Saturday, February 16, 2008

Out, vile jelly!

So on Wednesday morning I went for LASIK with Dr Lee Heng Meng at Gleneagles! What do I look like now?

Pretty normal, huh? But when the lights get too glaring, I whip out my mommy's sunglasses and I look like this:

And every night before I go to bed, I have to wear this:

That's just in case I accidentally scratch my eyes while I'm sleeping and screw up the precious surgical objets d'art. I'm not supposed to wash my face for a week except with a handtowel, play sports for a week because of the sweat, or go swimming for a month.

I can actually stop wearing the goggles tonight, but I'll keep them around as part of my Gothic Lolita playset.

Reader: But what does everything look like now with your grace-healed eyes?

I'm not kidding. The halo effect is in full force. First night I went to watch "What Is Man" Esplanade and I swear I could see the auras of every actor on stage. (They were mostly yellow. Some audience members were kinda purple, though.) Every streetlamp that I meet has been transformed into a gargantuan rubicund dandelion. It's really quite pretty. But disorienting.

Been having trouble focussing, too. Peripheral vision seems weirdly jelly-like (but didn't I have worse peripheral vision when I had glasses?). This is all normal for the first week after LASIK, and it does seem to be settling down.

What no-one warned me about, however, is the weird feeling of being nude: I am naked (I am not wearing my glasses) and yet I am clothed (I am seeing more clearly than I am comfortable with informally). I keep on wanting to take off my glasses, only to find myself groping my unburdened ears and bridge of my nose. Stuff glares. It's really gonna have to take getting used to.

And by the by, I keep noticing how many hot guys in Singapore wear glasses. I'm talking about those tanned computer engineer types around Clementi MRT (i.e. on the way to NUS or one of the polys) who look like they code while they canoe. Yowza.

Never you mind, what's done is done. LASIK is treatment. Here's a photolog:

I took this in the morning to commemorate my last few hours as a myopic.

My dad drove me. Bless him.

Parking was ridiculous at Gleneagles, so he had me get out of the care and did it illegally. Watch him parallel!

This is my optician. Optometrist? No idea.

Time for the freaky eye-test. Apparently I was 25 degrees worse than I was a week before, which is normal deviation.

Here's the prescribed medication, including my sedative pill for the op. The nurse (who was quite chioh) told me not to worry; she did the op too with Dr Lee three years back and she assured me it doesn't hurt. It just feels like there's some weird PRESSURE on your eyeball.

Time for the op! Here's the latest line of spring fashionwear from Hussein Chalayan!

They actually taped my showercap in place. Hair can be a dangerous thing.

Shoes can also be dangerous, apparently. They had me only wear socks into the operating theatre.

And that's where there's a gap in my chronicle, because they wouldn't let me take the camera into the operating theatre. Dr Lee lay me down in a body-moulded apparatus that made me think of the dentists' chair in "Cremaster 3", made me stare at a teeny red light (which got kinda blurry, although whether it was the machine or the sedative pill or the numbing eyedrops I don't know), and a teeny green light behind, and told me to keep looking at the light, excellent, while he applied plastic grips to my eyelids and transparent suction cups to my eyeballs, and over to the black machine, five four three two one by one, and whew, I thought, it's over, but no, it had just begun, my left eye open with a vise, look into the light, and the light had become the skeleton of an ultraviolet red red rose by now, and look into the light, and poky-poky with the scalpel, and excellent, rinse, and now the right eye, look into the light, and my left eye was foggy and my mind was groggy anyway, and how was I able to keep my eye focussed anyway -

I forgot to mention something. When the LASIK machine starts, you can actually SMELL YOUR EYEBALLS FRYING.

Yep, it's the cornea being seared into shape. And they'd warned me about the buzzy-buzzy sound of the machine. But the SMELL. That's gotta last. For the record, it was kinda like overmicrowaved meat under plastic (the kind where the clingfilm pops and goes gooey but the chicken thighs remain pink and uncooked).

Dr Lee also held my head, physically, in place while the machine was buzzing. His hands on my head. I found that surprisingly tender.

Anyway, when it was over, he lifted the suction from my right eyeball, removed the grips, and let me sit up, and I really said, "Oh my god, I can see!" like some Jesus miracle.

(It really strikes home the first moment. After that you forget that you're not wearing contacts, so it feels less mindfreaking.)

Anyway, I got to time-out for a while in a dark room with classical muzak playing, and then I got an aftercare moment (all good! he says):

That's me and Dr Lee Heng Meng. Or Stevie Wonder and Dr Alison Grey.

My meds were once every hour/two hours the first day, everything once every two hours the second day, and now I'm down to once every three hours. Zymax, Pred Forte and Refresh Plus.

And this is the good doctor with his clothes on, when I went for my 24 hours-later checkup.

May I just mention that the first time I went to his clinic, they were showing "Final Destination 3" in the waiting room? Don't watch this clip:

Will update you as my eyeballs heal.

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