(Day of Surgery)
Mark was a little bit nervous but mostly excited about the surgery. The night before the PR person for Star Surgical had talked to him about Komo 4 being there and the interviews etc that would take place. Mark had to make a quick trip to get a new shirt to meet the request of the PR guy to have a neutral colored polo shirt on.
His surgery was scheduled for 4:30pm and we had to be there at 2pm for interviews and filming pre-surgery. Of course Sky was a hit and not only did the Evergreen Eye Center film crew want her in most of the shots, the Komo 4 camera guy took all sorts of footage of her, even though all she was doing was sleeping. They also got footage of Sky and I wishing Mark and Dr. Chung good luck.
I left to take Sky to our friends that live Edgewood while Komo interviewed Mark and Dr. Chung. The camera guy actually filmed the entire surgery while the reporter waited in the waiting room with the rest of us. It was a little overwhelming coming back from dropping Sky off because when I walked into the waiting room it was standing room only. Not only were all the media folks there (by this time Tacoma Weekly had arrived as did another reporter from some other paper that I never did figure out) but a lot of Evergreen Eye Center staff were waiting as well. They were all watching the surgery live on a TV in the waiting room. I was not expecting to walk into a room full of people watching Mark’s eye on the TV!
My weak stomach meant that I couldn’t watch all of it. I would glance up now and then, but for the most part was content to let the staff explain to me what was going on. It was really hard for me not to cry. I was so excited for Mark…I know how much his vision bothers him, the things it has kept him from doing and how much he wanted this surgery, and for how long he has wanted it. The emotion of it hit me while watching the contact be implanted into his eye.
Finally it was over and Dr. Chung came out to let us all know Mark did great and the surgery went well. Instantly all the media folks got up to go into the recovery room to interview him etc. The second I walked through the door Mark looked up (from about 30 feet away) and he was able to see me. That is huge considering he couldn’t see me from one side of our bed to the other. That was the best moment, seeing the look on his face when he realized just how well he could see. We provided the perfect emotional moment that reporters love. We didn’t mean to, I just happened to walk in right in the middle of the post-op interview.
2 1/2 hours later when we went back for a pressure check he was already seeing 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. It wasn’t until that follow up appointment that we learned from Dr. Chung that he, as well as all the clinic and surgery staff involved, had donated their time. We wrongly assumed that Star Surgical as the sponsors of the contest were compensating them. Once again I was on the verge of tears.
We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who voted for Mark on Facebook, to all the staff at Evergreen Eye Center (best customer service I have ever experienced in a medical office period), and to Dr. Chung for donating his time and skills. Never once did Dr. Chung or the staff make us feel rushed, or any less than patients they collect payment from. It didn’t matter to any of them that they where not going to make money from us.
Mark is still making comments about how much better he can see and how fun it is to have the gift of good vision, and he is already planning our first adventure trip with his new eyes!
One thought on “Brand New Eyes – part 2”
Mark-I'm crying reading this blog. I am soooo happy for you. When last we talked and you explained the procedure to me it was all very theoretical, but just reading these acct's makes it all so real. I couldn't be more thrilled and can only imagine your excitement at being able to see your wife and daughter first thing in the morning. I didn't know about the sacrifice you made to have Sky come into your life and it just makes me respect you all the more. Much love you, Mark. Jackie