Welcome to “How It Feels” where the Cru Jones Society lets you experience, well, how it feels. To kick off this feature, we take on how some different surgical procedures and bodily ailments feel. Look for Lee S. Hart tomorrow, hopefully Senor Limon on Thursday (if not him, we’ll have a special guest poster), and possibly some thoughts on Tucson by Friday. But for now, let’s talk Lasik.
Two years ago I attended an Avalanche game where a bunch of cute brunettes in the main lobby handed out flyers that read, “$1000 off Lasik surgery if the Avs score in the 1st period!” I wondered who would actually participate in such an activity. Ten months later I gripped the flyer anxiously in my hand praying the Avs were able to ram one home so I could get a fat discount on my impending eye surgery. The decision to undergo a procedure that ostensibly sees a doctor shoot red hot laser beams into your most sensitive body part is one I didn’t take lightly. But the compounding annoyances of worrying about whether the big bottle of saline will last another night before you drop another 10 bucks at the pharmacy and waking up with cloudy eyes after a drunken night and forgetting to deposit your contacts in their little receptacles became too much and I decided to take the $3000 plunge and go for it. Happily the Avs were able to put one on the scoreboard, and less than 3 weeks and 2 consultations later, I was in the car wearing my corrective lenses for the last time on my way to have lasers blasted into my corneas.
For as many statistics as you’ve read in preparation for your procedure, you can’t help but feel like you’re walking into impending ocular doom. You think about every pick-up basketball game you’ve ever played where you got unintentionally poked in the eye and just how much that fucking kills. Your eyes are the delicate little flowers of your face, and you protect them at all costs. Goggles protect you from stinging pool water, sunglasses save you from damaging UV radiation, and even when you forget to wear a cup while playing racquetball, they still make you wear those cheesy James Worthy-style goggles. Your eyes are your livelihood, and you’ve willingly signed up to have someone dick with them. It’s unnerving as hell.
To the credit of the Lasik clinic, they do their absolute best to try to make you feel comfortable. You get to sit in a big comfy chair, they offer you a halcyon which you’re a fool if you turn down, and the doctor with hands soft as Chinese silk assures you everything will be fine. Doesn’t matter. My heart was racing like Galileo facing the Roman Catholic Church trying to prove the heliocentric universe or be branded as a heretic. And we all know how that feels…
The time finally came and I had goofy little nylon booties over my Doc Marten’s and a hairnet like nurses wear on my head. Watching Lady E attempt to stifle laughter made me feel a little better. I was led to the room with equipment scattered throughout that more resembled an auto assembly plant than a place where they’d fix your most precious commodity. I found out later the nurses attempted to coerce Lady E into watching on a nearby monitor and she relented after a valiant fight. When my eye came into focus on the television, Lady E made like Usain Bolt and fled the scene. She wanted no part of watching eye surgery, and up to that point, I can’t say I blame her.
As I lay down, one of the assistants chatted me up and walked me through the procedure. He put a patch over my left eye as the doctor came in positioning one of the big drill press-looking things over my face. He told me that whatever I did, to make sure and stay focused on the blinking light. If it meant everything would remain cool, I would have stared at that sumbitch for a day straight. No fucking way I was looking anywhere else.
He told me to relax and I did the best I could to focus on whatever cockeyed Jane’s Addiction song was on the radio in the room. And before I even knew what was going on, he had cut a flap in the outer layer of my eye. As he folded it up, everything went from modestly blurry to unprecedentedly blurry. I remained steadfast in my focus on that blurry-ass blinking light.
The doctor then said something I’ll never forget, “You’re going to feel some pressure here.” Yeah, no shit, I thought as he pressed on my orbital cavity with what felt like the weight of his entire arm. More unsettling was the rapidly deteriorating light coming into my eye. The darkness seeped in from all sides as it faded out completely in a tighter circle like the end of a Looney Tunes short. I panicked as I could no longer see the blinking light, so I concentrated hard on not moving my fucking eye. So help me God, I have never been more focused on something I couldn’t see in my entire life.
The light returned with a jarring suddenness and my eyes instinctively scanned my immediate area. “Find the light. Find the light,” the doctor insisted. Shit, I have one job to do and I’m fucking it up. If I’m blind when this is over, it’s my own damn fault. I didn’t lose the light again.
I suddenly became very aware of what I heard as a clicking sound that resembles a tesla coil striking someone in an aluminum suit punctuated what was now “Self Esteem” by The Offspring on the radio. That was followed by an intense heat and a wonderful cooling feeling as the assistant doused my eye with delightfully refreshing drops. A few more minor things from the doctor, and all of a sudden my flap was back over my eye and I could see again.
One down, one to go. The whole thing lasted maybe 90 seconds but I was already fucking exhausted from all the trauma of not really knowing what the hell was going on. “How we doin’ there?” asked the assistant. All I could think to say was, “This song reminds me of junior high,” I responded commenting on Offspring. He took this as a sign I was fine and proceeded to switch the patch to my right eye ripping off part of my eyebrow in the process. Truth be told, that was the most painful part of the entire procedure.
The doctor proceeded to lather, rinse, repeat on my left eye and since I knew better what was coming, I didn’t lose the blinking light once. And, before you can say “blueberry pie,” the entire thing was over and I was sitting in a darkened room wearing big ugly Blu-Blocker sunglasses telling Lady E about it. We soon were on the road back home where I tilted the seat back (the halcyon was really starting to kick in now that my adrenaline had tapered off) and smoked a cigarette looking like a passed out Lindsay Lohan caught in the tabloids with my hood over my head.
I immediately crashed once we got home, and when I woke up, for the first time ever, I could read the digital cable guide without assistance. I ended up having to sleep in Seth Green in Can’t Hardly Wait style goggles for the next two nights, and aside from my eyes getting tired more easily, I felt no ill effects from my surgery. I’d recommend this to anyone.
Getting Lasik surgery done is easily one of the top 5 most unsettling 3 minutes of your life. But its benefits can hardly be measured. I understand Lady E not wanting to watch them stick things in my eye, but now that I’ve had it done, I can’t wait to see how it works. If any of you need a ride to your Lasik appointment, give ol’ E Dagger a call. After your eye is fixed, then we can really talk about “How It Feels.”
17 Mar 2009 E Dagger