Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lasers (Part 1)

Earlier this week, I took out my contacts to go to bed. Contacts that I have been wearing since I entered high school. Contacts that were preceded by years of horrible, horrible glasses. Contacts that are a seemingly permanent extension of my eyeballs. Contacts that correct my 20/400 vision. Contacts that I hope to never wear again.

I started looking in corrective eye surgery at the end of 2011, anticipating that I would use my 2012 flexible spending account to cover it. Appointments were set at several different offices. One location in particular scared the begeezus out of me. The place was chaotic, cluttered, dirty, and not exactly professional. The appointment was ridiculously short, but I was not upset since I could not leave that location fast enough. Since it was the first place I had checked out, I almost called the search off. At the suggestion of a friend, I went to 20/20 Institute. All the things that were wrong with the other place were right with 20/20. The professionalism of the staff and doctors, the thorough explanation of the medical procedure, and the willingness to take time to answer any questions and explain all the details. I left 20/20 with much better outlook on the future of my eyes. Naturally, I dropped the ball on the FSA that year, so the wait continued.

Throughout 2012, the procedure stayed in the back of my mind, popping up from time to time. When Sarah and my benefits enrollment rolled out in the fall, we were forced to make a decision. We slid some money into our FSAs and waited for the funds to become available to me after the first of the year. There was no turning back now, unless I became willing to eat that money. (Here's a hint, I am cheap, so I would not be.) With Carson's arrival and Sarah being off work for 12 weeks, now was the time to set up the procedure. A quick phone call to the office and I was set - my eyeballs were going to get lasered on March 1st.

Now I am sitting in a sort of laser purgatory - halfway between the world of blindness and the glory of perfect eyesight. The only thing that keeps running through my mind is the story told by my friend Johnny X after his eye surgery. During the procedure, his one job was to look directly at a red dot. Naturally, his mind started telling his eye to stay still, the eyeball hates authority and starts moving to spite the mind, and the mind retaliates with anger. Realizing that if the procedure failed it would be his fault made it harder to keep his eyes immobile. This cycle happened for the entire procedure, seemingly worsening the situation as it progressed. Despite all the mind games and his best efforts at causing catastrophic issues with his eyes, everything worked great and his vision was correct. Knowing that one day I might have eye surgery myself, this story has emerged from the caverns of my cranium numerous times over the past few years. I know for certain that his story will be played over and over as I lay on that table. Thanks for that, Johnny!

My lensless journey begins on Thursday with the standard eye exam to verify my information. Procedure on Friday, follow-ups on Saturday and the following Friday. How incredibly frightening and exciting at the same time.

Until the next post,

Monday, February 18, 2013

Papal Pontification

By now, the news has spread around the world that Pope Benedict XVI has resigned his position as leader of the Catholic Church. With the new Pope being elected some time in March, this gives the world ample time to discuss who should be appointed as the next Pope. And no, this post is not going to be my ruminations on the Cardinal that I believe should or will ascend from the enclave. Off the top of my head, I can only name a couple. In looking through the list of all the active Cardinals, I only recognized the names of a couple more. Cardinal trivia ain't my thing. To be completely honest, I do not even know much about Benedict XVI, much less the crew of gentlemen who may follow him in history. (I would classify my lack of papal knowledge as average to above average Catholic.) Regardless of who the next Pope might be, I have a ground-breaking idea for him. Maybe it is my work rubbing off on me, but the next Pope should focus on getting some of that low-hanging fruit immediately following the emergence of that white smoke from the roof of the Vatican.

The range of topics that could and can be discussed in terms of the Catholic Church is long and controversial, but I do not wish to dwell on those. Perhaps another post. Instead, ask yourself this: How is it that we are living in the year 2013 and there are not female Catholic priests/bishops/cardinals/pope? Who can honestly tell me a legitimate reason as to why a female is not fit to wear the cloak of Christ? Exactly. Not a single defensible position can be made to refute my stance. History is not a valid argument. Neither is "well, they can be nuns." The Catholic Church is so antiquated on issues involving women. This new era in the Vatican would be a terrific time to move toward bridging that gender gap. Since its inception, the Church has been controlled by a bunch of white-haired men. That. Is. Wrong. My mother is in her 40s (you are welcome, Mom) and she was unable to be a Eucharistic minister for a large portion of her life. Females were not allowed to be alter servers when I first started as one back in elementary school. How has time passed the Church so rapidly? Or maybe the question is how has the Church refused to move with the world? Regardless of how we got to now, it is time to move forward to the present. It starts with righting a wrong that has been lingering for centuries.

I understand that there might be bigger and more important decisions to be made in the initial year as Pope. However if my name got called, I would be looking to create a renewed interest in the Church that I now shepherd. That interest could be generated with a single step towards the modern world we live in, rather than dwelling in the archaic nature of history. That interest can be sparked with one simple decree: "Women, we are equals. Feel free to immediately enter the seminary to become a priest. And I am sorry that it took us so long to say that."