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October 2008

Art/Personality Quiz

October 24, 2008   

I am writing up the surgery details, but in the meantime…

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test…

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

11 Impressionist, -3 Islamic, 3 Ukiyo-e, -10 Cubist, -2 Abstract and -9 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Two things that had me worried

October 22, 2008   

First: I was worried I’d go blind or end up with worse vision than I started. It was clear from the first minute this was not the case. Now, I have to make sure there isn’t some infection, and we’re golden! I honestly spent a lot of time furtively staring at Seppo and trying to memorize his features on Monday night and Tuesday morning in case it would be the last time I ever saw him. Stupid, but true.

Second: I was worried it would hurt a lot and for a long time, or I’d have sever dry eye, one of the common potential problems. So far, no pain, no discomfort, no dryness, no stinging, except when I put in my eye drops.

Medical science freaks me out.

Two answers

October 22, 2008   

Yes, it’ll take you a while to get used to seeing me without glasses. Heck, it’ll take me forever! And yes, I have what appears to be a glasses tan on the sides of my face, where the “arms” go. Embarrassing! 😀

Fear me!

October 22, 2008   

I have gotten lasik, to achieve super-human vision, to supplement my super-human intelligence. Next will be super-human hearing and strength.

Just kidding about the hearing & strength thing. After years of having my finger on the metaphorical trigger, I finally did it and got Lasik. Bottom line: I got it yesterday, and today’s eye exam showed that I’m already seeing slightly better than 20/20! And I feel absolutely no discomfort whatsoever. I had been terrified of eye pain, the likes of which Seppo experienced not too long ago, but there hasn’t been anything like that.

I casually researched it for years, but in the last six months, I directed my obsessive researching powers to figuring out who had the best Lasik surgery processes & results in the Bay Area. I looked up statistics for their success rates, what kinds of equipment they uses, how often they get serviced, the existence of any equipment recall information, the existence of any outstanding lawsuits, personal reviews, etc. I pored through every piece of information I could get.

I whittled down the list to three doctors & facilities. I did consider a fourth doctor (Dr. Manche of Stanford Eye Laser Center), but ruled him out because of the distance. I went in for consultations with Dr. Mandel of Optima Eye, Dr. Anderson of the UC Berkeley Optometry Center, and Dr. Faktorovich of Pacific Vision Institute.

Not on my list were any discount lasik or “factory”-like lasik facilities. After much reading, my highest criteria were the following:

  • Number of procedures BY THAT DOCTOR, not the facility
  • Rates of 20/20 or better success
  • Equipment — how often recalibrated and serviced, how often parts were replaced, model numbers (so I could look up information

Dr. Mandel had the highest number of procedures: over 40,000 procedures. Dr. Faktorovich had over 25,000. Dr. Manche (whom I didn’t go see) had over 20,000. Berkeley had something like 20,000, but distributed over a number of doctors. What most informational sites will tell you is that 3K is the minimum number of procedures they should have done for you to consider them. After 5K, the added experience becomes only minimally important. All of the places had about the same level of 20/20 success rates, because all of them turn away high-risk candidates.

The reason that the number is important even though the laser is doing 100% of the actual vision-correcting work is that the doctor is responsible for opening and closing the flap on the cornea. The making of the flap itself could be done with either intralase (another laser that creates the flap) or with a microkeratome blade (yes, it’s a blade on your cornea). The doctor opens up that flap so that the lasik equipment can do its thing. Afterwards, the doctor closes and realigns the flap.

Most of the complications dealing with lasik seem to occur with the flap. Given this is the case, it *does* matter who your doctor is.

The other thing is to ask about the process. Here are some of the questions I asked:

Will they recalibrate between every patient? What measures do they have in place to sanity-check that the correct patient is lying under the lasik machine with the correct calculations? What room for error is there between taking the measurements and recording them for that patient? What kind of pre- and post-care do they provide? What is the WORST complication they have encountered, and how did they resolve it?

Dr. Mandel had the most comprehensive informational package of the doctors I went to see. His office gave me the most information about the risks and hazards and what they could do to fix the problem if something went wrong. The other offices gave me confident reassurances that nothing will go wrong, as my optical profile is well within the normal range, but did not actually tell me what the worst case was and what they did. That was more important to me than someone telling me that it was going to be ok and patting my hand. I didn’t need to know how awesome the surgery could be, as I knew that from various first-hand accounts. I needed to know how BAD it could be.

I also balked at being pressured to put down a deposit on the day of the consultation and feeling rushed into the process, which is what another place tried to do. Well, I should say they were successful in that I put down the fully-refundable deposit but asked for my money back several days later because I didn’t like how they were pushing me.

My surgery was yesterday. Seppo took me in for my 10:15 appointment. I sat around for about 30 minutes before they called me up and gave me a Valium. Shortly after that, they had me make the payment and scheduled me for a follow-up appointment (which I have already gone to as of this writing), and gave me a packet of drops and other medical paraphernalia to help my eyes recover. At this time, I also gave permission for Seppo to view my procedure. 😀

At around 11, they had me go into a patient waiting area where they gave me a different type of eye drop every 5 minutes or so. There was something to numb the eyes, some antibiotics, and something else, I forget. I think around 30 minutes later, they called me into the surgery room. It happened very fast. They gave me a teddy bear to hold, which was cute. And, honestly, quite comforting.

