Category: Life

Eight Things You Need To Know About Lasik

I write this just over a month after getting Lasik, which makes it a rather premature post since I have yet to experience the full results of the surgery, but I’ve had a few people ask me to talk about my experiences, so … here we are, and here is the requisite caveat: this is what I have learned in the last 6 weeks.

Lasik Is a Time Investment

Yes, it also costs a fair bit of money. But don’t discount the time investment. My initial consultation was 2 hours, at the end of which I found out whether I was a candidate for Lasik (yes), what my surgical options were (as it turns out, only one), and how much it was going to cost me. The appointment on the day of the surgery was about 4.5 hours; the surgery itself only takes about 10-15 minutes, but there is a bunch of testing, pre-surgical consultations, and a 45 minute post-surgery waiting period. I had the standard follow-up appointment the next morning, which took about 15 minutes. Because a bandage contact lens was placed after surgery in one of my eyes, I had a second follow-up 2 days later, to remove the lens. That also took about 15 minutes. My one week and one month follow-up appointments were more of the same.

Because my original prescriptions were high (astigmatism in one eye, myopia in the other), my eyes were still healing at the one month mark, so I was directed to come in for another follow-up in 6 weeks to check on my progress. And there will be more appointments to come thereafter: at a minimum, six months, and one year from the date of surgery. After that, there will be check-ups every 2 years. It’s critical to attend all of these appointments as directed, because failing to do so voids any “warranty” included with your procedure. More on that in a minute.

Now, the clinic where I had my surgery is conveniently located close to my office, which makes it relatively easy to pop in for appointments, and I am fortunate to have a relatively flexible schedule at work that allows me to take time off at random times. However, the frequency and necessity of these follow-ups is something to keep in mind when considering when and where to get surgery (particularly if traveling out of town for that purpose).

Surgery Is … Weird

First up, let me reassure you: it doesn’t hurt. But it does feel weird. Your vision will go black for a few seconds while the corneal flap is being cut. After that, you will sense/see when the flap is being lifted – this was the weirdest part to me, though not necessarily in an unpleasant way. Just … honestly, “weird” is the best way to describe it. After that, you will smell the laser working. Yes, smell. Burnt cornea smells like burnt hair. I think there was a feeling of (light) pressure on my eyeball as this was happening, but, again, it was not unpleasant, and it didn’t last long. The smell was the worst part, but thankfully it didn’t linger. The whole thing doesn’t last very long at all.

There Will Be Pain

Almost everyone glossed over this – both the consultants at the clinic, and the friends and acquaintances with whom I spoke about their prior Lasik experiences. I would chalk up my experience as an aberration, but I ended up hearing from one other person who went through the same thing, so while I may be in the minority, I am not a special snowflake. Well, not entirely.

This is what most people said: you’ll experience some discomfort after the surgery, and will probably just want to rest/sleep for the rest of the day. By the next morning, you’ll wake up and everything will be great. [I was told that my vision would not be perfect within 24 hours, just that I would be able to see without my glasses. This was true.]

Here is what happened. Immediately after surgery, I was fine. My eyes felt a bit gritty (normal) and I was light sensitive (normal) but that was about it. I was fine while I waited at the clinic, fine while being chauffeured home, and fine as I rested at home. At first.

About 3 hours post-surgery is when the pain kicked in. Stabbing, excruciating, horrible pain. I had been given medicated eye drops for pain, though encouraged to use them only if absolutely necessary because they slow healing. Well, it didn’t matter anyway, because I couldn’t even open my eyes – the pain was that bad. It got bad enough that I cried. [For the record, I did not cry during the unmedicated portion of my births. I would not compare this pain to that of childbirth, because they were completely different, but this definitely registered very high on the scale.] The whole thing is a bit of a blur now, but I *think* I took a bunch of regular Advil and, thankfully, I fell asleep after what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only an hour or so.

You Will Wear Sunglasses at Night

That’s a reference only some of you may get, but yes: you will be wearing sunglasses – and not the cool kind either – at night, in bed. That’s what I was told to do, anyway, and it’s what I did. The glasses came with my post-op care bag, and they were hideous. Sleeping with them on was not comfortable, but I was beyond caring that first night.

