Disclaimer: I have a lot to write about, but it’s all kind of vulnerable and I’m really in my feelings lately so I’m having a hard time doing it. However, it also helps me process it all. Up first: Lasik.
At the beginning of this year, I selected new health insurance that included very cheap (we’re talking $3 a month) vision insurance. There was a single line that mentioned that the vision insurance could be used to offset the cost of Lasik, which I wanted on the table as an option. Then I mentioned my far-off idea to my now ex-boyfriend (which is for another day), who has gotten Lasik. I’d never met someone who’d had it before, so then it seemed a bit less far-off.
Then I mentioned it to a few more people, who all connected me to other previous Lasik patients. After quite a few conversations that all ended with, “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” I decided to actually talk to a doctor.
And then another.
And then I asked a million follow-up questions and decided to pull the trigger.
To say it was the most anxious I’ve ever felt might not actually be an exaggeration. I scheduled it for 4:30PM on a Friday so I wouldn’t need to use PTO and then would have the whole weekend to recover. Those were the pros, but the con really was that it was all I could think about all day.
We hit a bit of traffic, and I was almost not breathing. Maybe it was a sign I shouldn’t do it, I think. I felt no sense of relief and my (ex) boyfriend thought I was working myself up over nothing.
We got there two minutes late and rechecked my eyes to confirm that we’re ready. I was panicking that I needed my eyes checked again because WE’RE PICKING THE NUMBERS OF MY FUTURE VISION. And then we sat.
And argued over gas. And then I cried. And I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave so bad.
I was TERRIFIED. I mean, while all my research and harassing of medical professionals, I knew the risks were relatively low. But MY VISION IS ON THE LINE.
I couldn’t get calm. I won’t go into details about the procedure because it’s kind of alarming, but in general when they tell you it doesn’t hurt, it’s mostly true. However, the amount of pressure and discomfort is almost painful. I’ve never felt anything like it before, and I hope to not again.
When we left, I got in the car and my eyes were dripping. I was in horrible discomfort. It felt like I went to the beach on a hot summer day, laid down on my stomach, opened my eyes and rubbed them in the sand. And then just laid there in it.
I was miserable. We couldn’t get home fast enough. Then I took an Ambien and was ready to drift off quietly into sleep.
That didn’t happen.
It didn’t actually help me sleep quickly and I was in horrible discomfort. Eventually I fell asleep and then woke up to crying.
It was me. Sobbing.
And then I’d fall back asleep. And wake up to more crying. Me again.
Around midnight we began my eye drop regimen, which was awesome for everyone involved. My eyes were tender and I was finicky.
The next morning, we took a tense ride over to my check-up. I was miserable, physically and emotionally. I was waiting for my “miracle moment” that they tout, where you get your sight back and can just wake up and see. When I opened my eyes, I saw fog.
I was scared shitless. Did I just maim myself?
During my appointment, they tested my eyes and then the nurse said, “Congrats, you have 20/20!”
Never in my life has someone told me such good news that had made me almost weep — and not in a good way. I was sitting in fog and this woman was telling me I had good vision.
After a few stops for food, we parted ways. We both needed space. I was not a fun patient and he was not as warm and supportive as I wanted. He was totally fine after Lasik, which made my anxiety sky-high and meant he couldn’t relate to my struggle. I felt maimed. By my own choice. I did this to myself.
I spent the rest of Saturday and most of Sunday intermittently crying, coloring in my adult coloring book and listening to a podcast about Elizabeth Holmes. I felt depressed, maimed and alone.
By Monday, I wasn’t feeling any better and had to go to work. Adding additional anxiety, I couldn’t wear makeup and no longer needed my glasses, so I was incredibly self-conscious. Add in that both eyes were bloodshot, I could almost not stand the thought of being in public.
Every time someone commented, “Oh you look so different,” I would get choked up. When I told them that I got Lasik and their eyes would light up with their excitement for me, my heart would sink. I couldn’t even look people in the eye because I was so uncomfortable, sad and regretting my decision.
By Wednesday, a woman who had gotten Lasik swung by to ask me how I was doing. I did what I had done all week and smiled and said everything was fine. Then she said, “You having trouble seeing?” And I broke a bit and told her about how my (ex) boyfriend said his eyes didn’t look like this, he could see perfectly fine and he didn’t struggle at all. She laughed and said that I was normal. She reassured me.
I got the comfort and validation I craved, and she likely still has no idea how much she pulled me out of my dark, foggy hole. It’s also one of the things that I wish I knew before I got Lasik.
What Else I Wish I Knew about Lasik
Your ‘Miracle Moment’ might not be as soon as you wake up. My miracle moment was when I took my eyes on a new walk and looked at all the leaves on the trees.
You might not appreciate it immediately. I don’t think I fully grasped how amazing it is until I went to dinner at a restaurant and was able to notice people sitting at other tables and all the signage on the wall. I noticed it most at the gym where I never wore my glasses and could see all around me.
You won’t be okay immediately. Lasik is a surgery. While the recovery time is short, it’s okay to not be okay. It will be okay (I’m not a doctor though so that’s not medical advice). I didn’t expect to feel so out of commission and expected to be able to see perfectly immediately, and that isn’t true (for me at least). Knowing that going in likely would have made the days following easier to bear.
It might just change your life: I’m still grappling with this one. Right before getting surgery, someone at work told me that big changes like this can manifest themselves into a new life. A literal vision change that changes the vision of your life. I rolled my eyes hard at that notion. I was just getting better eyesight. But here I am, a month later with new vision, newly single and some new perspectives. More to come.