The second day after PRK surgery is known to be horrid. Around 2am in the morning of day 2, I woke up to my left eye burning and tears absolutely streaming down my face. If this was any indication of what was to come, I was totally screwed. LD tried to soothe me with hugs and rubbing my back and I did eventually cry myself to sleep somehow. About an hour later, I woke up with the same sensation in my right eye and repeated the process: crying, soothing, and somehow, sleep.
I woke up at normal hours and felt about the same as I had on day 1. I was not light sensitive and my eyes felt hazy, but not in pain. When LD drove me to my follow up visit, I was told that my vision was 20/70 when using both eyes and then the eye doctor told me that the goal is to survive the next two days. Well, great. This should be fun. He also proactively told me to either start taking the prescription painkillers. No way with how my stomach reacted on day 1, or start taking prescription strength Ibuprofen. For those of you counting how much medication I would be on that is four pills of just Ibuprofen every 8 hours or two every four which is what I opted to do to give my poor stomach a fighting chance. The eye doctor also said I was allowed to take Tylenol in addition to the Ibuprofen. I opted against that because once again, I doubted it could be stomached. With that amount of pain meds prescribed to me, you know the day is going to be hell.
It actually wasn’t until I took a nap after lunch. The truth is I felt pretty good in the morning. In fact, I helped my dad go grocery shopping earlier in the day and even picked out the salmon for dinner. Being vegetarian, my dad neither caress out nor knows what is good quality salmon so the rest of the family was grateful for my ability to go with him as everyone else had other things going on.
I guess on a side note, I should mention that my family is Jewish, although I am not, and day 2 was the second night of Passover. For those of you who don’t know what Passover is, it is the Jewish thanksgiving that occurs two nights in a row and has more food restrictions. So, my mom was busy prepping for everyone to come over, again. LD was taking a nap because, guess what, he didn’t sleep well the night before. So, it was just dad and I available to go shopping.
After lunch, however, I woke up from a nap with both eyes stinging. I actually think I woke up from a nightmare and found myself panicking and screaming in a way that I hadn’t the night before. The pain was about the same though. Of course, by then, most of the family had arrived for dinner and so next thing I know, the entire family has swarmed into the guest bedroom at my parents’ house asking what was wrong and how they could help, including my three year old nephew. LD just stayed calm and tried to soothe me again. Somehow, after some of the lubricating eye drops, I managed to fall back asleep.
The next time I woke up, I had my emotional breakdown as my eyes were still stinging. I think PRK recovery is as much about the emotional endurance as it is about the dealing with pain. The emotional part lasts longer as the vision getting restored is not a linear path. If you can stay in the dark, stay up to date with pain medications and when you have your breakdown, use the numbing drops when you have your breakdown, you will make it through.
Throughout the night, LD woke me up every two hours to use the lubricating drops and when applicable, give me ibuprofen. I survived the rest of the night without a hitch. LD is really my hero for this whole process. I truly think I have the best husband in the world.
Day 3 was significantly better than day 2. I woke up to extremely itchy eyes and therefore decided my best course of action was to pretty much sleep through the rest of the day, still waking up every two hours for drops and medication. I also convinced myself when I was awake that saying, “itchy, itchy, itchy” would help relieve the itchiness a bit. Don’t judge! At this point after day 2, you would probably be a little crazy too! Slept the day away, although I was VERY careful to keep eating. Otherwise, my stomach would rebel.
After dinner, LD left to head home so that he could work on Monday and take care of the dogs, leaving me at my parents house until my day 5 appointment so that I still had caretakers during the day if I needed them. My mom graciously worked from home until I was able to return home. She is another hero in my recovery story, but more for her patience with me through this process than the horror I put LD through.
I’ll let you know about days 4-6 tomorrow. Today, is currently day 6 for me.