Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Adventures with Lasers

About two months ago I decided to bite the bullet and get lasik. After several appointments to map my eyes and determine my eligibility, I finally scheduled my appointment two weeks ago. I have been eyeglass-free for the past 2 weeks now and the recovery, nor the procedure were all that bad.

When I went in for the procedure, I walked down since the place is located just down the street from my work place. Pretty easy. Once everything was ready, they swabbed my eyes with betadine and that was the last time I wore glasses. A couple of numbing eye drops and I was good to go. Numbing drops, which are supposed to sting, made my eyes feel weird. It is a slightly uncomfortable feeling, not being able to feel my eyes. In the surgery room, I laid down on the table and they prepped my right eye first. A little cup was placed under the lids holding the eye open. Not sure what it really looks like but it was attached to a machine that applied pressure to the eye (yeah I know fun stuff). A flap was cut with the laser and the pressure released, next eye please. With the intense pressure, my vision just went black and gray.

Moving onto another table, the Doctor marked the location of the flaps. Taping the left eye closed and the right eye open I received another cup like thing. This time I had more vision. I was looking up into a circle of light with a smaller blinking red light in the middle. The Doctor peeled the flap back (and no I didn't feel it but I could see it), then I had to stare at the flashing light. A few seconds later and I was done. Now this was the most uncomfortable part in my opinion. The flap was placed back and massaged in place with a cold wet sponge. And yes I could feel that. Once in place, another drier sponge was used to soak up some of the excess liquid (I assume) and help seal it in place. No blinking and next eye please.

After the procedure, I sat and waited for the flaps to seal up to the Doctor's content then off to home I went with three different sets of medical drops to take every hour (arg I hate eye drops), and eye shields so I can't rub at my eyes.

I thought my eyes were going to really hurt or at least burn or something but the pain was more of a dry eye, staring at the computer screen for too long type pain. Not too bad. The next day I was back at the Doctor's office and the eyes were seeing pretty darn well by then. It was then that I realized I had eye hickies and they would be there for about 2-3 weeks. So fast forward two weeks and I still have some minor redness around the top of my eyes from the pressure but I am seeing much better. Right eye is pretty darn clear and about 20/20. Left eye isn't quite as clear (and it had a pretty bad astigmatism to begin with), but likely about 20/15. They feel a bit dry from time to time and I put in tons of tear replacement drops when I am working at the computer but otherwise, the healing is going well and I am rather pleased. I'm not sure the left will improve beyond what it is at now and I am not what they consider worthy of a touch up.

Time to toss the glasses. I have now replaced them with sunglasses due to supposed light sensitivity. My eyes don't feel too sensitive, except in full sunlight. I do have some minor halos and some streaking of light sources but nothing too bad. I'm told this diminishes with time.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Baja Day 9, Feb 21

This morning was a very early morning. Not only did we have to get up early due to rain, but we had an early start to load up the camp for our 7:30 boat ride. The early start was more than worth it as we went out for some whale watching and were about the only people out there. We had the whales and the bay to ourselves. The whales slowly made their way into the bay and we watched then jumping and swimming along. The best was when we had a whale come right up to the boat and we were able to reach out and touch the whale. They are soft and velvety but with a rubbery feel. At first this seemed so special, but we quickly realized that the whales love to come over and socialize with the boats.

We spend almost 2 hours out on the boat following the whales around. We had several whales swimming together likely getting to know each other for mating. Some of the whales were quite large, it was hard to judge size when they are under water but the width of their backs as they came up for air gave the impression of size relative to other whales. What a great time we had and thankfully the rain stopped so we could enjoy this opportunity to the fullest. I managed to snap some wonderful pictures and had such a great time. We then spend 3 hours driving back to La Paz, exhausted and amazed. What a magical day. A few of us managed to catch a few z's on the ride back. We are staying the night at a truly lovely bed and breakfast, El Angel Azul, near the waterfront. We repacked our stuff, trying to leave the sand behind and prepare for an long and early day of travel. We all ate out as a group, enjoying some great soft shell tacos at a small restaurant on the waterfront.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Baja Day 8, Feb 20

Since we paddled about 12 miles the day before, today was a relatively short day with only about 4 miles. We paddled to the inlet and were out on the Pacific Ocean briefly. The beach we had been planning on camping on already had a group staying there. We had pressed on to the Pacific side in the hopes of a campsite but alas the Pacific side of the island was too rocky, so we backtracked a little. Luckily the beach we finally found, didn't have sand either. This gave us another opportunity to shake out more sand from our gear.

