Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


It's been 6 weeks now since I did the best thing I have ever done for myself. No, not that.

I had laser eye surgery over the Family Day weekend (side bar for non-Ontarians: Family Day was introduced as a civic holiday a few years ago to give us one extra long weekend in the year, placed in February apparently to combat the feeling of a long, cold winter and gives us a lovely Monday lie-in).

I took a half day off from work - a job which I have now lost due to redundancy - and off I went to the laser place. And . . . it is so weird. The whole process took about 4 hours from start to finish.

When you get there on surgery day, you must first read and sign all the releases that exempt the practice in case of blindess or death or deformity and all those things. Then, you pay, and the amount depends on the type of laser surgery you get. They run a few tests on you to make sure your vision is OK and your eyes aren't too dry. Then, you wait a bit.

About 5 minutes before the surgery, they put numbing drop in your eyes. Then, you get taken into the operating room . . .

They sat me down on the operating bed and offered me an anti-anxiety pill which I declined and a pair of stress balls which I took. I lay down and the doctor was lovely. He talked me through the whole process before he even started and said he would talk me through each step as well. He warned me that I would feel pressure though assured me there would be pain. He also said I would experience blindness for one section of the surgery and would smell burning. This was all information I knew already so I wasn't nervous. Well, not too nervous . . .

The squeamish should stop reading here. Really. If you scare easy, stop. Stop. Now. Last chance. Skip to the bit marked "Read from here again". Please.

They did one eye at a time and the procedure for each is the same. First, the doctor placed medical tape around my eye and then put a metal bracket-y thing in to keep it open for the surgery. Next he places what feels like a round cylinder with suction cups on the bottom onto my eye. The nurse (1 of 3 if I remember right) turns on a machine and suddenly, there's the pressure! Intense, and feels like my eye is being pushed too far into my head. And there's the temporary blindness. Then, vision returns and the laser to cut the flap into my eye starts. There was no problem at all with my right eye. It did the cut, then the second laser started to correct the vision. Pressure, check. Blindness, check. Burning flesh smell, check. After the laser is done it's job, the doctor removes the suction-y thing and then applies a lovely cooling balm or lubricant to my eye, removes the bracket and tape and moves on to the next eye.

It's the same procedure but I had one major difference. This time, I felt the laser cutting the flap. Please, take a moment to absorb that. Because I cannot express properly how utterly awful this feeling was. It was not pain but, instead, the same sensation as someone scratching their nail down your arm. You know that feeling? Yes? That was in my eye, in the pattern of a perfect circle around my cornea.

I whimpered my discomfort, too worried about shocking them by shouting though that's what I wanted to do. The doctor paused to check if I was in pain. When I said it wasn't pain, he carried on.

Honestly, I wanted to stop but this was eye number two and I was not about to give up. So I squeezed those stress balls with all my might. The correction laser was fine and when he put the lovely cool salve on my eye, I was mighty relieved.

Read from here again for those who skipped above.

I sat up from the surgery and they had me wait a few minutes just in case I was shaky. I looked around and . . . I could see! It was a bit blurry, like I had really dry eyes but I could see!

They did a quick check of my eyes and then took me to the post-op waiting area which is just a dark waiting room just off the main lit one. A nurse came around and did my first round of drops. I was given 4 types of drops to prevent infection and dryness once I got home.

They have you wait in the dark room for about an hour. When they thought I was ready to leave, they check your eyes one more time and then send you on your merry way with a pair of sunglasses (very uncool) to wear.

My dad picked me up but got a little delayed with traffic so I ended up walking to meet him about 3 minutes away. The novelty of being able to see! I loved it!

And the novelty still hasn't worn off. Psychologically, it's been quite the adjustment to fall asleep with sharp vision. My brain is wired to think that sleep happens when the world goes fuzzy upon removal of contacts or glasses. There's no more of that. So bedtime is strange but it's still great to wake up every morning and see my surroundings :)

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