Friday, August 22, 2008

Feeling like Batou…


In case you don’t know, Batou is the right-hand man and second in command to Major Motoko Kusanagi of Ghost in the Shell anime fame.

He has been partially “cybernized” (think Six Million Dollar Man for those who remember that ancient TV series) with cybernetic prosthetics; including his trademark eyes.

I say this as this morning I just got back from a long visit in the Houston Medical Center where I received my RGP contact lenses.  These are the very first contact lenses I have ever worn in my life.  And I paid an arm and leg for them.  These aren’t Alvis’s weekly disposables.  With luck and diligent care they should last four to five years, at least.  Better.

About a month ago I blogged about not being satisfied with my recent optical correction checkup and being referred to a Baylor specialist with a likely diagnosis of Keratoconus.  After a two hour examination and testing that bordered on pure torture, the diagnosis was confirmed with indications of a very mild case in both eyes.  The condition in my left eye was significantly greater than my right.  Thus I was fitted for these specialized RGP contact lenses.

Lavie went with me and I’m sure she had her feelings confirmed that I’m really a big baby despite that “don’t mess with me crew-cut” I wear.  Let’s just say the contact fitting-technician was professional and patient and leave it at that.

So today I went back to get my final take-home pair.

After a quick check by the technician (popping them in/out in seconds) I had to prove my worthiness to be trusted on my own with them.  No doubt she still recalled my last session with her.

I felt like I was a pre-king Arthur having to pull the sword out of the stone.

Fortunately I passed the tests on my own and went out the door feeling like I had two large and clear bottle-caps crammed in my eyes (crown-side out), along with a collection of solution bottles and an acclimation schedule.

I was tough and comfortable enough (barely) to drive home in mid-morning Houston traffic.  Only I had forgot that I didn’t have any “plain” sunglasses and while I was quickly gaining tolerance for the weird feeling of the hard-contacts beneath my lids, I was squinting up a storm due to the bright sunlight we haven’t seen in Houston for almost a week.

Near home we stopped and grabbed a pair of cheap sunglasses for now.  Once I get the second mortgage paid off for the contact lenses Lavie said she wants to take me looking for “normal” cool-dude sunglasses at the mall.  (I think that means Lavie likes my new glass-less style.)

After about three to four hours back at home came the second trial-by-fire; removal.

In the doctor’s office, I managed to get them in/out with no difficulty.  Turns out there is a technique to getting contacts out; something that involves a weird dance between pulling the skin around my eye to my ear-then blinking to “pop” the lens off the eye surface.  Apparently most all players for the Argentine and Spanish Olympic teams also have contact lenses as they also demonstrate the technique I am speaking of.

I successfully got the right lens off and out, but the left one turned out to be a horrid experience.  I managed to get the lens crammed all the way to the far outside edge of my eye.  It looked like a horror movie as the lens has a light-blue tint.  After about five minutes somehow (miracle?) I managed to pop the lens out accidentally while trying to get it re-centered.

Hopefully practice will eventually make perfect.

Do they help?

Heck yea!

On the drive home, even though my eyes were watering like I was cutting onions in Houston traffic and the glare was killing me, and those bottle-caps were digging into my eyelids, I could still see better than ever.  And when I got my glasses back on the soreness in my left-eye due to eye-strain quickly returned.

Heck the HDTV now really looks like we have HDTV….that’s another blog-post by the way.

Alvis has been especially supportive to dear-old-dad.  She has offered to help and coach me in the different techniques she has become a master at with her pair. And while Lavie was holding me back from getting a spoon from the kitchen to dig my errant lens out of my eye, dear Alvis was calmly comforting me and telling me all would be well and that I would get the hang of it.

Lucky man to have such a supportive family.

I think one of the reasons my blogging has tapered off for the past month is that my left eye has just plain “hurt” to be parked in front of a computer screen typing.  The (very slight) double-vision thing in my left eye has really psyched me out more than I think I realized.  It has left me feeling quite drained both physically and mentally.  Much more than I either expected or cared to admit to anyone.

I even felt so charged up at the pharmacy after getting my temporary sunglasses that I picked up a copy of the latest issues of Men’s Vogue, Men’s Health, and QC (alas, no Esquire on the stands) to check out the latest fall-fashions for men.

While I’m still an avowed polo and jeans guy, I’m ready to toss out all the old and fading ones and order some new threads…along with a major dress-shirt refresh as well.

How’s that for a positive sign!

Here’s another great link on the condition: The National Keratoconus Foundation

Now…I got Batou’s eyes down, got his boss crew-cut, getting closer to attaining Anderson Cooper’s gray hair.  Just gotta figure out how to get Batou’s muscle mass…



Tarnak said...

Hello, I just read about your trials and tribulations with RGP contact lens removal. I use a suction cup removal accessory tool, which makes them easy to remove. It cost me AUD $5.00 from my optometrist See here -

PS I have been wearing hard lenses for years. Good luck with yours!

Tarnak said...

....further to my earlier post.
This is what I use - The DMV® 45 - See link - [URL=][/URL]

PS I could never get used to the method using my fingers to remove. To troublesome.

Claus Valca said...

@ Tarnak - Thanks for the encouragement and product link.

I'm determined to work out getting them in/out with my fingers but really like your suggestion. The contact-technician used a similar tool the first-go round.

When I asked about that, she said that it helped her but she doesn't recommend it for regular use because if you come to depend on it and don't have it with you, then you might be stuck. Makes sense.

However, for times when the lens gets semi-stuck to the corner of the eye, it seems to me that this would be a faster way to get it out and be done with.

I'll check our pharmacies and let you know what I find and how it works out!