update

Feb. 8th, 2016 10:21 am
seventhe: Sev plays FFIII. (Oh. Okay.) (Refia: oh. okay.)
on Friday 22 January I had laser eye surgery: PRK, which is different than LASIK. Much grosser and longer recovery time.

I'm now in week 3 and everything is still blurry. I can manage to drive to places I already know, aka don't have to read street signs (grocery, wine store, work) and I've driven once at night. The computer screen is readable, but has a sort of haze over it that makes it tricky to work with.

I'm incredibly frustrated even though all things point to normal. I am not patience.

and that's where I've been.

welp

Jan. 11th, 2016 02:35 pm
seventhe: (Ondore: he lies)
made my appointment for eye surgery evaluation. Means I can't wear contacts to Ohayo, but NBD. Hoping I'm still a candidate for ICL and I can get this taken care of soon.
seventhe: (Burger King: In the butt!)
  • Last night I took an epsom salt bath. I did some research that said epsom salt baths work for arthritis pain - the magnesium can penetrate the pores and help with inflammation. SO I went and picked up some epsom salts from Rite Aid (plain, along with a lavender variation and some other salts I found for aches and pains - with eucalyptus and spearmint?) and ran some hot water and I spent about 45 mins reading TIME magazine in the tub with the jets on and off as needed, and I do feel better today. Could be coincidence, but I'll take it. My neck is still stiff, but the rest of me feels a lot more mobile. And less grate-y and grind-y.

  • Last week I went to pick up my new glasses - mine are four years old and I'm finally starting to get vision headaches from the slightly-expired prescription - but they were wrong. All weekend I felt like my depth-of-field was off in my left eye -- turns out the axis of the astigmatism was 3-4 degrees off. (ASTM for lenses is 2 degrees I guess? That's great, when my vision is so bad that I'm sensitive to the actual margin of error?) So the glasses went back in to be fixed.
    In slightly better vision news, in the last two years it turns out that one awesome line of contact lenses has been extended into my prescription range - yeah technology! - so it's now possible for me to get good-quality contacts (that will correct my vision over 80%) that I can wear all day without feeling like there is sand gauging out my eyes. They're even rated to sleep in. For up to a week. That's right, I can wear them to a con weekend and not have to worry. Thank fuck. Too bad I can't contacts at work, but it will still be convenient to have for the summer. So as soon as we figure out my script, I'll be buying a million of those.
    I realize I'm quite lucky that my eyes can be (mostly) corrected and my vision is (mostly) functional. It's just hard to feel lucky staring down this $500 bill when I still don't have a new pair of glasses.

  • Spent the weekend declaring war on my lawn. I accidentally killed half of it trying to smoke out garlic mustard (Weed & Feed works great on the parts of my lawn that are actually grass; turns out there are a lot of weeds that look like grass but ain't grass, and that's how I murdered half of my front yard) and so I spent Monday mowing, re-treating the yard one last time to just get this shit over with, and tossing Grass Seed For Dummies everywhere. I also threw giant handfuls of "wildflower seed mix" on parts of my yard to cover up the fact that I don't give two epic shits about gardening right now. I actually love gardening and flowers but that is a hobby to be adopted at some future date, preferably when I am not exhausted, grumpy, and still unpacking.

  • STILL NO NEWS ON THE JOB

  • Our birdfeeders are finally kicking off - it's like finch city on the one, and the tufted titmice really like the second one -- much to the everlasting joy of the neighborhood troll cat, who has already caught one of my chipmunks and has spent time staring up at the feeder like it's some epic cat buffet. GTFO. You're cute but if I can't pet you I don't want to feed you.

  • I am so broke. Like godsbefucked broke. Note I am saying broke - I am not poor; I've been poor; this is not poor - what I am is broke. Buying a house costs a lot. Taking care of the house costs a lot. JFC I want my savings cushion back. Looking at my net cash is giving me spasms.

  • I'm so not here mentally. I should have taken vacation this week.

seventhe: (Rosa/Rydia: got your back)
Medical talk about my eyes, ahoy! Skip if you need; otherwise please give me some GD advice.

Yesterday I went in for an evaluation with Dr D, in consideration for laser surgery (LASIK or PRK). I went through the barrage of tests - and I am serious, barrage; my appointment was at 9 and I didn't actually see Dr D until 10:30 - and got my eyes dilated (spoiler, if you've never had it done: it sucks. Your long-distance vision isn't so bad, but anything closer than 10 feet is all out of whack, you have NO depth perception and can't read anything, including your own phone, trying to look at your fingers gives you a headache, and oh also all light is now a minion of hell itself). I sat there for a bit while Dr D looked at my charts and looked in my eyes a little bit and HMMed.

