Lasik eye courage

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm always ranting and raving about parents and how many obstacles to peace and quiet they have to overcome. How courageous new parents are when embarking on the unchartered water that is parenthood.

That's because parents have amazing patience and fortitude in the face of a pediatric medical emergency or a full-blown meltdown in the mall. They come away from the experience after eighteen years with a sense of pride and accomplishment for managing to keep their children alive for that long. It takes commitment, care, and courage…and the greatest of these is courage.

But the greatest example of courage that I have ever seen came from a single, childless person: My son.

He grew up with a very low tolerance for pain which is evidence that although I might have threatened to beat my children to a creamy pulp, I never did. My son would nearly pass out at the mere thought of an immunization shot. The sight of blood caused him anguish and you would've thought the world was coming to an end hearing the wailing he issued after a stubbed toe.

Simply said, he was a very unlikely candidate for Lasik eye surgery. But, who knew, the one thing he hated more than pain or discomfort was wearing glasses. He had worn glasses from sixth grade right through his second year of college and apparently these years made a huge impression on the way he saw himself. He thought that everything in his life would be better if only he didn't have to wear glasses. But … he couldn't see without them.

So when he heard about a new method to correct one's vision without the use of glasses, he started saving his money. It apparently didn't faze him that the "method" included employing a tiny guillotine to slice off the top of your eye, peeling it away from the eyeball with a tweezers and shooting a laser beam into the unprotected pupil.

When he explained the "method," I was shocked. To me, it sounded like the torture program for a third world country. "Who are you, and what have you done with my son?" I demanded. I could not believe that my son -- this son -- wanted to subject himself to such horrors … not just willingly, but enthusiastically! I thought that maybe the information they gave him used some kind of mind-warping drug that brainwashed the prospective client into believing that the "method" was like one big surprise party.

I figured he needed someone to speak for him in his warped state, so I went with him to his appointment. The first thing they did was to give him a Valium and make him sit in a waiting room until it took effect. I knew! There was a mind-numbing drug involved!

Unfortunately, the Valium had absolutely no effect my son, who is built like a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. He asked for another Valium … nothing. And another … nothing. He took eight -- count 'em -- eight! Valium pills throughout the course of the afternoon and got nothing more than a light buzz. He let three people go ahead of him until he was the only patient left. The doctor asked if he still wanted to do it. It must've been the Valium making a late appearance into his judgment while at the same time, not affecting the rest of his body, but he said yes!

"Are you insane?" I asked. Even the doctor looked skeptical. But my son looked determined, sane even, which he really shouldn't be if the Valium was having any affect at all. I didn't stand in his way, though, because, well, he's bigger than me.

I watched on a TV monitor as he lay down on the chair. They propped open his eyelids with metal toothpicks and gave my 21-year old son a teddy bear to squeeze if it got really uncomfortable. He wasn't too proud to use that teddy bear, either. In fact, I think it's safe to say that they became good friends that day. Then they performed the "method" on my son.

There are men that clean the windows on the outside of sky scrapers. There are men that grapple with wild animals in malaria-infested jungles. There are men that have climbed Mt. Everest and lived to tell about it. But, if you ask me, none of these men has more courage than my son had that day.

I now have a whole new respect for those people who elect to have Lasik eye surgery. I'm glad, though that my son was able to get both eyes done at the same time, because the chances of him getting back in that chair again are slim to none!

-- You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.

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  • Where did he have his surgery done?

    -- Posted by vern on Wed, Sep 24, 2008, at 4:59 PM
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