we’re sorry but…

“My Eyes Have Seen the Gory”

So, after nine weeks of workin’ the “less dumb” look in my glasses, I finally got the “thumbs up” to make my appointment for Lasik corrective eye surgery. Friday morning, I jumped out of bed at 6:00am SO excited that I had to run a few miles to relax myself for the procedure. After my run, I hailed a taxi and thirty minutes later was going though a ritual I knew very well: corneas scanned and mapped for the 100th time; prescription confirmed; pupils measured; and *yes!* I was finally “stabilized”! They explained the procedure again, fitted me with a fatty, new, blue, beanie cap, and gave me some cute, little, blue pills that made me pass out in the pre-op room.

Now this is where things get a little blurry for me because 1. I’m still half asleep, 2. I’m under the influence of “mood altering” drugs, and 3. aren’t all traumatic experiences a little “blurry”? I remember lying down under the heated blanket and the doctor lowering this huge machine down to right eye as she covered the left with a patch. Now something is placed on my eye…and I feel slight pressure. My vision starts to tunnel and then is gone — all I see is blackness — but “this is normal and was explained to me in pre-op” – I keep re-assuring myself. I hear the “cornea-slicer” *?* turned on, which is unexpectedly loud and unpleasant. I feel pressure…and then the sound stops. There is silence and I FEEL something is wrong…I want to ask, but they told me not to talk during the operation. Then I hear them whispering. Wanna know what the worst sound in the world is? Whispering doctors. Wanna know what the second worst sound is? Doctors apologizing. My eye is flushed with water, and suddenly I can see again. I’m already on the verge of tears as she starts with, “We’re sorry…but…” “BUT WHAT?!” I want to scream. This is the most cosmetic of surgeries remember? You do twenty of these a day remember? There is virtually no risk! See! It says so right here in this pretty little pamphlet you gave me! “We’re sorry…but apparently… the machine…well…it… “jammed”.” “And how often does the machine “jam” on patients?!” I ask. They look at each other and then back at me…”um…not very often”… and then they hang their heads.

They continue explaining that they must wait for my eye to heal before they re-operate, which could take anywhere upward of three months. I tell them I’m going abroad for a year in two months. They lower their gazes again. Then the drugs start to really kick in. I vaguely remember sitting in a dark room listening to the doctor apologize again, getting my credit card reimbursed, scheduling all my post-op follow ups and crying my way out the door of a packed waiting room of thirty-plus people. (I’m sure I wasn’t good for business.) I crashed into bed with my new plastic eye patch and slept till late evening.

Today, Monday, I am fine. No pain, no infections, sportin’ some new disposable soft contacts that I’m not allowed to remove. My post-op follow up exams indicate that I am an “excellent healer” *give me the gold star!* and that I may be able to go back in for surgery in only a few weeks. I won’t be getting my hopes up this time. Looking back at the entire experience, I’m not bitter or mad. I’m dissapointed and I just have to keep reminding myself that things happen for reasons. I would also still encourage others to have the operation. After all, complications really do arise in like 1 out of every 1000 Lasik surgeries… I just wish I had that kinda luck in Vegas!

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