New Year, New Eyes

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Being that this blog seems to be only ever used for big life events, I figure this is probably worth it.  After  years and years of thinking about it, talking about it, going for consultations, and saying over and over how I couldn’t afford it, I finally got laser eye surgery on Dec 22, 2014. As of now (just over 4 weeks later), my eyesight feels like it’s at about 95% of “perfect” (or at least what I had with my contacts before), though I haven’t had any formal testing against a chart.
My boss’s wife got some sort of a referral deal where she got $500 off at the London Eye Care Center in New Westminster, and by dropping her name, I got the same deal. At this point in my life I figured that that’s about as good a deal as I’ll get, and am still wishing I’d done it 10 or 15 years ago. Ah well, hindsight is always 20/20 I guess (pun intended).

The Procedure

Honestly it was pretty boring. Of course I anticipated things for the weeks leading up, but I never thought to watch any videos of what was going to happen. Honestly, I was going to have it, so seeing what was going to happen wasn’t going to change what would happen, so I figured I’d find out when I found out. Luckily it was really, really dull.
Basically I got sat down in a chair, and got some eye drops. Then after a few minutes I got moved to another reclining chair, where I got more drops. They did put the anti-blink thing on, but you don’t see it or feel it, so there’s zero sense of some crazy mechanical medieval thing keeping you from blinking. Then more drops. Then a few more.
After a bunch of different drops the laser moved over top of me (and by “laser” I mean something that from my view looked like a large flashlight with a blinking light in it). A patch was put over the other eye and I was told to star at the blinking light, which I did for the required amount of time (50 seconds my fairly high (-6.50 / -7-ish) prescription). When the time elapsed there was more drops and some saline on the eye that got done, then the machine moved over and the procedure repeated for the other eye (48 seconds this time).

Day One

There was an immediate difference, but it was a lot like wearing contacts that were about half as powerful as they were needed. Also as soon as the numbing drops wore off in the car I realized what they meant when they said you’d be light sensitive. Know when you get the eye exam when they dilate your pupils, and even if it’s a dull cloudy day it feels like someone pointing an incredibly powerful flashlight into your eyeballs, and it hurts? It was like that but worse. I spend the drive home (not me driving obviously) with eyes closed, sunglasses on, and my hoody pulled low over my eyes. And it still sucked.

The Sucky Part

The really sucky part of it all is the first 3-4 days suck. And I mean really suck. I spent most of those days in the bedroom with the window blacked out, sunglasses on, with an ice pack on my face (thanks for the best early Christmas present ever Sarah!) and my eyes closed, with an audiobook from my iPhone in my ears. There’s also a regiment of drops (not bad) and a drive back to the clinic the day after the procedure, the third day after, and the 5th day after.
After the third or fourth day the pain sucked less (though they do give you numbing drops to deal with that, and a perscription for T3s and sleeping pills). Vision also was about 70%, enough to squint at my phone to communicate with people (you’re not supposed to look at screens too much in the first week) or figure out kinda what’s going on on TV (mostly I just listened without watching because the screen did hurt to look at.

Impatience

The improvement to 70% was great, I wasn’t in pain, was able to drive (though I wouldn’t have wanted to have to find a certain street or drive where I wasn’t familiar) and things went better. From the end of the first week to the third week things stayed about the same, which sucked. I’m fairly patient, and even though I talked to my buddy Mike who got the same thing done last summer who said this was all totally normal, I started thinking about what if they got it wrong, what if I have to go through the whole thing again to get a touch up, etc. All that stuff.

(Minor) Complications

When things still weren’t getting better in week three (or thereabouts) and I was still very light sensitive (oncoming headlights while driving to and from work made me tear up and want to stop the car and just sit there with my eyes closed) and eyes hurt and I was using the numbing drops still. They had said to use fake tears (“eye lube”) to keep my eyes moisturized. They helped for the short term, and made my eyes suddenly go to what felt like perfect 20/20 vision, but soon after they went back to being sensitive and painful. I figured I’d ask the clinic and went in to see if they could tell me if this was normal or something was wrong.
The doctor looked at my eyes and asked me if I was using lots of the eye lube, as they had told me to. I tell him yes. He says ah, you’ve got “surface toxicity” to the preservatives in the drops and I need to get the (fancy, expensive) preservative free eye lube drops and everything should get better.
I did, and it did. A day or two later the pain had disappeared and the need for drops all the time dropped to nil. I’m not sure if it’s related or just coincidental timing (Mike did say that it would be about four weeks before vision was where I wanted it), but in that time I also moved from what I’d consider 70-80% perfect vision to about 90%.

