LASIK – My story

For those of you who don’t know, I had LASIK surgery on Thursday, February 9th. I had decided to look into getting it done after my fiasco on top of Mt. Shasta when my glasses froze and I couldn’t see at 13,000ft. That was not fun, not safe, and not something I never wanted to repeat.

At my last eye doctor appointment back in November, I asked them about LASIK and they told me I would have to find a doctor who specializes in it to make sure I was a candidate. I started asking people at work who they used. I’d say about 30% of my team has had LASIK. Some have had PRK as well. Of those who had LASIK, most had gone to see Scott Hyver or Craig Bindi, so I decided either one of them would be great.

During my chats with co-workers, I learned that in order to get the best price, I should open an FSA, which you’re only allowed to do once a year in November. My account was funded as of January 1st with $2,600 before taxes, which will be taken out every paycheck from now until December.

Thanks to Linkedin, we have great vision care, so VSP pays $2,000 towards LASIK, on top of a 20% discount on the full price, which brought the entire price down to $3,295 for both eyes. Subtract my FSA, and I was left with $895. Not bad if you ask me. Yes, it’s still a lot, but my life was going to be changed forever, so worth it!

Let’s move on to my thoughts on Scott Hyver, my surgery, and finally, my recovery (still ongoing).

From my first appointment at Scott Hyver, to my follow up day after surgery, I’m not going to lie, I felt like just another number. His business is a well oiled machine that’s designed to get you in, get you approved, figure out your financial situation, and get you in for LASIK. I went into it knowing this, so for me, not really a big deal. If anything, it made me chuckle on surgery day as every 15 minutes he called the next patient in for LASIK. Popping em out like doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.

My first appointment with Scott Hyver was an initial consultation to make sure I was candidate. They run all kinds of tests, including one where they numb your eye and poke  your cornea (SO UNFUN). It took about an hour/hour and half. After which they tell you if you’re a candidate or not. In my case, yes, so off to talk to the financial person. They run all the numbers and explain how much everything costs and ask how you will pay. Once that is determined, they ask when you would like to have your surgery. I could have opted to have my surgery (which they call a procedure) the next week, but I opted to wait as I had a bunch of upcoming trips.

Once scheduled, you have to come in a week prior to have them run more tests and dilate your eyes, which if you haven’t had, it super awesome. NOT. But we’re talking about lasering your eyes, so damn straight they should be thorough. You also have to start taking anti-biotic drops 24 hours prior to your “procedure”. All of which I did, of course. And of course, I started to get sick 2 days prior to my surgery. I called them day of and asked if I should still have LASIK and they told me it was fine.

Surgery day. Thursday, February 9th. Go in 15 minutes early with Brian so I can get some valium because I’m freaking the fuck out. I mean, it’s my vision, so if they mess it up, it’s not like I can get my eyeballs fixed. Get some new ones via a catalog. By the way, I did forget to mention that they have you read multiple documents about how they could mess it up and you have sign all them. Including the one that says the “procedure” is elective, so you can’t sue them.

Once they finally called my name around 8:45 (yes, my appointment was at 8:30), I get whisked into a room where they iodine my eyelids and put drops in my eyes. They tell me exactly what to expect once I’m in the laser room. Peachy I say, but I’m still freaking the fuck out. Can I get more drugs? No, sorry, but you’re going to be ok. Right. I totally believe you.

Then they tell me it’s time. And here comes the gory details, so look away if you don’t want to hear about it. I’m going to be open and honest about every part of the surgery because it would have actually benefited me to know… instead of people telling me it wasn’t so bad and discovering, holy crap, this is pretty awful.

They bring you into the room where there’s a table similar to an MRI table. They tell you lie down with your head facing the machine. They put your head in the top area that’s designed to keep you from moving (understandable as they are about to laser your eyes!) At this point, I’m actually shaking because I’m so nervous. They give me stress balls to help ease my anxiety. Right. Cause that’s always what I do when I’m having an panic attack, grab the closest stress ball.

