Talking tech told me what was going to happen: "There is going to be a green light. Look at the green light. At one point, you will feel pressure on your eye and the light will change to red. Look at the red light. Then, after the pressure part is done, you'll see the green light again."
Seemed easy enough. I focused on the green light while they lowered a black ring around my eye. "This is the pressure part," the talking tech said. I started to feel pressure around my eye -- not on my eye, presumably because my eye was numb at this point. But it felt like I had swim goggles on. The pressure increased a little, but not so much that it was uncomfortable. During this point, I saw a red light which started to move. The tech instructed me not to worry about following the light, and told me that the light was going to go away for a moment -- nothing to be alarmed about. I knew that this was the part where they were cutting the flap -- basically, cutting open my cornea -- but for some reason this did not alarm me. Might've been the Valium at work.
This only lasted for about 15 seconds. Then the black thing was lifted away from my eye, and there was a perfectly round circle in the center of my vision that was a little blurry -- like looking through foggy glass. Ah, I thought to myself, part of my eye is missing right now. That's cool. Again, Valium.
I could see Dr. Nahl bringing what looked like little needles close to my eye. Normally this would alarm me, because I am irrationally afraid of needles. But I somehow convinced myself that these metal things were very precise eye droppers (after viewing the video, I would discover that these were not eye droppers, and were in fact tools used to lift and remove the flap of cornea).
After the eye droppers/cornea lifting came the LASERS. During this time, I was still looking at the green light, as a dark machine was lowered over my face. Everything went a bit darker, and I started to hear the whirring of the machine at work. I also started to smell...burning. This was a little strange, but I don't mind the smell of burning eye flesh (apparently), so it didn't bother me. However, I can see how some people might find this weird. This lasted about 15 seconds, and then Dr. Nahl came back with the eye droppers (aka cornea lifters), and replaced the flap. I saw some sponge-like things come down and apparently touch my eyes to smooth out the flap, and then they put eye drops in my eyes, removed the metal eye-openers, and ripped off the tape from my eyelashes. The most painful part of the whole process was when they removed the tape...it felt a bit like...removing tape. So yeah.
The second eye was very similar, except it seemed to take a bit longer for them to remove my cornea flap. Aside from that, nothing felt different or less comfortable (it was all surprisingly comfortable, in fact), and even the tape-ripping was less painful the second time around.
Once the surgery was finished, Dr. Nahl took me over to a seat where she used one of those light wands/magnifying glasses to check my eyes. Everything looked good, so she lead me out to the waiting area, where Ron informed me that the surgery was "the most terrifying thing I have ever watched." My eyes felt fine, but the world was a bit fuzzy -- it looked like I was looking through very fingerprint-smudged glasses. The optometrist taped some plastic shields over my eyes, gave me a pair of sunglasses, told me to wear Ron's hat, and informed me that I should sleep for at least 4 - 6 hours because my eyes would feel "sandy."
On the drive home, I noticed my vision improving drastically. But once we got to the hotel, I could barely keep my eyes open. I wasn't tired, but my eyes definitely felt "sandy." And by "sandy," I mean it felt like someone had thrown a bucket of sand and mace in my eyes. So that was kind of annoying, but after about a half-hour of being annoyed, I took another Valium and FINALLY fell asleep around 2 p.m.
I woke up at 1 a.m., ate a salad, played some iPhone games, and put in a series of eye drops (steroid drops, antibiotic drops, and artificial tears), and then I taped my mask back on and went to sleep for another six hours. And here I am!
My vision is greatly improved, but I didn't have that AHA moment that a lot of LASIK patients talk about -- mainly because I've been wearing contact lenses for almost 20 years, and for the past 8 years or so I've been wearing PureVision Toric lenses. PureVision Toric lenses are rated for up to one months' straight wear -- that means that, for the past 8 years or so I've been wearing my contact lenses for one month straight. Most people can't do this, but my eyes are ridiculously okay with foreign objects, it would see, because by "straight" I mean I slept in them, swam in them, etc., and only took them out (to change them) once a month.