Almost There!

I remember the day that I thought “Oh wow, this is really working”. I was driving to work and could clearly read my digital odometer. I thought at the time that I must have just put in eye drops (like I said the eye drops gave me perfect vision for a bit, probably smoothing out the outside of my eyeball or adding the last microscopic bit of lens correction that was needed)
I hadn’t.
Maybe my eyes were tearing up and it’d go away when I blinked.
Nope.
I kept on randomly staring at my car dashboard while driving to see if it went back to the slightly fuzzy mess it was before, but it didn’t. Since then things kept on getting better. Now I can see my computer screens of all sizes and at all distances just fine, can read, watch TV, and while I don’t think I’m at 100%, but it’s getting closer and closer. I’ve got another checkup in three weeks, when I assume most of the minor fluctuations in vision quality will have settled down, and they’ll have an idea of if the procedure was a great success (at this point I’d say yes, pretty damn good).
Now life is normal. Other than one drop per eye twice a day, nothing’s changed. Focusing seems a bit slower than before, but the same thing happened when I went back to contacts, just have to get used to the eyes working slightly differently again.
I still reach for my glasses in the morning and still think I forgot to take out my contacts when I go to sleep and can see. In the shower I can see clearly which is also odd (either not having glasses on or having to deal with contacts flipping around as they tend to do in the shower), but I’m slowly getting used to it all.
No complaints 🙂

A Summary of 2013

A quick summary of 2013 on this sadly unused blog (most everything is now over at bailwardphotography.com). I’ve been taking a picture a day of myself with the Everyday iPhone app and thought this would be good.

January 1, 2013:
Jan 1 2013

December 31, 2013:
December 31, 2013

Apparently over the year I turned from a vaguely respectable person into a bearded hobo.

Ringing in 2013 With Friends and a New SSD

Scrambled EggsHad a nice time last night with the now-sort-of-annual New Years Eve party.  It’s actually more of a “we are old and lazy and don’t want to go out so why don’t people just come to our house” party if I was to be honest.  Only 3 people showed up, but there was still lots of great snacks (and actual real food that A made), lots of drink (not irresponsibly too much of course), and fun.  

Among the fun was swapping computer hardware, which, even a bit tipsy, is possible.  A’s computer died a couple of weeks ago (dead hard drive) so we got her another one (after 5 years that’s not bad).  I got a gift card for NCIX so I got myself a(nother) SSD drive, and then last night swapped the hard drive out of my laptop, put the new SSD in, and put my old drive into her old computer.  A few (amazingly fun) hours of installing Windows Vista, and voilà, usable laptop, and a now super-speedy drive for me.

Slept in late, woke up feeling… mostly alive, got up, made eggs, and am now watching Lord of the Rings (the original trilogy I heard it referred to a couple of days ago, awesome), while A and Shaun play Age of Mythology (she’s kicking his ass…. again).

Merry 2013 everyone!

First Snow 2012

Not sure yet if it’s an indication of the upcoming end of the world this friday, but it is snow in the Fraser Valley.

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Had the option of a snow day from work yesterday, but succumbed to the lure of a fancy coffee for those who weren’t wimps.  Of course it’s the Fraser Valley so the snow was pretty much all gone by the time I got home.  This morning I woke up to the above though, but it’s not sticking (though it’s still coming down nicely).

Another “Not A Chance” Wishlist

First of all, no one reads this blog anymore, and secondly, it’s my birthday soon, and with Christmas coming up I figure if I don’t get this out of my head and somewhere else, how would the elves know what to get me? So here’s my 2012 birthday/Christmas wish list

Dream camera setup

  • Nikon D800 (but magically not as heavy)
  • 24-70mm/2.8
  • 70-200mm/2.8 (ditto about being not as heavy for the big lenses too)
  • 85mm/1.4 prime lens
  • Battery grip

New laptop

  • 15″ MacBook Pro, retina, fully maxed out memory and SSD drives

New iMac

  • 27″, new super thin model, fully maxed out memory and hard drive + SSD combination (in fusion drive configuration of course)
  • Why not throw in a second 27″ cinema display just for fun.

