Daytime Survival After Vitrectomy Surgery

While sleeping was tough after the vitrectomy surgery, the days weren’t too bad. Somehow, the days flew by and merged into each other so I almost lost track of time. I can’t exactly explain it, but perhaps it was because everything took so much longer that doing just a few things took up the whole day. Also, the regimen of 12 applications of eye drops or ointment to my eye took quite a bit of time and effort each day.

Eating was slow, and I had to eat things that weren’t fiddly and could easily be stuffed into my mouth as I faced straight down. Foods like taquitos and sausages worked well, for example. Drinking was also a pain, because I needed to use a straw for everything. Drinking coffee through a straw is unusual, but I learned to get used to it. I had a fair number of Boost drinks in the first few days, as they were very easy for breakfast, and some of them taste darn good!

During the days, I needed a cot to lay on as I tried to keep myself amused. Before the surgery, I bought a cot from Amazon that has a face hole and pillow and is 18 inches off the floor. It is the Ergo Lounger OH Therapeutic Face Down Lounger (link valid as of the date of this article). Of course, this cot was comfortable for an hour, then became torture, so we had to fix it. First we added a couple of yoga mats for extra padding and support, followed by a padded mattress cover and a sheet to make it soft and smooth. That still wasn’t enough for the metal supports that quickly dug into me, so we slit some pool noodles lengthwise and wrapped them around the metal frame under me. In the end, it was comfortable enough for me to spend the better part of nearly 7 weeks on, as of this writing (yes, I was told 2 weeks, but the bubble is still in my eye, so I’m still mostly face down – more in a future post).

resting on cot

The pictures above are of me resting on the cot. You can see various U-shaped face pillows in the top image, because different ones are needed for different tasks. For example, only one of the pillows was flexible enough to be useful when I was wearing my glasses. Yes, really, all these things that are designed for people to put their faces into aren’t meant for those of us that wear glasses. You can also see the handy tissue box nearby. That’s critical, because when you’re face down, surprising amounts of stuff come out of your nose and mouth, particularly during naps!

ipad and laptopTo keep myself occupied, I could use my iPad or laptop. Luckily, my HP laptop screen opens up fully flat, unlike my MacBook Pro. This is important, as you need it to be flat and in front of your face to be useful. When the screen was in front of my face, the keyboard was hard to use, so anything involving lots of typing or even games that use the keyboard were problematic. That being said, I did manage to get a bit of work done after the first week. I could modify and develop code on the laptop and sent it to the lab for testing. I also bought a Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad, but it turned out to be less than useful for the same reason. For some reason, I had a very hard time focusing on fine details using my good eye for the first week after surgery. I was unable to read for long, so mostly watched TV, as described below. After a week, though, I read lots on my iPad and Kindle Fire.


I also had a Dell 22″ monitor that I could slide in front of my face. It was hooked up to my entertainment system, so I could watch TV shows from the DVR or play games on the PS3 and XBox360. Here I am trying Burnout Paradise early on, when I was trying to figure out how well my “good” eye could focus. I would say that the 22″ monitor was a little larger than I should have had to keep my eye still. I think perhaps an 18″ one would have been better.

With this face-down entertainment center, I was able to keep myself from being bored, read a bunch of e-books, catch up on TV shows that have been on the DVR since February, and finish Halo 4. So daytime was a lot better, more comfortable, and productive than nighttime.

Comments are closed.