There was a lot of HMMing. He talked to the [nurse? assistant? secretary? i dunno, they'd taken my glasses so I couldn't even tell you what color hair this person had] for a while and flipped through some charts. He talks to me a little bit as he looks into my eyes, and then he asks the assistant-person to go and get [a new doctor, who is training with him]. "She should see this consult," he says, and basically explains that my eyes are so bad it will be a good learning experience for his new trainee doctor. Ugh. So I sit and blink into space while she arrives, and then they finally give me my glasses back, and there is some more HMMing.

And then he says, "No, you're not a candidate for PRK at all."

Okay, I say, slowly. But the other doctor told me I wasn't a candidate for custom LASIK either because my eyes were so bad, and said PRK would be better.

Technically, says, Dr D, PRK is better -- up to a point. But on a patient like you? On a patient with -11 myop? If we did PRK on you, you'd have halos and floaters for the rest of your life, you'd never fully recover from it. We'd have to take off too much, it's coming way too close, and even if it fixes your vision you're going to lose all your night vision and your sensitivity. I don't like it. I've done 37,000 surgeries, and I'm not going to do PRK on you.

Please note at that point that my eyes are actually too bad for both custom LASIK and PRK. I win?

But, says Dr D. That doesn't mean you don't have options. You have two options, and I want you to listen carefully, because one isn't what you're going to expect.

My first option is standard LASIK, the LASIK they did back in the 90s before it all became super automated plug-and-play - that's custom LASIK, and I can't have that. The thing is, says Dr D, custom LASIK and standard LASIK both operate taking a certain thickness of your cornea per myop of your eyesight. Custom takes a little more, standard a little less. For somebody who is a -3, the difference is maybe 15 microns? Not a lot. For someone who is a -11, the difference is more like 100 microns -- which is what rules out custom LASIK. My corneas aren't thick enough to handle the amount of correction my myopic script needs.

Standard LASIK, however, where Dr D would do it himself, is still an option. It's a little... not great of an option, though. He'd be pushing the LASIK to its limits, and if my eyes started to change as I aged, we wouldn't have a lot of options, because I wouldn't have a lot of cornea left to work with. I could do it, he says, I've done hundreds of patients with eyes just like that and it works fine. But I'm not thrilled by it.

Your other option, says Dr D, is an implantable contact lens.

Basically they make a biocompatible contact lens to my prescription and then surgically stick it in my eye, below my cornea but above my iris. And it stays there. The procedure is meant to be permanent but is technically reversible - if there are complications or changes, they can remove the lens and replace it, OR I'm only left with a couple tiny microscopic holes in my eye and glasses. It isn't permanent, like LASIK.

Of course it's more expensive - about $1K more per eye - and it's terrifying (does this make me a cyborg???). But the healing process is way better than PRK's 2-3 weeks / 6 months, and there are a lot of benefits.

The biggest benefit here, says Dr D, is that we can easily correct you -- this procedure can correct up to a -20 -- easily and permanently, and completely, to 20/20 or maybe better. And then, if your eyes change as you age... he says, let's say that as you age to 45, your eyes start to change and suddenly you're a -1.5. We could pull out your implant and give you a new one, but that's pretty intense - what we would do is just LASIK your eyes to fix the -1.5. You've got plenty of good cornea for a -1.5, and we could have you fixed up in 15 minutes.

He stops for a second, and then he says to me. [Sev.] If you were my daughter, almost 30 - actually, I have a kid who is 27, and if you were my kid, and I was going to be working on your eyes, and your eyes had this prescription and this thickness, what I would give you is an implantable contact lens.

He says, if you come to me and you say, I really do want LASIK, I will do it and I think you'll be happy with it. But if you're here for an eval, for my advice and my opinion, I think you should get implantable contacts.

So now I really do have a choice to make.

Here's the thing. I'm not going to pretend that money isn't an important factor here; it isn't like I can just casually plunk down these thousands of dollars without blinking (pun... maybe intended?), because I can't: even with my good paycheck I can't just throw around chunks of money that large. It's a big deal. However. I do not want to make this serious decision about my eyes and about my quality of daily life based on money. I want to choose what's actually best, and then make the money work around that. I don't want to get to be 50, 60, and be frustrated because I chose something for my eyes to save $2grand. I want to make the right choice for myself and my eyes, so I am trying to not consider the increased cost. My eyes are worth it.

