EYE SURGERY ~ Intro, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight

    (April 8, 1999)

    The eye surgery did not go quite as expected. I arrived in Vancouver, to the TLC office, and went through all the preliminary steps. I signed consent forms, was thoroughly examined, locally anesthetized, and sedated. They finally ushered me into "the laser room," a semi-dark, cool room separated from an observation area by a glass wall. Steve sat outside the glass to watch.

    The first step in LASIK is to prop open the eye. I sat while they tucked the speculum under my eyelids and pulled it open. It was at this point that the doctor realized my eyes may not open far enough. (There is a suction ring that must be placed on the eye, so a certain size opening is necessary.) He pulled harder on the speculum, to the point where I could feel it through the anesthesia. Still not enough. After consulting with his assistant, the doctor decided to inject a "freezing solution" near the outside corner of my eye to further relax the muscles.

    The injection burned painfully. The doctor strained on the speculum to open my eye further, but could not. After twenty minutes of effort, he sighed, and informed me that I would not be able to get the LASIK procedure.

    The news hit me with the force of a brick wall. All my adolescent glasses-related insecurities, all my emotional buildup for this day, and the sudden crushing knowledge that I was denied my dream. I dissolved into tears and loud, shuddering sobs. Steve rushed in and was informed of the situation. He comforted me for almost twenty minutes until I recovered enough to get up and move into one of the examining rooms. I laugh now at how that must have looked (through the glass wall) to other patients awaiting their turn.

    In the examining room, TLC's head doctor, Dr. Holland, came to speak with me. He explained that it was still possible for me to have PRK, an older procedure that didn't require the suction ring. He offered to fit me in the next day since I had made a special trip. I took the booklets about PRK and told him I would decide that evening and call in the morning.

    We returned to Steve's parents' house and I cried a lot longer. Finally, I pulled myself together, then began to read about PRK. With LASIK, a flap is cut in the cornea and peeled back, then the laser reshapes the inner cornea. With PRK, the outside of the cornea is simply removed. The end result is the same, but the healing time is longer.

    After soliciting several opinions and much deliberation, I decided to get PRK.


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