Pew, Pew, Pew, Goes the Laser

It wasn’t so much the lasers that freaked me out. It was the cutting bit.  Paper cuts give me a bad case of the heebie jeebies. So voluntarily having my eyes fileted took me a very long time to work up to, even for the sake of better vision.  Just like in high school, I easily succumb to peer pressure, so when all of my coworkers decided to get Lasik I jumped on the band wagon. Plus – group discount-uh. I had no idea how much it would cost, and I’ve been long convinced that my eyes are super special and it was probably going to cost at least $4000; or they would tell me my eyes were so bad that I should give up all hope of ever seeing and I’d be completely blind by the age of 40. Turns out – no.  It was actually cheaper than buying a flight home, and my eyes suck(ed), but they really aren’t that special.

I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 and contacts for the past 20 years.  When I played the “how bad is your eyesight?” game with strangers, I ALWAYS won.  During the initial screenings, they asked me to read the eye chart off a monitor.  All I could see was a white glow. The tech told me to step closer.  Still, nothing. Closer… Closer…  I was standing on top of the monitor with my nose up to the glass. The tech looked up from her clipboard and told me to come back to the starting point. She held up her hand and asked me, “How many fingers?”  Yeah.  Count the fingers.  I WIN.

I needed some time to mentally and financially prepare for the procedure.  I gave myself about 7 weeks. I had to wear my glasses the week preceding the surgery which was totally annoying and I was psyched to say goodbye to them. It is VERY difficult and painful to apply mascara without being able to see where your eyes are on your face.

I felt like a rock star at the clinic.  My entourage (Jamie and Emmet) were also well treated. We got to sit in massage chairs, and there was cake and tea.  The techs helped me put on a gown and hair net, and then we posed for pre-op pictures.  A super sweet assistant put her arm around my shoulders and led me to the entrance of the operating room.  The air shower kind of reminded me of that year I went spray tanning all of the time.  The most complicated part of everything was that I had to keep taking slippers on and off and I’m just not that smooth. I lay back on the table and they positioned my head into a support. Then it was kind of a whirl of activity all around. It felt like there were 3 or 4 more people in the room. They put a blanket on my legs, and then the doctor was there over my head.  He kept telling me to” relax, relax,” in a soothing voice. The BEST part, a nurse sat by my side and held my hands tight during the whole procedure.  AMAZING.  I would not want to have that job, but I think she’s a hero for doing it, and I hope she gets paid a lot, because she deserves every penny.

I could see a red light glowing above me. They gave me some numbing drops and I panicked that they wouldn’t work on my special eyes, but they did.  The doctor used a clamp to keep my eyelid open and I couldn’t feel it at all.  He placed the cutting device over my eye, and told me to expect some pressure, but “relax, relax.” It’s like suction cup and then a kind of mechanical whirring noise.  Everything goes black for a moment and I felt freaked out that I couldn’t see, but the doctor kept saying “relax, relax,” and the nurse squeezed my hands a little tighter.  A few deep breaths and I could see the red light had turned green. It was time to zap my eyes!  The doctor counted down for me as he ran the laser. I had 20 seconds to go.  Then 10, then 5.  At the 10 second mark, it did start to smell like the first time you turn a heater on in the winter, but it wasn’t the grotesque flesh burning smell I’d heard stories about.  He rinsed my eye with some solution and put what felt like a GIANT plastic lens in for protection.

They flipped over the drape and finished with the left eye.  20 seconds, 10, 5, FINISHED!  They sat me up and asked if I could see, and holy freaking goodness, I COULD SEE!  I got to go back to the massage room and had my cake. There was kind of a gross looking hematoma on my left eye, but I later told students that I was in a fight and they fell for it.  I still couldn’t feel anything because of the numbing drops, but they started to wear off as we left the clinic.

We went downstairs to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions and by that point my eyes were starting to feel uncomfortable and super itchy.  I don’t understand why that pharmacy has so many lights.  It’s the brightest freaking place in all of Korea, and the government should come inspect them for wasting so much electricity.  It’s like being on the surface of the sun in there. And there were some giant Europeans who were also picking up post Lasik eye drops, and they were taking FOREVER and asking a million stupid pointless questions, I’m sure. They were super tall and super stupid. I just wanted to close my eyes and curl up in a ball.  I was in full on pain rage but tried my best not to take it out on anyone.  So instead, I sucked it up and bought a box of Pororo band aids.

The boys grabbed us a taxi. When I got back home, I took some ibuprofen, and pulled the blankets over my face.  I wished I could actually take my eyes out of my head they were so uncomfortable. It was like the feeling you get when you accidentally put your lenses in backwards and you feel like your eye is on fire.  I fell asleep and dozed for a few hours.  When I woke up, the sun had gone down.  It felt so much better after just a few hours of sleep.  I made some ramyun and downloaded some podcasts. That wasn’t in my post op instructions, but it seemed like the right thing to do.  When I woke up in the morning, I felt fine. My eyes were dry, but they didn’t hurt at all anymore.

Thanks Emmet for letting me share on your blog! For more hijinks and hilarity, you can check out my blog at or follow me on tumblr, twitter, or instagram.


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