Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's A Festivus MIRACLE

So I know I originally said that I would be all drugged-up and barely coherent when I sat down to write this post, and despite my best efforts to achieve that state, I'm actually quite conscious and awake right now.

I hit a tree while I was skiing and broke my collar bone about 2 years ago and part of my consolation prize for doing so was a set of the best "pain-go-bye-bye" pills modern science had to offer (I suppose other than Morphine): hydrocodone. You feel like a crack-addict when you take it because the codone makes your nose and face itch to the point where you look like Tyrone Biggums talking to a group of 1st graders about the wonders of dog food. But it's an amazing drug. And for anyone who has broken their collar bone, you know how painful it can be and so having a drug in your possession that can kick the living snot out of any discomfort is a Godsend.

Well while I was taking the hydrocodone I realized halfway through it that I was starting to become a little addicted. Because you feel pretty damn relaxed when you take it. So even when I started feeling a lot better and didn't necessarily need to take it, I WOULD just to get that feeling again. Fortunately, I realized what was happening and went cold turkey asap. But, that meant that I had 4 or 5 pills left to use.

Well, time went on and I used a couple of them here and there during some high-stress times in my life when I just couldn't seem to sleep. And again, the pills came through in the clutch.

I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying that I am incredibly pissed off right now that my Valium has worn off and I can't find my hydrocodone pills anywhere. Now again, I'm not addicted, but I really want to make sure I sleep as long as possible to insure proper healing after this whole Lasik thing I had done today. Well, I suppose I do have some NyQuil. That will have to do.

So what the hell happened today?

Well, I woke up this morning around 9 and couldn't seem to get myself out of bed until 10. It was one of those mornings where I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I WANTED to get up and eat, but then again I also really wanted to go back to sleep. I WANTED to go work out, but I also needed to deposit some money in the bank so I wasn't sure if I was going to have time. So I was all KINDS of confused this morning. And quite lazy.

I appointment was at 12:30, and as I was lying on my INCREDIBLY comfortable air-mattress I started to think about how long it would take me to drive down. I think that's what finally got me off my ass and into gear this morning. So I ended up rushing around depositing some sweet cash in the bank, working out, and rushing down in the 100+ degree weather in my freakin' dumb-ass car with no air conditioning to walk in the door drenched in sweat right at 12:30. One of the doctor's assistants even had the door open waiting for me when I arrived. First class all the way baby. Then again, for $2500, they had BETTER open the door for me. They better do a LOT of things for me. I want strippers, midgets, and rivers of BEER running through the operating room. Def Leppard's "Jump" should be playing in the background, and Lewis Black should be doing stand-up in the waiting room. Yeah, that's the stuff.

So the assistant sits me down in one of the offices and has me sign the waiver, the confidentiality agreement (whatever the hell THAT is for...I mean, I'm telling EVERYONE about my procedure ANYWAY) and asks me if I'd like some Valium for after the surgery.

Umm. Hell yes?

Then comes time for the payment. Now, the ball for this whole experience started rolling the day I caddied for this guy in one of the club's member-guests. My boss specifically told me before the round started, "Please be nice to this guy. He's one of the top laser-surgeon's in the country and my finance wants to get her eyes done. It's freakin' expensive and I ain't going to pay full price."

So okay. I'll work my ass off and be nice to him. Kinda like what I do EVERY FREAKIN' DAY.

So the round went splendidly. I mean, this doctor was paired up with my old buddy Mr. Nice-Guy, so how could it NOT go well. I didn't even mention the idea of Lasik the entire round, and at the end when I was about to be tipped, the good doctor said to me, "Tom, I'm kind of low on cash at the moment, could I offer you some kind of professional service or something? Like a few free eye-exams?"

"Well, to be honest, I HAVE been thinking about getting Lasik for a while now."


"How old are you?"


"Have your eyes stopped changing?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Well, why don't you stop into my office soon and we'll see if you're golden. My instincts tell me you are. I'll even give you the 'nurse's discount.'"

The "nurse's discount." This is the key phrase. So I took him up on his offer. I stopped into his office one day and had the free consultation and everything checked out beautifully. I met with one of his associates before I left.

"Blah blah blah. Now I haven't given you a price yet on the procedure because I understand the doctor wants to extend some sort of professional courtesy to you. So I'll call you in about a week to let you know what you'll be paying."

But the call never came. I finally called on Monday out of SHEER CURIOSITY and was SHOCKED and APPALLED. $2900. Are you kidding me? That's the normal price? Discount my ass.

But then I thought about it for a second. As a caddie, I have absolutely NOTHING to offer this guy. I can't really give him anything back in return. Of COURSE he should think TWICE about extending me any sort of "courtesy." Maybe even THREE times. But then again, I was a little pissed because he said he was going to offer me SOMETHING, and decided to be a little-bitch-Indian-giver.

So back to my story. So I'm sitting in this office signing papers before the surgery and the assistant tells me, "Now tell me, is your Dad paying for this?"

A sphincter says what?

"No. I'll be paying for it."


"Will you hold on just a sec?"


And so she leaves the room. I mean, to be honest, as long as I can afford it, I really don't care how much this surgery costs. Because I see it as priceless. I've been so blind since 4th grade it hasn't even been CLOSE to being funny. Even now with glasses I'm having trouble seeing the freakin' ball land in the fairway. It's time for a change.

So she comes back about 5 minutes later.

"Yes, it looks like he would like to extend you a little bit of a discount. $2500."

Done and done.

