I hadn’t brought anyone with me to the doctor's office because I felt bad asking a friend to leave work on a weekday afternoon. Besides, everyone assured me it was painless and the receptionist said that as long as I wasn’t driving, I’d be okay getting home alone in a taxi. But since I could barely open my eyes after the surgery, a receptionist had to walk me down to the lobby and help me hail a cab. He slipped me a Vicodin on the way out.
“You realize I just had a Vicodin a half hour ago, right?” I said. “And two Xanax before that?”
“Yes, the doctor said it’s fine.”
Once inside the cab, I called my boyfriend and sobbed, “Oh god, it burns! It burns! They don’t tell you how much it burns!” Then I called Jessica and sounded like such a raving lunatic that she put me on speaker phone so that our friend Chris, who was sitting next to her, could fully experience my hysteria.
As soon as I walked into my apartment I cut the lights and lay down on my bed. I wasn’t supposed to open my eyes for two hours so I turned on my Tivo’d episodes of West Wing and just listened. The entire show takes place in the White House, so all I needed was the dialogue to follow what was going on.
For three hours it felt like my eyes were being irrigated with Tabasco sauce. Then the pain stopped abruptly, as if someone had flipped a switch. I was fine and already able to read the clock on my cable box across the room. Floating in my pharmaceutical haze, it occurred to me that I’d never be as sedated as I was at that very moment. If I was ever going to get the second eye done, this was the time. I called the doctor’s office and asked if they could do my other eye that night. It was already 6 p.m. but they agreed.
When I arrived at the Lasik center, they handed me another Vicodin. For those of you keeping score at home, this means that in the course of five hours, I’d taken two Xanax and three Vicodin. But they insisted and I was hardly in a state to argue. I was hardly in a state to do anything, frankly. As you can imagine, the second surgery was much less traumatic, what with me being practically unconscious. I didn’t even need the services of Damien.
When I woke up the next morning, I could see 20/20. My vision was even better than it had ever been with glasses or contacts. Colors were brighter, lines were sharper. The world was crisp, as if I were seeing in HD. It’s been over eight weeks and the only side effect I’ve experienced is mild sensitivity to light, which should go away in a few months.
A few weeks ago I returned to the office for a checkup appointment. Everything was normal. On the way out, I stopped in the bathroom to pee. There were two other women in there -- one of whom was there for a checkup like me, and a girl who was just about to go into surgery.
“So you can see perfectly now?” the pre-Lasik girl squeaked excitedly. We nodded in unison and she scampered out.
As she was drying off her hands, the other woman gave me a knowing look and said, “I’m glad she didn’t ask me if it was painful. I wouldn’t have had it in me to lie to the girl.”