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Kestrell and Alexx return to the Ocularist
Bar Harbor
kestrell has new eyeballs! 10 months of angst is *done*! (Save for another few followups, but hopefully those should be trauma-free...) Photo-essay follows. Fewer disturbing images than the last one, but still worth putting behind a cut.

On the T. This is, with luck, the last picture ever in which Kes is wearing an eye-bandage. Not that I objected to the bandage -- but the continual use of the tape did unpleasant things to her skin.

In the waiting room, showing off her "Advice from a Bat" sweatshirt.
[text: Trust in your senses | Spend time just hanging around with friends | Don't be afraid of the dark | Get a grip | Enjoy the nightlife | Sometimes you've just gotta wing it | Guano happens!]

In the chair, waiting for new eyes.

The new eyes, soaking.

The ocularist displays his handiwork.

Taking out the old left eye.

Here's a closeup of that suction-cup gadget I was talking about last time.

Awaiting new eyes.
[Kes: this is the point where the ocularist dropped my eye on the floor, because the silicone drops used for lubricating the eye make it extremely slippery.]

In with the left...

...and the right.

Delerium eyes!
[descriptive text: the right eye is bright emerald green, and the left eye is bright blue.]

Hmmm... The right eyelids aren't closing all the way yet. They're kind of atrophied after all this time. Kes: "It feels like I have a cow in my eye!"

Using a Sharpie to mark where he wants to trim down the size slightly.

Popping out the right eye with the suction cup, to do a little fine-tuning.

The left will also need a bit of adjustment. Kes demonstrates where it feels wrong.

The right eye is much improved. "Now it just feels like a small calf!"

Marking the left eye for adjustments.

And popping it out.

For the left eye, the old prosthetic is handy. The ocularist has Kes compare the old and new, to help identify exactly where the problem area is.

After adjustments, re-inserting the left eye.

Feeling much better, now!

On the T again, not wearing dark glasses for the first time in ages!

After all the trauma, it's time for a *full* makeover, so off to a hair salon.

Who is that woman with the straight, non-crazy hair?

By the eyes, it must be Kestrell!
Kes: The salonist really wanted to blowdry my hair straight, even though every fiber of my being defies straight; I indulged her, but this is unlikely to ever happen again. Still, this is me with straight hair.

ETA: Closing comments on this post due to excessive spam. If you want to comment, email me.
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Yay!!! They look really cool. Love the different colours.
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I was totally cool with all the eye stuff, but the straight hair is freaking me right out.
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Wow! I've only ever met Kestrell at Arisia, to which I am no longer local, and I don't think I've ever seen her w/o dark glasses.

The different eye colors are easier to see in the full-size pic.

Love the T-shirt text.
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Looking great Kes! I'm delighted that you managed to get what you wanted out of the ocularists. Did you have to shop ocularists to find ones adequately biddable?
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We didn't have to switch, but the very het white male ocularist did take a lot of convincing, and there was much eye-rolling on his part.
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That's sooo weird. Why would he care? It's not THAT unusual. I mean, maybe if you wanted flames on them or something...I think they look beautiful.
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The ocularist gave me a lectue which basically came down to blah blah normal blah blah passing blah blah *whispery shame voice* "No one should know."

My reply was I know what passing is, I don't care about normal, and everybody knows already, because I'm blogging about it.

The ocularist also sometimes throws in lines like "Looking normal helps you get jobs easier" and other bull. It wouldn't make me quite so crazy except the speech is delivered in a total patronizing tone that the able-bodied normal person has to explain these basic concepts to the disabled person, even though the ocularist knows I hae had prosthetics since I was 14, and I'm not stupid because I did manage to graduate from MIT.

Sorry, it still gets my righteous indignation going when I remember the lecture.
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Oh, and i forgot the ocularist finally coming down tot he what I think really bothered him: "It doesn't look good for me."

Because of course, it's really all about him.

But this is why we promised not to mention his name or anything.
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From Neil Gaiman's journal


2010-11-02 05:17 am (UTC)

But this is why we promised not to mention his name or anything.

But why? Because wouldn't it be useful to someone else who needs to have prosthetic eyes done to know that this particular ocularist doesn't have good bedside manner?

I think you're awesome for taking charge of your own destiny (no, not Capital-D Destiny) and not letting anything get in your way.

Cheers to you!
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Re: From Neil Gaiman's journal


2010-11-02 11:46 am (UTC)

Well, I stil have mixed feelings about hwo the ocularist treated me when I wanted to change the eye color of my prosthetics, but I would make that more of a caveat than a blatant disrecommendation. The truth is that his work is exceptional, and as far as being gentle and being understanding about issues of pain, anxiety, and even outright fear due to previous experiences with terrible ocularists, he and all of his office are again exceptional. It's just this one area where his attitudes are stuck int he 1950s and, although I found that to be a really big "but," I am far more concerned about other people getting prosthetics which fit correctly and are correctly made so that the process doesn't cause them pain, because it seems there are a number of people who shouldn't be allowed to touch a patient who are allowed to be in business. I would still recommend this ocularist to anyone who needed one, just adding that you have to stick to your beliefs sometimes about personal decisions.
Apologies for the lengthy reply.
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Re: From Neil Gaiman's journal


2010-11-02 12:17 pm (UTC)

Hey, it's your journal. Feel free to ramble as long as you like. :)
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Back when she first moved into Melville Keep, I made a playful suggestion that she should go with Corinthian eyeballs. She replied, "Ew. I wouldn't even feel safe around me!"

