Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Exams, an Edinburgh Christmas, and 20/20

Sorry, it's been awhile! Things have been busy busy busy, as usual!

To update you on the last post, the snow led to an entire week of no classes, which was amazing. Especially because it gave us more time to study for the exam! Results haven't come out yet, but they will soon. Cross your fingers for me!

So after the exam we had Christmas Break. I decided this year to stay in Edinburgh, since my family had come here for Thanksgiving. It was very different from my typical Christmas, but I enjoyed it a lot! We got up around 9, packed the kitty up and went to Andrew's parents house for coffee and presents, then had a delicious Christmas lunch made by Andrew's mother. Christmas lunch in the UK is a very similar meal to the Thanksgiving meal, only they usually have brussel sprouts as a vegetable. Oddly enough, this previously hated vegetable has grown on me, and I really enjoyed the entire meal!

Not to focus on things I got for Christmas, because it's not about that, but a few of my favourites were awesome slipper-socks and a headphone cord tidy from Andrew's parents, earrings and a necklace from my dad and Anna Marie, a good book and a funny pair of earrings from Andrew, and a funky necklace from Andrew's mum. I enjoyed giving gifts to everyone as well. I got a warm fairisle sweater for Andrew (which he knew he was getting because he almost bought the same thing when we went shopping, and I had to tell him to put it back), and a giant tub of Haribo. For Andrew's dad I got an iPhone case for his new iPhone, and for his mum I got a cute cat knick-knack (and normally I try to avoid knick-knacks, but it was too cute I couldn't pass it up - also I'm horrible at finding gifts for parents).
My little mini-tree. Cute, but I decided I needed a real one this year...
My wonky tree
Once we spruced (ha) it up with some trimmings and presents, it looked quite nice!
Andrew opens a long tube of Jaffa Cakes from his parents
Andrew's mum and dad
The cat was a little thrown off by all the wrapping paper and sparkly things (also Andrew trying to cuddle her)
The Christmas table with all the yummy foods.
Even Tsuki got to enjoy some yummy turkey!
Andrew shows off some confetti and a crown from his cracker.
After all of the lunching and presents, we played board games for the afternoon. It was really fun and relaxing to just chat. Definitely a lot less crazy than Christmas with my family! :P

For New Year's, Andrew and I went to Andrew's friends new house for a get-together. It was a sort of pot-luck thing, and so we got a whole variety of different food to try. It was very good! At midnight we all walked down the street to a little park by a church, where a bagpiper led us in Auld Lang Syne as the clock struck midnight (or, close to it anyway, everyone's clocks were different!)

The rest of Christmas break was just relaxing and studying for the exam we had this morning, epidemiology. Now, I'm sure this subject is relevant to some people, but I am not particularly interested in statistics. So I found this exam to be a bit challenging. I just don't see the point of memorizing formulae.

Anyway, so my most exciting news, is that after the exam this afternoon, I got LASIK! Because of my high prescription, I also had to get IntraLase and CustomVue Wavefront, all of which are variations on the typical LASIK procedure. To be honest though, both of those variations make the procedure more effective and safer, so it was fine by me!

I was really nervous after the exam. I knew it would feel a bit uncomfortable, and I guess because I really didn't know what it would feel like I was pretty anxious. The surgeon checked my eyes over one last time, gave me the last option to back out, but I figured I'd already come this far, so I might as well keep going.

First, they put two different drops in my eye. One was an anaesthetic, which made my eyes feel really strange, very numb and sticky-like. A second drop was put on, and I'm not quite sure what it did, but it must have enhanced the anaesthetic, because my eyes got even more numb.

Then came the squeamish part. (Seriously if you have issues with people touching your eyes, you may want to get over it before considering this procedure). A suction cup was applied to my eye while the initial flap was created(which doesn't hurt, it just feels like a lot of pressure, and your sight kind of cuts out). That was the part I'd been dreading. I don't know why but the idea of my sight suddenly blacking out terrified me. But actually it wasn't so bad, just a bit uncomfortable. The nurse kept having to remind me to breathe during this whole thing, so I must have been nervous, haha!

After the flap is created, which sort of feels like a puff of air in your eye almost, they do the other eye in the same way. They use a little mini squeegee thing to move the flap back. Then they put an eye speculum to keep your eyelids open, and move you underneath the laser machine. This part was a bit uncomfortable as well. Not painful, but because you're underneath a really bright light and half your cornea's been moved, it's REALLY bright, so the whole time my eyelids were fighting against the speculum to close my eyes. Fortunately I did my research, so I knew that the laser doesn't fire if your eye's not in the right position, so although I was trying to keep my eyes still, I wasn't freaking out about it. Plus, the whole time the surgeon was telling me how well I was doing. The laser clicks away and you can see a blurry light flashing above you, but you can't feel anything at all. You can, however, smell the laser burning your eye, which is kind of neat (yeah I know, I'm weird).

Anyway, after that they put a bunch of drops in your eye and put the flap back in place with the squeegie and smooth it all out. Again, this didn't hurt, but it didn't feel particularly good either. The surgeon asked me if I wanted to continue with the other eye, and obviously I said yes.

Finally they moved the machines out of the way and let me sit up. It was SOOOOO weird. I could see! It was a bit hazy and everything was sort of indistinct, but it was mostly clear! Far away things are still a bit fuzzy around the edges, but supposedly that resolves in a few days/weeks.

For the first 1/2 hour after the procedure, they put you in a darkened room, and I was still revelling in my new eyesight, and my eyes felt pretty good, although a bit gritty. As soon as I got out into the light however (they light up the upper floor of the Princes St. Optical Express like the surface of the freaking sun), and the anaesthetic wore off, it was another story. My eyes started stinging and watering, and it was painful, and I pretty much had to keep my eyes closed the entire way home. Not everyone has this reaction, so don't let this dissuade you, but this is why they tell you to go to sleep right when you get home. Sadly I had a 40 minute car ride home. Once I got home, I took some ibuprofen and took a 3 hour nap.

When I woke up at dinner time to take my first round of eyedrops, I felt sooo much better. My eyes are still really sensitive to light, but I've been keeping my room dark, and the computer on the dimmest setting, and every few minutes it gets better and better.

I have a whole bunch of drops (Antibiotics, Steroids, and lubricating drops) for my eyes that I can apply for the next week, and I have to wear sunglasses in bright light, and I also have to wear a really snazzy pair of goggles while I'm sleeping so I don't accidentally rub my eyes. They are amazing.

Trust me.

Don't believe me?
My sexy goggles.
I'm not quite sure why this feels so life-changing, when I have the same results with contacts, but something about it is amazing. It is just so nice to see! No more fumbling about with glasses in the morning to read my alarm clock, no more worrying about forgetting glasses/contacts when I go on trips, no more spending oodles of money on glasses and contacts and contact solution. Awesome.

I am a very happy bunny :D


Kaitlin With Honey said...

I have NO IDEA how you did that, but I am impressed. It would scare the crap out of me.

Tara Bergin said...

Haha, I was a little astounded with my own daring, to be honest. I guess after reading about it, and reading how unlikely complications are (for example, in all the millions of people that have had it done, there are no cases of loss of vision). So, at the very least, I was convinced I wouldn't become blind due to it. :P