My experience with LASIK

28 03 2015

This is a post dedicated to my friend who is thinking about getting LASIK. My eyesight was really bad, like -8 diopters with some astigmatism. My hand would be blurry about 6 inches from my eyes. I’ve had glasses since 4th grade and couldn’t wear contact lenses because they dried out my eyes, even the best ones at the time (Acuvue OASIS)

I got LASIK in 2009 as a graduation gift from my parents. Total cost was about 6000 USD. My optometrist gave me a checkup and a referral to Dr Tooma in Newport at TLC Laser Center (called something else now). The referral was worth 1000 USD off. So, here’s how it went:

  • Met my optometrist, got the referral.
  • Went to TLC and got a consultation (free). Basically watched a video and told them I have no questions when can you sign me up? Cost would be about 5000 USD, plus some a prescription and eye drops. I think altogher it would be about 6000 USD.
  • On Tuesday, my dad drove me, let’s say around 10 AM.
  • By 10:30 I was in the waiting room. Just a dark room. They gave me some eye drops.
  • I go into the procedure room. The doctor asks me if I have any questions.
  • First there’s the PEERLESS laser, which takes the place of a keratome blade to leave less of a scar. He uses it to cut a U around my eye.
  • Then I move over to the actual CUSTOM LASIK machine, it was an Alcon. He pulls back the flap of eye he made a cut in and tells me to stare at a red light for 39 seconds. At first it doesn’t hurt at all, but after like 20 seconds it starts to burn, like if someone exposed under your skin to air, not from the laser. Also there’s a burning smell which disturbed me and no one told me about.
  • Switch eyes and repeat. This goes smoother since I know what to repeat.
  • They put on some gauze and glasses and send me on my way, it’s probably not even 11:00 AM but now. They give me 2 Vicodin and some instructions.
  • I live about 20 minutes away. My dad takes me to in n out. While waiting in the drive through my eyes start burning like freaking crazy.
  • I get home another 10 minutes later, devour my in n out, pop a Vicodin, and immediately go to sleep to escape  the pain of my burning eyes.
  • Wake up around 7pm. Listen to the radio, can’t see shit still, eyes cloudy. Sleep around 10pm
  • First day after my eyes are still hazy but I can walk around. Can’t look at computers for more than 10 to 20 minutes. I think I saw my optometrist on the first and 5th day after or something like that.
  • Second day i can look at computer for an hour or two, but still not perfect.
  • Third day after, everything is great. I can see 20 20 and look at the computer.
  • I had to apply natural eyedrops, which are like 20 bucks for 100 at costco. I use like 3 to 5 a day, and I had to take them for about a year, but I wasn’t upset because I knew my eyes were naturally dry already. Being in AC office = total shite.
  • At night, I had really bad “starbursts” for about the first month. AFter that, I still have minor starbusts, but not that bad, doesn’t affect much. Minorly annoying driving. If you’re an office worker and dont’ go out much at a night like I was, it doesn’t matter at all. If you’re a Navy SEAL, it might matter. From what I read, the starbusts/other problems are usually only if you have a very large correction (like I had). The eye is convex (round) and the laser flattens it out. Where the flat part meets the still convex part is what causes the starbursts (from what I read, I’m no expert).

It’s now been about 6 years and I’m still loving it. I’ve completely forgotten that I used to wear glasses, and when I see a photo I look at it and think, holy crap that’s me?! My eyesight is probably a 0.5 diopter, which could have been avoided if I waited and got it later, but I got it at 23 because I was impatient.

Cheers! If you decide to get LASIK, I hope you love it as much as I do, but take all the risks into effect and remember, don’t skimp on two of the most important things you possess!

A Great Reason To Stop Reading the News

22 09 2014

Would you believe that it can be very traumatic just to hear about someone else’s traumatic experience? It’s called vicarious trauma and here is an interesting quote from the following book:


Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE): A revolutionary new method for stress/trauma recovery

“It is very common for people who have not experienced the same trauma as their loved ones to be even more bitter, vengeful, angry and resentful than the person who endured and survived the traumatic experience. Imagination is a powerful thought process of the human species. It can however, be a dangerous and powerful weapon if it is not connected to the body’s experience of reality. This is why those who suffer can often forgive more easily than those who only imagined another’s suffering. Those who imagine the suffering of another are often more angry, bitter, and vengeful than the victim. As a victim, it is oftentimes easier to forgive because one’s own suffering and sorrow are informed by the reality of the body’s survival.”

So simply put, when you live through a traumatic experience your body knows you survived and helps you feel relief. If you recount a traumatic experience (in vivid detail) it is unlikely you can get the listener to also experience the relief. Similarly if you read violent/messed up news stories, watch things like crime dramas, or watch shows such as real life murder mysteries (see the South Park Murder Porn episode) you can experience the trauma but never the relief. Despite it being second hand it can add up and leave your body physiologically showing signs of trauma, which as you can guess, is not good.

I was reminded of this quote when recently reading an article on Fragging in the Vietnam War.

This Sergeant went on to tell me he was on a patrol with a commanding officer who insisted they follow him into what they, as experienced soldiers, knew was an ambush.  The officer refused to budge and finally one of the men shot him dead.  I asked the Sergeant what he did and he said he had no choice but to arrest the offender who had probably saved lives.

