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The transplant and beyond

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Today is the 10th day after the transplant. The surgery went  very well and post operative progress has gone well too so far. But before going into the details I’d like to whinge a bit about something not related to the transplant. It is about the contact lens that I’ve worn on the left eye after a gap of more than a week.

This was the longest period of rest (from contact lens) I’ve given to my non operated eye after I’ve started wearing RGP contacts around a decade ago. My first realization after wearing it back was simply, “This sucks big time”. The amount of discomfort it gives to the eye is only justified as it gives me a way to move on with my life. Hard contact lenses have been my source of vision and I am grateful for that, but it isn’t without pain. I’ve always felt the pain but  only realized the severity of it after taking a break from it. How much one gets used to everything. Well, I don’t really think that it was this bad always, my eye is in no shape right now. There’s only so much you can blame the contacts. Anyhow, now lets get back to the transplant business.

Yes, the surgery on 3rd March went really well. I reported to the hospital at or around 11 am. It was a long wait after that. I wasn’t wearing lens in any eye that day so my visual memory is all distorted. I won’t recognize a single person there in the hospital if I ever happen to meet them. I hardly can describe how the hospital was. All I can say is that the staff were very nice.

So, the first nurse took me to a room where she took a short interview asking all the questions relating to my medical history (Thankfully I don’t  have any sort of medical history to tell really; I guess dysfunctional eyes are enough for one life :p). Then I was given wrist name-tags, a white hospital gown and was asked to wait again.  It was a longer wait. But the boredom was reduced as my wife has been with me all along up until the operation theater. There was a clerical miscommunication regarding which of my eyes to be transplanted, but it was rectified pretty easily. This isn’t really much alarming as they have a proper process to identify if this sort of mistakes have happened. They actually asked me who I was and why I was there three times at three different points. So I guess mistake can only happen if the patient isn’t aware of the reason they were there. Anyhow, after the clarification,  my right eye was marked and was given an eye drop to protract my pupil or something like that. Around 2 pm (I guess) I was taken to the surgical ward and was again interviewed with the same medical history and identification questions. Then the anesthetist came and he went through the same set of questions again and asked me whether I’d prefer local or general anesthesia. I went for general and I guess it was a wiser decision. I don’t think you want any of your senses to work while someone is cutting through your eye.  Anyhow, then I was given an intravenous relaxant before I was taken to the operation theater. Last thing I remember there is that I was given a oxygen mask sort of thing and was asked to breathe normally. Trust me, when you are told to breathe normally through a tube, you never really do so :). It had a weird smell. Most probably it wasn’t oxygen but the anesthesia.

Next thing I remember is that someone calling my name asking me to wake up saying it has all been done. I was still very drowsy. I remember the voices of my wife and friend and that I was then being taken to my hospital room. I don’t remember the journey to the room but I remember that I switched beds, made a lame-ass joke to the nurse, had some food and then slept again.

I didn’t really feel that bad after waking up. There was a discomfort in the right eye but nothing intolerable. I woke up then in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep again for some time. It was very boring as nobody was allowed to stay with me at the hospital. There was a soreness in the eye and around but nothing that one can’t take. In the morning I was asked by the nurse if I need a painkiller. I didn’t really need it to be honest but took it nonetheless.

Around 8:30 am Michael (my surgeon) came to have the first post operative checkup. He took the dressing off, looked into my eye through his microscope (or whatever that thing is). He told me that the operation went very well and it looks like that I am off with a good start. All was good and cheerful. He never put the dressings back,  gave me the plastic shield to wear at night, wrote me the medical certificate that I’d need for work (so far, I am advised to take 3 weeks off, it may get extended) and took off. Just as I finished my breakfast my wife and a friend came in. Then the nurse came to put eye drops into my eyes. I was given a regime of 2 drops 4 times a day (one antibiotic, one steroid; antibiotic to be put first each time). The nurse also cleaned the mucous around my eyes with boiled water very delicately. I was given a leaflet that tells what to expect post operation. I’ll state those in the next post.

I was off to home after a while. I was quite sensitive to the sun glare when in the car but didn’t really face that much light sensitivity indoors.

The post operative life at home has been like a king; thanks to my wife, everything has been just there for me. Nevertheless, I’ve been a bit paranoid and has called my surgeon on two occasions when I’ve had felt a bit unusual. I’d advise it to everyone though; when in doubt call your surgeon. There is no stupid question. First time the query was regarding a slight brief pain I felt when I opened the eye and when I was introduced to brighter light condition even with my eyes closed. Doc said that it was  normal and it’d go away within a day or two and it did. Second query was regarding the slight redness which was also normal. (Please do not take anything I write here as medical advise, always call you doctor if there is anything unusual)

On the 8th day, I’ve had my second post operative checkup at doctor’s chamber. Michael (my surgeon/ophthalmologist) gave a comment that merrily sums up everything: “it couldn’t be better”.  My eye pressure was normal. I was taken off the antibiotic drops but the steroid drops are to continue just as it is.

