Consider the one thing you could change about yourself – the one source of self-consciousness that has made you feel unattractive for years. Think about a trait which, despite the opinions of others, has made it difficult for you to feel pretty, desirable, or sexy in public.
Then imagine if you could undo that flaw in a quick, efficient manner, and never have to deal with it again.
You know how that feels? Pretty fucking nice.
Less than 20 minutes to undo 15 years of blindness…over half my lifetime. I’m a little blown over by how surreal the experience is. I’ll never need to change my contacts, clean my glasses, or fumble around in the morning. I keep feeling short bursts of panic, thinking that I’ve been wearing my contacts for too long. These are my real eyes!
So I’m sure you want to hear about the procedure. Hold onto your frilly panties, I’m about to turn some stomachs.
I wasn’t the least bit nervous. I was excited. I called my cousin at 8:45 a.m., she informed me she was awake and available to take me to my surgery. I waited until 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes before my appointment, and called her again. She had slept through her alarm clock.
(Don’t worry; she made it up to me by taking me to my check-up appointment this morning.)
Anyway, I got there on time, filled out the paperwork, etc. A bunch of people were already waiting for surgery, sitting around chatting, having a support group from which I was excluded because I’m a redhead with a scowl. Weird mechanical noises emitted from the OR.
One after another, the patients filed out wearing dark sunglasses. None of them looked particularly happy or excited. For me, the sedative was kicking in big-time and the eye-numbing drops were forcing my eyes to close. When the nurse finally called me into the room, I was starting to go cross-eyed.
My doctor was an attractive, middle-aged man who sat me on the surgical table and discussed the procedure with me. He gave me squeeze balls for stress, and laid me underneath the giant laser.
Alright, so the procedure is entirely painless, but it’s still a little fucking surreal sitting underneath a giant laser, wide awake, knowing that a flap of your eye is being peeled off by a mechanical object. I was essentially watching my own surgery.
I was told to look at a flashing red light, relax, don’t move. I follow instructions well. Crackling noises drowned out my thoughts, something was forced in my eye to keep it open, and tape was used to stick my eyelashes to my face. I felt a great pressure, my vision went black, and then it reappeared.
Did I mention that twice throughout the procedure I smelled something burning? MY EYEBALLS?
When it was all over, I was commended for a fantastic job and told to sit up. I felt like I was underwater – everything was clouded. I put on my super swanky sunglasses (which I have to wear outdoors for the next week, day or night) and sat in the lounge for an hour, until the doctor checked my eyeballs and I was free to go.
And oh my GOD that’s when the pain started.
Not so much pain as an overwhelming sensitivity to LIGHT. I left the office, picked up my prescription eye drops, and fought my way to the parking lot where K-Jax was waiting for me, bless her.
I feel bad ‘cos she was talking to me but I was in agony and I couldn’t look at ANYTHING. We pulled up next to MUN and I had to put my coat over my head to drown out the sunshine. When I got home, I stumbled upstairs, swept everything off my bed and tried to climb in. I couldn’t fucking read my post-op instructions, find my eye-drops, or think clearly.
I managed to organize my life into piles of “unimportant shit” and “important shit”, and climbed into bed. Every time I tried to pry open my eyes, water would pour out. My pillow was SOAKED in eye juice.
I slept on and off for six hours, waking up occasionally and trying to look at things again. Useless. Every now and then I managed to keep an eye open for two seconds, and catch a glimpse of CLEAR vision. I was excited, but in pain. So I drifted in and out of consciousness, waiting for my moment of revelation.
Then, six hours later, just as my post-op instructions suggested (and I would have realized if I had fucking read them), I awoke feeling amazing…relatively. I stumbled out into the bathroom, and peered hazily at my reflection. I could see me, and then I started crying. Because I realized, holy shit, that’s what I really look like?!
Just kidding. It wasn’t until I made my way downstairs, sat on the futon, and read aloud the book titles on the bookshelf from across the room that I realized exactly how monumental the day was.
***I’m understandably very behind with reading, writing, and catching up on comments, so give me a day or two! And thank you all so much for your kind comments about my article, and for sending your wishes to my friend. Keep ‘em coming.