I thought I’d freak out about my vision going black when they made the cut (I went with the microkeratome blade because of what I had read regarding light sensitivity and risks for greater higher-order aberrations with the intralase procedure), but it felt like how your eye feels dark for a second when you rub it too hard, so it wasn’t a freakish feeling. Plus, I’m sure the Valium had kicked in by then. 😀 I felt absolutely no pain.

I saw the flap being opened, where things got blurrier, but it felt like how it might be if I put my glasses on backwards or if I put Seppo’s glasses on top my my own. The doctor held my head firmly but gently, looked down into my face through the machine, then started the laser. It was kind of a loud popping sound that ran for maybe 5 to 10 seconds. It was louder than I expected, but I had heard some of it from the waiting area, so I was not too shocked. Thankfully, I smelled nothing burning, which some people had warned me about. The doctor then put my flap back, carefully readjusting while looking through what I imagine was a microscope, moistening and drying bits here and there. The same thing then happened to my left eye. Then they told me they were done, took the bear back (boo!) and told me I could stand up and follow the post-care doctor out of the room. The entire procedure took maybe… 5 minutes from the time I entered the room.

I could see as I was leaving the room! I had expected to have my eyes closed and be blindly following the doctor with my hand on her shoulder or something like that, but I could see to walk to the other room fine. It was like wearing slightly fogged up goggles. I caught Seppo in the hallway and he came in with me to my eye exam. He had actually missed the surgery! Boo! What happened? I wonder if they called for Mr. Choi or something, or maybe he was still getting coffee when they called him over.

Anyway, Seppo was all, “What, you already got the surgery?” I could see him where he was sitting in the corner of the room of my exam room. I could even read the poster above his head. It was all very OMGSCIENCE! After looking into my eyeballs, the doc talked to us about post-care, put clear plastic eye shields over my eyes and put some cheapo sunglasses on me and sent us on our way. WHOA!

Seppo took me home, got my some Chicken McNuggets (at my bizarre request), and tucked me into bed with some podcasts & audiobooks. A few hours into the wait, I started to feel stinging in my eyes. Ouch. I was keeping my eyes closed the entire time, but I tried blinking a tiny bit at this point, and there was a gush of tears as there had not been since I last watched Grave of the Fireflies. All the tears had welled up and were sitting around in my eyes until I opened them. Weird! Seppo called the doc to ask about giving me Tylenol PM, which they approved, so he gave me two.

A nurse called me to check up on me at 2:40pm, interrupting my nap, but it was nice that they called. I asked them if gushing tears was normal and they said it was absolutely normal as the eyes are trying to heal.

When I woke up around 7 or 8pm, I was no longer feeling eye pain, but I figured it was due to the Tylenol PM still being in my system. I peeked enough to go to the bathroom and sit in the livingroom with Seppo, listening to various things he was watching, then dozed off to an audiobook. When I peeked, I could see that I was seeing at almost 100% already.

This morning, I woke up super-early due to having slept so much. My eyes were crusted over and I could not open my eyes. I used my hands to tug at the skin a little to free my lashes from the crust. Ew. 😀 I waited until Seppo was awake, then he helped me take my plastic shields off.

And doggoneit! I could see! Really well! And as an added bonus, there was zero pain or discomfort!

I went to my appointment, driving myself, as they had said I’d be able to. I hadn’t really believed them though, but my vision is as good right now as it was with my contacts, which is to say they feel a bit weird, but I can see clearly, with just a tiny bit of a sense that I’m seeing through dry contacts at the end of the day. My checkup showed that I am already seeing slightly better than 20/20. I have another exam in 3 weeks. I am excited to see what results we’ll see then!

I’ll be on a regiment of medicated drops (antibiotics and cortisteroids) for the next few days and on moistening drops for several weeks, but my eyes feel and see great!

And NO, I absolutely will NOT recommend you (whoever you are) get lasik. It’s a decision that no one else can make for you, but one only you can make with a trusted doctor. I would absolutely do this again, but I would seriously never tell someone else to, as everyone has a different optical/corneal profile and different risk tolerance. Remember, this is *elective* surgery.


October 19, 2008   

No on Prop 8! Donate now!

Yes on Obama!

The polls make me nervous. I look at my iPhone poll app first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to sleep.

Work is tiring/fun/strange/interesting/busy/engaging.

Later this week should be interesting.

Backyard firepit/bbq

October 14, 2008   

A different gardener came on Saturday to do more cleanup, as we can’t get in touch with the other one anymore. 🙁 I think we could now make a fire inside the brick firepit for the first time ever, as we are no longer in danger of having all the surrounding bushes catch on fire and destroy the neighborhood, as said bushes and tangleweed are all gone.

Woo hoo!

They didn’t do all the stuff they said they would in the initial walk-through, so they are coming back tomorrow at 2pm to make sure everything gets done. This includes cleaning out the sidewalk gutters, trimming the tree branches that hit our second floor windows, and cutting all the random stuff away from our lemon tree, as we had agreed on.

Everyone loves tests

October 7, 2008   

Via Eventine:

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.

You have the best of everything – at least, *you* think so.

Who’s Your Inner European?