Simon Wood


A little while ago, I had laser eye surgery to correct my distance vision. I decided to have it done after needing glasses a couple of years ago. I just couldn’t get used to specs. I was forever cleaning the buggers. I didn’t have that problem before glasses. If my vision got foggy because there was something in my eye, I blinked and it was gone. Sadly, glasses technology has failed to satisfy my need. Also, because I only needed glasses for driving or the movies, etc., I didn’t wear them all the time and kept misplacing them. I still don’t know what I did with one pair.

I should have the surgery first time around and skipped the whole glasses thing altogether. There was a reason I didn’t. Despite this big, rough-tough exterior that you’ve come to know (and love—don’t deny it) I’m a complete big girl’s blouse when it comes to anything medical. Crap can go wrong. I don’t mind so much if it happens to someone else, but I do mind when it comes to me. I also have a tendency to be a catalyst for trouble. Anyone who read my essay about my knee surgery in Morbid Curiosity will know what I mean. The night before my surgery, I overheard my surgeon pouring his heart to a friend that he couldn’t deal with his job anymore in a restaurant with a drink in his hand.

Needless to say when it came to eye surgery, I procrastinated for a little while, because basically, I was bricking it. My imagination kept inventing new and scary ways how this thing could go wrong and I would end up blind or something.

I have to say I’m a little twitchy when it comes to my eyes. I can’t stand having anything close to my eyes. It was the reason why I didn’t have contacts. There was no way I was putting a piece of plastic in my eye because it meant touching my eye. Also knowing my luck, the contact would move and get lost in the back of my head somewhere. And yes, it could happen.

I warned the Lasik people I was twitchy about my eyes and would prove quite wriggly. They all said no problem. Let’s just say the exam took a lot longer than normal and ended up with the nurse pinning my head against the wall just to put the eye drops in.

I have to admit that the outfit that did the job was very professional and had no problem telling every detail of the procedure. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I don’t want to know everything. I view any kind of medical procedure the same way I view sausage. I love it, but I don’t need to see how it’s made. So I read nothing about the procedure and I listened little to what was being said, but my ears did prick up when they informed me that they would be cutting through the cornea.


I didn’t know this and I could have lived a long time not knowing it, but obviously that nugget of terror kept driving a red hot needle through my mind.

Still, I agreed to do it. Millions of people have gone before me and they still have the power of sight. It won’t be any different for me. All the kinks have been ironed out. I am golden. Quite a pep talk, if I do say so myself—which I didn’t buy for one second. All I could think about was THEY’RE GOING TO CUT MY EYES OPEN.

The big day came and I was a tad nervy. I wanted to get general anesthetic. They assured me I couldn’t. They couldn’t perform the procedure if I was out cold.

A nurse came and got me and walked me to the laser room. I wondered if it was going to be the last time I’d ever see my little Julie’s face giggling at my discomfort about the whole thing.

The nurse opened the door and there was the Lasermatic 10000 or whatever the gizmo is called. It wasn’t what I was expecting. As part of my ignorance is best policy, I wasn’t expecting this giant machine with a bed sticking out of it.

They dosed me up with a bunch of eye drops to numb my eyes, but nothing to numb my rampant imagination. I lay down on the bed thingy and they proceeded to tape my eyes open. That just freaked me out. I couldn’t believe I was going through squeamish issue I have with my eyes so that I wouldn’t have to have anyone go near my eyes. There’s logic there, but I’ll be buggered if I can work it out.

Let’s just say I didn’t like the taping my eyes open thing very much. I may have whimpered and even given away a few NATO secrets in the process.

Once that crap was out of the way, the doctor told me to look at the red light and not move. I told myself to look at the red light and not move. The red light was my friend. Not moving was my best buddy.

Dr. Vision put something over my eyes and I knew without asking what he was doing–he was cutting through my cornea. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!! But I was mummy’s brave little soldier. I thought about cool, green grass, puppies in a field and the flap of my eye hanging open. Eek!!

When in God’s name were we going to get to the laser bit!!!???

Apparently, straight after. Let me just say, you haven’t lived until you’ve smelled the stink of your own burning eye. You won’t forget it. Trust me.

And that was it, we were done. Well, one eye was. We had to repeat the whole thing over again. Some days you just wish you were a Cyclops. As so did the laser eye people. They told me they used 5 times as much numbing solution on me than they normally do. It’s amazing what adrenaline will do to a person.

And before I knew it–well, not really–it was all over. I had brand new eyes. They didn’t see very well at first, everything was in Star Trek soft focus and I had to wear sunglasses for a day and keep my eyes closed for five hours. But my vision was pretty sharp before the day was out.

So I’m pleased in the main. I do feel a little jipped that I don’t have laser vision, because I thought that was going to be my ticket in to join Dr. Xavier and the X-Men.

There’s has been one side effect, I now see a halo effect around anyone with twenty-four hours left to live. Now there could be a book in that…

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