Laser Eyes (Part 2 of 2)

(This is Part 2 of a 2-part story. Part 1 is here.)

The day of the procedure, you have to have someone there to drive you home, either because your eyesight’s not at 100% until your corneas can heal over (which takes a few days), or because they give you Valium to mellow you out for your time in the chair, or I guess possibly because, you know, they’ve blinded you. So Kendra went with me. It was mid-afternoon, and several other people were also there, sitting around in the big, executive-looking waiting room, either to have their own eyes blasted or to drive their groggy loved ones home. We checked in, then strolled casually to some comfy chairs, each of us selecting a magazine to peruse while we waited.

During our previous visit here for the initial consultation, they had led us into a maze directly behind the waiting room, a kind of hodge-podge of doctor’s examining rooms and tiny negotiating rooms like they sometimes have at car dealerships. But today, when my time came, a young woman took me to a completely different part of the complex. This place was in a storefront-type building in a strip mall, so the entire front was a wide tinted glass wall that faced the parking lot. She led me down what was more or less a long hallway, the wall of windows immediately on my right. So they could regulate the temperature along that wall, the windows were covered floor to ceiling with copper-colored metal shades.

Where the hallway ended, we turned left and passed a couple of restrooms. She took me into a large, dark room where there were three or four permanently reclined chairs, the kind you lie in at the dentist. She directed me to a chair, then brought me a couple of Valiums and some water in a tiny Dixie cup, the same kind you’d use in the bathroom to swish after brushing when you were a kid. She said I’d need to wait for it to kick in, checked her watch, and promised she’d come back to get me in a few minutes. She left, and I lay back and closed my eyes.

I drifted there for several minutes, ruminating lazily about all those tiny details I’d be able to make out now, things I might have been missing before, and gradually it also dawned on me that my bladder was approaching its full holding capacity. You know what it’s like when you’re lying in bed and you realize you need to go; once you’ve had just that initial thought, you’re past the point of no return. When the girl returned a few minutes later, I sat up and asked her if I could use the restroom before we went back. She looked…concerned. “Uh, number one or number two?”

I chuckled. “One.”

Still she looked perplexed. “Do you think you could hold it until after?”

I chuckled again. “Not bloody likely.”

She furrowed her brow, contemplating. “Okay. Do you remember where it was? We passed it coming in.”

“Sure,” I said, dropping my feet to the floor, which seemed much spongier now than when we came in.

She lunged at me and slipped her arm under my armpit. “Whoa. A little wobbly. Do you need me to get you some help?”

I played it cool. “I’m fline. Smeally.” Outwardly, I was being polite, but inside I was thinking, Seriously? I’ve been going to the bathroom myself now for like, what? Three hundred years? And also, Wow. Her face is kind of melty.

In spite of my stubbornness, she insisted on helping me back out into the hall. As soon as I saw the men’s room there at the corner, I knew I’d be fine. I walked towards the door. And overshot. Badly. Although I managed to get my hand up to keep myself from falling—at first, anyway—in so doing I grabbed a handful of metal blinds. I then promptly raked down them as I crumpled to my knees there at the windows. And this in full sight of all the terrified people down the hallway in the waiting room.

Try to imagine the sound of dragging your hand ceiling to floor across metal blinds pressed against glass in a long hallway. This sound was not unlike that. You’d probably imagine this to be a very loud, very dramatic kind of noise. And you’d be right. Every face cranked towards me, wrenched in horror. I can only imagine their thoughts, What in the world’s going on back there?!?

The girl helped me up and wrangled me into the men’s room. “Are you sure you’re going to be all right? I can get somebody, a guy, to come help you.”

“Scromningulaind,” I assured her, waving her off dismissively. “Nit’s vend.”

She slipped out and closed the door, I think unconvinced. I placed a hand on the wall and conducted my business. In my memory, I had perfect aim, successfully navigated and with no undue overspray. Of course, for all I know, it was into a trash can or a sink or a drain in the floor or against the wall. But I’m sure it was fine. I finished up, I think put everything away and closed up, washed what I’m pretty sure were my hands, and staggered back out into the hall.

She was waiting there for me and helped me into another dark room, where I lay into yet another dentist chair. A doctor I couldn’t see gave me some instructions, which I obediently followed. Honestly, at that point, they could have handed me a gun, Jason-Bourne-style, and told me to shoot a hooded guy in the corner and I would absolutely have done it. (For all I know, they did.)