And 5 minutes later, I had on a little shower-cap and booties over my shoes. Soon I was walking down a very blurry, dimly lit hallway and off in the distance I could see a beautiful white light. The surgery room. The door was open, I shook hands with the doctor, and his two assistants lead me around the table and helped me into my form-fitting chair (so as to prevent any movement during the procedure). They helped me get into position. And then they proceeded to hand me a stuffed-animal. To hold for uhh...comfort.

I laughed. "Oh no guys, I don't need this."

"Oh don't worry. We're not taking any pictures. Just hold onto it."

Numbing eye-drops were used, and then the chair was rotated underneath the laser. I was a little nervous at this point, because they had literally JUST put those damn numbing-drops into my eyes. Shouldn't you freakin' WAIT a second before you start this procedure?

I clenched the stuffed animal. Calm down. Stop being such a fucking BABY.

Two tape-like strips were placed above and below my right eye to keep the lids open, and before I knew it they had covered my left eye and surrounded my right eye with this suction-like thing that started to suck my eye slightly out of the socket.

Now I wouldn't say it was "painful." But it definitely wasn't comfortable either. I believe they did this for two reasons. First, and most importantly, it made it easier for the doctor to work on my eye. Secondly, and perhaps just as important, was the fact that my vision went black. So I couldn't see any part of that first incision. Which is a good thing.

But I definitely felt it. Again, I clutched that freakin' stuffed animal. Man, these guys weren't kidding. The stuffed animal was a good idea. Even if I am a huge freakin' pussy.

So the incision was made, the suction thing was taken off, and the flap was pulled open via a bitch-load of lubricating drops and soft brush-like instrument. Then I had to look into a blinking light as they shot my cornea with this clicking-laser for about 30-40 seconds. I can only assume that it took 30-40 seconds because my vision was so poor to begin with. Individuals with better vision would probably only have to endure this clicking thing for all of 5-10 seconds. But no. Not for me. I needed several ROCKET blasts fired directly at the heart of my cornea to bring down the blind beast.

Then the flap was folded back over and carefully centered into its original position through the use of that brush tool and then I heard some of the sweetest words EVER.

"You should already see a bit of a difference. Right?"

Holy crap. Yeah. As soon as the flap was back into place I could see the under-side of the machine a little clearer. Weird.

Then it was time for the other eye.

"Now don't be surprised if you have even MORE of a sensation with this eye. It's very common."

Great. More stuffed-animal squeezing.

But the rest of the procedure was fine. And as soon as it was complete, they brought me into the wonderful world of "normal" vision with the standard question of: "Tom, can you see the clock on the wall over there?"


"Can you tell me what time it is?"

"Sure. It's 1 pm."


Pause. Now I knew my vision was better, but I wanted to make sure it would CONTINUE to progress in that direction. I mean hey, my vision was STILL a little blurry. I HAD to ask.

"Hey Doc? Is this the best my vision is going to get?"

"No! Why does EVERY patient say that? Of course it will get better. Exponentially better. Just wait until tomorrow morning. And remember, no hugs in the parking lot."

No worries Doc. You already have me feeling a little weird holding this stuffed animal (which turned out to be a good idea in some AMAZINGLY HETEROSEXUAL type of way). No hugs required.

And that was it. They took back their booties and shower cap, that awesome stuffed animal, and $2500 of my hard-earned cash. But you know what? I have a great feeling this is going to be well worth it.

The only other thing worth mentioning were the cookies they gave me. Now I'm not sure if Valium is SUPPOSED to give you the munchies, but I was definitely loving those cookies they gave me. Mrs. Fields. Priceless. I bet 2000 calories existed in that little bag, but by golly, I ate every last crumb. It was awesome.

So I just drank some NyQuil. So I got that gone' for me. Which is nice. Take care everyone. I think my next "few" posts (could be a crapload) should be a little crazy. I have a feeling I'm going to be in a very good mood for quite some time.


Molly said...

Wow....I am so glad I came across your post, I couldn't help but read something titles "It's a Festivus Miracle".

Anyway, I have also been thinking or getting lasik because I am as blind as a bat and have been since the 1st grade. I tell you what.....the fact that they offer you valium convinced me that I need it.

Jam Boy said...

Yep. It's good stuff...but it does wear off a few hours later. So have some back-up. Like NyQuil for example. But yeah. I am so pumped with the results thus far.

Bryan said...

Glad to hear things are going well bud. Sounds like a success. My father had laser surgury like 7 years ago and I am not sure if the procedure was the same. But things seem to be better for him. He went to blind as a bat to 20/20 also :)

Hell, I think I have 20/30 or 20/40 and I have thought about getting surgury. I tried contacts, but my eyes are kinda squinty, so I fought against that idea.

Its not that my vision is bad. I have trouble if I am in the back of a room looking at a projector, or driving down the highway at night and needing to see a sign 300 yards away.

Speaking of 300 yards. Actually, on the golf course, I can't even see my ball in a bunker at 240 yards away, so my long vision kinda sucks. My close vision is pretty good.

Lee Allison said...

'Grats on joining the ranks of the Sighted! Way to go!

Jen Mario said...

Hey Jam Boy!
I got Lasik about six years ago, and it was the best money I ever spent. I went from 20/500 to 20/15 in one day. It was amazing. I could actually see the alarm clock when I woke up in the morning.

But eyes change and now, six years later, I'm having to wear glasses again (and no, you can't wear contacts after you've had Lasik). I'm thinking about getting it done again.

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