You look up at red light. At this point Scotty (I’m gonna call him that from now on), explains what’s about to happen. First, we’re going to put this thing in your eye to keep it open (aka the part in a clockwork orange where they keep his eyes open). Look up. Tape your eyelashes. Look right. Insert some kind of contraption to keep your eye open. Look down. Tape your eyelashes. Whew. That was relatively ok. No pain, just a weird feeling. Now comes the hard part. First, numbing drops. All the drops. Next, stare at the red light, and as you stare at it, there will be some pressure and then darkness. This is the part where they are cutting the flap in your cornea. And when they use the word pressure to describe it, I call bullshit. Try to imagine if you had goggles on and then someone starting smashing them into your eye socket. Yes, this is what that felt like. That hurt. They don’t numb your bone around your eye socket. For 20 seconds of hell, Scotty counts down. And then it was over. I may have forgotten to mention that he held onto my head for this part because I was still shaking.

Next up, stare at the green light. Ok. Staring at the green light. You’re going to hear some humming noise and a smell, but it should only last about 10 seconds. Yes people, this is part where they are lasering your cornea. It’s a LOUD humming, and it smells like you’re burning. Because you are. It’s all good though. I’ve done things like that before. This part didn’t actually bug me that much. What did bug me is once that’s over, they basically paint your eyeball with a paintbrush. This is Scotty cleaning up and then placing your flap back. It’s very un-nerving, but pretty quick. Then they remove the torture device from your eye and you’re instructed to blink. Exciting. One done. One to go. At least with the second one I knew what to expect. Still unfun, but it went by quicker.

Once you’re done, they bring you back into the holding room where they give you your parting gift; a bag full of the world’s crappiest sunglasses, natural tears for days, prescription eye drops, and a fabulous goggle mask to wear at night for the next week. They send you home and say your vision should get progressively better as time goes on. The first 4 hours they want you to keep your eyes closed, then after that, a strict regiment of antibiotics and anti-inflamatory eye drops.

For me, I could see right away, but it was super hazy. I did keep my eyes closed for 4 hours and after that, it was still sort of hazy. Light of any kind made things feel blurry. I had to take pain killers the first day once the numbing eye drops wore off because my eyes hurt too much.

The next day was the best day for me. Everything was in 4k. It’s like being re-born. I read so many license plates on my way to work. So many details. Leaves on the trees. Blades of grass. OMG! Amazing. Life-changing.

Since then, my right eye has given me the most trouble. It’s blurry most of the day. Working on computers is the worst. And here I am, writing a blog post. LOL. Night driving is hard. Night driving with rain is really a no go for me. Everything has such a ridiculous glare or halo or starburst. I’m told that this will go away eventually. I hope they are right. I did call them about my right eye and they say it’s still healing and to wait until my appointment in March when they will re-evaluate. It feels like the flap isn’t right. It feels like there’s constantly an eyelash in there. I tried to compensate by using more natural tears, but it really doesn’t help. My left eye is amazing, which is strange as it was always my worse eye. Now, it’s the dominate one. Yay! Go left eye! I also can’t see super close up anymore, which is hard to lose, but worth it if I really do see 20/20 now.

Was it worth it? I’m going to go with yes. If there is, in fact, something wrong with my right eye as I suspect, they will fix it, free of charge. I’m not super interested in going back under the laser, but if it comes down to it, I will.

One of the things I love the most is I can go walk around in the rain and not need to worry that I’m going to get drops on my glasses. I love that. I love that I don’t have switch back and forth between my prescription glasses and sunglasses anymore. If I walk into a store, I put my cheapy sunglasses on my head and, guess what, I can see!!!

The moral of this story is, when they say it’s pressure and slightly uncomfortable, they’re lying. When they say you’re most likely going to have side effects, you will. Count on it. But when they say you won’t have to wear glasses, they aren’t lying and it really is amazing. I hope my recovering ends without this random blurry vision and I will update once I have my follow up in mid March. Until then, laser eyes are awesome!

The Elite American Airlines

So for those of you who don’t know, Brian flew so much for work last year that he reached American’s Elite Status of Executive Platinum. It meant I didn’t have my husband around for 3 weeks out of the month for the last 2-3 months of the year, but hey, now it’s worth it. Everywhere we fly, he usually gets upgraded to first class, and more often than not, so do I, which is awesome. Flying first class is essentially flying in a completely different world.

