Okay, maybe “peer pressured” is a tad harsh. “Roughly persuaded” is more like it.
But the second part is true. I had just met her for the first time in my life, and five days later, I found myself climbing into the surgery bed, shaking uncontrollably, under glowing lamps and strange machines.
Less than five minutes later, I walked out of the surgery room sore-eyed but glasses-free. For the first time in over a decade.
Wait, I’m getting completely ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.
We arrived in Beijing a little over two weeks ago, timing it with my mom’s annual trip. Visiting Beijing is a homecoming like no other. All of my mom’s side of the family, along with her best friends, reside in the city. In the typical Chinese fashion, everyone clamored to take us out.
One such friend (I call her Auntie Yang) invited us to a day at the thermal baths. Her exact relationship to us is best summed up as my mom’s friend’s late aunt’s widowed husband’s new wife. Confused? Basically, she’s the new wife of an old family friend. In fact, the friend who gave us our first Christmas stockings for our first holiday in the U.S. (he has since remarried and moved back to Beijing after the passing of his wife).
We all met at the bathhouse. Long lost reunions and new introductions were made. I immediately liked Auntie Yang. She’s a gracious and generous host with an infectious laugh and bubbly personality.
“Oh how pretty!” Auntie Yang crooned. “But what a pity she wears glasses,” she added a few seconds later.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard such a remark. It’s always bothered me that people treat glasses as a debilitating, repulsive problem to be fixed. Oh, you could be so pretty if only you didn’t wear glasses! How come you don’t get contacts? I’m not insecure or ashamed to wear glasses. I may have gripes with other body parts from time to time, but I’ve never believed that wearing glasses lowered my aesthetics.
“You should get Lasik. You know what? I know a place,” she went on to say. “My son and his wife both got their eyes done there. They’re both so happy with it.”
Even though wearing glasses doesn’t bother me, I have thought about Lasik before. Mainly because I have an irrational fear of going blind someday since my eyes are already pretty bad and I spend so much time looking at a computer screen. But I’ve only vaguely considered it in a wouldn’t-it-be-nice kind of way. I’m a HUGE scaredy-cat when it comes to objects near my eyes (and hence why I’ve never worn contacts). The thought of someone poking around my eyes makes me break out in sweat.
“I’ve thought about it before,” I said. “But I’m scared.”
“Nothing to be scared of! You don’t feel anything. And it’s so fast… a few minutes at most!”
“Is it safe to get it done in China??”
“Of course! This place uses American technology. The doctors are more skilled here because there are so many people with bad vision in China, so they perform more surgeries!”
Hmmm… that does make sense.
After some encouragement from my mom, I agreed to an appointment. I wanted to correct my vision permanently but I knew I would never do it if it were completely left up to me. This seemed like the perfect opportunity because 1) having my mom there makes me braver (there are some situations where you just need a mother no matter how old you are), and 2) it’s cheaper in China.
I knew nothing about this hospital. I did absolutely zero research. I put all my trust into this woman I’d just met.
“Good! Let me make you an appointment,” she said. “Then we can get this task over with.” Like correcting your vision is a thing to be checked off a to-do list.
The next day, she called to say she got me an appointment. Two days later, I went to the hospital and took a slew of examinations to confirm that I’m eligible for Lasik. And two days after that, I found myself on the surgery table.
It’s been one week now since my surgery. I’m loving my new perfect vision and am still getting used to my new reflection in the mirror. I’ve just started to get back on my laptop, catching up on emails, comments, and blogs. It’s more or less back to normal, though I’m finding that looking at a screen for too long hurts my eyes still. And then I have that irrational fear that my eyes will go bad again.
This is just a quick update to let you know where I’ve been and that my presence may be sparse for a while still. I plan to write an entire post talking about my Lasik experience, so stay tuned!