Saturday, November 28, 2009

I am a guest blogger today you guys!

This is Chris. Anna asked if I would do a blog for her today, so naturally I said no because I didn't want to have to think of anything to write. That was about 3 hours ago. I read a magazine, ate an orange, and walked to the grocery store to buy some shrimp in the meantime. About 8 minutes ago I told Anna that I changed my mind and would write a post for her. This was mostly because I thought of some ideas to write about,so it wont be an inconvenience to me anymore.
I am a fair-weather do-gooder.
I will now tell the story about how I came to be a bionic wonder. I am a superior human specimen now than when I was born.

1) I got braces in 9th grade. I have large teeth and a relatively small mouth. My teeth got super crowded and twisted. Then, thanks to mega-sweet-NASA-metals, my grill was transmogrified into a proper modern masterpiece. Also, I have permanent gold retainers cemented onto the backs of my teeth. It is kind of cool to know I always have it, but it makes flossing a pain.

2) My eyes were zapped by lasers until I had eagle vision. My eyes were bad. I had 20/800 vision and had worn glasses since second grade. I never knew what it was like to enjoy a simple swim or ride a roller coaster that went upside down without taking huge risks. I have gone through a lot of pairs of glasses and have had to superglue every pair I have owned. Many of them more than once. Nothing is more embarrassing to be 13 years old and playing in the cultural hall in church in front of the Merry Misses and Mia Maids and have a lens plop out of your glasses and have to stop everyone to find in and click it back in the frame. Nothing, that is, except for when you have bifocals and everyone tells you that they are pretty sure your glasses are broken now and do you need to call your mom? That is pretty embarrassing.
So I was pretty excited (even if it was 12 years later) to go get myself LASIKed up. I sat in a dark office with those long thin strips of wood in vases for a while before a LASIK technician came in and told me what was going to happen. I was supposed to take lots of ibuprofen and some valium to calm my nerves before we went in, and then I should do the whole laser bit and go home and nap. They brought me the drugs and I swallowed them and waited for 10 minutes in the same dork office while the doctor got the machine ready. They piped some muzak into the office and I was in a comfy chair, but I definitely felt like I was not their usual sort of demographic. I was 1/3 of the age of most other patients in the eye surgical hospital, but it meant there were lots of magazines to read that I had never seen before.
They came and got me and brought me into the laser room. It looked like something out of a nuclear warship engine room; there were swingy and rolly bits everywhere. They had me lie down on a bed slab and velcroed my head still. The slab rotated at the feet to move my head from the incision machine to the corneal zapper (unfortunately not the official title).

NOTE: If you get queasy with stories about eyes, it gets pretty queasalicious for the next few paragraphs. Just a heads up.

I was supposed to look at this red dot and not blink while the people put a ring-like cup underneath my eyelids that surrounded the whole eye. This hooked on to a vacuum that sucked my eye about a centimeter out of the socket towards the laser that would cut the corneal flap. I am glad it was a laser and not a blade because I would have been considerably more scared. They sucked and cut the right eye first. There was a mechanical noise and I could feel my eye moving. Everything started going gray around the edges of my eye until I couldn't see anything. It wasn't black like when you close your eye, because I could sense light and dark. It was a very light gray. It felt like it does when you roll your eyes back hard into your head. It took about 10 seconds to make the cut, and they unsucked my eye and put some drops it because I wasn't supposed to blink. Then they put the ring on my other eye. This one was harder to get on because I kept flinching. They got it on and turned on the suction but when they started cutting, I could feel a small sharp pain like a pinch travel around my eye. It didn't hurt, so I didn't bother stopping them, but it was kind of freaky.
Then they took a thin metal tool and flipped back the flap on both eyes. THAT was weird. The surface of the eye is very smooth, but the surface of the cornea is pretty rough. Like frosted glass. Everything went blurry (blurrier even than my already glasses-less vision) and it looked like I was in a really thick but clear fog.
They rotated me to the zapper where they had to put on a different ring to keep me from blinking. The right eye was first- I had to stare at a green laser and not move or look at anything but the green laser for 8 seconds. If my eye shifted a bit (as is natural seeing as I was alive), the laser would track it and compensate. This is some sweet technology. It made a few hundred individual zaps to reshape my eye in seconds and I could tel immediately (even through the rough cornea) that Things were very sharp. My left eye, again, was not willing to open and It took 5 minutes to get the ring in. I suppose the valium hadn't fully kicked in by then. They zapped that eye too in a matter of seconds with no surprises. Then the replaced the flaps and told me to go sit in a waiting room. They said to not blink a lot because that could move the flaps, and recommended I close my eyes and rest. I was too excited though, so I only closed one eye and looked at stuff through the other. When Anna came to drive me home they made me wear those huge dork-tastic plastic sheet sunglasses to leave. I took them off but Anna made me promise to wear the until we got home. Anna was nice and went to the library while I was getting morphed and picked me up some old radio shows. I got home and tried to listen but finally the valium kicked in and I slept for 5 hours. Then Anna read my torts cases to me and I dictated my notes. It was fun to hang out with Anna, but it was the most horrible night of studying ever. It was so cool to have nice vision I rode my bike to school and my check up the next day. The procedure was terrifying and I was convinced that I would be blinded by high powered lasers, but it is really really cool to have 20/15 vision. And I can go outside in rain. And I can go inside a warm house from the cold and not get foggy. And I can jump in water any time I want. I haven't ridden a roller coaster upside down yet, but I am excited to.

So bionic.

1 comment:

Kathy Haynie said...

Wow. Mark had lasik, too, and he described it to me, but not in so much detail.

He has had other nasty eye surgeries - one where they had to fix the muscles of one eye, so they attached strings to the muscles and left them hanging out of the corner of his eyeball so he could be conscious while they tied the knots in the right places.

And he has had to have his retina tacked down by lasers a couple of times.

He also used to work in a jail. You and Mark have so much in common! Good post, "Anna."