I just went on a 2 week family vacation to CA. Lots of night driving. Not a peep out of my contact lens, and never any pain at all and wore them for 14+ hours daily. We went to Yosemite and at 5000 feet elevation, found a remote field and just went stargazing for a few hours with my kids. Did you know that most kids never see a starry night? It was the first time I’d done this since cornea transplant surgery – and it was wonderful. I had my new soft lens in place and each star was a pinprick. Meteors, satellites and more. I imagined my donor out there somewhere. I think we might join a stargazing group in Lexington.
Tag Archives: emotions
Today I watched a robin working her nest. My depth perception was, well, deep. With keratoconus, I would previously have been less able to pick out the nest against the leaves in the background. But this time, it was clear. The colors were distinct, and the ugly little birdlings were even more homely than I recall before. Brilliant.
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.
Mountain biking in Kentucky is generally called “Cross Country” riding. The terrain is made up of undulating hills usually 150-200 feet maximum. A good 10 mile ride will take several hours and offers a tremendous upper and lower body workout. It’s more like cross country skiing than downhill skiing for lack of a better example. The reward for a long climb is usually a roller coaster ride through a tunnel of vegetation, airborne some of the time, making split-second decisions on how to manage what’s coming at you. You’ll encounter wildlife and get away from the city in a very special way.
The wooded trails require depth perception. Things come at you and you must make a decision, react and adjust your “line” to overcome it. Branches can be low, rocks can be loose, and alternative paths through difficult terrain can make the difference between a thrill and a spill. It’s definitely possible to ride with one bad eye, but you must ride slowly and carefully or choose “open” trails like the fire-roads I rode in CA. Kentucky has very limited trails compared to most states (go figure) and most are of the wooded variety, so this is great for me.
I’d say ride wherever and however you can, good eyes or not, and adjust your pace and path. As my surgical eye gets better and better, I crossed a “binocular” threshold where I am comfortable on cross country wooded trails again. When I stop in the woods to enjoy a babbling creek or to watch a white-tail deer , I’ll say “thank you” again for the priceless gift that my donor gave me.
<photo by trailsource.com used under CC license>
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.
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.
Well, as of this morning, I’m 30 days away. In the next 2 weeks, I’ll be getting a full physical from my family doctor to be sure that there are no issues with the surgery (I don’t expect any.) I have began to notify my clients of a 2 week period of low productivity, and a full week out of the office.
I still feel overall excited, with a tinge of anxiety. I only question the idea of the transplant when I have a “good day” with my semiscleral lens, like yesterday (11 hours of wear time, very little discomfort.) But all I have to do is close my 20/20 right eye to see that I still have a problem. I am also hoping for the DALK not to be converted to a PK – but I need to be ready for that. The doctor said the DALK would be lifetime, with little chance of rejection, but it all depends on what he finds on the lower membranes.
Today, I have to go to the dentist – likely for a root canal. I’m a nighttime grinder, and I’ve damaged some of my teeth. I don’t want the teeth hurting or be on any conflicting pain medicines near the surgery, so getting it taken care of now. Not looking forward to it – I hate going to the dentist
It’s normal to have ups and downs when considering this procedure. And it’s normal to experience a whole spectrum of emotions – from sadness, worry and even excitement.
For a while, I felt silly for feeling nervous about the whole corneal transplant thing. I mean.. it’s an “outpatient” procedure. But, for most, it’s unlike any other thing that’s happened in one’s life. Yes… a knife, on your eye. At first that sounds scary as hell. But we all must remember that corneal surgeons use a microscope, precision tools and years of practice. To you, it’s one of the biggest things that has ever happened (especially for younger patients,) but to the physician, it’s rather routine.
I think most cornea doctors realize that this is very important, and my experience has been that they are more than willing to talk with you in depth about it, as many times as you want. If your doctor seems rushed or doesn’t answer your questions – by all means find another.
I will post my questions, with the answers, later this weekend.