Friday, June 29, 2007

A Star is Born

On June 29, 1930, Helen and Marie Smythe, my mother and aunt, were born in the Bronx, New York. Sixty-five years later it was Lara Elisabeth Walden's turn. Happy birthday to all my sweet girls!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Comfortably Numb

Sitting in a puffy leather Barca-lounger, jacked full of Valium and Demerol, God Doctor enters the room. He squats down so that we are at eye level, introduces himself (as if I don't know who he is..I've driven to Denver three times so far to see him), stares into my nearly blind eyes and says, "Did you take something or are your pupils always this huge?" Even in my half-drugged state I had the presence of mind to say, "I took a handful of 'ludes before the surgery; I hope that was okay." He stands up without a word and walks out of the room.

Shit. Here it comes. We are so sorry, Ms. Walden, but we can't do your surgery. You are destined to stumble around, squinting, creating giant furrows in your brow that even Botox can't touch, ignoring friends and family waving at you, generating hurt feelings and animosity everywhere you go.

Fortunately, within moments, in comes a cute Asian scrub nurse in a blue surgical hair thing. She takes me into a room, puts me under a huge frightening contraption which is going to make a completely computerized laser cut on my oh-so-thin cornea. THIS is the new technology. In the past, the corneal flap has been created by a blade and has been the source of nearly every resultant complication of laser surgery. The actual corneal correction has been done by laser. The a skinning a squirrel. This new technology is so precise....they are talking microns....MICRONS. Three MOTHER FUCKING MICRONS. Me likey the precision.

After this first step, I am nearly blind. Kind over-sized women gently guide me to another dark room, put me on yet another comfortable chaise, pillow under my knees so there is no pressure on my lower back. Let the correction begin! Here's where it gets a bit sci-fi. A soothing voice narrates as I am experiencing Laserium...on at CU-Boulder back in the day.

You will see a green light within a white circle ..... Is there anybody out there? ..Try to focus on the green light even when it disappears... There is no pain you are receiving ......Then you will see flashing red lights.....A distant ship floats on the horizon........Try to focus on the red light. It will appear to move, but that is an illusion.....You are only coming through in waves......Very very good, Marie...halfway there......Your lips move, but I can't hear what you say.....Now you will see a series of dots...keep looking straight ahead...very good, Marie....When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse....Almost there, Marie. Keep looking straight ahead....Out of the corner of my eye....Very very good. Now we will move to the next eye...I tried to look but it was gone...Marie, shift your shoulders a little to the left....I cannot put my finger on....Very good, focus on the green light again... a child is born, the dream is gone....We are can relax now, Marie....I have become comfortably numb.

Within minutes of beginning, I am back in my Barca-lounger, drinking Gatorade, feeling no pain.

Okay, so I am 2 days out with 20/20 vision. I got glasses in second grade and have struggled with vision my whole life. I've been told by countless opthamologists that I'm not a candidate because of thin corneas, large pupils, astigmatism, extreme myopia.

If anyone out there is similarly afflicted, find Dr. Jon Dishler in Denver. He brought this technology to Colorado and he holds patents on many treatments. He is internationally known for Intra-Lasik.

I am not his marketing gal; he doesn't even know my name. I just know the struggles that I've had. If you have complicated vision, or you know someone who does, let me share this gift with you. I am COMPLETELY AMAZED. And happy as a keen-eyed lark.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Flag Day to You

Flag Day, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
It also happens to be Julia Marie Walden's 17th birthday. So please fly your flags and send Julia a gift.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mystical Machu Picchu

I've seen it in books, but it's hard to describe how I felt when I actually saw it. Mists swirling, emerald green grass, orchids overgrowing the Inka Trail, alpacas standing in our way. Mostly I felt a surreal connection to an ancient culture, sophisticated, brilliant, visionary and REAL. My friend and I stood there quietly for a long time, chewing our coca leaves, taking it all in. Our guide sat quietly as well. Sometimes words truly don't suffice.