My vision has improved gradually but it is still very blur. I’ve been told to expect both positive and negative change in vision. At the doctor, I was able to read 5 lines from the eye chart through pin hole with absolute clarity (none without pinhole though). Only thing that bothers me right now is the fragility I feel with my transplanted eye. But all is good on this end so far.

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Preparing for transplant

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Once again I went to the brink of not updating the blog. Anyhow, it is all safe and sound now, for the moment at least as I am back. So, without much ado let get to the point.

I am somewhat all set for my surgery on next Tuesday (March 3). Finally, I have made the decision to go with my right eye to be transplanted first. Last 2 weeks I have been seeing Jess (my optometrist) to get my left lens better fitted. We are still working on it. I’ve noticed in the last one month my vision has actually deteriorated in both eyes (both are equally major candidates for transplant). Anyhow, lets get back to transplant preparation for now.

Today I have stopped wearing my right lens. On my optometrists advice I am keeping the last two days before the surgery lens free. It is more of a precaution to reduce bacterial activity in the eye before it gets operated. I don’t think it is mandatory but it is always better to take as many precautions as you can. So I am relying on the lens on the left eye from now on. Vision isn’t really any great with that one. But that’s all I’ve got now, so have to deal with it. Right eye is impossibly blur without any lens on. Will try to document how it changes after the surgery.

Signing off for today. I don’t think I will be making any more posts before the surgery.

Written by crazylogix

March 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Meet the Optometrists

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Ok… Time to introduce Jess, my optometrist. She along with Richard (the senior associate in their optometry practice) has been looking after my eyes and contact lenses for last one year or so. I started with Richard but he is extremely busy to give regular appointments. It took me more than a month to get my first appointment with him. So Jess is the one who regularly sees me. I like her.

Anyhow, the reason to bring all this is up now is that today I had my latest lens checkup. This is important in resolving my dilemma on the choice of the eye to be operated first. At this point, the ongoing issue still remains: The left with better vision but lesser comfort and the right with better comfort but worse vision. I guess end of the day, vision is more important and that’s what Jess also told me today. Hence, we are now going to try to improve comfort on the left eye.  My next appointment is on coming Thursday.  We’ll take it from there and I’ll then have 2 weeks to judge the comfort level. If that proves to be a relative success, I’ll go with right eye to be transplanted.

By the way, today I also paid the service fee for the donor cornea. Yes, cornea itself isn’t sold (it is free) but there is service fee attached to it as it costs to store it plus the administrative cost. This service fee is rather high (A$1747) but apparently and hopefully I’ll get 100% of it back from my private insurance.

Written by crazylogix

February 9, 2009 at 8:42 pm

The Transplant

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The first transplant has been scheduled on March 3, 2009. I had to go through a 7 months waiting period to get this date. I guess, cornea is scarce. Anyhow, as both eyes need to be transplanted as soon as possible, the surgeon has left the decision to choose the first eye to be operated entirely on me. And as usual, I am confused.

Currently, my right eye is put for transplant. I can change it even the day before the surgery. With my current RGP lenses the corrected vision is slightly better in my left eye than the right. But the fitting is more uncomfortable on the left. Hence the dilemma. Right now, my optometrist is trying a new fit on the right to make the vision slightly better in order to make it at par to the left. If this turns successful, I’ll change the transplant choice to the left as it was at the commencement of this whole episode. Yes, originally left one was put to be transplanted first. I’ve got you all confused, haven’t I? 🙂

Written by crazylogix

February 5, 2009 at 9:27 am

Lets start again

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Here I am back again making a post in this blog after three and a half years. My original plan was to keep a sort of a diary that documents my journey with KC. The idea was to make it an informative blog which may come as an aide to other KCers. That didn’t happen. Perhaps, KC has become such an integral part of my life that I couldn’t really narrate a separate account for it. Living with KC for almost a decade has faded all my memories of a life without it. I don’t really remember a life without blurred visions, RGP contact lenses, always stressed and often painful eyes, the occasional headaches and a stressful wake up routine every morning. However, life hasn’t been bad contrary to how it has just sounded in the last sentence. All of those pains and adjustments just become your routine and then the life becomes just as good or bad as of any other person on your morning train to work.

Anyhow, now coming to what prompted me to come back here again. Lets cut to the chase; KC in my eyes has progressed to such an extent now that I need a cornea transplant in both. One eye would be transplanted first and if everything goes well the other would be transplanted a year later. This is a new turn again from a routine that I’ve lived with and got used to over the years. This is another journey to the uncertain novelty. So I am here again with my original intended mission to make an informative diary of this experience which may or may not help someone including myself.

So here it starts with the next post…

Written by crazylogix

February 5, 2009 at 8:14 am

Dry eyes

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Dry eyes, dry eyes, dry eyes. What else?
My vision significantly deteriorated. It makes me feel not to do any sort of work. Plus there at times I feel slight pain in the eyes if I move the eyeballs: as it happened in the car today morning.

Written by crazylogix

September 11, 2005 at 4:28 am

Bad eye day

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A very bad eye day today. Virtually no tear. I coudn’t manage to open my eyes fully for an hour since I entered the office. Now better. But still it is having a very dull feeling.

Written by crazylogix

September 5, 2005 at 5:38 am