All the Better to See you with

Can it be? After twenty-nine years of wearing glasses that I am finally lens-free?  A few days ago I had LASIK eye surgery. I never considered myself a good candidate. I thought my prescription was too high or my eyes were too dry. My vision may have been terrible but since I saw well with my glasses, I didn’t want to risk complications from a surgery; never mind that thousands of people have had great success. The real reason for the delay: the details of the procedure scared the crap out of me.

First we’ll cut a flap in your cornea and peel that back. Then we’ll laser zap your eye and put the flap back in place. Oh yeah, and you’ll be awake for the whole procedure. The room with be freezing and you might smell an odor of burning skin. Any questions? Great. Pay us lots of money and sign here.

Coincidently, last month’s edition of Parents Magazine featured an article on blind mothers. It chronicled the life of a handful of mothers raising their families without eyesight. How these women managed daily life from picking out their clothes to helping their children with homework is truly awe inspiring. So naturally I believed that my surgery would result in blindness. With excerpts from the article mulling around in my head, I practiced things like shaving my legs and making sandwiches with my eyes closed. You can imagine how that worked out for me. So my way to cope for LASIK was to not think about it at all. I scheduled the appointment, filled the prescriptions and never opened the procedural video they sent me.  I figured it was best not to see how they peel back the corneal flap.

My Mom came for a few days to bring me to my surgery and take care of me and the kids (my hubby was away that week). Although Kevin would have been great, there is really nothing like having your Mom with you. (Read “Glitter and Glue” by Kelly Corrigan) At the office, they rechecked my eyes, and with everything set to go they handed me a Valium and a glass of water and told me to relax. We’re going to laser your only set of eyes so just sit back and relax. I secretly checked the Dixie cup to see if another little blue Valium pill had magically appeared. It hadn’t. I was surprised at how scared I was. I had labored and delivered two baby boys (9 pounders) without an epidural by choice and yet I was looking for a second dose of Valium.

The procedure was quick and the staff was great telling me step by step what to expect. They offered lots of encouragement, but my mind kept wandering back to those blind mothers. These were my thoughts as I listened to the click of the laser….  Since they all lived in a city where they could get around with their seeing eye dogs, we’ll have to move. I won’t be able to read but at least I’ll have audio books. I love to sew, guess that’s over. Thank goodness Loon Mountain has a program for blind skiers. I wonder if I’m smart enough to learn Braille.  

Okay Amanda, you’re all set. Sit up slowly and read the clock on the wall. I could read it. The numbers were clear although the room was still very foggy. With my new airbrushed and vision foggy vision, I’ll know who you are and you’ll look ten years younger. It’s like comparing traditional TV to HDTV. They tell me this is temporary and my vision will sharpen up.

I’m safely on the other side of surgery. I can see. We’re not moving to a city or getting a seeing eye dog. I cried when I walked out of surgery and into the arms of my Mom. They weren’t tears of joy. I was totally shaken by the whole experience and the fear found its release on the other side. Since I couldn’t see clearly yet or read anything up close I was still really scared and certain I would be unlucky when the dust settled.  It’s only been two days and although my vision isn’t crisp yet it is improving. Ironically my first order of business after ridding myself of eyeglasses was to buy myself a pair of sunglasses.