By Taylor Wilson
I am seeing things a different way—in a whole new light.
I broke down, or went for broke (literally) a month or so ago and had LASIK eye surgery.
My buddy Chester “Grumpy” Dixon volunteered to drive me home after the procedure.
So he was the one I handed my keys, my knives and all spare shotgun shells in my pocket over to, before I went back to be prepped for procedure.
Needless to say this gathered some attention in the waiting room. But a pocket full of ammo and knives did not stand out as much as when I accidentally showed up with a handful of waterfowl loads (post morning duck hunt) at the Capitol in Nashville for some sort of conservation meeting.
“Oh, don’t worry, it’s just steel shot, won’t hurt much and politicians are supposed to have thick skin,” I laughed as I handed over the ammo to the State Trooper.
(Hindsight, indicates I am lucky I am not still in the state pen.)
But back to eye surgery… So there I was, sitting in the back waiting for my turn under the laser, in a recliner at full-tilt, wearing a hair net, listening to Muzak and enjoying a happy pill, when they came to check on me.
“How’s Grumpy doing up front in the main waiting room? Is he behaving himself?” I asked.
“Yes, and thank goodness, because thanks to you, he now has ammo,” an employee told me.
“Well, yeah, but at least he doesn’t have a gun,” I replied and offered a relaxed-and-getting-more-so chuckle.
Several minutes later, really, my vision was corrected. Even so, I didn’t open my eyes because Grumpy was soon driving us home, and it was near 5 p.m.—on I-240.
And despite his urgent pleas to do so, I told Grumpy it was best to go home and sleep as the doctor ordered, and not stop and test my new vision at Hooters.
The next day, when I told the doctor, “it’s good to see you, and I mean really good to see you,” it was reported that I was seeing 20/15!
Of course, the goal for me, anyway, in regards to LASIK, was to be less dependent on contacts and glasses. I got that and maybe a little more.
Heck, I wasn’t that far away from Ted Williams, veteran and Hall of Fame angler and ballplayer. (Yeah, I am dreaming now, well that, and me being much minus his cat-like reflexes.)
Williams, they say, saw 20/10. And did you know doctors reported he could see at 20 feet what people with normal eyesight see at 10 feet? Armed forces ophthalmologists said his eyesight was so keen it was a one-in-100,000 proposition.
So, really, I am nowhere near that. But again, I am just happy to be less dependent on corrective lenses.
Want to know another certainty that’s come out of this? I have an increased self-obligation to protect my eyes. If I am shooting, fishing or mowing the yard (OK, at least two out of three are fun), I am wearing protective glasses. Ironic? Sure, but at such times I wear ’em because I want to, not have to.
And to top all this off, a friend has sworn to me, “You are going to really LOVE it when hunting season comes around!”
I hope so. Though I really doubt my accuracy (with bow, shotgun or rifle) will be that much better (note earlier mention of less-than-lightning reflexes; as of yet, they can’t correct that with a laser). And I will goof-up most days, anyway, due primarily to my known and accepted Charlie Brown approach or lot in life.
Still, I can’t wait to see fall this year.
(Who knows what I may get a glimpse of that I might have previously been missing?)
But until then I can only turn the thermostat down (for simulation purposes), and sit here and imagine what the Hatchie Bottom foliage will look like with new-and-improved vision.
Talk about wait and see…
Taylor Wilson is managing editor at Bill Dance Publishing. He has been writing for newspapers, magazines and websites for more than 20 years.