Sunday, January 8, 2012

Eyes that Shoot Laserbeams!

A couple of years back Mr. Eggshells was the very happy recipient of laser eye surgery to correct very warped eyes (but, hey, they went with the rest of him).  Unfortunately it left him with a disability that lingers to this day, causing untold pain and distress.

To me.

Because he keeps insisting that his laser eye surgery also gave him the ability to shoot laser beams from his eyes.  Now, every time he wants me to be quiet (which is hardly ever, because I am all sweetness, light, and melodious tones), he stares at me bug-eyed like he's trying to incinerate me.  Not only do I not disintegrate or burst into flames, but also I have to explain [again] that he did not have lasers implanted.

But this is not really what I wanted to talk about on this blog.  I wanted to take us all back 10 years to my own experience with laser eye surgery.

I had been a late bloomer when it came to failing eyesight, having managed to make it to 15 before the chalkboards in my various classrooms seemed all of a sudden to be too far away.

Now remember this was the 80's (and stop doing that math, I can hear you calculating!),  a time when fashion and style could be summed up in one word.


The glasses I had for many years were HUGE.  My prescription wasn't that strong, but because the styles were all mondo-ginormous shoulder pads and hair out to the moon, glasses were all fascinatingly owlish.

Of course, this was also the timeframe of powder blue eyeshadow, so at least I could make my brown eyes blue.  Or rather, I could make them stand out.

By the time I was 32, glasses had been relegated to the morning-after-the-night-before (also known as, oh my GOD I cannot bear to put contact lenses in today or I WILL DIE).  I'd managed to get them down to size, but I hated wearing them, and the contact lenses.  The solution was laser surgery, but I have a thing about eyes.  (Actually I have a "thing" about a lot of things but I'm trying to spare you the full onslaught of my neuroses...we're still in the honeymoon phase after all.)  

There was a clinic in my hometown and the Doctor there was pioneering the "no touch" form, where it's all done with lasers and no scalpel ever touches the eye itself.   My company got a discount and they could book me an appointment the day after I had my consult.  I was an excellent candidate.

To those of you who have never had laser eye surgery, I have two things to say.  1) It is one of the best decisions I have ever made and 2) the pain is excruciating.  I understand the no-touch type is more painful than the Lasik, but since I only did the one can't really compare.

**Note, it's going to get graphic here for a paragraph or so.  Read on if you can't bear it.**

No-touch surgery is essentially where they prop your eyelids open, give a local freezing agent, and lase your cornea (the thick part of the outside of the eye) down.  This smells somewhat like when you get your teeth drilled.  They then zap the lens with a precision laser to adjust the eye issues.  Then the corneas grow back after a few days and voila.  You're done.

**Okay safe to return.**

I was told I was fortunate because my corneas started off very thick...and by the time they were reduced in size they were still thicker than what most people started with.  My surgery had been on a Thursday and then the aftercare was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I remember coming out of the surgery and thinking it was so amazing that I could see everything.  After that it's basically a Valium blur; since the corneas do most of the re-growth in the first 24 hours, the best bet is to knock yourself out and sleep it off.

Somewhere between Friday and Saturday I remember having a numerous-hour phone conversation with a guy from work.  I couldn't tell you what we discussed, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't making much sense.

Saturday was the 'bandaid contact lens' day, where they change the contact lenses from the first day.  Let me tell you, having someone change your contact lenses is just creepy.  The fact that I went through all this is a testament to how much I wanted to be rid of glasses/contact lenses.  It was around this time that I also got pretty annoyed that they'd only given me enough Valium for one day.  Because the pain was pretty good by that point and I would have liked to just keep sleeping.  It was something like having an entire beach of sand in both eyes, but you didn't dare touch them at all.  At all.

Then it was Sunday, the last appointment day.  My girlfriend who had been shuttling me back and forth to the appointments came to pick me up and since it was a Sunday and her husband could stay home with the kids, we decided to go out for breakfast.  Around the corner from the local pub I used to frequent in my younger days, there was a waterfront hotel that served a lovely brunch and we decided that was as good a place as any.

We left the clinic and the world was way too bright.  The headache that had plagued me for days exploded my face and head into a thousand pieces.  But since we never got to have breakfast out, I was determined to persevere.

Every minute that progressed, my eyes got drier and drier.  In the space of time from arrival through ordering, I must've excused myself at least 10 times to go to the ladies' room to saline my eyes.  The headache raging, my nose running, eyeballs screaming, I just wanted to make it through eating and then go home and die in a sniveling ball of pain.  (Have I mentioned I'm a rock star when it comes to illness?  Dude.)

It was on one of the occasions when I returned to the table, that I found my friend laughing.  I asked her what was up and she replied that while I hadn't seemed to notice, I had been garnering quite a lot of attention in the restaurant.  Servers, patrons, people walking by on the boardwalk.  My friend, noticing and realizing what they were thinking, made sure to explain to our waiter that I wasn't hungover, just recovering from eye surgery.  Apparently the wait staff had been comparing notes and I was the most "hungover' person they'd ever had in the place on a Sunday-morning-after-the-night-before.

At that point the waiter arrived back and very sympathetically re-positioned my water glass, gently touched my shoulder and told me where I could find it as if I were blind or completely bandaged.  I just didn't have the heart to explain.

1 comment:

  1. LMAO

    A. Awesome story.
    B. Richie totally has laser eyes, he's just messing with you so he can totally surprise you one day.