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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

The portals through which my soul must peek.

Portals Of My Soul

This is something

I never thought

I would see at all.

The inside

back wall of

my eyeballs.

Are these bloody orbs

truly the portals through which

my soul must peek?

To find my way

to form my mind

to learn to act, to learn to speak?

... ... ... ... ...

LASIK eye surgery assaults.

In 2001 I was working in San Diego, California, USA as a technical writer/photo illustrator of mechanical and electrical processes, which required a lot of prolonged bending over to take close photographs of equipment and circuitry in development for Phogenix. Other than the pain of age which was beginning to creep up on me, and my breathing difficulties which were something new that I was struggling to hide at work (so as not to be put out to the pasture of poverty), I had newly diagnosed cataracts, and I was inconvenienced at work by the fact that my glasses kept slipping off of my nose. I really wanted to excel at this relatively high paying, highly enjoyable job supporting the engineers and technicians who were designing a photo reproduction kiosk (as now available at Walgreen’s, etc.) which was a joint venture of Hewlett Packard and Kodak.

There was social pressure in San Diego to be youthful. I was sixty-two. A man I dated a few times (now deceased) teased me about the “racing stripe” in my hair. Well-meaning colleagues advised me to dye my hair, and to get LASIK surgery. I had my hair styled and dyed for about a hundred dollars, one time only as the expense, color, texture, smell, everything about hair dyeing was disagreeable. I bought vision restoration from an “institute” that offered “state-of-the-art LASIK, laser eye surgery, and treatment for cataracts”. I do not recall the name of the “institute” which is not surprising considering the trauma that I underwent there. I do remember that they touted professional athletes as satisfied customers, and they provided a limousine pickup on the day of my surgery, which I accepted as I had no one to go with me. I would have preferred a low key, calm approach.

I. Assault on the structural integrity of my precious eyes. My exercise of choice is swimming. I love being in the water, water aerobics, swimming, tubing along rivers, boating anywhere, snorkeling, and SCUBA; so one of my first questions had been, would the LASIK'ed corneal flap that is cut open, heal? I distinctly recall asking several different staff and the ophthalmologist, several times, because these water activities were so important to my health and happiness. They all flat-out lied and said “Yes...Yes...Yes...” The true answer is NO, it does not heal, not ever, never. From the moment of that LASIK surgery my vision has always been excessively blurry in water, and my eyes are at greatly increased risk for water-borne infections, both of which discourage me from swimming. That is a huge loss in my life.


II. Assault by forced drugging. I understand that patients are usually given a mild anti-anxiety medication to reduce pre-surgery “jitters and nervousness”, but I am simply not a nervous person, I did not need the pre-surgery drug that they were forcing on me in the limousine. And, another reason that I typically do not do drugs is because even a small amount overwhelms my naturally equanimous mind. So, I tried to refuse the drug, but they demanded that I take it or opt out of surgery (which I dearly wish I had done). I only took one of the pills that they gave me, I pocketed the other pill for discard later. That one pill rendered me so compliant that I was not only easy to work with, but completely vulnerable to control.

III. Assault by surgery that I had refused. After I was heavily drugged, the “institute” staff pulled me aside into an office, guiding me by the elbows because I could not walk steadily, where they forced me to sign an informed consent form giving them my (drugged) authorization to perform surgery on both eyes, something that I had been adamant about not wanting. I wanted surgery on only one eye first, in order to see how that went before having surgery on the second eye. But drugs rob one of one’s will, and I signed, and I paid. I was robbed and my eye was assaulted.

IV. ? I vaguely remember that there were some other irregularities in the behavior of both the ophthalmologist, and his staff who covered for him, but the drugs have put this into an unpleasant haze into which I am unable to fumble several decades later. I just remember hurrying out of the surgery room, and they were mocking me as I went toward the office exit, which was not professional, caring behavior. I do not know how I got home. I found another ophthalmologist for my follow-up visits.

The surgical ophthalmologist gave me a post-operation gift video of the LASIK surgery he performed on my eye, just the one eye, he withheld the second eye imaging as that surgery did not go well. I wonder what else he videoed? Subsequently, during my annual exams optometrists have commented on that failed eye surgery, and have asked me who worked on that eye, but I cannot remember.

Repercussions. Nowadays there are online complaint registrations, even class-action suits to join, but at that time all I could do was pull myself together so as to continue working while I recovered. There was no improvement of my vision, only diminishment in one eye. I now have a different type of glasses for every activity in my life. Years later a friend told me the Lasik “institute” had been sued by professional athletes who turned out to not be satisfied customers.

Portals Of My Soul by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2017.

My Eyes—right and left orbs (interior)

These images were obtained about ten years ago from my optometrist,

they are of my own retinas.

Caption: Iris Of My Eye, by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2017.

My iris scan was obtained in 2016 from my optometrist.

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