So, About That Light Sensitivity

I woke up the next morning relieved to find that the pain had gone away, and excited to test my new powers. I did not get very far. Even with the sunglasses on, I could barely keep my eyes open – they were painfully light sensitive.

In the interests of disclosure, I will mention that my eyes are sensitive to (sun)light at the best of times; that sensitivity was exacerbated 100x on the first day, and I experienced it both indoors and outdoors in any and all light conditions apart from pitch black. My eyes did not acclimatize to the ambient light conditions until late in the day, at which point I was able to take my sunglasses off indoors without having my eyes clamp shut. After that first day, however, I was fine, and since then I have not experienced issues with light sensitivity beyond the normal (for me). However, this was another issue for which I felt wholly unprepared; there probably wasn’t anything to be done, but I would have appreciated a heads-up.

Your Vision Will Not Be 20/20 Immediately

Once I was actually able to open my eyes for any period of time, it was clear that my vision had improved tremendously. Things more than a foot in front of my nose were no longer a blur. With that said, my vision was far from perfect. Having the bandage lens in my right eye (my dominant eye) did not help. Until the bandage lens came off, my vision was better in my left (non-dominant) eye, which threw me off, and things still looked pretty blurry out of my right eye; this, however, I had been told to expect. As my eyes continued to heal, my vision became better and better.

Now, just over a month after my surgery, my vision is still improving. Things at distance are still not perfectly crisp, and I still experience coronas/halos in dim light conditions, but this is not all that different from what I was used to get with contact lens wear. It takes a few months after Lasik surgery to reach “peak results”, as it were, so it’s still early days for me especially given the prescription with which I started. At my one month appointment, I was told my vision was around 20/25. I expect to find out more about how my eyes are progressing at my next check-up.

Your Eyes May Be Extra Dry

My eyes were on the dry side to begin with, and I was advised to continue using lubricating eye drops 4-6 times a day after the initial healing period was over. I currently use Systane Ultra, which I find too “gummy” and plan to ditch once my current bottles run out. I have been told that Hylo brand drops are better, and plan on trying those next. I don’t find the dryness to be a huge bother; it’s similar to what I used to experience with contacts. I do work in front of a computer screen all day (and tend to spend a few more hours each evening staring at different screens), which probably does not help.

Your Vision Might Get Worse Later

Obviously, this hasn’t happened to me yet, and I hope that it never will, but I have been warned that, due to my pre-existing prescription, I have a 20-25% chance of my vision regressing. Those are not great odds, considering the cost of Lasik surgery. [Because of my prescription, again, I had to have the most costly version of the surgery.] Leaving aside issues of convenience, Lasik makes financial sense in my circumstances (based on the cost of new glasses and contact lenses) if it lasts at least 7 years or more. I chose to take advantage of the “extended warranty” package offered by my clinic, which is supposed to cover a future procedure if necessary to again correct my vision, with a view to making that math work even in the worst case scenario.

There is also a good chance that I will need reading glasses as I get older; presbyopia is farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity in the lens of the eye (an age-related condition), which is not something that Lasik can address. This was a risk that did not factor into my decision to get Lasik; needing reading glasses is a whole different ballgame than needing glasses to see a foot in front of me, so if I end up needing to use them, so be it.

All in all, I am happy so far with my decision to get Lasik. I have been wearing glasses and/or contacts since I was about 9 years old – and hating them the whole time. I am not a very active/sporty person, so Lasik is not so much about “freedom” for me as it is about vanity and convenience, but I value both of those things a great deal. I have adapted to my new, contact-free reality very quickly but even so, there are times when I realize with a start that I haven’t had to take any extra steps to be able to see (clearly!) that day — and it’s AMAZING! No fumbling for glasses first thing in the morning; no wrangling of floppy, slippery contacts. I can see in the shower! I can wear all the cute sunglasses!! As the exclamation marks would suggest, I can say, without hesitation, my 8 quasi-warnings notwithstanding, that Lasik was totally worth it.