Here's the other thing. I had been trying to decide, going into this eval, whether or not I actually wanted to do this -- this being, doing anything to correct my eyes. And... okay, I'm pretty incapable of making decisions, but I had pretty much decided that... I want this. I want to do this. I want to do something to get rid of this physical disability that bothers me every day of my life. I want to fix this. I'm a pretty conservative person and I don't take a lot of risks especially with my body, but... I thought about it, and I thought, you know what? The bulk of my best adult years have already fucking flown by; I've spent my entire 20s going to school and working to support my own ass and it's been fun but they're almost gone. Going into my 30s... I could do this, do something to make my quality of living so much better. We already have to do so much, give so much up at 20, at 30, to "save up" for when we're 60. Doing something for myself, for now, was attractive in a very solid way.

But now I've got two choices - no, three choices, really. I can spend the extra money and follow the doctor's advice and get an implanted lens. I can choose to get LASIK. Or I can choose to do nothing and stick with my glasses.

(On an unrelated side note, I have... apparently really been looking forward to the 2-3 weeks I would have to take off of work for the PRK surgery. Because one of the most depressing things about all of this is that I don't get that break. what does that say about my life? I don't think it's healthy.)

So that's that. And that's what's on my mind now.
seventhe: (Internet: I know exactly what it is)
So it's shutdown week at work. This means the steam's down, and they turn everything off for once-a-year maintenance and upkeep and fixing. It means it's a pretty boring week, so usually I try to schedule some doctor's appointments and stuff.

I went in for an eye exam today, and to get evaluated for corrective laser surgery. For those of you who may not be aware, I toe the line of legally blind (ie, non-correctable (not actively blind)). I needed to get my glasses looked at anyway, but I have been thinking about the laser surgery for years. My script is -11. Even if all they can do is cut it in half, down to a -6, that makes my life a lot easier: less expensive lenses, opens up more lines of contacts I can try for added comfort, has the possibility of being 100% correctable rather than the 80-90% I'm getting right now. (There is only one line of contacts that offers lenses in my correct -11 prescription and at my level of astigmatism. Only one.)

The first thing the doctor told me is that - how ironic! - my eyesight is actually too bad for a standard LASIK clinic. That's right, my eyes are so bad a clinic won't accept me - I'm past their cutoff point. Ironic bitter laughter goes here.

There are individual doctors who can make the yes/no call on nonstandard patients, though - and my eye doctor (Dr F) said there was only one in the area who would take someone like me, but that he was one of the top 5 laser eye surgeons in the eastern US, and he'd done over 37,000 surgeries in his career. Dr D. So there was potential enough there to go through the evaluation, so we did.

And it turns out that - probably because my eyesight is such crap - my corneas are just barely thick enough for the least recommended thickness level of LASIK. As in, they're like 425 [units] thick and the requirement is 415. There is not a lot of leeway there. Dr F said that while sometimes Dr D will still be able to work on patients who are that close, it would be entirely Dr D's call, and it was a very narrow comfort zone.

What I am eligible for, however, is PRK surgery.

[potential TW: eye grossness?]

LASIK shapes your cornea by lifting the upper layers and peeling them back, and then reshaping the layers underneath and laying the cornea 'flap' over it. PRK is more like a grinding and shaving of the upper layers, and then the use of a reconstructive contact lens bandage as the very top layer grows back.

[/grossness I think]

From what I have (very very incompletely) found from research so far, PRK actually has a lower complication(/fuckup) rate because it isn't as invasive into your eye. However, it has a MUCH LONGER RECOVERY TIME than LASIK. With LASIK, you can walk in, zap zap, maybe a day or two and you're good. With PRK, you literally and legally cannot drive your car or go to your job for 7-10 days afterwards. You may be in large amounts of pain, on Vicodin. It takes a few days for your eyes to grow back into their new shape, so your vision may not hit even 20/40 for up to 2 weeks. It's a much bigger deal.

I have an evaluation with Dr D on 23 August, so that he can look at my situation *hand gesture* here and make his professional decision as to what to recommend: traditional LASIK, PRK, or "You do not want to do either of these with those eyes." I am open to hearing any of them.

But it's hard to get a surgery time because Dr D is so good. And there's an opening on 26 August. That the secretary at Dr F's office had them tentatively pencil me in for, pending Dr D's evaluation.

