|Meet Your New, Improved Webmaster, Cyborg Chris|
My (first) eye surgery was a success!
And I felt that it was important for me to write a little something about it, considering the totally unexpected reaction I got from my initial post on the matter. In short, I was completely blown away by the show of support I received from you regular visitors, and the "DBZ web community" in general. This editorial is totally off-topic, but some of you have expressed interested in my "story," so here it is.
I woke up on Wednesday, August 16 knowing that I was about to take a huge step in my life, and whatever excitement I felt was drowned out by a huge cloud of nervousness and agitation that had been following me around for a week and was now denser than ever. I didn't actually have a ride to the hospital, and was going to have to walk/bus my way there. The lack of an "outside motivator" was making it far too easy for me to contemplate chickening out. But I decided ultimately that I was going to have to go through with it one way or the other, and I checked my e-mail before I left. I was quite shocked to see that within nine hours of my post to alt.fan.dragonball, almost 50 people had sent me messages of good luck. I then checked PlanetNamek.com, which I have sort of developed a habit of doing first thing in the morning, and my jaw dropped when I saw Mr.E note about my surgery. I was immensely flattered to see that my "medical issues" were considered big enough news for PN's front page, and was amazed at the over 50 posts to the message board wishing me good luck.
At that point, it suddenly became a whole lot easier for me to get my cowardly butt in gear and leave the house, so I popped one of the valium tablets that Dr. Adams had given me and I was on my way. I remember walking to the bus stop with a big smile on my face, marvelling at the fact that somebody, a BUNCH of people actually, were rooting for me. That was just what I needed.
The operation itself was quite an experience, part of which, I would find out afterwards, I wasn't really supposed to have. But I'll get to that.
I was initially greeted by a bunch of female nurses, who put me into the little gurney-thingy, covered me with a heated blanket, and then stood around for a while and poked me with needles and such. Since I wasn't wearing my contacts at the time, I couldn't see anything, but I'm pretty sure at least one of them was hot. The anesthesiologist entered next, who put some numbing drops into my eye and then let me know that I was about to be "tranquilized." Soon after she told me this, I started feeling really good, and began to float around in my own personal world of candy canes and enchanted frogs. Minutes later, I was rolled into the operating room itself, and while I was quite drugged, I was still conscious and very much aware of my surroundings, which sobered me up a bit. Wasn't I supposed to be knocked out for this thing? I'd known three other people who'd had the same procedure done, and two of them had been fully put under. The other guy was crazy enough to volunteer to be conscious for it, which I had no desire of doing. But apparently the anesthesiologist had, for whatever reason, decided at the last moment to go for the "numb his eye and leave him conscious" approach with me. Let me tell you, the operating room is a hell of a time to find that out, but it was too late for me to do anything about it now. I was going to witness the procedure live and in person.
Dr. Adams approached me next, and I managed to stammer out a few drug-induced pleasantries, which he returned. This was actually the very same guy who had removed my lenses in the first place when I was five years old, and I got a kick out of the fact that he was about to reverse the process. He started by covering my entire face, save for my right eye, with a towel, and then put a pair of headphones over my ears. It was some sort of classical music, but I don't remember exactly what. He then clasped my eyelids open, Clockwork Orange-style, and switched on an impossibly bright light directly above me. Every 30 seconds or so my eye would get a splash of moisture, but other than that, I could not blink or close it. I was not enjoying this at all, and I found the whole thing a little disturbing.
And then the cutting began. He made an incision just above my cornea and I saw something (I'm not sure exactly what) being peeled back. At that point, I pretty much lost all rational thought, along with any visual comprehension that I'd had, and all I remember my eye sensing for the rest of the operation was the brightness of the light, the occasional burst of moisture, and, oh yes, the pain. It started with a dull ache as Dr. Adams was positoning the lens, which upset me because I thought that my eye was supposed to be numb. I started to worry, and the fear made the pain worse. I remember listening to my heartbeat on the EKG, and it began to increase noticeably at this point. Dr. Adams continued the operation, and I heard him asking for this and that, and for such and such to go there and do so and so. But my ears really perked up when he mentioned to the others that he was going to have to put sutures in to seal up the incision, which I did not take very well. I am not a big fan of stitches, particularly when my eye is involved and I am conscious. And I remember the suturing quite vividly, as I felt each stitch going in and coming out, the greatest sensation being when he clipped off the ends. I let out a little groan each time he did this, and I started squirming and kicking somewhat involuntarily. The anesthesiologist told me to stop doing that because it was making my head move, so I obeyed and clenched my fists instead. Apparently, that wasn't OK either, and I was told that clenching was making my blood pressure go up. So I decided that I'd just go back to the groaning, which no one seemed to have a problem with. I don't remember exactly what was going through my mind at the time, except for one thing: Yes, admitting this may make me sound like a total pansy, but I desperately wanted nothing more than a hand to squeeze. It was one of those times where you're so mentally screwed up that you become a child again, and you need that maternal reassurance. After what could have been 5 minutes or a half hour (I completely lost track of time once he actually started working in my eye) Dr. Adams was finished suturing. He then put a shield over my eye, taped it on, and had me rolled out of the operating room.
