Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I guess it's better than a sharp stick in the eye.

I saw the doctor today, and it looks like this is not going to be as easy as I had hoped.

During the summer of my first year of law school, I had a cornea transplant in my left eye. After the surgery, I had to wear a metal "eye shield" for about 6 weeks to keep my eye from getting bumped. I was able to take some classes during the summer because I could still see out of my right eye.

In the intervening 14 years, my right eye has gotten considerably worse, and it's now much worse than my left eye was prior to the surgery. It has also been discovered in those intervening 14 years that a cornea transplant isn't good for life, as was thought back then, but actually has a life span of about 20 years at the outside. Mine worked well for 13 years, but started falling apart about 6 or 8 months ago. It's gotten to the point now where it is painful to read for more than a few minutes at a time. And that requires closing one eye and squinting.

When I saw the doctor a couple months ago, he was hopeful that he could do what they humorously call "relaxing cuts" to flatten out the cornea. Can you imagine the kind of sick mind that calls sticking a knife in your eyes "relaxing" cuts? Anyway, the tests they did today revealed that the cornea has deteriorated to the point that I need transplant. He was looking for a cell count of 1000-2000, and mine was only about 500. I feel so inadequate.

After the operation, I will not have any use of my left eye (since it will be covered by a metal eye shield), and my right eye is already practically useless. During the recovery period, I might be able to read, but only for short periods and with considerable eye-strain. I'm figuring this will get me some time off work. And it's about damn time. I haven't had a real vacation in years. This might get me a whole month off. And all I had to do was let someone stick a knife in my eye!



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