I promised you guys an update about my eye operation, so here’s hoping today’s post isn’t as depressing as my last few. In case you have missed my previous updates, I was hit by a car two and a half weeks ago.
I suffered a number of fractures in my face, which were operated on immediately. I went back in to the hospital a week after my operation and the doctors couldn’t believe how quickly my face had healed. I went from having a completely black, swollen eye and face, to barely looking like anything had happened to me (one day I may post the photos).
On Monday I went in for my second operation, to repair my detached retina. This involved wrapping a silicon band around my eyeball, and freezing part of my eye.
The bad news is this is the original operation I planned to have, which may mean I can never lift (heavy) weights again. The band’s job is to basically squish my eye, therefore the pressure in my eye is already increased. Lifting anything heavier than about a 10RM will increase the pressure too much. As much as I love deadlifting 100kg, I don’t think it will be worth it if my eye explodes in the middle of the gym.
I think I have mentioned this before, but I am SUPER squeamish when it comes to eyes (even that picture above grosses me out!). I was very nervous waiting around to go into surgery. For my last operation, they put me to sleep in a separate room and then wheeled me into the theatre. This time I literally walked from my room, up the stairs and into the operating theatre to lay down on the table.
When I saw about 15 doctors and nurses standing around, and I started thinking about what the operation actually involved (the best part was when a nurse said: “Don’t worry, they won’t be removing your eyeball from the socket, just rotating it” AHHH!) I had a major panic attack. I started crying and hyperventilating so they snapped an oxygen mask on me and sedated me before putting me to sleep.
When I woke up, I was in a little bit of pain but it was more of an irritation – it just felt like, surprise surprise, someone had twisted my eyeball around. I had a friend with me and we chatted and giggled for a few hours until I was allowed to go home. I was relieved to have the surgery over with and I was in great spirits, until my cat died.
I went back into the hospital the next day, and the doctor told me the surgery went fine. There is a 20 per cent chance I will have to have a second operation to fix my retina, but I won’t know if this surgery has worked or not for another four weeks.
The good news I’m not completely confined to bed rest in darkness. I am allowed to watch TV, go on the computer (obviously!) and read. I can go back to work whenever I feel up to it (they recommend waiting 1-2 weeks) but I am not allowed to do any exercise other than walking for at least four weeks.
I have to sleep with a shield on my eye for four weeks so that I don’t rub it. Sleeping is difficult as I’m incredibly paranoid about tilting my head back too far or something.
My eye looks disgusting. It is all bloody and I struggle to open it more than a few millimetres at a time. I have to put in eye drops every four hours, which is probably the worst part of all of this. The left side of my face is swollen again and I do look pretty frightening.
For the first time in my life, I feel like an invalid. I’m not allowed to bend over, so if I drop anything I have to wait for Rob to get home and pick it up. I have to move super slowly between sitting and standing, as I can’t do anything to increase my blood pressure. I can’t wash my hair in the shower – yesterday it took me 45 minutes to contort myself in the sink.
I even tried leaving the house for the first time yesterday, which was terrifying. My vision has been negatively affected (which they warned me about in advance) so my glasses prescription is now incorrect. I can’t wear contact lenses for at least eight weeks so I’m basically blind in my left eye. I’m going to venture out again today to find an eye patch.
Since my accident, I’ve completely lost all sense of balance and spatial awareness – which I’ve always had an above average level of as a dancer. The doctor told me it’s a normal side effect of retinal detachment, but it could have also been caused by my concussion. I will be standing still and all of a sudden start falling, and I keep walking into things.
The hardest part is dealing with the fear. There is the basic fear of walking down the street. I flinch like crazy when anyone comes near me and I do not like being touched. I also have a fear of moving too quickly and bursting something in my eye. Lifting weights is the last thing on my mind when I can barely walk properly. This morning I had to sneeze and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so scared in my life.
I also fear the unknown. The thought of potentially having to go through all of this again is terrifying. I do not know if I will ever fully regain the sight in my left eye, cross the road without crippling fear, or pick up a weight again. Having a major operation like this really makes you appreciate your life – please don’t take your health for granted like I did.