Thursday, August 09, 2007

It All Began With A Rock

Coundown, 24hours to Zero hour. Or 20-20 Hour, as the case may be.

People keep asking me: "So, are you nervous? Excited? Scared?"

I don't know what I am, to be honest. Right now I'm pretty apathetic about it, because I'm waiting. I'm not building anything up with anticipation; I'll deal with whatever fears I have when I'm sitting in the chair and they hook up their neutron laser device to hover menacingly over my eyeballs. I'll become giddy with joy when I open my eyes for the first time, sans glasses, and I'm able to see the clock on the far wall.

But right now, I'm very "blah" about it.

If anything, I'm fascinated by the whole process. Looking up how it got started, you can't help but wonder if this is part a folk tale regarding Lasik surgery, to make it seem more interesting a field than it really is.

The story goes something like this:

It all started with a miracle (their literature, not my words). One day, in rural Russia (as opposed, I suppose, to metropolitan Russia because that makes all the difference in this story) received a chip of stone in his eye.

(Now...let's stop here for a second. I'm 38 years old, and I'm done some pretty stupid, dangerous, limb-risking stunts. I've climbed the walls of buildings, hopped mailboxes and parking meters, slid face-first down slides and ice mountains on old schoolbags and folded cardboard. I've climbed trees, dove into the dark and murky fluid we here in New York pretend is ocean water. And I've broken more eyeglasses than I can remember, quite a few of which were subsequently repaired with Krazy Glue - on one such instance, bonding my glasses to my own face.

I have never, ever, ever, had a chip of stone lodged in my eye. What kind of silly shit do you have to do, to get SHRAPNEL lodged in your eyes?! Back to the story.)

So, distraught (you think?!) and in pain, he ran to the hospital and was treated for a corneal lesion (note: apparently this town in Russia wasn't as rural as we've been led to believe. And where are his parents in all this?)

After a few days, the pain began to subside and the blurriness got better. And better. And better. In fact, his eyes would not stop getting better. Within a few weeks, he could see even more clearly than before the accident! (again, how rural was this place, really? They had detailed medical charts of this kid's occuity on hand from before the accident? Come on!)

Later, doctors found an explanation for this miracle: the boy was nearsighted before the accident and the gravel carved a small incision in his cornea, making it flatter and easier to see in focus (...translation: he kept rubbing his eyes and scratched the shizzit out of them.)

Russian doctor Slava Fydorov reported the case in 1972 and turned this accident into a new field - refractive surgery.

(Okay, I need to ask this: what was the testing process like? "Come here, let me use this scalpel and cut into your eyeball, you'll see better - trust me!")

So there you have it. I'm trusting my future vision propects on a science founded by a kid who wouldn't stop rubbing his eyes.

8:29 AM

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Foster Grant Saved My Life Today (Myspace Archives)

It goes without saying (so I'm saying it anyway) that I was happy as a tick on a dog this morning, when my vision cleared up. I mean, sure I'm still blind-ish - but it's my normal eyeglasss-wearing level of blind, not this new old codgerish "where's my reading glasses" crap I went through last night. I was pumped, jazzed, ready to go out and carpe the fucking diem. Stepped outside with a smile on my face, a GPS in my pocket and no plan in mind.

Motherfuck, it was like the sun had split itself in two, shrunk itself down to pinpricks and landed themselves on my goddamn eyelids. It wasn't that it was a very sunny day, no; it was more like I'd woke up and been transported onto the surface of the sun itself. There was no COLOR in my sky, just this blinding, oppressive FORCE that, in another life, I would have called light - but there is no word in the English language to describe this entity that filled my retinas. Calling it "sunlight" is like calling a nuclear explosion "fireworks".

I made it as far as my car, one block away. I shut the door and sat there, catching my breath, hiding from the monster energy being that filled the sky. Driving was out of the question; even through my tinted windshield, I could feel it clawing its way under my eyelids, tearing away micrometers of fluid from my cornea, layer by layer.

I knew I was going to expect some "sensitivity to light". Fuck you, Doc. Ya'll need someone to write your literature for you, because in no way does what I felt compare to "sensitivity to light". Vampires were hiding in the shadows, laughing at my stupidity.

