Friday, July 14, 2006

Plastic Surgery Disasters

I had eye surgery yesterday.

Late last fall, I got an eye infection, and for several months, my doctor prescribed an antibiotic to combat the infection, which came and went for several months.

This spring, we detected small, solid forms beneath my eyelids -- first my upper lid, and then, my lower lid. My doctor referred me to an ophthalmologist.

The ophthalmologist determined that the forms were chalazions, and I began a treatment schedule involving different oral antibiotics, topical steroids, and warm compresses administered several times a day.

Several weeks ago, I decided that because the treatments weren't making the chalazions go away -- they occasionally go away naturally themselves after several months -- I wanted to pursue other options. My ophthalmologist considered just changing the antibiotic I was taking but then referred me to an eye surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids.

Yesterday, I had my first appointment. It appeared that it was going to just be a consultative visit -- with minor surgery scheduled later -- but the chalazions were far along enough, and mildly infected, so the surgeon had me come back later in the day to excise the lower lid's form.

All told, I was at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary for more than four hours. And the surgery was fascinating. When she administered the local anasthetic, it felt like she was inserting a wire across the length of my lower lid. She was, in fact, injecting a liquid anasthetic.

She applied a clamp to the lower lid to flip it over so the chalazion would present itself. Then she shaved off the outer layer of the form, which looked like a little lump of speckled flesh, and scooped out the gelatinous innards -- saving some to send for testing. She applied a liquid to clot the blood, put on an eye patch with medical tape, and I was on my way.

You can learn more about the procedure than you may want to know here, here, and here.

The walk home was touch and go because I didn't have any depth perception, and I decided not to go the Weakerthans show I had tickets for so I didn't have to deal with darkness, crowds, stairs, traffic, and so forth. More bothersome than the lack of depth perception was the lack of peripheral vision. To turn corners, I'd basically stop and look behind me to make sure I didn't cut anyone off. I was glad to get home.

Before bed, I removed the eye patch and checked our her work. Not bad! I'm not overly bruised, the lid is decidedly flatter, and once the swelling goes down, I'll look next to normal.

Next week: The upper lid. Photos to come!

Update: This is only a disaster because I had to miss the Weakerthans show. And if I hadn't missed that, I would've been tempted by the Mission of Burma show in my neighborhood tonight (July 14). As it is, I'm staying in. Harrumph.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope you're feeling better. I too missed (harumph) the DC Weakerthans show because I'm in Chicago on a gig. :( I feel your pain.