Monday, August 15, 2005

'Frickin' laser beams, baby..."

After putting it off for two years, I’ve decided to get laser eye surgery. The procedure has been scheduled for next month on my husband’s birthday, no less. Happy Birthday, Lrudlrick. For your b-day, you get to get out of work, drive me to the surgery, watch the surgery and drive your wife home. Supper-rise! If you haven’t submitted into the KITH scrapbook yet, get a move on.

Now, I have to eat baloney and cheese sandwiches for the next two months to save up. I signed up for a FSA at work but it’s not fully matured until December. Of course, I don’t want to wait until December. Multiple reasons have pushed this surgery forward. Some are work related. Others are related to Christmas and the amount of presents we have to buy yearly.

When I told my optometrist Saturday, he was more excited than I was. Honestly, I thought he was going to hug me. I suppose it wouldn’t be awkward. Nothing is as awkward as being in a darkened room with a strange man up in your face flashing a bright light into your pupil and breathing heavily.

I mean, it’s not like you can hid the discomfort. Your pupils are going to tell him you’re not in the ‘comfort zone’. Then I thought, well, I know this guy long enough that I’m sort of comfortable. I mean, I know it’s coming and well, he hasn’t done anything obscene so I suppose I’m ok with it. Then I thought, great, this man’s ear is next to my nose and I’m thinking whether or not I’m showing some sign that I don’t mind him being there by not dilating my pupils.

Then the Catholic school upbringing pops up and I’m thinking, great, I’m going to hell. Did I just have an impure thought about my optometrist? Well, I guess it wasn’t impure because all I thought about was if I had a problem with this guys face smashed against my face. I mean can pupils flirt?

“Wow, your eyes are really sensitive. You have hyper-sensitive eyes.”

“Uh, thanks?”

”I’m putting you on Patanol yesterday. Don’t forget to use it daily.”

I’ve never been good at standardized tests. The pressure becomes to much for me. For some reason I feel the same way about the eye exams. “Is the line going through the circle or above or below it?” “What numbers do you see?” “What number is the arrow pointing to?” “Well, if you just let me look at the card and not stare at it through this funky machine, I’d be able to tell you readily.”

For me, I get the most pressure from the eye chart. As an Asian, it’s inbred in me to be the best. But how can you really be the best in an eye chart? “Can you see that line?”

My heart starts beating. I start sweating and get nervous. Is the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’? This should be frickin’ simple but if I say no, does that mean I fail? I guess this is common because my doctor always tries to calm me down. “It’s ok. I’ll do it again. Step back. Ok, now, look again. Can you see that line?”

Now the neurotic side really comes out. “Well, define see. See, I can see the line but I can’t read the line. Maybe you should be clearer. Yes, I can see the line but I can’t bloody well tell you if that’s an O or a C.” “I’m going to chalk that up to a no.” “Damn.”

My doctor is anal retentive too so I suppose that’s why I like him. He’s very thorough and explains everything. He also triple checks everything which can be a little aggravating especially because of my neurotic tendencies.

Darren mentioned that he hated the glaucoma test. It’s a test where they blow a puff of air into your eyeball. What this is supposed to measure, I have no idea but it’s the anticipation that is killer.

The most uncomfortable tests to take, in my opinion, are the lasik surgery tests. There are a bunch of preliminary screening tests that you need to go through to determine if you are a good candidate.

Some say the needle in the eye to measure thickness is bad. They drop some type of mild anesthetic onto your eye and stick a needle probe instrument into your eye to measure density. That was nothing to the vertigo-go test.

I think the vertigo-go test takes a 3-d photo of your eye. I’m not sure because, honestly, I was so wigged out after that, they could have taken blood, urine samples and a breast exam on me and I wouldn’t have known. The test is similar to the puffed air test where you have to put your chin on the rest and stare into a light.

The difference is this thing has a head strap. No lie. “Why does this thing have a restraining strap?” I inquired. “Some people move away from the machine during testing. In order to get a proper reading you need to be staring into the machine for a period of time.” “Have you ever had to use this?” “A few times.”

Great. Well I figured out right away why people back away from the machine. The light turns into a vertigo and you have to constantly stare at the center of it as it moves and speeds up. It’s like taking an acid trip but without the acid. "Yeah, that test was trippy. It brought me back to the 60's." said my doctor.

I’ll be honest. I backed away two times. See, you have to hold that position for what felt like 90 seconds. It’s not easy. I recall I started staring so intently that it nearly split into two separate vertigos. Of course, they have to do this to both eyes separately. So you’ve go to go through the dizziness again for another 90 seconds.

I only made it without the restraint when the nurse literally threatened me that I had one more shot before she had to strap me in.

In the end my tests placed me as a good candidate and I could schedule it whenever. I was excited until I heard I had to wear my glasses for two weeks prior.

I was hoping to not have to buy a new pair of glasses but according to pre-op assessments, I need to be off the contacts for two weeks. Two friggin’ weeks. I haven’t bought a new pair of glasses in three years. The only pair I have left are so weak and tattered, I can only wear them in front of my husband.

Now, I know I’m a pretty princess but if I could pass by with my current glasses I would. But well, you know that student in grade school that always had tape around his glasses? That’s what I’d look like in my glasses. The nose guard is broken off and being the lazy shmuck that I am, I’ve crazy glued the old guard to the metal. The paint on the wire frames is peeling and the lenses are all scratched up from nights passed out on the couch with a book pressed against them.

Even if I could by pass the vanity issues of looking like Velma, I can’t read a book let alone subtitles at the movies with them. I’m a project manager. I read at least 30+ pieces of email, manuals, contracts, memos and write as much in a given day. There is no way in hell, I’d be able to function work wise for two weeks with my current glasses.

So now I’m stuck hunkering down $200+ for frickin’ glasses that I’ll wear for two weeks. My optometrist sympathized and gave me sample contacts to hold me over until the glasses are made. Maybe it was sympathy or maybe it was my hyper-sensitive eyes flirting.

In less than two weeks, I’ll report on my pre-operative assessment. Apparently, one of the things he’ll do is knock my eyes out completely. Apparently this is more effective than the standard dilation. Joy. My hyper-sensitive eyes can’t wait.