So I've got a chance here, if I'm approved, to jump on something that could really improve the quality of my life. I am also holyfuck terrified of this surgery. I am ALSO thinking that maybe this is NOT A GREAT TIME IN MY LIFE TO HAVE A SURGERY THAT COULD LAY ME OUT FOR UP TO A MONTH WITH ALL OF THE CRAPS I HAVE GOING ON - but I'd have Becky AND my local friends to help me through it, too, and when WOULD there be a 'good time', really?

So, yeah, there's that.
seventhe: Rydia (Rydia)
Well, this post starts out in an interesting manner: [livejournal.com profile] jennyclarinet asked me to talk about being legally blind.

TW, if it is needed, for discussion about blindness, eyesight, and related disability.

Here's the background: my eyesight is very, very bad. I've had glasses since I was three years old. My eyes, now, at 28, are reaching the point where they're no longer 100% correctable. Since I've had glasses for so long, I barely even remember the discussions that went on when I was 3, but I do know I am functionally blind without my glasses. I am "severely sight impaired." And, somewhere in those 28 years, I was told this was "legally blind."

So I went to Wikipedia and looked up the borderline for being legally blind, to talk about it a little bit, and I am now confused, because - while I've been told that I qualify on the ground that my eyesight is so poor, I do not qualify according to the line drawn on Wikipedia because my eyes are (mostly) correctable. So, hilariously, which is right? Is it the natural state of my eyes which counts, or the state of my eyes after correction...? Which doctor told me I was legally blind, and was that a state definition, or a doctor somehow projecting on a young patient? Was it right at the time? Is Wikipedia correct in this case? Do I actually qualify as legally blind?

Obviously, these are all questions to ask my NEW optometrist; I am not qualified to answer them. But it made me think a little, and I want to throw these thoughts out there. It made me think, because I don't want to look like that person appropriating labels and intruding on legitimate space for the fellow disabled. I don't want to lie. I am not looking for attention, or for sympathy.

So who gets to decide if I am disabled? And does it matter?

I feel disabled. Am I? Does that count?

Hilarious Edit: I think [personal profile] thewhitemage has clarified my confusion for me: the "legal" definition is what you need to get benefits, which is why correctability matters; to qualify in the medical category, correctability is irrelevant. So... perhaps everything is correct here!
Oncoming rant still stands though. *g*


Discussion of Disability. )

And now, more discussion about my eyesight! )

And my worries about my own eyes. )

It kind of goes along with my strange relationship with my own body; it doesn't work right, and I am not sure I love that. And it goes along with my own struggles with and desires for medical "legitimacy", as if I'm not allowed to claim something unless it's an actual diagnosed medical problem? As if having this awful eyesight isn't enough, it has to be labeled "Legally Blind" or I feel like I should just STFU about it?

Anyway, yup.

I have pretty much decided that I am going in early next year to be evaluated for laser eye surgery. So anyone who has any thoughts on that, they're much appreciated.


This is part of my 30 Days of Posting meme - feel free to check out the schedule of posting! My month is full, but if any of the posts make you want to ask for something else, go ahead and leave a comment anyway! DW || LJ
seventhe: (Laguna: I lost my moomba)
Laser vision correction -- good idea, or terrible idea?
seventhe: (Penelo: You suck!)
Having really, really bad eyes is a bummer.

Not only do I have to pay extra for my regular glasses to get them 'extra-high-density' - and no, no, that's not just vanity; trust me, I just went through this with Lenscrafters seekritly trying to give me a lower-quality material for my lens. After about two months of making gay-ass minor tweaks ("new frames? yeah, that'll help, try it") to glasses I could not fucking see from they finally bumped me to some higher-quality lens material. OH, BECAUSE 'ALMOST LEGALLY BLIND' ISN'T HIGH ENOUGH PRESCRIPTION HUH. Money-grubbing bastards.

Anyway, I also have to pay extra for my safety glasses for work. An extra "high prescription" fee, because, y'know, high-prescription glasses take more material. Of course it's not covered by the company - they only pay $80, which should've been enough to make the cost of the glasses very, very small. Jeff's paying $17. I'm paying $45.

I know, I know, it's not breaking the bank, but this is my bitch of the day. I'm kind of tired of something that I have no control over!! costing me more money because of genetic bad luck.

Just bitching.

y'know, I think I actually already have a tag for this.

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