitate every organ transplant performed in the United States.
Created and maintained by UNOS the site contains in depth national, regional, and state donation and transplantation data.
Created and maintained by UNOS, the Transplant Living Web site is the definitive information and education resource for transplant patients and their families.
The oldest transplant association in the United States, the EBAA is a nationally recognized accrediting body for eye banks.
The American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) is a professional, non-profit, scientific and educational organization. It is the only national tissue banking organization in the United States, and its membership totals more than 100 accredited tissue banks and 1,000 individual members.
The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is the non-profit organization recognized as the national representative of fifty-eight federally-designated organ procurement organizations, serving more than 300 million Americans.
Interactive Body (opens in new window.)
I am seeking the source of the terrific illustration above so I can provide credit. Is it your illustration? Please email me so I can attribute it.
It’s been a good week. The signs of Spring are all around Kentucky. If there is a more beautiful place to be in the Spring than Kentucky, I’ve not found it. Soon foals will be visible in the plank-wood fields in the rural parts of the state and Lexington’s downtown will get busier during the day as people come out.
I bought myself a present – a new commuter bike, and to get it, I made a short 350 mile roadtrip to Indianapolis, listening to an Audiobook (“Shopclass as Soulcraft”). Knowing I may not be driving much for the next couple of weeks, I thought it would be nice to go on a short mission. I was right, it was fun – and I got a great deal on the bike!
I have had mostly good days with the semi-scleral lens, wearing it for 11-12 hours daily – my absolute max. I’ve done well on watching the clock and not forgetting (easy to do on good days, when your eye feels great.)
But the calendar is ruthlessly counting down the days until I go in for my DALK procedure. I’m apprehensive about it, but reason with myself that I’m already functionally blind in my left eye. It’s not as if I have great vision and am treating some invisible condition with a risk of losing what I have. The overwhelmingly likely scenario is a successful procedure next week. So, let the days come and I’ll check in again in a while.
The “7″ photo to the left is by Alan Campbell. The field is by me.
Had my pre-surgical physical today in Lexington at Baptist Family Medicine Clinic – with my long-time family MD. No surprises. I am healthy and should be good to go. Blood test, a few questions, and I was out of there. Scale was friendly – showing I’d dropped 11 lbs. Blood pressure was completely normal – nice considering my family history of high blood pressure.
The staff were quite interested in seeing the photos of my cone taken (previous post) the day before. Oddly, my physician was having trouble with dry eye, and I was able to give her advice and tell her about how semi-scleral lenses help with this – talk about role-reversal.
It is now 2 weeks from my surgery. I’ve been studying the various means of anesthesia – as evidence on right demonstrates.
Well, I set out today to take a good quality picture of my cone, and managed to do it (after 20-30 tries) with my iPhone4. It’s not easy getting the alignment right.
Alas… you now see the culprit. A ugly, lumpy cornea with a bulge at the bottom. If you zoom these, the cone is really obvious.
When taking out my semi-sclarel lens, something didn’t go right. Either I didn’t pre-lube it enough or just had a bad angle. The removal does something to the nerve endings of the cornea and “whap” – pain! I can pretty much count on it hurting for 12 hours, so took Benadryl to sleep last night (knocks me out.)
I hope that this will not be the case after the new cornea is healed. It’s unpredictable. I had to cancel meetings at work today because I get these stabbing stinging pain out of nowhere – and makes me look like a turets syndrome patient as I flinch and curse.
I wish there was some kind of anesthetic drops that wouldn’t dissolve my cornea even more, but for now, it’s going to have to be Tylenol. Perhaps my cornea is protesting it’s last few weeks?
Image: “Pain” by iprozac on Flickr
Well, as the days tick by, I’m becoming more acutely aware of my forthcoming date with Dr. Holland. I’ve began to plan things a bit for those 2-3 weeks after the surgery when I’m certain not to be at my best.
- getting a physical.
- informing clients of my absence.
- scaling down work schedule for the period.
- scheduling time to have work done on my commuter bike (since I won’t be able to ride for 20-30 days.)
- getting as many “heavy lifting” tasks done as I can before hand.
- looking around for some clear glasses I can use to protect my eyes.
My KC eye has been awful at night lately… not so bad during the day. At night, it’s constantly dry – I am awakened 3-4+ times nightly, and pour lubricant into them. Sleep deprivation has caught up with me – I nearly fell asleep in a meeting, and the double espressos are not enough. I wonder how I’ll sleep after the surgery?
I’m having more migraine also – which may or may not be sourced to the KC vision/strain. Thank goodness for Imitrex. I just read the really amazing story about Serene Branson’s on-air voice problem during the Superbowl… it turns out it was migraine-aura related, not a stroke. I wonder if this will raise awareness of migraine and its debilitating effects.
Have been thinking about how the brain reacts to poor vision in one eye, and how it might re-learn to use that eye after surgery. Heard an interview on NPR about how our senses are mapped onto the brain. Quite interesting. I wonder how KC patients’ brains re-map themselves before and after cornea surgery?
photo: “19″ by Lincolnian on Flickr
Almost imperceptively, Keratoconus has given me an impulsive “can’t go” reaction to everything that happens after 8PM. I know my eyes will be hurting and dry by then, and will want to stay home.
I even project this onto others… “You can’t possibly do that drive in a single day!” I’ll say. The reality is that I’ve simply forgotten that it is possible to remain active for longer than 10 hours.