I know a lot about Annie. You could say I’ve seen it all. She was a real rough-and-tumble kid.
Always running into things and knocking me around. A little sloppy with the food,
and a little pushy when things didn’t go her way. Especially when it came to her brother. They were always shoving each other around.
And, lord was she dangerous–always jumping over things,
and off of things.
And, that didn’t seem to change much as we grew up. Still with the jumping.
And, as much as it scared me, I was always there for her. To help her spot her landings,
and land her jumps.
See? Still with the jumping.
I was always there. We were lifelong friends, childhood buddies. We’d grown up together, learned together, and I was always there to help Annie see things in the best light. I was good to her. But, things started to fall out between us in her mid-twenties. The once strong connection we had started to get a little fuzzy and Annie was struggling to find her way. We went to see a licensed professional, for a while, to try and salvage things, and she wrote me a prescription. I wasn’t happy about it, but I know I needed it, and I dutifully took it, when Annie forced it on me daily. But, I felt like it was just a patch, a cover, not a real solution to our problem. When I wasn’t under it’s spell, things between us were still strained and unclear. It was just a band-aid. Annie agreed. We knew we had to do something more. We sought professional help again and drastic surgery was recommended. One we were going to have to do together. And, while I can speak freely of it now, as time has passed and healed the wounds, I must tell you, at the time, it was the most invasive, frightening thing I have ever experienced in all of my thirty-two years. I have never felt so violated and exposed. I have included graphic images to help accurately convey the explicit nature of the procedure, but please, I implore you, be mindful of the children and view at your own discretion.
On December 12, 2013, Annie and I woke early, packed a few things and headed straight to the surgery center. They called us back, ran some tests on us, checked the lab work and gave us some sedatives. Annie was told to lay down on an operating table, while he doctor loomed over me and began to tell us what all the procedure would entail. Although she did explain to us there would be a brief point where I would lose vision, nothing could have prepared me for the blackness that ensued. She shoved a large machine over the operation site that projected an enormous image of me on a screen above us.
I felt magnified, exploded, exposed to my very core. The doctor then applied some drops to numb me, and I lost all sensation. I was still functional but I could not feel anything. She touched me with several different instruments to be sure. I had never been poked in such a manner! The doctor then pulled my lid open by my lashes and taped them back above my brow. She then wedged a steel device in that forced me open. Open!!
I was terrified and vulnerable, and Annie was just laying there, letting it all transpire! The nerve! The machine then started purring and whizzing to life above me, and the doctor told me I would feel a slight bit of pressure, to which Annie responded, “Okay.” Okay?!? This is nowhere near okay! I have a lid for a reason! I’m not to be touched! I couldn’t possibly understand what Annie was thinking. Why was she letting them do this to me?? The ‘pressure’ came and I was compressed, squeezed, smashed to my very limit, thinking I would explode. Then everything went dark.
Black as night.
My vision, my power, my very purpose, I thought, was never to return. I’m thankful, now, that I could not feel and I could not see, because I have since learned the most graphic of atrocities occurred in that darkness. The doctor sliced me open,
and pulled back a flap on my retina, only to proceed to burn layers off underneath with a laser.
I could smell my very flesh burning in the dark, and all I could think about was the fury that was welling inside of me for Annie. Why was she permitting this? What had I done?? Sure, I had been straining and struggling for a while, but I had stuck in there. I was always there for her. Why was she letting me be massacred this way??
But then, the pressure started to ease up, and I started to see something — a pulsing red beam of light before me. The doctor told me to focus on it and, although I was frightened and confused, I tried, as hard as I’ve ever tried anything, thinking this doctor was my only lifeline at the time, my only hope of restoration. Annie had clearly fed me to wolves. This was not the surgery I had envisioned. Perhaps I was being excavated and transplanted into someone else’s socket. I didn’t know. I couldn’t tell. I was numb, held captive in a steel trap, able only to focus on a blinking red light and the doctor’s voice. But then the machine was removed, the doctor appeared before me, clear as day and she brushed me gently, cool, soothing strokes, and she gingerly pulled the steel device from my lid and released my lashes. I opened and closed a few times and welled up as a strange sensation began to overwhelm me. I could see! Clearly. Crisply. As sharp as the day Annie first blinked me open and wailed to life. I could see every pore on the back of Annie’s hand, every strand of hair that fell over her shoulder, every inch of the room, in explicit detail. I could see! Even without the patch! I had been hiding behind those clear contraptions every day for ten years and now, totally free of them, exposed and bare, I could see!
Annie rose and touched around me lightly and began thanking the doctor. As did I! Thank you! Thank you! And, I’m sorry for all the hurtful things I said about you when I thought you were killing me! Thank you! The doctor seemed to hear me as she wrapped one arm around Annie’s shoulder, looked right into me and said “Now smile for the camera!”
Ahhhh … LASIK … What a marvel!
And, I’m proud to say, I’m all healed up now — 20/15 — (both me and Leftie next door), and Annie and I have never been better. No more patches, no more straining, no more fuzzy sunrises. It’s all crisp and clear now! Let’s hit the high seas!