Seven Years

It might seem hard to believe, but this blog has been around for seven years now, making it my oldest “baby”. As is not the case where my actual children are concerned, I’m having a hard time coming up with reflections on how its existence has changed me, or what it means to me. After seven years, BCRL is just another fact of my life. Or, I should say, another habit. I blog because it’s part of my routine, but I rarely think about it. That’s not to say that I don’t put thought into my posts – because I do, or at least, as Ron Burgundy would say, “60% of the time, I do it every time” – but there’s no grand plan behind it. I write about whatever’s on my mind and won’t be embarrassing to have attached to my name for eternity. One thing I’ve learned in 7 years is that you never know who is reading.

Time for a quick walk down memory lane, you say? Why, that seems only natural. [Note: after I went through the archives for all the Mays since 2010, picking out an outfit I liked best from each of those months, I realized that I somehow ended up with a whole lotta pants. The irony — for someone who professes to hate pants — is not lost on me. I blame our capricious weather for the selection.]

May 2010
7 years ago
May 2011
6 years ago
5 years ago
5 years ago
remix challenge
4 years ago
Old Navy chambray shirt; House of Harlow starburst necklace
3 years ago
Loft windowpane pants
2 years ago
May 2016
1 year ago

I don’t know if I know more or less about style now than when I started. I’m pretty sure I know only a fraction more about the blogging business, and most of what I do know, I’ve been too lazy to implement. I hope I’m a better writer now, though this blog is probably not the best yardstick for measuring my progress. I still don’t have a media kit, and SEO talk continues to baffle me as much as it ever did.

And, no, I have no giveaways to bestow in celebration of this anniversary. Sorry.

I had a hard time motivating myself to write this post, and by now you are probably starting to understand why. The only thing there is to celebrate is the fact that I’m still here – repeated threats to quit notwithstanding. This is kinda how I imagine the mood of Eyeore’s birthday parties to be. Whoooo ho … huh. Sigh.

But you know what? There is, in fact, a reason to write this post. Because, like Eyeore’s awesome friends, you are here too.

I’ve said it before, and on further reflection (prompted by my anniversary musings), it bears saying again: I blog because I like talking to you guys about things that are interesting to me – whether that’s clothes or books or TV shows or things I’ve seen or done. I may be out of touch in thinking that the point of blogs is talking to people; perhaps that’s a notion that was more accurate in 2010 than in 2017. Regardless, it’s how I have always thought of this blog – as a conversation with like-minded people – and I’m too old now to change. My favourite posts are those where you write back … and, believe it or not, I don’t care if you’re only writing to tell me that I’m dead wrong. [As a side note, I have been fortunate in that, whether in discourse or even in point-blank criticism, my readers have been unfailingly polite. Thank you for that, and for taking the time to write.]

I have greatly enjoyed getting to know some of you, indirectly, through the comments you have left on my blog over the years. I know, I know; that sounds like a big hunk of fromage … but it’s true. Y’all are smart, and funny, and full of really good book recommendations. [Keep them coming!] I was thinking back on the last seven years, and making a mental list of all the things that have happened in my life during that time; I got married, had two kids, wrote 3 books, changed career course, met some amazing people … the list goes on. And it got me wondering: I would love to hear about what’s been happening in your lives. So if you’re feeling up to it, leave a comment and tell me when you started reading BCRL and what is different nowadays.

Oh, and if you are so inclined, feel free to add suggestions for topics you’d like to see tackled here – or, perhaps I should say, conversations you’d like to have. I’m all ears.

Clothing Swap: The Big Ten

ten years!!
ten years!!