After lunch, a few of us went out again to see if we could get close to some whales. We had been seeing the plumbs of water rising from the inlet all day. Heading out we saw some plumes far away at first with a whale also jumping up and out of the water. Too bad no one had a camera at the ready. Some plumes were closer the further out we got until there was a set of whales right in front of us. They were so close it was amazing. I took a bunch of pictures and managed to capture a whale tail on film as well as shoot some video as a couple passed right in front of the kayak. Tomorrow, although we will have an early start, there will be more whale watching from a small skiff. It should be a little easier to catch up to whales rather then padding around in kayaks, but it was a totally awesome experience. I really can't believe how close we managed to get to the whales.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Baja Day 7, Feb 19

We were back on our previous schedule of being up, packed and ready for breakfast by 8:30 this morning. Actually, due to trying to rehydrate the night before, we were up before that to take care of some overflow on the rehydration. Once on the water, we paddled down a little way and enjoyed the small lagoon with the mangrove. The mangrove had quite a few herons of differing varieties. We saw a yellow caped night heron, a blue heron, white egrets and a black caped night heron. Back out on the water, we saw a sting ray. We paddled down passed the fishing village before stopping for lunch. We did about 8 miles at the point.

We opted to continue on in the hopes of getting closer to the inlet giving us a chance to kayak out onto the Pacific to do some whale watching. We did see some whales far out on the horizon and some tails but they were quite far away. It is good to see that they are moving into Magdalena Bay for the annual calving. We are camped on another sandy beach but thankfully the sand isn't nearly as fine as the sand at the last beach. We had sand in everything, even stuff we barely opened. Tonight there was no hike due to the long miles we put in on the bay today, about 10 miles. Hopefully we will have a short paddle tomorrow before setting up camp then a whale watching paddle with empty boats.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Baja Day 6, Feb 18

Today was a fairly easy day. We had an early start from the hotel. We ate breakfast then set about loading up the van with our stuff, again leaving behind things with the hotel for storage. The drive out to the other side of the peninsula took about 3 hours, but the boat ride over to the island was quite fast. We will be on Isla Magdalena for about 3 days padding and whale watching. The island has a long sand bar on one end and a mountainous section on the other end. We are currently on the sand bar, there is not much separating us from the Pacific Ocean.

Shortly after we arrived and set up camp, a few of us walked over to the Pacific side of the island. The surf was quite big and fun to watch. The beach was littered with sand dollars. We walked back over later in the evening and the surf died down as the was sun setting. We enjoyed a very nice shrimp dinner, the shrimp where huge in size. I ate about 13 of them and I am stuffed. We have been eating very well on this trip. I suspect that I will weigh more coming back then when I left. We are camped out on a fine white sand beach. It is beautiful, but with the wind, there is sand everywhere. I get the feeling we will be finding sand from this trip for years to come in our gear.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Baja Day 5, Feb 17

Today was a short ~2 mile paddle. Because we had paddled a little extra yesterday, we were much closer to our take out point. As such, we just had to paddle over to the next bay for our pickup back to La Paz. The conditions where very calm with barely any swell and hardly a ripple in sight. As such, we had a bit of a chance to explore the tidal zone a bit more. We got some more glimpses of red crabs on the rocks, as well as fish further under the water. The next bay over had a semi-permanent camp for tourists. We enjoyed a nice lunch and piled everything up for travel back to La Paz. One pile to stay with the boats and one to go back to the hotel with us.

Back in La Paz, we unloaded the gear at one hotel then checked into another just down the street. We enjoyed a nice rest and showers at the hotel (Lorimar). Given the limited time, we tried to clean up our clothes a little with some success. Most things dried fairly well overnight. As a group we went to dinner at a restaurant just up the street. It was some nice traditional foods. A nice way to relax after several days worth of paddling. The carnival being mostly over, we hoped for a quieter nights sleep tonight. Tomorrow we head over to Magdalena Bay for the whale watching part of the trip and more kayaking. We are all excited, hoping to see whales. The season runs Jan-Mar with Feb as the calving time. The whales should be close to the bay if not already in the bay.

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