I wanted to point out some differences that I’ve noticed flying in First Class. Maybe it’s because I spent so long being a plebeian in cattle class that I notice these things, or maybe it’s because I’m a good person. I’m not really sure, but what I can say is, people, for the most part in this “Elite” class are complete jerks.

Today we were flying from Salt Lake to LAX and we actually got to witness the Elite of the Elite, an American Concierge Key asshat. I don’t remember his name, but I should because he called American at least 2 times after the captain had told people to shut off their phones. Truth be told, we did depart late thanks to a Chicago flight (our incoming plane), but still, this guy had to call American and explain how important he was and that he could not miss his important dinner in San Francisco. His out-going flight in LA was delayed, so he insisted that he be put on a United direct flight from Salt Lake. Yes, that’s right, he was going to try to get off the flight that already had the door closed! Ha. Ok, I know I shouldn’t be ease-dropping, but he was speaking quite loudly on his phone. Apparently they put him on an earlier flight out of LA, leaving around 6:45pm.

He played on his phone even after we took off, disregarding the flight attendants multiple requests to put his phone in airplane mode. Then he bragged about his x wife and investing in million dollar properties to his buddy next to him. I can only assume all these guys are divorced or never married because why the hell would you want to marry that kind of asshole? Constantly on his phone, playing stupid games, and making comments about how much he’s worth? Yeah, totally hot.

Once we finally landed in LA, we taxied forever. Apparently there was no gate for us. And yes, I made the mistake of drinking too many gin and tonics and had to use the bathroom so bad. One of the aforementioned Concierge Key’s bros had to use the bathroom as well and begged the flight attendant to use the one onboard. Once he was back, I did, in fact, take this opportunity to be “that guy” and used it as well. As soon as the captain said get your ass back in your seat, I was back. I still feel bad about it. I apologized profusely and we didn’t move again for another 10 minutes.

While all this is happening, of course Concierge Douche was on the phone with American and also harassing our flight attendant. Exact quote; “Can you please tell the captain that I’m Concierge Key and I have a connecting flight that I’m about to miss. Can you please get this airplane moving to a gate?” Yes, because the whole world revolves around you, your majesty. Um no, she can’t call the captain unless it’s emergency and your douchebaggery doesn’t qualify. Sit in the plane like the rest of us and deal. You’re probably not going to miss your flight anyways because your Elite status means an escalade will pick you up as soon as you get off the plane and bring you directly to your other gate at light speed. Lucky you. You elite douche. They might even hold the plane for you. I don’t really know, but you aren’t special. You’re just like everyone else. While you’re on this plane, you’re stuck just like me!

Most conversations in First class revolve around scummy “business elite”. I feel sorry for the flight attendants that have to deal with these people on a regular basis. There was one guy on our flight who decided it was ok to watch videos with volume on. Once the engines started, he actually turned it up!! ZERO respect for anyone. All they care about is themselves. Ugh. Sometimes I don’t want to be a part of this “Elite Class” because of the constant douchery, but I always try to go out of my way to be friendly to the flight attendants and my fellow travelers.

On our flight to SJC from LA there were actually a couple of people who seemed very nice in First class which made me smile. It is definitely not the norm. I hope my future flights don’t involve Douchey McConcierge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah, you surprise me

What can I say? I’ve been to Utah so many times in the last 3 years it’s hard to count. They have awesome national parks and amazing ski resorts. The landscape is beautiful, the people are nice, and the prices are affordable.

Over the past 3 days, I’ve paid closer attention to things in Utah than I usually do when I’m here. Why? Because I suspected something was up. Turns out, I was right. I’ve seen more ads for getting solar panels or something with clean energy than I have in a year in California. I went to a Fun Center where I went roller-blading with Brian. Signs everywhere on how many calories per hour it burns. There was also a jump house, and laser tag; both had signs on calories.

I’m super impressed with Utah. People apologize when their kids fly off the handle and accidentally run into you. Sure, they have weird alcohol rules, and are WAY more conservative than I’m happy with, but they certainly are ahead of the game when it comes to clean energy and being healthy. So yay for you Utah. You pretty much Rule. 🙂

My decisions

I’ve had a lot of time recently to think about my life choices. The path I’ve chosen and how I ended up here. The choices I continue to make and the effect they have on the people I share this particular timeline in the cosmos with.