Quite a story right? The next line is “He was eerily calm relating these stories.”  What I think the author really meant to say is, “I perceived it to be eerie that he was so calm while relating this story because I found it so disturbing.” To the Sergeant telling the story, he has lived with it everyday for the past 40 years, it’s old news, something he may have struggled with for decades, perhaps with the help of several therapists, and eventually he was able to relay the story “calmly.” But to the listener, this is fresh news and quite a vivid picture. The listener doesn’t know about the 10 years it took to cope with it, nor do they have any idea that imagining this story in their head can bring it to life for their body.

Now imagine reading/watching news stories like this every day of your life and you get the idea of why the modern “news”, aka click bait, is horrible for your health. For your reference, I just turned off my news blocker and here are the top stories on Yahoo! News (note, this is just the main site, not the crime site or the please scare me site)

  • Pentagon: US, partners begin airstrikes in Syria
  • WH intruder had 800 rounds of ammo
  • 3 missing Afghan soldiers found at Canadian border
  • New Jersey hiker killed by black bear: police
  • California wildfire crews brace for weather shift

My heart rate went up just reading those headlines.


A few more musings and a personal note:

Perhaps this is why the current generation seems desensitized. Day in and day out we are exposed to these kind of violent news stories, and to not be desensitized would be a death sentence. But I don’t think we’re truly desensitized. I recall a time when this was really pounded into my soul. A brief bit of background, I played a lot of video games involving killing and watched plenty of rated R movies with plenty of body parts flying before the following story takes place. If anyone was going to be desensitized to violence by games and movies as the media and crazy parents would have us believe, it would have been me.


In AP US History class sophomore year my teacher showed us a video about the Vietnam war. The video started off boring, like most history videos, then out of nowhere there was a scene of a handcuffed man being shot in the head and killed.

I don’t remember if I actually did, but my instinct was to jump out of my chair and scream. Holy shit! That guy was just fucking killed! In real fucking life!  There didn’t appear to be any warning, in the video it didn’t look like there was an argument; the man is tied up and just standing there handcuffed.Then a uniformed man nonchalantly walks around him, pulls up his gun, and shoots the handcuffed man in the head. Don’t feel too bad for the handcuffed man though, he had just finished leading a death squad in the killing of the families of enemy officers.

I was absolutely shocked. I wanted to puke (and honestly I do right now after watching the video again). All those years of being “desensitized by violent video games and movies,” and I reacted just like anyone would expect a normal kid to react.

I later sat down and thought about why I reacted that way despite all my “experience” with violence and I realized that this was the first time I had ever seen anyone actually die. In the back of my head I felt like I had seen someone die before, after all I had seen plenty of movies with blood and guts all over the place and even played games where I actively killed people; but this completely different and I knew it on a fundamental level, instantly, without hesitation. Years of violent games and movies that were supposed to be fucking up my brain, had near zero impact on my reaction to seeing death for the first time. Not even death, a video of a death. The games and movies didn’t mess me up; instead, what really got to me were things I knew to be real, things like that video and the news.

Interestingly enough, South Park had an episode about this as well as the video above. In this episode the kids are playing detective and get an old couple to pay them to solve the mystery of what happened to a pie on the windowsill. They found out the dog did it, but come up with this really fucked up explanation about how the old man was planning to kill his wife to eat the pie but the dog beat him to the pie before he had a chance to kill his wife. The old people are like, WTF?! What are you kids watching on TV?! You might think they would say NCIS or Law and Order SVU, but their reply is simply: “nothing, just the news.”

Oh and if you haven’t seen Bowling For Columbine, it’s basically about how Canada also has violent video games and movies, but doesn’t have the same violent news the US seems to be obsessed with, and how this could be connected with the difference in violent crime.


Why I donate blood

11 08 2013

Yes, donating blood is a “good thing to do”, help your fellow man, blah blah blah. But that isn’t what motivates me to actually take time and go donate blood. What does is this story 20 years into my future:

I am driving along and a car smashes into me. Nothing serious but enoguh that I need a blood transfusion. Or maybe something happens and I need major surgery, definitely requiring a blood transfusuion.

At this point, I am praying that some mid 20’s asshole whose biggest problem is budgeting for alcohol and student loan payments will take time out of his day to donate blood to save my life. It costs him nothing but 2 hours once every 2 months, except maybe 2 lost days in the gym and no drinking for a few nights. My life hangs in his hands.

But right now, he is me. So I am paying it forward. I alternate my days rock climbing and doing heavy work outs, and donating prevents maybe 2 days of exercise. I can’t get a tattoo. I lose 2 hours every other month. All worth it because I know some day in the future I’ll be screaming in an ER and hoping the next guy down the line is donating. What’s your excuse?

New Years Resolution 2013

3 01 2013

Start a business.

Make 1 dollar in profit from said business. (courtesy of my friend Creative).

The stakes: I will pay Creative 1 grand if I fail.

Great calorie burning exercise

19 06 2012

Yesterday I ended up eating 2x as much as I should have for dinner (triple patty in n out burger, 2 pieces of bacon, bread and cheese, veggies, big slice of costco pizza), so I wanted to do a quick workout to burn some calories about thirty minutes afterwards to help manage the insulin spike.  I remembered this great workout to burn calories quickly: burpees.


  1. Start in pushup position
  2. Do a pushup
  3. When you return to pushup position, pop your legs forward between your hands so you’re in a crouched position
  4. Jump
  5. Land, absorbing the impact of the jump and returning to a crouch
  6. Pop your legs back so that you are in the pushup position again.  That’s 1 rep

You can do these to really stress your cardio-vascular system quickly.  I was winded after 10 reps!  Speed is important, as it is an explosive exercise.  Video below.