I’ve been a little quieter than usual lately. That’s because I had a little downtime as I recovered from surgery. Eye surgery. LASIK, to be precise. A month later it remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now the nightmare is over and I’m finally free. When the school nurse told me 24 years ago that I needed glasses, I felt my world crumbling around me. The kids already made fun of me to no end, and they didn’t need more ammunition.
I’d read that carrots were good for eyesight, so for the next week I devoured them like my life depended on it. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stave off my first prescription. But I only needed them to read the blackboard, so it could have been worse. However it got worse. Over the years my eyesight deteriorated, going from 20/80 to 20/400. I ended up wearing glasses nearly all the time just to see the world around me. I hated the way they looked and how they made me felt.
When I went on dates I’d put my glasses on and quickly scour the bar or restaurant to find her, then hurriedly stash them out of sight before I was seen wearing them. If there was a menu I’d read it online first so I’d already know what to order. Style before comfort. Finally I’d had enough. Once I saved up the necessary cash (nearly $4000 – I got a discount) I went for a consultation and scheduled the procedure for a few weeks later. My sister had it done two years ago and highly recommended the doctor. I had very little idea what to expect since I didn’t ask my sister anything and purposely did no research.
I didn’t get nervous until I was in the waiting room, but even then they gave me a Xanax and suddenly I was too busy examining the wallpaper and laughing at nothing. Then I was led inside where they put numbing drops in my eyes and swung this big contraption over me. The doctor put in some kind of plastic speculum to hold my eyelids open and then he did something and everything went blurry. I was told to stare at a blinking red light and that I would hear a loud ticking sound as the laser operated. And that was it. He spent a minute or two on each eye and I was in the room for less than ten minutes total. Quick, easy, painless.
When I was upright again, I could see the clock on the wall with my naked eye, something I’d never been able to do. Things were still a bit blurry and watery but they cleared up over time. I kept my eyes closed on the ride home and went right to bed. For the next ten days I did two sets of eyedrops three times a day, and wore eye covers at night. The morning after procedure I removed my eye covers and sat up in bed. I could see the books on my shelf across the room. I could even read the titles.
It was so amazing I nearly cried. For those of you who already see for free, you have no idea what a miraculous transformation it was. I could see! I kept exclaiming that aloud over the next week, marveling at how I could read street signs and menu boards at fast food joints, how I could type on the computer or watch a movie unaided. That wasn’t the only difference. I’d never noticed how blue my eyes were until now, because I could never see them properly. I couldn’t hold things close to my face anymore to read them, I had to hold them a foot or two away.
To top off, when my family and I went to the Chinese buffet to celebrate a few days later, I caught a girl looking at me. She was working the front desk in the dance studio next door and our eyes met as I passed by the window. Her expression was hard to decipher, but… was it possible? Was this one actually checking me out? Have others been checking me out? Have I been missing things over the years because I literally couldn’t see them? Now I find myself constantly looking about, taking in every details, looking for things I might have missed before.
Ditching the glasses gave me a nice confident boost. I stand a bit taller now, comforted by the fact I don’t look like Harry Potter anymore. In fact I went on a new string of dates to test things out, which I will update you about in the next post. I don’t have to limit my screen exposure anymore, so it’s time to get back to writing.