My recovery from detached retina surgery seems to be pain-free, but it is arduous, given the need to maintain certain positions for long periods of time. As a person ages, holding these positions must be increasingly difficult.
The Sunday morning surgery took place at a local hospital — where the surgery prep and recovery spaces were nearly empty. Just before my operation another person was wheeled out to recovery, and when I came out, I was the only one in the recovery area. The surgery, on my left eye, took just over an hour, and I was slightly awake, though extremely relaxed, for some of the time.
As they wheeled me out of the operating theatre, the nurse told me to keep my head facing down to the floor — chin to neck — as much as possible for 24 hours. When I asked if I could just curl up in bed, my doctor told me to spend as much time as possible — at least 45 minutes of every hour in the chair with my face down and to go to bed for only the standard eight hours. Once in bed I am required to lie on my right side for the entire night.
The amount of time that one must face down or follow other position instructions has to do with the severity of the detachment.
I did not need to rent or purchase any special equipment, as my surgery required only the first day to be facing down. However, I discovered that pillows are a person’s best friend, behind my back and on top of my knees where my elbows rested, and one of those microwave neck pillows worked wonders to relax stiff muscles.
The morning after the surgery, not quite 24 hours later, I went back to the surgeon. After he examined my eye, he said that he could tell I had been looking down most of the time.
I watched movies on my laptop computer to pass time, positioning it, with the help of pillows, on the floor with the monitor facing upward. During the first 24 hours I watched all of the episodes of the Edward the Seventh mini-series that appeared many years ago on Masterpiece Theatre.
This post is not a substitute for talking with your physician.
Check out all of my blog posts on my Detached Retinas Page.