We’ve written mostly about our efforts to prepare the boat for our voyage, but there’s also a lot that we’ve been doing to get ourselves ready. So far, we’ve done a lot of reading about boats, bluewater sailing and liveaboard life. Ryan has made a budget and figured out our route. I’ve been testing pressure cooker recipes and trying to learn how to wash dishes using less water. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to sail (although I still have a lot to learn)!
One thing that I wanted to do was get Lasik vision correction surgery. I wore corrective lenses from the sixth grade up until three weeks ago. That’s seventeen years! I got contacts in the seventh grade and wore either them or glasses in order to see basically everything. Without corrective lenses, I could see about six inches past my nose (my most recent contacts prescription was -6.0 and -6.5).
I knew surgery was an option because I live in Charlotte, where you can’t listen to any radio station without hearing an ad for either Lasik vision correction or cosmetic surgery, but I always wrote it off as too expensive. But I reaaaaally wanted it.
I got really serious about wanting it when I thought about how it would affect our cruising plans – how awesome would it be not to have to bring contacts, cases, solution, and several pairs of prescription glasses? Not to mention to not have to worry about getting a prescription renewed every year? I also thought about overnight passages and how nice it would be to just wake up and see, instead of having to find my glasses or deal with contacts.
Also, in one of the many cruising memoirs I’ve read (I think it was By The Grace of the Sea by Pat Henry), the author mentioned a cruiser friend of hers who scratched herself in the eye removing a contact lens, got an infection and lost vision in that eye. WHAT ARE YOU SERIOUS?? I was a little freaked out.
Last winter, Ryan encouraged me to do a consultation and just see if I was a good candidate and how much it would cost. Turns out I was a good candidate. I went home with a quote but didn’t feel too good about fitting it into our budget. Our savings schedule was tight and even though it wasn’t a ridiculously huge amount of money, it just didn’t look like we could afford it. I thought “oh well, now we know,” and didn’t think about it much after that.
For my birthday, Ryan gave me some protective gear for working on the boat, including two pairs of safety glasses. On the goggles, he had written “Your last pair of glasses ever!” with the labelmaker. And inside the goggles, was a check for Lasik surgery.
(I should mention that I am the most clueless person in the world and didn’t see the label or the check right away. I was too busy being amused by how silly I looked and wondering why Ryan was laughing so hard. He had to point them out to me. Just like when he proposed. But that’s a different story!)
I got down to business booking consultations and figuring out what to ask. I did consultations with three different practices. At the consultations, they took a lot of measurements to determine how much correction was needed and if my corneas looked good for the surgery. It was a lot of sitting at different machines and looking at lights or photos of hot air balloons while the machines took measurements. My corneas looked great and they told me I should have good results. I found out that the greatest risk is infection, but if you follow the post-surgical instructions and use your eyedrops, it should be no problem.
I ended up going with the Lasik Vision Institute in Charlotte. They had just acquired a brand new laser that is better at reducing glare for patients with prescriptions similar to mine (glare and halos around lights at night is a side effect that eventually goes away for most patients but could potentially linger). Also, the quote I got from them was the closest to the amount that we budgeted for the surgery. I booked my appointment for three weeks away, on a Friday afternoon.
To be continued in Part II – the Surgery!