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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Refractive Eye Surgery – (Part 2 of 2): Sympathy for Oedipus

On the day of the surgery, upon walking into the luxurious Beverly Hills office, I was handed two Xanax and a blue shower hat. Before long, I was ushered into the surgery room, and instructed to lie down on my back.  People in blue hospital uniforms and surgical masks were scurrying around all over the cramped room, and everyone was a little tense.  The vibe reminded me of being in a locker room before a big game.  It was go time.  Someone asked me what kind of music I wanted to listen to during the procedure.  I thought about saying “Eye of the Tiger,” but it was no time for joking.

“Classic rock,” I said lazily, my head a little cloudy from the sedatives.

Somewhere in the background, Sting began playing softly from the speakers.  My doctor was staring into my eyes at the time, and when he heard Sting, he was, in all seriousness, visibly upset, and mocked the medical assistant, saying to me, “You ask for classic rock and they give you this [shit.  What a fucking moron.  I am about to reconstruct your myopic cornea with a combination of skill and art, technique and practice, with such precision as to provide significantly better outcomes than 90 fucking percent of eye surgeons west of the mother-fucking Mississippi, I am a pioneer of my field, I am the eye surgeon to the stars, and some ASSHOLE thinks that NEW AGE CROONER STING IS CLASSIC ROCK!]” (I am paraphrasing because Dr. Assil, a consummate professional, would never lose his cool like that)

“What group?” the medical assistant (or doctor or male nurse or whoever he was – he could have their full time DJ for all I knew) asked, his voice coming from God knows where.  People were walking by and squirting liquid into my eyes.

“The STOOOONES” I yelled, a bit too loudly, and the good Doctor approved.  I could sense a smile under his surgical mask.

I was told virtually nothing about the surgery itself.  I was fully conscious, but also blithely unaware of what exactly was happening.  A device was attached to my eyelids to hold them open like in a Clockwork Orange.  Drops were applied and reapplied to my eyes.  I was told to stare at a blinking light, and to let the good doctor know when the blinking stopped, but I sensed it was an exercise to ensure I was staring at the blinking light.  And something was peeled from my eye, I believe the eye’s outer layer, known clinically as “eyeskin.”  And the good doctor was using a small brush to wipe down my eyeball, which was surreal because I did not feel anything as I watched the tiny brush-like object scrape over my eyes like a squeegee on a windshield.  And he started to tell me an anecdote in between eyes, briefly pausing for five minutes to do the work that took his total concentration*, and finished the anecdote when his total concentration was no longer required.  He was as good as his medical outcomes suggested.

After the procedure, he dripped near-freezing water into my eye balls, which was by far, the most painful part of the procedure.  The cold water felt like it was seeping into my brain creating a massive brain freeze.  I asked him about the water, and he told me it was a “homeopathic” method used for pain management.  At the moment, the cure felt worse than the disease.

After the water torture, he sat me up, and everyone clapped to welcome me into the perfect vision club  He was clearly high on the successful surgery, endorphins were flowing, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he pumped his fist, yelled “Fuck yeah!” and started running victory laps around the room.  

Immediately following the surgery, I could see slightly better than I could without my contacts.  On the way home, we picked up my prescription for a dangerous narcotic (recently recalled for putting "patients at risk for potentially serious or even fatal heart rhythm abnormalities") just in time for the pain.  For three miserable days, it felt like someone was constantly poking me in the eyes.  This irritating feeling made them water damned near constantly.  Before going to bed, I had to tape shields over my eyes.  Four hours into sleeping, I would wake up with buckets of tears that splashed across my face when I turned over.  I couldn’t read a computer screen or watch TV.  It took about two weeks for my vision to gradually improve to the point where I saw with 20-20 vision, which is normal, but a bit frustrating.

Three weeks after my procedure, I started training again.  On my first day back, Mandachuva looked me up and down, and was a bit disgsuted with me upon noticing I had gained a little weight.  It's good to be back.

Coming soon - Monstro will be posting the 2010 Pulling The Line Brazilian Jiu Jitsu awards. 

*  The anecdote the good doctor told me:  “Many years ago, I was working in St. Louis and used to get rural cases from hundreds of miles away.  I fixed the vision of a 102 year old woman.  She was still mentally with it.  After a follow up visit, she thanked me for restoring her vision, and told me she would pray for me as she was being wheeled out of the room on her wheelchair.  I had just broken up with my fiancé, and was feeling a little cynical, and muttered underneath my breath, “Ask for a tall blonde.”  She was several feet away and I assumed she couldn’t hear me.  With her back to me, as she was being wheeled out the door, she shouted over her shoulder, ‘Male or female?’”

Nicely written: I'm not sure

Nicely written: I'm not sure I could handle that, as I really don't like the idea of anybody fiddling around in my eye. Out of interest, does Peter Gabriel pass the test (as there was a pic from one of his albums in the last post), or is he classed alongside Sting? After all, Sting has never regularly dressed up as a giant flower on stage . ;)   --slideyfoot (http://www.slideyfoot.com)

In Slidey's Eyes

Slidey!  I'm a big fan of your blog.I respectfully decline to be the arbiter of what is or is not classic rock.  I leave that to the professionals, like my eye surgeon Dr. Assil, whose musical tastes are, if nothing else, well defined.  Peter Gabriel's So graced the post heading based on Track 5 - In Your Eyes.  It's a shame that radio stations have been playing it on the hour for twenty-five years, and we are now disensitized to this rhymic masterpiece with such beautiful lyrics.  Love song lyrics are so often insipid, but not this gem.

Heh - fair enough. I love

Heh - fair enough. I love categorisations, so always interesting to hear what labels people like to assign to which music. I track everything I listen to on last.fm, if you're as fond of stalking people's musical taste as I am (http://www.last.fm/user/slideyfoot/) ~~~~I don't think I've listened to much stuff by Gabriel, beyond the kind of thing that used to pop up on MTV all the time back in the day (so, 'Sledgehammer' and 'Big Time'). I was watching a Genesis documentary a while ago, which reminds me to go take a look at him on Spotify. Well, once it's past Christmas: non-stop cheese until then. :) ~~~~By the way, is there some button I can click on so I don't pop up as unregistered? And is there a way to stick in paragraphs in here? I had a play with the usual <br/> and <p>, but the browser is laughing at my futile coding attempts---slideyfoot