Miscellaneous gadgets

  • Full on color managed workflow setup from X-Rite
  • Tripod from Really Right Stuff or Manfroto, the perfect one of course, a combination of tough and lightweight and heavy duty
  • Epson 3880 large format printer
  • Infinite supply of ink and a selection of fine art paper to go with said printer (very useful for printing out all my cat pictures)

New car (this is a dream list right?)

  • Anything that James Bond has driven (almost). DB5 from the latest movie… I’m looking at you.

Other

  • World peace
  • A fantastic dinner at mom and dad’s
  • Hugs from my wife and abuse from my cats

From the list above I am pretty sure about the last two items, the rest, well, maybe I’ll be used to generate good publicity for some rich and famous person looking to give someone the Christmas of their dreams out of the goodness of their heart.

Preparing For My Career As A Firefighter Rescuing Kittens In Trees

So I am an animal rescue hero today. Well, “Hero” might be a bit strong. Maybe “super totally awesome cat rescuer” is more accurate. Perhaps “fool”.

Noticed on Facebook and an ex-coworker had posted the question of:

How do you get a kitten down from a 35′ tree? 🙁

The kitten in question is one of the 4 that I fostered from 3-7 weeks old, who had been graciously taken in by Shaun and was a great little kitten, so I wanted to help.

Shadow

Of course being a veteran cat-owner I immediately suggested (as my father has in the past with his great knowledge of cats) that if cats can’t get out of trees there’d be tons of cat skeletons in trees, and why not just leave the cat there and he’ll come down in a bit when he gets tired of being ignored. Then it turns out that the cat’s actually been in the tree for over 24 hours, so that’s when I leapt into action, and headed over after work.

The kitten was indeed up the (40+ foot) tree, mewing a lot, with a gaggle of kids at the bottom of the tree trying to see him and figure out what to do. Talked to Shaun a bit and because of the shape of the tree (big and bushy) it would be hard to put a ladder nearby (which would be too short to reach the kitten even if you could get it in close to the trunk).

Then after some looking, again, think “Hero” here, leapt into action, and climbed the tree.

It was actually a really easy climb, all things considered. Big branches, not too dense. Took me about 30 feet before I actually could even see the kitten (“Shadow” BTW) as he had gotten himself up in quite a spot. I can’t say that he couldn’t have made it down on his own, but I can see that for a non-tree-experienced little kitten that the spot she got in was a pretty tight one.

It was funny that when I got close enough to see the cat (maybe 10 feet) he started yowling harder (as in “get me out of here stupid monkey“) and purring loudly. Finally reached him, grabbed the little shit by the scruff of the neck and threw him over my shoulder and started down.

Now for a kitten I can understand that being on a moving shoulder with no control over your destiny being probably worse than being on a nice stable tree (albeit stuck), so he kept on trying to walk off my shoulder and onto the tree branches. I’d have to hold on, grab him, throw him back over the shoulder and go down some more, until we finally reached the bottom and the throng of children clapped and cheered (see, HERO). Shadow seemed quite happy to be back on solid ground (though when he did get free he went back to the base of the tree into a little’un grabbed him… stupid cat). Shaun then took him into the house and popped a full tin of tuna in front of him which he proceeded to eat until I left a little while later (I can’t imagine not eating for 24 hours, much less 4 hours…).

In short, kittens are cute and climbing trees is still fun even at 36.

Hey Mom, I’m a Star!

Long long time no type. Lately I’ve been blogging a bit on my photography site and naval gazing on twitter and mucking around a bit on Google+. Lately the one interesting thing is I’ve somehow managed to get featured in two videos. Yup, you can see my ugly mug by going to…

http://www.scorpionsoft.com/levelplatforms and watching the video. Ignoring the techie bits at the start and end, I play and evil and disgruntled worker fired from my job and wrecking havoc on my company. My buddy Dana was apparently looking for someone old and bitter to play the part and thought of me! I’m… honoured I guess. It was fun to play for sure, lights and cameras and microphones all around, me with lines on the screen, repeating the lines, drinking the beer, typing, more beer, rinse and repeat. I’m really impressed with the final product, awesome work by Dana and his crew (especially for what he had to work with!).