Quite a few people have asked me to explain why I don’t want to have children. Some have even called me selfish. My decision to have or not to have children has nothing to do with anyone except myself and Brian. People don’t seem to believe that we sat down and talked about it at length. More than once. You don’t need to understand why. We have explained it repeatedly, but no matter what we say, it’s never a good enough answer. Well, guess what? This is my life, my journey. Not yours. So you don’t need to understand it. If you have such a problem with it, we don’t need to be friends anymore because that clearly means you don’t care about how I feel.

Never in all my earlier years could I have imagined that making a life decision could have such a polarizing effect on people. There are still people who believe we will change our minds and pop out a kid randomly. No people, we’re not doing that. And please, stop telling me how selfish I am for spending the money and time I would have spent on kids on traveling to awe inspiring places and experiencing all the world has to offer. You made your decision to have kids and I never said a damn thing. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything negative to anyone who has kids, other than please control them when I’m in a nice restaurant. Having a child come up and steal food off your plate as I’m trying to enjoy a romantic night with my husband is just not acceptable in my opinion.

There are those who tell me I’ll be sad and lonely when I’m old. Especially if I’m in a hospital. You know what? Even if you have kids, there’s ZERO guarantee they will actually come visit you. I know my friends will be there if they can be. I plan on getting old with Brian and I’m really not concerned that no one will there when I’m ready to die. That’s definitely not a reason to have kids.

I don’t have the “mother” instinct. I don’t find most kids/toddlers cute. I don’t really know how to act around them. Especially if they are terrorizing. The only thing I really do like is buying baby clothes. Tiny shoes are ADORABLE. 🙂

So in the end, your opinion isn’t going to change my mind. It’s made up. I’m happy about it. Please try to be too. Otherwise, I’ll take your kids on an adventure of a lifetime and they’ll ask you for the rest of your life why you don’t do the cool things Aunt Kari does.

Christmas in November????

Alright, I’m going on a rant here, so if you would rather not hear me bitch about how each holiday should have it’s own moment in the sun before we move to the next, please skip this entry.

Brian and I went to Santana Row (henceforth known as Santana Rowboat) on Tuesday for a date night at Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub. We spent 10 minutes driving up the parking structure near Crate & Barrel until we found a spot on the 5th floor. Brian had told me last week that they were doing a Christmas Tree lighting, which I scoffed at, but knew parking would be a disaster. We showed up an hour in advance and were glad we did. SO MANY PEOPLE!!!

Once you’re out of the parking garage, you walk down an alley towards the shops. As we approached there was Christmas music blaring and a sea of people. There to my left was Santa. Fucking SANTA!? It’s November buddy. It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Maybe you should calm down and come back in 2 weeks.

We walked around the shops for a bit until we found the giant 40ft tree surrounded by girls dressed up in Santa costumes and dancing. Did I also mention the sea of people? Kids running around, parents doing a bad job of parenting, mild chaos everywhere. I was over it in less than 60 seconds. So we headed over the restaurant to see if we could get our table early. Luckily the Christmas crazies don’t eat, so there were plenty of open tables for us to have a beer and a tasty meal.

The servers at Rosie McCann’s were dressed up to. With silly antlers and Santa hats. I realized this is why I don’t go out until December; Christmas starts earlier and earlier every year. Soon it will start in July. You see Christmas stuff in stores the day before Halloween, so why not the day before Independence Day?

Maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy, but I’m really upset that Christmas now starts mid November. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is great, but we don’t need to celebrate it for over a month! I think I know why it’s starting earlier. It’s because we don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. It’s not a great day for American history really when you think about how many Native Americans died. So that’s probably why we’re trying to cover up our history with a fat, old, white dude who brings presents for the good kids. (Don’t even get me started on how this has anything to do with Jesus and his birthday)

In the end, I know I can’t have what I want, which is to celebrate one holiday at a time, but I refuse to celebrate Christmas until December. I will put up my decorations like I always have, AFTER Thanksgiving. And no, I don’t want gifts. You know what I want? To spend time with the people I love. It’s not about presents, a silly tree, lights, or anything other than being nice to one another. This is more important than ever in our country right now. I plan on calling my friends and family to let them know how much they mean to me.