The actual procedure was kind of a blur, dark, with lots of popping noises and weird lights. The only part I remember vividly is that when they fired the laser into my eye, it looked like my eyeball filled with gray ashes—from the inside. That was the only moment I was frightened about losing my eyesight. But I was also very drowsy, so the feeling passed quickly.

I don’t remember leaving that day. I don’t remember whatever instructions they gave to me. What I do remember was awakening the next morning in my own bed, rolling over, and seeing my alarm clock—clearly—for perhaps the first time in my life. I cried a little. It was the best money I ever spent on myself.

Have you ever been high in public? What happened? Were authorities involved? When you write “gray,” do you spell it with an “a” or with an “e”? (I anguished over that decision today.)

14 Responses to “Laser Eyes (Part 2 of 2)”

  1. Cooper Strange November 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    I was able to experience one of the most incredible publicly high spectacles witnessed by man. I was in line in yet another Hong Kong McDonald’s (because every other food product in Hong Kong is ridiculously expensive) and in walks Johnny Highsmoke.

    He had some kind of small, lute-looking stringed instrument over his shoulder, so it is of course, perfectly fine that he is high because he is a creative. While waiting in line, he started swaying side to side and front to back, quite literally like a reed in the wind. The swaying, though gentle, only increased, until he hit the breaking point…or blobbing point, I guess.

    He did what could only be described as “melt” to the floor. It was one continuous and fluid action, though too indistinct to even call an action, like saying a slug crawls. I honestly could not tell you how that was humanly possible if he did indeed have rigid bones like the rest of us.

    It is much less dramatic than your story, but no less forgettable for the viewer.

    • Brannon November 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

      Sad you don’t have video. That would be a shoo-in viral on YouTube.

  2. Julie November 20, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    I had to have a “procedure” (isn’t that word so mysterious?)a couple of years ago that required general anesthesia. I don’t remember much, but when I woke up in the recovery room, the nurse said to me “there should be more people like you in the world” and then hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. I was a little freaked out, but then I thought “Man, this lady REALLY takes her job seriously”. My husband told me later that the nurse told him that I was letting everyone in the OR know how much Jesus loved them. And I guess I was pretty passionate about it.


    Oh, an I was so completely laughing out loud at this post. Super hilarious.

    “Scromningulaind,” I assured her, waving her off dismissively. “Nit’s vend.”

    • Brannon November 20, 2010 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. I wish that I expressed the love of Christ to people under such circumstances. I fear it’s far more likely that instead I tell them things about myself and others that are probably better not revealed. Or I talk about unicorns. But I do that whether I’m drugged or sober anyway.

  3. Mom November 20, 2010 at 7:57 am #

    Your memory is fuzzy. I was the one sitting in the waiting room when the receptionist came over and told me I was required to go in and clean the bathroom. Love you anyway. Mom

    • Brannon November 20, 2010 at 9:50 am #

      I asked Kendra, and she said it was her. Of course it’s entirely possible that she just remembers it so well because of how many times she’s heard me tell it. I do, however, know that it was you who took me when I had my wisdom teeth out. (A story I plan to tell another time). Also, I am choosing not to believe you about the bathroom.

  4. Mom November 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Was it not the laser center on the Northwest Expressway at Rockwell?

    • Brannon November 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

      No, it was. Clear Sight Center in Brixton Square. I was just saying that Kendra thought it was her, not that it wasn’t you. I was higher than a kite. How could I remember?

    • Brannon November 20, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

      Also, c. This is a weird conversation to be having on the Internet. In Comments. With my mom.

  5. Mom November 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Brixton Square on the corner of Rockwell and the Northwest Expressway. Right?

    • Brannon November 24, 2010 at 11:36 am #


  6. Debbie Golden Miller Sewell (whew!) November 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Don’t ask me how I know (because I will never tell!), BUT if your intials are “double D” and NOT because your name is Deborah Denise AND when the “occifer” says, “What’s that funny smell?” (when he pulls you over for a tag light bulb that is out) that your Astro minivan is “leaking differential fluid” you are TOTALLY off the hook! To this day I wonder if my ex-husband made up the whole differential fluid thing or if there truly is such a thing as differential fluid. Guess I’ll ask Dad.

    • Brannon November 24, 2010 at 11:37 am #

      Yikes. TMI.

  7. Debbie Golden Miller Sewell (whew!) November 23, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    P.S. Grey if it is related to clothing or a -hound dog. Gray for everything else.

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