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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Seeing the sights

Last night I drove to Helena after dinner, to stay the night with Ali before driving to Great Falls for a consultation with an optic surgeon. 

I've beer wearing contact lenses to correct my vision since I was 12. I have glasses that I'll change into before bed or wear occasionally, but I much prefer my contacts. Especially when it's sunny out and I want to wear sun glasses. 

I've considered corrective laser eye surgery for a number of years now. I figure that the $3-4k I spend now will even out in contact solution, optometrist appointments, etc. over time. A few friends of mine have had it and RAVE about being able to see the clock when they wake up.

This fall my health insurance notified me of $500 in unused FLEX for 2010. I overestimated some things last fall when I signed up, and now had a pile o'money to use. My insurance let's me use 2010's flex in the first 2 months of 2011 in conjunction with my 2011 flex money. So after discussing what it means to our budget for me to flex out $3,000 in 2011 with DJ, I made an appointment with my optometrist in early November. 

During that appointment he found scar tissue in my left cornea. Unexplained, spontaneous scar tissue. I can't remember a big impact to my left side that would have cause it. Or an infection, or anything worse than a two ibuprofen headache.

So I wore my glasses for a week and used a steroid drop to try to get it to clear up. No dice. 

At the follow up appointment my optometrist suggested that although the scar tissue disqualifies me for Lasik surgery, I would still be a candidate for PRK corrective surgery because the surgeon could laser off the scar tissue during the procedure. 

My optometrist in Bozeman, who by the way played football for my dad at MSU in the 80's, referred me to an eye surgeon in Great Falls. 

I should footnote this next part by saying that I was already annoyed with the surgeon's office. They sent me an informational packet on November 17. I never received it. I called on Tuesday to ask them to resend it. I still haven't received it. I called on Friday to have them email it to me. Guess what I still haven't received!? 

Then when I arrived in Great Falls today, they realized that although I was in Great Falls, my appointment was in Spokane. 450 miles away. Really inspiring confidence here guys. 

Thankfully they were able to get me in to see the surgeon anyway. But before hand they did all of the same exam procedures I'd already done (and paid for once, already) in Bozeman. And the technician couldn't get their new fangled machine (circa 1987, I swear) to focus in and I kept getting dizzy. 

Long story short, he looked at me, we chatted, and he felt comfortable saying they'd do Lasik on my right eye. But he'd need to consult with the other six cornea specialists in his clinic network before agreeing to to do PRK surgery on my left eye. He's concerned that the spontaneous scar tissue could form again; that my cornea isn't stable. 

So it's a mixed bag. Lasik on my right eye means a 48 hour recovery and not being nearly blind for a week. PRK on my left eye means they can laser through the scar tissue and remove it. And maybe my vision insurance will cover my left eye. 

But. But I still drove 3 hours/ 220 miles to do essentially the same tests and have the same conversation that I had with a guy I've known 20+ years less than a mile from my house.

No wonder health insurance is so expensive. 

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