Until December, let’s re-focus, shall we? Thanksgiving is next week. Let’s try and remember how lucky we are to be here and thank the Native Americans who helped us survive. Leave the Christmas crap until December, please!?

My thoughts on the state of the world

I struggled a lot on whether or not to write something on the state of the world right now. In the end, I decided writing helps me think and process, so this will ultimately help me.

I know a lot of people are upset. I know a lot of people are happy. Our country is divided, for those of us who voted, 50/50. Yes, I know Hilary won the popular vote, but not by much. Now is not the time to be nit-picky.

I was raised in a family without religion. My dad taught me to question everything, use the scientific method, and always seek out the truth. My mom told me I could be and do anything I wanted. I learned that I should never settle and always strive for better. To be better. To do good. To treat people well. I have always lived my life on these beliefs. I was always nice to everyone. Even the bullies. The people who tried to break me down were sometimes the people I was nicest to. I can’t explain why, but when someone was mean to me, I would try harder to be nice and show compassion.

Fast forward to this week. The thing that upsets me the most is how awful people are. How much hatred there still is. We have been sheltered. Especially here in California. But we are not immune. There are horrible things already happening in San Jose. Now that Trump is our president elect people feel like they can be who they truly are. Racist, sexist, and scary. A student at the San Jose State was attacked for wearing a hijab.

America will never be the “same”. Because of Trump people feel like they can let their ugly out. Trump is scary, but what’s even scarier is that our country is still filled with so much hate. Now they have a voice and power. The answer to this is not just to elect a new president and throw congress out. It’s much harder and will take a lot more time. We have to figure out why people are filled with so much hatred and how to help them find the good.

I have no idea why there is racism or sexism. I see humans. I always have. I always will. What supposedly makes America great is how different we all are. We come from all over. No one is truly American except the Native Americans. Even if you’ve been here for generations. You came from somewhere else. We should be celebrating our differences and learning from each other, not bullying each other and tearing each other down. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they are bad, it’s means they are different!

Having someone challenge a belief you have means you have to learn something. If you actually listened to them and found out why they felt that way, maybe you could understand them better. Learning = progress. Without it, we’re all just sheeple.

I don’t know what to do now. Spending the next 2 years educating people would be wise. I will be donating money to the causes I believe in. I will be writing to my senators and telling them how I feel. I hope that we can find a way to be nice to each other. I hope we continue to raise our children with the values we claim to be so important. Don’t bully, work hard, be nice to women, don’t be evil. One thing is certain, now that people have the ability to show their true ugly, the America we used to know no longer exists.

 

Work/Life Balance?

Yes, that’s right, I’m going to talk about the big, pink and white polka dotted elephant in the room. Work/Life balance.

I guess it’s a little funny that I’m thinking about this so much on Administrative Professionals Day. The day people are supposed to remember to thank their admins for all the crazy stuff we do.

I’ve talked and worked with many admins over the years. One clear theme seems to always be present; working pretty much constantly. Checking email on your phone, booking travel for an exec on the weekend, staying up to 4am working on presentation for the board of directors, going on “vacation” but still answering emails, stepping out to answer a phone call during a romantic dinner with a partner. The list goes on and on.

And it isn’t just admins. It’s recruiters, bankers, TPMs, teachers, engineers, executives, sales people, PR, marketing. It seems like it’s almost everyone. And everywhere you look, you see people checking their phones, or iwatches. People are engaged, but they’re not really engaged in the world around them. They don’t see things. They take pictures and look at them afterwards trying to remember what it was like to experience something they never actually looked at.

What happened? When did it happen? Why did it happen? And how the hell do we keep it under control? Especially when it begins to effect our health. Not just mental health, but our bodies as well.

