Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Archived from the former firedocs blog. 12 March 2006

"I was blind, but now I can seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

Actually, I was petrified. I don't care how 'routine' it is or how many people are doing it. The idea of a laser CUTTING INTO YOUR EYES ought to frighten anybody. Yeah, yeah, I acted cool, casual -- up until the operating room, when I clammed up and got very still, which is my response to trauma -- but I admit, I was pretty scared about it going in.

The first "hard pressure" experience is only a few seconds. Still it is a bit scary and uncomfortable. (Of course, you used to have to get abducted by aliens for eye care like this, and that can be scary and uncomfortable too.) You can 'see' them opening and closing the flap over your cornea. And there is a longer period, where the adjustments are happening, where you are staring at nothing but see a kaleidascope of the tiniest imaginable pinprick colors, which I figured were the lasers configuring the various parts of the cornea. My correction was pretty severe, so the memorable smell of my fission'd corneal material wafting past my nose was highly present. That's something likely to show up in a bad dream someday.

They give you a mild sedative first. I was quiet and still in sheer terror though, never mind the drug, which did nothing but reduce me to feeling as sleepy as I do half my waking life from chronic sleep deprivation anyway. When it was over and they walked me into the typical eye exam room, and I sat down on the chair, the women were convinced I was going to pass out for some reason. I think because they wanted me to be talkative and I had a difficult time even forcing myself to say "I'm fine." I felt traumatized and that makes me clam up. They were trying to convince me to lie down on the floor. I was ignoring them stonily, wondering why on earth they thought this would be a good idea. I finally managed to convince them I really was fine, as I'd said initially, and they left me alone to sit with eyes closed and wait for the doctor.

Friday morning I had it done. Afterwards, you are supposed to wear these goggles they provide to protect your eyes, when you are inside, and these wrap around sunglasses when you are outside. Yesterday morning (Saturday) I went for a quick checkup. My eyes tested at 20/15 in both, which is perfect vision. (20/20 is actually slightly less than perfect, in case y'all haven't heard the story of the guy who invented that using his slightly-imperfect assistant as his guide.) I went to the park and watched, with the clear goggles on but still, with my new eyes!, the birds and squirrels.

The day of the surgery I mostly slept all day or just sat there with my eyes closed. I've worried something could go wrong. Until about a month out, when one is allegedly fully healed, it's not really 'over' -- and of course the closer to the surgery (particularly within a week) the bigger the risk. My left eye isn't healing as fast and is slightly swollen and bugs me now and then. Doc says it's pretty normal and as long as I keep taking the antibiotic drops and keep the eyes lubricated with these tears, it should be fine. Being the neurotic Virgo I am, I still worry like hell about this. I woke up last night and it hurt like crazy. Before that it had once itched like crazy -- having your actual eyeball itch is a very novel experience.

I reduced the brightness and contrast of my monitor and spent nearly all day yesterday on TKR computer stuff, which made me kinda mad, because I didn't really want to but it was pain in the butt social politics stuff I felt I had to deal with before it got worse, and it actually required as part of it scripting some pages and writing up some policies and correspondence. I never did finish the solo-session page that is so overdue... later today I hope. Meanwhile, I really want to rest my eyes so I am going back to bed. Maybe I can meditate, or view for the Mission for this week. I'm getting used to the goggles, but I'll be glad when I can ditch them.

I've been hoping, before and after my LASIK eye improvement, to see this as a metaphysical allegory: that I am improving my ability to SEE, to be more aware, on many levels, not just my physical eyes. It could happen! ;-)

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