An Extreme Reaction to Not Wanting to Pack Contact Solution

October 2015. Jeff and Taylor discuss what we're thinking regarding packing.

"Man, I'll  have to switch from daily contacts to monthlies. I am not bringing 700+ contacts." -Jeff

"I might just get LASIK." - Taylor

"Will your stepdad give me LASIK, too?" - Jeff

Relevant: my stepdad's an ophthalmic surgeon. He did our procedures.

And here we are, at the end of 2015 with freshly zapped eyeballs. I can only kind of see my screen, after zooming in on the text so that my screen is at 175% magnification. But other than that? 20-15 vision. Better than perfect. Worth it. 

Jeff got something called PRK rather than LASIK, and has a far worse recovery - longer and more painful (here's the difference). Hence why there are no pictures of his eyes. He's in a dark room feeling miserable, and a camera in his face is the last thing he wants. So, you just get my eyeballs.

L-R: terror immediately prior, delirium immediately after, 10 hours post-op, 15 hours post-op, 20 hours post-op.

L-R: terror immediately prior, delirium immediately after, 10 hours post-op, 15 hours post-op, 20 hours post-op.

I was not prepared for LASIK. When I got an IUD (a less extreme example of not feeling like packing a thing - in that case pills), I read every single "things you should know" article I could find. But for some reason, my idiot self did not do the same to prepare for eye surgery. I sort of read the packet Dr. Hester gave me. I didn't read anything about what to bring, how to prepare, etc. What a dingus move.

Don't be an idiot like me. Here's what you should know:

  • Valium is your friend. You have to be awake for the surgery and it's pretty terrifying. Jeff was fine - I was shaking the whole time. If you're high strung like me, ask for Valium in your pre-op appointment. No shame in needing a chill pill.
  • Bring a fuzzy sweatshirt. The lasers require low humidity. In stuffy NC, that means the AC might be on and you might be chilly.
  • Don't drive yourself. Obviously.
  • The part where they cut the flap hurt. It felt like a headache. The rest of it is uncomfortable, but relatively painless. (note: apparently the pain I felt was very rare and not to be expected)
  • The laser smells like burning hair and sounds like an industrial sewing machine.
  • Don't move your hands. Seriously. Don't move them. Even when the water drips into your ears and your hair and it itches. Stoppit.
  • You'll feel totally fine five minutes after the surgery thanks to the beautiful things that are numbing drops. 25 minutes later, it'll feel like someone is trying to claw your eyes out. Don't get overconfident.
  • Your eyes will water constantly. Bring lots of kleenex. I did not do this and therefore stole a few rolls of toilet paper from Live Oak Ophthalmology to dab my eyes. Sorry, Drs Hester and Groat.
  • Speaking of eyes watering - I have bad sinuses and the eye watering quickly turned into full sinus cavities. Which then turned into a migraine, nausea and all. Sudafed makes your eyes dry out, so you have to take it sparingly. It sucks. The migraine was 10 times worse than the scratchy eyes.
  • The light! It burns!
  • Seriously, make sure you have access to a dark room. The light sensitivity isn't messing around, especially if you get PRK (like Jeff). He's still struggling with daylight, several days after surgery.
  • Don't attempt the day-of recovery on your own. You won't be able to open your eyes. You'll need someone to guide you through doorways and up stairs, someone to bring you kleenex, someone to bring you water, and someone to put steroid drops in your eyes. My mom and my friend Iris were our guardian angels.
  • Sleep will be difficult with the pain. Unisom is your friend. Or more Valium. Either works.

Shout out to Live Oak Ophthalmology for the stellar zappy zaps. I was the first-ever laser surgery in their brand new laser center. My new claim to fame. And hey - now I'm better equipped for the zombie apocalypse.


Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email, or else read more from the blog.