I’m not sure if technology is fully to blame here, but it definitely plays a role. It allows us to stay connected. All the time. No matter where we are. Even in Antarctica. Satellite phones and internet were available for a cost. I’m sad to admit, but that was the first time since I gave in and bought a smart phone in 2011 (yes, I waited a LONG time before I gave in) that I disconnected completely. In fact, I don’t have as many pictures as one would think because I took the time to experience what I was doing and actually look at things. I remember what the penguins sounded like because I sat there and listened to them for hours. I can recall the sound of skiing down a mountain in fresh un-tracked powder because I wasn’t recording it. I was living in the moment. I was mentally present.

Once back on land though, I synced my phone immediately and was checking emails, messages, Facebook, etc. Wondering what I missed. Especially for work. I was offline for 13 whole days. The world must have imploded. What did I discover? Nothing. That’s right, absolutely nothing had happened. And if it had, there was nothing I could have done anyways. I was in Antarctica!

Thinking about it now, I know when and where I developed this insistent need to be in constant contact with my job. The company that bought me my first smart phone. I was supporting 6 executives there and they had needs. Busy travel, calendars, errands, and meetings that needed attention on a whim. And so I became available 24 hours a day and I never looked back.

My x husband didn’t seem to care much that I took phone calls any time of day, booked travel on the weekends, and stayed up for 28 hours working on presentations for the board of directors. Sometimes I wish he had said something. Sometimes I wish I had more courage to speak up and say no. Instead it became “the norm” for me. I would go out to lunch with my fellow admins at different companies and it was expected that you would be on your phone the whole time. No one ever said anything and I continued to be on call 24/7. Until one fateful day. I don’t remember much about that day, except it was the first day of my life I actually wished for someone to smash into me in traffic so I could take a break from work. This thought was the beginning of a journey that continues to this day. Finding a way to be good at my job, but also being able to disconnect.

No one seems to disconnect completely anymore. No one. Not the executives, not the engineers, not TPMS, not the bankers, and certainly not the admins. I’m pretty positive, other than analysts and investment bankers, admins are the worst when it comes to disconnecting. We are always on our phones. We check our emails constantly. We check in when we’re “on vacation”. It’s almost like an addiction of sorts. We’re addicted to knowing what’s happening and what needs to get done. Prioritizing, organizing, helping. I’m so guilty of this, but I’m also not extremely proud of it. There are times when it is, in fact, an emergency and a meeting needs to be scheduled for the next day immediately, but most of the time, it can wait until I get into work at 7:30am.

Back in the day before the invent of smart technology, people went home and spent time with their families. They left work at 5 or 6pm and didn’t talk to people until 8am the next morning. Sure, sometimes there was an emergency, but generally speaking, I’m pretty sure everything was ok.

Some people like working all the time. So I’ll shout out to them and say, awesome for you, but that’s not for me. After a bazillion years in the admin role, I’m really over the overtime and the constant checking in. My stress and unhappiness and time spent working has manifested itself in anxiety, eczema, blood pressure, a cyst in my wrist, and re-curring trigger finger (the last two are also caused my incorrect posture and keyboard/mouse setup).

So here I am. I find myself wanting to back out of checking emails constantly, and being able to take real vacation. You know. The one where you go someplace amazing and experience new things… without my phone. I don’t want to constantly be worried about what’s happening at work after I leave. I don’t want to wake up at 2am in a cold sweat hoping everything goes smoothly for some meeting my exec is having the following day. I want to go home and focus on me and my family. My husband, my cats, myself.

But I don’t know that I can without being criticized. So many people seem to think that if you turn off work you’re not doing a good job. I disagree. I think if you have time to recharge, you’ll be able to do a better job when you are actually at work. I know there probably isn’t a job without any overtime, but perhaps there is one that allows me to de-stress more often so my body/mind can go back to it’s equilibrium. Or maybe, just maybe, I can find a better balance in the job I’m currently in.

My boss is pretty adamant about spending time with his family and it does trickle down to his directors/managers. Perhaps I need to take a good, hard look at myself and step back from the attachment I have to always being connected. I’m fairly certain that disconnecting more often will lead to improved work quality as I’ll be able to look at things with more clarity because my brain won’t be overloaded. It’s worth a try because option B is continued health issues and ain’t nobody got time for that. 🙂