The second is embedded below, it’s a promo video for MVP Workshops, the photography group in Vancouver that I hang out with. Chris runs the meetups and got Winston Wong did a great video of what goes on at the workshops. Short story, great fun. I’m sadly not the star in this one, but it’s fun and you get a few glimpses of me in “fun mode”.

Metro Vancouver Photography Workshops Promotional Clip from Winston Wong on Vimeo.

Where I’ve Been Lately

Yea, yea, dead blog that has only 3 readers.   Not completely dead, I’ve been feeling more guilty as time goes on and I don’t update, or at least point to where I am actually doing stuff.  Basically now that I’ve been working at Left of the Dot and my commute went down by about 2 hours a day I’ve been able to ramp up my photography business (well, “business” not in the terms of making any money, more “business” in the sense of taking up extra time (and being damn fun)). So you can go over and check out the Bailward Photography.com site and see the site, or check out the Bailward Photography Blog to see various pictures of mostly cute young ladies (hopefully) nicely lit up and posed. I’m trying to create a bit more “real content” there in terms of capturing what I’ve been doing in moving from amateur photographer to slightly-above amateur photographer.


I’ve also been (kinda) active over on twitter if you want to check me out at @alanbailward. Not much of interest there for the most part, but random tweets about photography and related things.


If you’re interested in hiring me of course, or paying me gobs of money to take pictures of you, your family, friends, or more young ladies, feel free to let me know 🙂


Other than that, changing jobs, and having a horrible trip to Edmonton involving moving a horribly disorganized person up there, 32 hours in the hospital (don’t ask), and breaking the truck we were driving back in on the Coquihalla, in a no cell service area at 1am, things have been pretty much status quo.


So hit the new blog, I will update here if anything interesting, it’ll come here, eventually.


Ok, now I feel better.

Portrait and Teeth, etc.

Strobist Portrait Been doing a lot of “Strobist” stuff lately, the shot to the right is of the beautiful Terra-Jean whom I had the honor of shooting a couple of weekends ago at a meetup.com gathering of photographers, led by Chris Pike. Great time was had and I got some great shots if you hit that image’s link and wander in and out of the flickr stream. I’m fairly proud of this shot as well of my coworker Cory, not because it’s a great lit image (not that it’s bad), but that it’s all mine, in execution and gear.
Today is also a day I’m not at work because I get to get a tooth taken out. Sucky thing is it’s a fairly prominent tooth, broken in grade 3 in a fall on the playground which has apparently decided to finally die and give me some issues. I would really rather not do this, if for no other reason than that it’s my tooth dammit, but looking at myself in the mirror this morning that tooth is clearly grey and different than the others around it, so I don’t feel as bad.

Still Fully Toothed

I had a dentist appointment last week that was supposed to be a tooth extraction for a tooth that’s been bothering me for a while, actually not the tooth but the gum above it.  Dentist tried a few things, and eventually said the tooth had to come out, unfortunately.  I got two choices, either a bridge of some sort that’d cost an arm, but would also damange the two teeth on either side, or a metal post implanted where the tooth was, that wouldn’t damage any other teeth, better in the long term, etc, etc, but costs both the arm and the leg.

I went into the office and he got me all ready, gave me details, etc etc, and just when he’s about to start doing whatever it is he has to do (apparently they don’t just tie a string around the tooth with the other end on a door knob and slam the door), and asked if I was going bridge or post, and when I said I was going to sell off my first born (if I had one) to do the post he basically stopped and decided I needed to go to the specialist for both the extraction and whatever came afterwards, not just the stuff that came afterwards.  He did manage to use the rest of the time though, taking pictures, more poking and prodding, etc.

So now it’s another appointment, another having to explain to my boss why I didn’t have all the dentristy done, and so on.  On the plus side, I get another few weeks with all my teeth 😀