(Then I read in her LJ about how she wouldn't be adverse to that... we all change with time, don't we?)

So Delirium eyes are definitely the next best thing. I'm relieved they came out well. And I love the new haircut.
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Outstanding! Excellent photo & text journalism, Alexx. The eyes are lovely, and Kes looks bewitching and comfortable.

The hair cut... my my my, put on fancy duds and take a picture quick. If you ever need a legend in the Real World, this would be the perfect cover photo.
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Those are lovely! (the color really comes out in the large photo)
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Beautiful! Although I agree, I'm not convinced by the straight-hair.
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oooh cool


2010-10-26 11:54 pm (UTC)

Your delirium eyes are pretty!
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I loved reading these posts. Just fantastic and they really look great as well.
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Here via officialgaiman - I just wanted to say that Kestrell's Delirium eyes are amazing, what a wonderful idea! It was really interesting to see the process as well - I had no idea what went into making prosthetic eyes. Thanks for sharing :)
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Also here from Gaiman. I found your description of the process really interesting, and the final eyes look really cool!
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Visiting from Neil's site as well! Thank you for this, without this post I don't think it would have even occured to me to think about prosthetic eyes, their existence and the process of their making... And if I may say so, Kestrel, you look great with them!
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Here from Neil Gaiman's blog and I have to say I wasn't squicked at all by any of the pictures. The eyes look fantastic and, in the opinion of one who has only seen the pics on these few posts, somehow more natural than the other prosthetics - and, dare I say it, really suit Kes. Congratulations to Kes (and yourself) on being able to talk the professionals into doing what you want rather than what they try to tell you that you must want.
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Very nice!

Like the incipient hoard, I'm here via Neil Gaiman's links, but in a demonstration of how small the Geek World is, I know I've run into you elsewhere... probably patrissimo's journal mainly.
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Unlike everyone else, I came via your wife's LJ after reading some posts by her on elisem's LJ but now I'm curious what your connection to Patri is, because my sister went to college with him so now I'm wondering if you went to college with my sister.

(Also: the eyes are AWESOME. She mentioned in a post on Elise's making a key chain out of one of the old eyes -- any pictures of that?)
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I'm not positive about Alexx, but I was indeed in Patri's class in undergrad. So your sister would be... Abi, right? And the geekosphere continues to be small.
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Yep, Abi is my sister. (The geekosphere is small, but Harvey Mudd is even smaller.)
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I doubt that I know your sister (though the world is small and ever shrinking). I've know Patri since he was about 11, and we gamed together at The Buttery.

The key fob was not actually made by Elise, but by a local jeweler called Columbine. (I don't recall if she has an LJ or not.) I did take pictures of it, but I don't know if Kes ever got around to posting them. Will try to remember to ask her...
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You probably don't know my sister, but I bet you have a significant social overlap.

I wrote the part about the keychain badly -- I meant that the keychain was mentioned on Elise's journal, not that I thought Elise had made it.
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Also here through Mr. Gaiman's LJ feed... thank you both for sharing! as others have said, the process was fascinating, and the finished job looks wonderful!

If it's not too much of me to say, I think Kestrel looks beautiful with either curly or straight hair - I can empathize with the "the hairdresser really wanted to..." bit!
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Makes me want to paint eyeballs for a living!
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Very cool! It doesn't hurt that Delerium (well, Delight, pre-change) is probably my favorite character from Sandman. Nice to see someone going with the look.

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And I like the fact that Delirium has her own structural integrity issues--it makes it all very meta.
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so amazingly cool! thank you for sharing :)

Edited at 2010-10-27 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Also here from officialgaiman. Very interesting all around. I sent this to my friend in Buffalo, NY, who also wears a scleral shell. Apparently, she and Kes have the same ocularist! (Yes, she travels to Boston to see him.)
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Awesome :) What an amazing process.

(linked from Gaiman's blog)
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Another reader of Neil Gaiman's blog, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this story :) It was a really amazing process,and I never would have thought about all the details that go in to creating new eyes. They look great!
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here via Neil Gaiman...incredible! I love the bat advice, as well!
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Aww... I love her straight hair!! Those eyes look fantastic, and just like most of the people here, I wasn't disturbed or grossed out - I found the whole process fascinating! Congrats, Kes! :D

(from Neil's blog, too)
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I'm here from Neil's blog too - and like everyone else, I wanted to say thank you for sharing! It was really fascinating to see the whole process! And Kes, your eyes are beautiful :)
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Also here from officialgaiman.

Thanks for sharing this. It is really interesting.

I have a question.

In all the pictures I have seen of eyes they are spherical. Why are prosthetic eye almost triangular? Are eyes not really spherical? or is something else going on?
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In modern procedures, when an eye is removed, the surgeons actually leave behind as much tissue as they can, while still correcting whatever problem prompted the removal. This lowers the amount of trauma the body has to adjust to. It also, incidentally, usually leaves enough of the musculature intact that the patient can still move their prosthetic eyes around in much the same way they moved their original ones.
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Here via Neil's blog as well. Thank you so much for documenting this fascinating process! I'd never taken the time to imagine what it must be like, and I value the education. Kes' new eyes look fantastic--I'm thrilled you were able to find an ocularist broad-minded enough to help her express herself in this way!
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That is the coolest thing ever! Alexx, Kestrell - thanks so much for sharing.
PS: you may not remember me, but 4+ years ago I used to be a Carolingian and MITgaard member. I am very happy to have found this via Neil's blog.
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