As a kid, I dreamt of being a pilot. Because I was scared of heights, I thought to myself,

“This will help me overcome my fear.”

Plus there was always something about flying above the clouds and around the world that appealed to me. So growing up, I became more and more interested in turning this dream into reality. In Bangladesh, people with eyesight problems have a hard time getting into flight school. At the age of 15, I started to have problems with my vision. As time went on, I felt that my dream of becoming a pilot was starting to crumble.

“I was never meant to be a pilot.”

10 years later, I graduated from university with a Computer Science degree. Far from my dream of becoming a pilot and still with bad vision. I met several people who had already gone through LASIK and learned more about it through their experiences. I had this moment where I said,

“I have to do something about it. I have to do the surgery.”

I walked into a LASIK clinic close to my home. There were mixed vibes. Some people who’ve had their operation were smiling. Others like me who were waiting for their consultation had this intense, nervous look on their faces. A nurse took me to this dark room and did several tests on my eyes. We talked a lot, which really helped me relax. She showed me all of my test results and started to explain what they meant. I learned more than I ever thought I would about my eyes.

After the intense test session, my operation date fell a month later. As it grew closer, questions ran through my mind. What if I go blind forever? What will happen if I go blind? But I kept telling myself that it will be okay.

I didn’t tell anyone about my operation except for my girlfriend and a few family members. On the day of surgery, I especially enjoyed the drive to the clinic and appreciated everything I saw around me. I kept looking at my girlfriend, who accompanied me, as if I was seeing her face for the last time.

. . .

At the clinic, my surgery was scheduled in 10 minutes time. Sitting there, I was worried and restless more than ever. At that moment, a nurse came out of the operation theatre where I heard some punk rock music coming from inside. I looked at my girlfriend and we both laughed. Soon after, the nurse came up to me, put a few drops of anesthesia in my eyes and told me to close them in the meantime. In about 5 minutes, they called me in. There was no music. The doctor shook my hand and told me to lie down. From there, everything happened so fast. I was handed some stress balls and received more anesthesia drops. My eyes became number and my vision hazy. They first cut my cornea then sent a laser beam through my eyes. I didn’t know what was happening but it smelled like my eyeballs were burning. The operation itself didn’t take very long and it was painless. I only lost my vision in both eyes for a second or two.

After the surgery, everything was blurry and I couldn’t fully open my eyes. I was wearing these sunglasses that they provided because my eyes became very sensitive to light. My girlfriend drove me home and took care of me. I slept for the rest of the day in a dark room (still wearing my sunglasses) and my girlfriend would come in every couple of hours to give me three different kinds of eye drops for anti-bacterial, anti-inflammation, and lubrication.

My eyes healed well. In two days time, I was back to work with great vision. Time went by and now, a few months in, I see things better…clearer. I don’t have to wear 3D glasses over prescription glasses when going to the movies anymore. I don’t look for my glasses first thing in the morning. I can wear sunglasses and look up at the sky when it’s sunny. I can go to the swimming pool and be able to recognize my friends. I can go camping and get muddy without having to worry about cleaning my glasses.

And lastly, I’m starting to dream of becoming a pilot again…flying above the clouds like a bird and seeing the world the way it does.

Sayem Shahid is a Software Developer who is passionate about technology. He is also interested in culture, society, and people. Mr. Shahid earned his Bachelor of Science in Computing Science from The King’s University, Edmonton, Alberta. He currently lives in Edmonton. But before coming to the city, he lived in different places that he each called his home. Now, he is pursuing a better definition of “home.”