Sunday, January 25, 2004

Let there be sight!

So Friday's LASIK was a smashing success. It was a little creepy watching the surgery being done from the inside, but the doctor talked me through everything he was doing and everything I should expect -- pressure on my eye to the point it would black out, a burning smell when the laser was hacking away at my flesh, etc. -- and I made it through with only a few little panicky moments. And one very audible whimper.

I took my Valium before the surgery, and while I don't think it calmed my nerves during all the abovementioned carnage, it sure knocked me out cold once I got to the car. Poor Mom had to drive me all the way home from Schaumburg through unfamiliar territory in a snowstorm, but she got me here safely and ushered me up to bed for a long slumber with my eyes hidden away under protective welding goggles designed to prevent me from 1) rubbing my eyes while I sleep and 2) sleeping in any position that isn't flat on my back (i.e., any position I find comfortable).

And when I woke up ... WOW! Things both far and near (including the layers of dust blanketing my condo) immediately appeared to me with startling clarity -- albeit behind a slight haze not unlike the Vaseline coating directors put on their lenses to hide the fact that Joan Crawford, Linda Evans, et al. were not aging gracefully. This haze is to be expected off and on for a couple weeks, I was assured at yesterday's follow-up visit with the doctor -- who also proclaimed my recovery to be complication-free and my vision to (eventually) be 20/15.

(Coincidentally, I ran into a guy I used to date -- a very attractive guy I used to date -- while I was waiting for my follow-up doctor visit. He'd had the surgery a few hours after I had, and he and I and my mother made awkward conversation for a good half an hour until we were called in to be checked.)

After the checkup, Mom and I headed out for some celebratory shopping at nearby Woodfield Mall. My first order of business was to buy some cool sunglasses right off the rack -- which I haven't been able to do for more than 15 years. I quickly discovered that when you're not limited to flat frames that can hold prescription lenses, you are forced to choose among literally thousands of styles of sunglasses. It was more than a little overwhelming, but after two hours of looking, I managed to stumble out into the sunlit parking lot with three cool new pair of glasses and a celebratory new shirt.

But our shopping was far from over. Before we headed back to Chicago (in yet another snowstorm) I also bought a new blanket, bedspread, clock, set of funky picture frames and two horrifyingly ugly tchotchkes for Kelly and Anders -- all without wearing glasses!

I also made another exciting discovery on the darkened drive home: I now have nighttime depth perception! I used to see stoplights in the distance and not be able to tell if they were one block or three blocks away, but my LASIK magically cured me of that confusion! Woo-hoo!

Since I wasn't sure I wanted to take my still-in-danger-of-being-jostled-out-of-place corneal flaps out into public last night, we invited Matthew and Richard over for movies and cheesy canap├ęs and a chance for Mom to get to know some more of my Chicago friends.

Then, Mom's nursing duties successfully over, we packed and gassed and windshield-wiper-fluided up her car this morning and she headed back to Iowa in the cold while I stayed indoors to play on my computer and do some more quiet reading with my magical new eyes.

And I'm left with five more days of medicinal drops that make my eyelashes as thick and luxurious as dried wheat, and another week of sleeping in welding goggles and showering with my eyes closed. (Honestly, I don't know how the blind don't fall over more often -- especially in the shower. All those slippery, uneven surfaces and all that splashing water make for quite a disorienting environment when you're trying to wash yourself. Try it sometime.)

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