It seems impossible somehow, but this year marked the 10th (TENTH!) anniversary of my annual clothing swap. I started hosting these parties when they were barely a blip on the ethical fashion radar — indeed, when ethical fashion itself wasn’t yet a “thing”. I can’t recall now how I heard about the idea of clothing swaps, but I was immediately drawn to it. Free clothes? A fun afternoon/evening with friends? Yes, please. At the party this year, I joked that my clothing swap is one of my longest running relationships; I started dating my husband a year after the first swap. All joking aside, the swaps have been a lovely way to, most of all, stay connected with friends I don’t get the chance to see often, and make new friends along the way. I was really excited this year when 3 new peeps were able to join the “swap sorority”, including Nicole. You can read her post on the swap here.

red, white and black
red, white and black

Every year, I choose a “theme” for the party. I am usually inspired by whatever decorations I have lying around the house, but this year my theme came to me in a different way. A while back, I noticed that one of the booths at the antique mall used playing cards to display vintage earrings and brooches, and I thought the idea was super neat. I decided to use it as a springboard for my party decorations, which then evolved into a red, black & white theme. As it turns out, I never did end up using the playing cards to display the available jewelry because I only had bracelets and necklace to swap. Oh well. The fruit-and-marshmallow kebabs, “garnished” with Oreos, looked lovely next to the red roses in their milk glass vases.

milk glass & roses
milk glass & roses

I am especially proud of this arrangement, which utilized an old piece of that green spongy stuff that real florists use in their arrangements — salvaged from a bouquet I received last year. Yep, I collect all kinds of trash — some of which even comes in handy. (By the way, if anyone knows what that stuff is called and where I can buy more of it, I would be forever grateful.) I thought it was a neat way to use one of the newest additions to my milk glass collection. I love roses, but I hate displaying them in their long-stemmed state, so I’m always looking for clever ways to showcase them.

the other grub
the other grub

I tried to continue the theme with the food — hence the bocconcini and tomato skewers — but I quickly gave up. Cheese and meats (or, if you want to be fancy, charcuterie) is where it’s at, theme or no theme. I can’t make them look artistic and Instagram-worthy, but believe me when I say that they were delicious. Mmm, prosciutto.

Moving on … oh, look who made me take a selfie. Only for you, friend. Only for you.

well, hello
well, hello

Being the dedicated blogger that I am, I forgot to take photos of the pile of clothes I contributed to the swap. Let’s just say that there were 3 enormous bags … and a half dozen pairs of shoes … and a couple of bags … and some jewelry. Oh, and nail polish too. Combined with the goodies that the other lovely ladies brought, we assembled a veritable Mount Everest in my living room. And that was just the rejects! (Everything that was left over after everyone had their picks was donated.) I did manage to take snaps of the things I ended up choosing and keeping.

Clockwise from top left: Anthropologie, Ted Baker, Anthropologie, Daniel Rainn
Clockwise from top left: Anthropologie, Ted Baker, Anthropologie, Daniel Rainn

The white popover and sweatshirt jacket are both Anthro brand, and both destined for my casual/loungewear capsule. The black Ted Baker jacket and Daniel Rainn vest are going to mix up my casual summer wardrobe.

left: Milla; right: Lululemon
left: Milla; right: Lululemon

The long vest on the left was a more experimental selection; we’ll see how it works as a casual summer topper. The Lululemons will be house pants. I foresee many hours of happy Netflix-ing in our future.

Left, Anthropologie; right, Coach
Left, Anthropologie; right, Coach

My two favourite pieces are probably this Anthro-brand skirt (from Nicole!) and this Coach tote. The skirt’s green colour is not in my wardrobe palette, but the silhouette is right up my alley — it’s a gorgeous midi pencil style. Styling it might prove to be a challenge, but I’m definitely up for it. The Coach bag has been in heavy use already. I’m not a fan of the monogram print and wish it was a solid colour, but the overall colour scheme is nice and versatile. The size and organization of the bag, on the other hand, is perfect for a work tote. I LOVE that it has not one, but two outside pockets (for easy access), as well as a zippered main compartment, and two sets of handles. The only issue I’ve discovered is that the handles start hurting a bit if you weigh the bag down with stuff, and carry it on your shoulder for a while. It’s not a huge issue for me, because my commute is not that long. I might just start looking for this style on eBay, in a different finish/colour.

I forgot to take pictures, but I also took home a lovely Linea Pelle bag, some nail polish (I’m fresh out, you guys!), and a couple of pieces for my mom — including some Manolo Blahnik shoes! A special thanks, and shout-out, to my friend L, who donated those. (My mom loves them.)

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the clothing swap was a “jackpot” for all of us who attended. Here’s to another 10 fun years!