I just kind of sat there for a second, panting slightly, with no particular thoughts in mind except for an overwhelming sense of relief. I was a little dazed and still very sedated, but was happy to see my little harem of nurses approaching once again. One of them asked me how it was, and I told her it was scary. Then, in my drunken stupor, I grabbed her right hand and held on to it for a good twenty seconds, a gesture which she was nice enough to accept. Then they gave me a blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee, and that was pretty much it. Except for one thing I was told a bit later, which I found very interesting.
The anesthesiologist came up to me at one point and confirmed a suspicion of mine. Apparently, my eye wasn't supposed to have felt anything, but she had miscalculated a bit with the amount of tranquilizer to give me. The lens implant operation is actually somewhat rare for a person as young as I am, and is usually performed on people three times my age. So she was accustomed to dispensing anesthesia to those whose bodies were far older, and therefore easier to tranquilize, than mine. Not only that, but it turned out that something in my biochemistry was surprisingly resistant to the anesthesia, and there was no way for her to have anticipated that. But she assured me that for the next eye, she would have a much better idea of what to do. That was good to know
I was weak and spaced out for the next couple of days, but overall I was doing well. The first night was a little emotionally distressing and I felt somewhat traumatized, but I guess that's sort of what the body does when its been tinkered with. I probably would have dealt with the whole thing a lot better if I'd known that I was going to be conscious for the operation, and I think the fact that I didn't psychologically prepare myself for that had a big effect on my attitude toward the whole thing. My eye was swollen shut for a couple of days, which was a little inconvenient, but at least I ended up having a "moment" with Freeza. I was flipping through the channels on Friday, and I happened upon "Transformed at Last," just after Goku turned SSJ. I kind of gasped when it cut to Freeza, because (as you all remember) his left eye was swollen shut at the time. I could really sympathize with him at that moment, it was like looking into a mirror.
Anyway, I'm writing this a week and a half later, and my "new eye" is really incredible! And I am told that over the next two to three months, my vision will improve as my eye adjusts to the implant and the muscles learn how to use a lens again. Unlike most of you, I haven't naturally focused since I was five years old, so that'll take some getting used to. Most people who get cataract surgery have their natural lenses removed and replaced with artificial ones all in the same operation, but my case is a little different. There's been no lenses in my eyes for eighteen years, so I've got a little catching up to do. But it's already pretty exciting, like I'm wearing a contact lens that I never have to take off, only this contact allows me to see further and with more detail than I ever have before. And I love waking up in the morning, opening my eye, and seeing right from the get go, without having to stumble blindly into the bathroom to put on my contacts. And, oh, the death beams are a HOOT! My eye can now shoot a superheated ray of energy that instantly vaporizes just about any organic matter, and I've been using this ability to fight crime and kill ants. You know, I was wondering what Dr. Adams meant when he said that he'd "added a few enhancements while I was at it" (wink wink), but I was truly delighted when I discovered my freakish new power. Heh. Seriously though, I am enjoying my implant amd looking forward to the next one, which is a good thing because they will be a part of me for the rest of my life.
And for those of you who accuse me of misusing the term "cyborg" in reference to myself, I'd like you to consider the following definition from dictionary.com:
cy·borg n. A human being who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices.
First of all, "seeing" is a physiological process. Second of all, the artificial lens is bent and stretched by the ciliary muscle of the eye, which means that the lens is, therefore, a device serving a mechanical function.
So there you have it! By the official definition, none of you have any grounds to be skeptical of my cyborgery.
They even gave me a card that I'm supposed to carry around with me at all times. I didn't ask them why, but I can only assume it is so that I'll have a form of verifiable identification during the upcoming years of apocalyptic warfare between you "lower humans" and the cyborg ruling class, of which I am now a part. Check it out! I even have a serial number and a barcode! What wonderfully Orwellian times we live in.
Anyway, I suppose my story is becoming tiresome, but before I go I need to reiterate once again how grateful I am for the support of everyone who has taken the time to send me a kind word about my surgery. Since my announcement, I have received hundreds of e-mails wishing me good luck and a fast recovery, and I am going to save every last one of them. They really mean a lot to me, and I wish I had time to respond to all of you.
Special thanks go out to Mr.E of PlanetNamek.com, and all of the people who took the time to add their encouraging notes to the "Best of Luck, Chris" thread on the message board. That really made my day. But I'm sure there are a lot of people out there whose eyebrows were raised by Mr.E's statement that I am "by far, the most respected DB fan on the internet." Aw, c'mon! That's very nice of you to say, but have I REALLY done much more than coin the phrase "What the HFIL?"
Jon Allen deserves a special mention too for being very compassionate about my situation both on DaizenshuuEX's front page, and in a personal message, He, I, and Sean Schemmel (the current voice of Goku) are having a little "e-mail triangle" at the moment which I have been negletcting for far too long, and Jon was very sweet about the whole thing. Don't worry everybody, Sean shall receive the full "Chris Psaros treatment" very soon. And no asses shall be kissed.
And for everyone else who may not have vocalized their support, but were at least with me in spirit, I thank you as well. Your magical ghost bodies were a bit frightening initially, but your eerie, disembodied chanting served as an excellent distraction during the more painful moments of the surgery.
You're all so sweet... I just want to give each of you a big hug and some pie.
I'd like to end this by mentioning that while I was somewhat hesitant about publically revealing and openly discussing my handicap (Oh the STORIES I could tell...), I am really glad that I did. Some of you have equated it with coming out of the closet, and I guess it is similar in some ways. There just isn't so much homosexuality involved.
Anyway, one more eye to go! And this time I'm a lot more confident.