I made it back home, determined to try again. I mean come on, this was silly; it's just sunlight, for gods' sake. That's why we have sunglasses, right? And lo and behold, I have 3 pairs that I barely wear anyway - I mean, they aren't prescription - but I was sure as hell going to put them to good use now!

Bold, confident, and shielded behind the subtle tints of a pair of sports shades, I strode back outside once again.

It was a joke. I may as well have taken pats of butter, placed them underneath my eyelids, then covered my eyes with magnifying lenses. Maryjesusjoseph, that sun was fucking mocking me. Stubborn as I am, I refused to back down; obviously to my desperate brain, all I needed to do was ADJUST. Calm myself, let my eyes get used to the light again. Be all zen and shit. I couldn't drive, but I could walk - so I did.

I made it two blocks to the park before I stopped, resting under the protective canopy of the trees. Oh blessed trees!

You can't imagine the frustration going through my mind. It was too bright to be outside?! This is insane!! I took a deep breath, manned up, and kept going.

Now...I want you to picture this scene. I was standing at the exit of the park, ready to step out onto the busy afternoon Broadway street in Inwood. There are no trees where I'm about to step out into. No shade, save where I'm standing. Yes, standing - literally in the last spot of cooling shade, with a sea of sun-lit concrete before me.

I stood there for...maybe 5, 10 minutes. I couldn't move forward. I was afraid to step out into that sunlight. Suddenly I'm on a goddamned episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I'm the vampire. I was scared to step out into the light! And when I did....oh holy moses, was it agony! The shades were absolutely useless, I would have stopped and stopped that plastic piece of shit into the ground except it would have meant I'd be in the sunlight for even longer, and it wasn't worth it. I made it another block before I stopped into a Rite-Aid for refuge.

Then, like the fabled Burning Bush, I saw it. The sunglasses rack. I swear I heard angels singing in the background.

I must have tried on every single pair they had, searching for something that would work. Most were useless, but I settled on these yellow-mirrored, black-framed pair of Foster Grant sunglasses that hugged my face so snugly I doubt oxygen could have gotten in. I didn't care what they cost, as long as they worked. I put them on, and stepped out into that visual inferno once more.

Bliss! I couldn't believe it, they were actually working! Sure it was still blindingly bright, but at least now it was tolerable! I didn't feel as if gravity had centered itself on my eyelids, and lifting them to open my eyes was no longer a herculean effort.

So, if you're in the market for a good pair of sunglasses: Foster Grant, "Daytona" model. They saved my life, and FG - if you ever need anyone to do a commercial for you, I'm your man.

"Sensitivity to light". Under-fucking-statement of the year.

1:03 PM

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Eyes Have It (Myspace Archives)

So I got my eyes dilated today. It's the first time I can remember having it done, although I'm sure it was done to me many times as a child. I've been wearing glasses since at least 5 years of age, and I wore an eyepatch (arrrgh!) for months before and during. Seeing clearly, at least visually, has never been an option for me my entire life (but like Matt Murdock, my other senses have adapted to compensate...)

The question is, why now - at 38 and 7 months - did I suddenly decide I needed to have my eyes dilated?

Because I'm opting to have my eyes lasered in a week. Woot!

Still, it's an odd experience, this dilation. I feel newly blind. I'm naturally near-sighted, which means of course that i can't see clearly at distances. My vision really isn't that bad compared to some, and again its something I've dealt with my entire life. But this is a whole different experience.

I'm typing this squinting at the computer screen, because if I put on my glasses I can't see the screen at all. I was looking at the newspaper on the subway on the way home from the opthalmalogists' office, and after a while I realized it was hard to see very well - so I put my specs on.

Blind as a bat. Oh, don't get me wrong - I can see at a distance fine enough, although it was slightly more blurry than usual. With my glasses I actually have something like 20-10 eyesight, but suddenly it was like wearing a pair of old glasses that you'd outgrown.

I'm sitting here with my glasses perched atop my head; to read i take them off. To look at the television, I put them on. I feel like I'm 80 years old, putting on a special pair of reading glasses. I went to check my phone for messages, I couldn't read the screen without putting it up to my nose! "Mama, where's my metamucil? Who turned up the heat? Where's my reading glasses?"

They told me it'll be like this for hours, possibly until tomorrow.


So how's YOUR Friday night? :)