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My Lasik experience - Surgery

1/25/08
Wow, can't believe this day is finally here. Pretty nervous on the drive over and getting checked in once arrived. Post op people from the AM's surgery sessions are in and out of the waiting room. I talk to a couple of people that just had it done. I get called back, take off my glasses for last time, hand them to my wife and disappear through the door. I'm asked how much I weigh to which I reply "450" and that is met with "liar". hehe. I get 1.5mg of Valium, a hair net and go sit in the closet waiting room. 3 others are in there already letting their doses soak in. Eventually I am called into the hall and get numbing drops instilled. 3 rounds and I am up to get the surgical marking for the corneal flap. A doc makes 2 dots on either side of each iris. I don't feel this but it's kind of a weird experience having someone draw on your eye with a marker. As the numbing wears off the ink begins to irritate the inside of my eyelids. Every time I blink it stings and is even worse when I close my eyes. Me and 5 other people go to the main waiting room and wait to be called into the OR. We all talk about our experiences up to that point and muse about the sports memorabilia in the main waiting room. Eventually we are all called into the OR, take seats along the wall, get covered with a blanket and are asked to keep our eyes shut. 5-10 minutes later the room slowly comes to life with technicians and Dr. Boothe. I peak every once and a while to see what's going on.

I go last out of our little group but first stop is the intralase machine. Once the chair is swung under the machine their is a bright ring of lights that focus over one eye. A ring is placed over my right eye first followed by a second which seemed like putting a lid on a tupperware container. It gets pressed down and I am warned that I will see black. And that's what I saw, literally. This process was pretty quick and I didn't feel the laser cutting at all. The left eye hurt a bit when they clamped the "tupperware lid" down before everything went black. That one I felt! Interestingly my right eye looks more "beat up" now than my left. They tape each eye shut once finished and I am guided back to my seat. Next step is the Lasik itself and I wait my turn.

I am told to stand and am guided to the Lasik chair. I eventually hear Boothe behind me talking casually in his calm monotone voice. "I think McCain will take it...". My eye is doused with a solution, a light in the machine comes on and Boothe begins to pull back the corneal flap. This looked almost like removing a contact with a few gentle tugs then all I saw was the blurry orange light above. I wasn't told to stare at the light like most patients so I just relaxed and waited for instruction. The lights in the room go dark and the laser comes to life. It sounds a lot like a loud sparking tattoo gun if you can imagine. And yes you get to smell your precious eye tissue burning away which smells a lot like burning hair. Pop pop pop, about 20 seconds and the flap is rinsed, replaced, medicated contact "band-aid" installed, and eye taped shut. I ask Boothe "How does it look doc?" "Pardon me?" he drones. "How does it look, doc?" "Looks great". Repeat procedure on left eye. Once finished he gently taps my head and says "you did good".
I'm guided up and placed in a wheel chair. This was like a blind roller coaster weaving and turning through the halls of the clinic. I'm guided into a seat in what seemed like a dark room and told to wait for an instructor. I listen to the schpeal given to the group before me wait for my group to start. Finally my group's turn. The instructor removes each of our bandages and goes over the dos and donts. Vision is much improved I can tell immediately but a bit fuzzy. We get our goggles, more drop samples, and learn the rules of the road for the next 24 hours. The goal above all is to not dislodge the contact "bandaid". My follow up is 9:30am the next day.

I wear my goggles and hit the road home with my wife. I'm cautiously optimistic at this point. I can see and read things at a distance but my vision is blurry. I'm not quite ready yet to jump up and down screaming with glee. I just take it easy the rest of the day following my drop routine and the do's and don'ts.

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