Monday, June 11, 2007

Surprise! The eyes have it!

No more glasses. No more contact lenses.

After mulling this over for quite a few years, my wife and I decided to finally get Lasik surgery done. And I am so happy we did.

After more than 24 years of wearing contacts and glasses, it is so strange (in a wonderful way) to see so well - both Evelina and I ended up with 20/15 vision. I keep reaching to take off my glasses at night when I go to bed and wake up in the morning thinking "Oh no! I left my contacts in last night."

On the day of surgery, after some additional tests to make certain we were still good candidates and that I still had enough money to cover the equivalent of our mortgage payment several times over, they gave me a little blue pill. Xanax. Xanax is a benzodiazepine, like Valium and Librium and a host of other "minor tranquilizers". Which is interesting, I suppose. But I digress.

Being unfamiliar with Xanax or any of its cousins, I inquired of the friendly staff attending my wife and me what I could expect from this little blue pill. "You'll feel like you've had a couple of cocktails before dinner," came the reply. Good enough. It's not like I really need to be any more gregarious and extroverted than I already am - my wife will agree - but if increasing the frequency of my witticisms would make the surgery go better, so be it.

After taking the little blue pill we were arranged in huge leather seats to await the procedure. Seated comfortably, I awaited the coming of the "couple of cocktails" euphoria I had been promised. After 20 minutes I began to be suspicious that whomever was tending this particular anteprandial bar was watering down the drinks because nada, nothing, no alchoholesque glow.

As I contemplated this, we were moved into another room, the pre-op room. "Who goes first?" asked the attendant. My wife indicated that I should go first by pointing at me and sticking out her tongue. "I just need to mark your corneas," said the attendant. That sounded...ominous for some reason. But I seated myself in front of the chin-and-forehead rest apparatus that is so ubiquitous in eye-care facilities. "Open your eye wide," she said when I was properly placed. And then she came at me with a green Sharpie.

I'd like to think there are special, disposable, 100%-sterile medical instruments made with exacting standards that are used for things like "marking your corneas". But this thing looked like a green Sharpie. Much like the green Sharpie that sits next to my keyboard at work, in fact. I've never been comfortable with things close to my eyes, but it really did surprise me that a green Sharpie coming at my eye would rank in the top ten of uncomfortable moments in my 36 years.

Fortunately, my eyes were numbed and so had no feeling, however I had a pretty easy time imagining what that green Sharpie must feel like pressed against my eyeball. She made two marks on my right eye and asked me to sit back. "You did great," she said. Nice to know.

"I was more than a little anxious," I told her. "In fact, it was all I could do to keep myself from screaming and jumping backwards."

She frowned. "Maybe we should give you another Xanax." My wife quickly raised her hand and nodded, indicating her desire for another round.

If a single Xanax does nothing to me, I can attest that two Xanax do exactly twice that. But I sat through the marking of my left eye and the remarking of my right eye - how lucky! - with as much stoic calm as I could muster. I was led away into the surgery room, my wife looking very much like she had hit pay-dirt at that bar that failed to deliver for me.

The actual surgery was fast; perhaps seven minutes. And although I never did get my "couple of cocktails", I made it through without any trouble. The laser making the adjustments was actually very pretty. And it didn't hurt. A tad uncomfortable, but no real pain.

So now I see very well, with no glasses and no contacts. My eyes feel so much better, healthier. They certainly "breath" better. I'm happy we got it done. As I told my wife, she and I can now see with crystal clarity all the things we can no longer afford.
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1 comment:

Sara said...

I wanna see!!

This is such a great surgery! Just the other day a friend was telling me her husband who was legally blind, with vision of 20/400, had this done 3 years ago and still holds 20/20 eyesight.

Nice blog, PB!