Friday, July 11, 2014

LASIK, anyone?

Please, please hold your laughter. I know this is a despicable picture. Hear me out. So, when I was in high school my parents absolutely hated the phrase "hanging out." They acted as though they thought it denoted wanton teenage sexual behavior, and probably caffeinated beverages! I was pretty clever though, and figured out that by substituting the phrase "hanging out" with the much creepier phrase "playing with my friends," I could get away with anything. I congratulated myself for being so witty, and never had a curfew all through high school when I asked "Hey, can I go play with my friends?" Then I got ahold of this picture years later, and I realized that my sharp wit had nothing to with the free reign I commanded. This picture explained my entire youth. I mean seriously- what trouble could this kid get into? Teenage pregnancy was never going to be possible for this guy, and my parents must have known it. Now, I can't blame the glasses exclusively, but I've always wanted to be rid of glasses all the same.

So, this year Emma and I talked about my options. I work at a computer, and contacts dry my eyes out particularly fast staring at a computer screen. I don't know how Emma functions for days at a time in the same contacts. She can put them in without even needing a mirror. Contacts have never been convenient or comfortable for me, and glasses are worse. So the option of LASIK came up, and with lengthy financing it became a real possibility, and I had the procedure done about 3 months ago. There are definitely pros and cons, and I think I should just say what happened, in case anyone was wondering what LASIK is like.

So I was told in advance that the procedure would take about 30 minutes, and I'd feel a little uncomfortable afterwards, and the easiest thing to do would be to take a little nap, and I'd wake up with perfect vision. So I went to get lasik done, and they laid me down on the table in this dark room and gave me a couple numbing eye drops so I wouldn't feel anything. I was laying on my back, staring up at bright lights and trying to discern the figures hovering over me, wearing medical masks and positioning the massive ominous laser machine over my face. Someone nearby started chanting "look at the blinking light, look at the blinking light..." Without warning someone started pulling on my eye, and my vision went blurry. "Look at the blinking light, look at the blinking light." I spotted the red dot flashing above me, and thought "I can handle this." Then a shot of liquid came from the side, presumably to frighten me, but it could just have been to lubricate my eye. I could feel pressure as something plastic was forced onto my eye uncomfortably, and more liquid was squirted in for good measure. "Look at the blinking light, look at the blinking light." I tightened my grip on the table, clenching my fists. I started to sweat as a strange clicking and whirring came to life right above me. Through the liquid and plastic I could make out the laser machine focused on my eye. "Look at the blinking light, look at the blinking light." I could smell something burning, and my butt cheeks clenched as smoke started to fill the air above me. Suddenly the clicking stopped, and just as the smoke cleared my vision disappeared completely- just a little squishing sound, and it was totally gone. Then the burning and clicking started up again, and more squishing. "Look at the blinking light, look at the blinking light." Right- I forgot about the blinking light. Where did it go? My vision comes back hazy, and I spot it clear off to the left... no wait, the right. Then there's like 6 blinking lights dancing every which way. More liquid sprayed onto my eye, and the plastic bits were removed with a squelching sound. One down, one to go. My knuckles were white- every muscle in my body completely tensed. I was hyperventilating as the process started all over again. "Look at the blinking light, look at the blinking light." 'click click click, buzzzzzzz.' More smoke, more burnt smells, my other eye went dark, then came back, accompanied by splashing and squishing. Did the blinking light just change colors? I was about to throw up when someone grabbed my shoulder and pulled me upright. "All done, let's get you out of here." I blinked, and I could make out shapes of people around me through an impossibly thick white fog. I was ushered out the door by Emma, and into the car. Complimentary sunglasses protected my eyes as I looked around trying to decide how well the procedure had worked.

At some point on the drive home, I realized my eyes hurt. A lot. Back at the house, I popped a few ibuprofen and laid down for my recommended nap. No dice- my eyes were on fire. I couldn't tell if lasik worked because my eyes were so sensitive to light that I could barely open them, and what I could see was completely washed away by my eyes watering up. I was wiping away tears, snot and drool, moaning in pain for the better part of an hour before I finally fell asleep from exhaustion.

The next couple of weeks I was terrified of anything touching my eyes. I kept Holland at arms length, and freaked out anytime a light breeze rolled across my face, for fear it would jostle some unhealed part of my eye and cause permanent blindness. Months later, let's review. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! I can see just like I'm wearing contacts, except I'm not. Every morning when I open my eyes I can skip the obligatory fumbling around for my glasses, and I've finally done away with the nerdy glasses push-up during sports and exercise. I love lasik, and it's totally worth it. Every time I see the trees or mountains of Idaho off in the distance, with beautiful clarity, I'm grateful for my new eyes. In many ways I compare lasik to Jesus' capacity to heal blindness. It's magical, and I can't believe anyone figured out this was possible. I'm looking forward to a couple of decades without glasses or contacts- hopefully they'll be the most active years of my life, and that's exactly why I chose not to wait until it was more affordable.


  1. OH MY GOSH!!!! This story is hilarious! And I'm thankful for your honesty because my husband wants to get this done. Now I know to ask for a valium beforehand, and before he goes in, I'll remind him to relax his butt! HA! I love this so much.

  2. Hahahahahahaha. You have a gift with words. Im laughing out loud and hope it doesn't bother seth cuz he's sleeping next to me. Gonna have to read this to Matt tonight.