I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Three months in and so far we are a bit ahead of schedule. Raised so far: $3,315!
I will keep this post ridiculously brief, as my tolerance for being in front of the glare of a computer screen this morning is about 5 minutes per session.
The summer before entering my 7th grade year at school, it was noticed that I was watching the television with my eyes all scrunched up. Yep, somewhere between my visit to the eye doctor a couple of months prior and that summer I went from 20/20 vision to 20/what the hell is that?
So, glasses were the norm from the age of 11 until 16. Then a mixture of contact lenses and glasses since. We’re talking astigmatism and “can’t see the alarm clock at night until it is 1 foot in front of me” bad.
As an endurance athlete that can be troublesome. Ever had a contact lens pop out of your eye while you are descending down a twisting, turning road at 60mph on a bicycle? Yep, that has happened to me… and we’ve already established how poor my vision is… terrifying.
So, this was the magic year. I had been waiting for wavefront guided, all-laser LASIK to become the norm and reasonably priced – and this now appears to be the case. I set aside some money in my FSA. My health insurance provides a 25% discount. And off I went to the local NVISION laser center to get my eyes blasted. The process was quite simple. Everybody was ridiculously friendly. It all went something like this:
a) Make an appointment for my free consultation.
b) Go to the appointment. A very friendly person guides you through some overview information (and you know me – I do my research so he wasn’t telling me anything new). He ran me through some really cool tests. I talked to one of their super friendly doctors to run through my data to see if I am qualified and answer any questions. Yep: qualified.
c) Make my series of appointments with yet another super friendly person. She arranges for my pre-operative visit with my own personal eye doctor (which will be paid for by the clinic), a return visit to the clinic for a pre-operative check on my scans (the ones they just did earlier that day, just to check for consistency), gives me a prescription to fill at my local pharmacy for pre- and post-operative drops, and then the surgery was scheduled – they could fit me in next week if I wanted! SOLD!
d) My visit to the eye doctor went well. Getting the prescription filled was a piece of cake. Going back for the second round of eye scans was simple.
e) And… one week later… the day of the event! The only complicating factor is that you need a ride home from this (bad idea to have somebody driving who is hopped up on Xanax and can’t see very well at all). Lauren was in San Jose, but flew back and took a taxi from the airport to the clinic – with plenty of time to spare. The procedure itself was quite simple. I signed a pile of papers, paid them some money, they had me watch a video of the surgeon describing the surgery process, go over the post-operative procedures, they gave me some painkillers and a Xanax, put drops in my eyes… waited for the Xanax to kick in (I was actually pretty calm to begin with already)… and then they whisked me away to the room.
f) The Room. It was chilly – so I was glad I took their recommendation to heart to wear comfortable clothes. My Zags hoodie and fleece lined moccasin slippers kept me toasty. One wall in the room is made entirely of glass, with a sitting area clearly visible – that is where Lauren sat so she could both see me and watch the procedure through monitors in the waiting area. It was all quite nice.
g) The Procedure. It went quickly. Basically it goes like this: you lie down, they tape a shield over one eye, insert drops into the target eye, hold it open with a clamp (not at all as scary as I thought that part would be), poke your eye a few times, you look at a flashing green dot while the laser comes in and everything turns all speckly (that is the laser cutting the flap). The doctor puts in some drops and starts wiping the eye to get the flap loose – they pull the flap back, and things get blurry. Look back at another green light, lots of red lines appear and start shaving away microscopic pieces of your eye. Yes, you can smell that… more appropriately it is “burning away” microscopic pieces of your eye… and that burning smell is – prepare yourself – your own flesh! Anyway, when that is done they move the flap back into place, add in a bunch of drops, the surgeon squeegees it back into place. DONE. Repeat the process for the next eye.
h) Next they tape protective goggles to your face and lead you back into a recovery room. Give you another Xanax, and say, “Go home and get as much sleep as possible. We will see you tomorrow morning to see how it all went.”
i) We say our thank you’s and goodbye’s, get into the car, and Lauren drives me home. I can see pretty well already, but the taped on goggles obscure things a bit. And the headlights of oncoming cars have halos. And I am ridiculously hungry – the entire way home we talk about ordering pizza. I endorse this plan with vigor and enthusiasm.
j) We get home. I sprint toward bed and fall asleep. Lauren wakes me up with a plate of pizza in front of my face. I eat that pizza. Then some more pizza. And I want to keep on eating pizza until I vomit – but realize that would not be cool. Pop in the sleeping pill the clinic gave me and I am immediately down for the count again.
k) Wake up at 7am this morning. Sexy goggles still taped to my head. But I can see the alarm clock. And the ceiling fan. And my hand! All of this is new to me! Victory!?
l) Today we head back for our 1-day check at the clinic to see how it all went. Next week I return to my normal eye doctor for the 1-week check. The eyes will continue to heal and become less sensitive to light. I will be able to progressively spend more time in front of the computer screen (lots and lots and lots of work to do). Maybe I’ll even go watch the Hobbit on an IMAX screen.
So far, I am EXTREMELY pleased with this whole deal. I have lifetime warranties on getting the procedure touched up. It all happened quickly and without any drama. It cost a lot less than I had expected. And, so far, it feels great and I can SEE (well, the sexy taped on goggles are distorting things right now).
Three very enthusiastic thumbs up! (Theo lent me one of his non-opposable thumbs as part of the endorsement).
Soon, I should be able to run FASTER than ever! Bike with reckless speed and abandon! Swim with the fury of a thousand Aquamen! Because I will no longer be chained to the quirks of the contact lens…
Oh, and I am going to keep the sexy taped on goggles. Because I’m a trendsetter (?)
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