The boy calls himself an astronaut when he wears his space helmet. Er, drum. Pic by Mommy.
Eyes of the Haggler
lovely and profoundly nearsighted nearsighted and profoundly lovely wife went to her mother’s house Tuesday. Said mother showed her a piece of junkmail advertising a local Lasik vision correction surgeon. It proclaimed prices starting at $700 per eye.
“You might as well give it a go, what?” said her mother. She’s British. No, she isn’t really, and those are not her exact words, but it’s fun to imagine her saying that in a British accent.
In her natural Irish accent, my wife said, “Shut yer hole, ya stupid article. It’s classic bait and switch.”
Okay, my wife is not Irish, and she did not say this to her mother. But, the name Shannon is Irish. (I completely lifted the first sentence from the movie Circle of Friends, where Mick Lally utters it in a barely intelligible lilt.)
Another doctor’s web site boasted a starting price of $495 per eye. The brochure brags that he restored the vision of NFL greats Tony Dorsett and Mel Renfro, as well as other famous folk. We all know celebrities’ eyes pose a greater challenge, so he must be quite talented. I can hear my wife now, “I can see like Tony Dorsett! Give me the ball!”
We both had heard good things about that surgeon, from real people working real jobs, so she decided to take a closer look. Because she’s nearsighted.
The place was like a factory. Various staff ran her through a battery of tests designed to assess her eyes’ Lasik worthiness. They tested the moisture level, the ocular pressure, and other items of ophthalmic wonder. The lady administering dilating eye drops walked around a waiting room dropping her potion into the eye of each dazed patient.
During this frenetic three-hour session of being corraled from tiny room to smaller room, Shannon talked to the guy who told her the price. He informed her that the procedure would cost her a whopping $3700. That would fix her distance issues and her astigmatism.
Knowing that this year’s tax refund and her mother’s early Christmas gift would cover barely a respectable chunk of that, she saw her opening.
“Well, I’ve had contacts before that didn’t correct my astigmatism. My vision was a little blurry, but it was no big deal. What if he fixed just the distance part?”
Translation: “Okay, so that’s the price if he does it real good-like. What if he just kinda half-asses it? Any cheaper?”
The guy looked at her a bit dumbfounded, and replied, “Well, nobody’s really ever asked that before. You’d have to ask the doctor, but I don’t know if that’s something he can do.”
If she accomplished nothing else that day, she presented a question nobody ever had, in this surgery center that cranked out about 70-80 Lasik procedures per day. That’s my lady. Such an original. Such an artist.
The doctor said he can restore her vision to 20-20, with no astigmatism.
This would be huge for Shannon. She wakes up each day to a world where trees are indistinct blobs of green, and faces become known only after a voice comes out of them. Until she dons her bottle-bottom glasses. Her eyes have developed an aversion to contact lenses. She’s tried every kind available and all the cleaning solutions — to no avail.
She got tears in her eyes imagining life with perfect vision. No doubt the surgery center folks know this happens a lot, and that’s why they were happy to approve her for financing on the spot, and said they could get her in at 6 a.m. the following morning. They don’t want anything, including second opinions, to get in the way of that next dollar. We’re onto their game.
So, she’s down for Friday at 4 p.m.
We’ll “see” how it goes. (somebody stop me)