Facebook for Brides

One of my best friends, recently bit the bullet; after eight (!) years of dating, Liz and her boyfriend Nick, also a friend of mine, are engaged. This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows them... nearly a decade of dating pretty much solidifies the fact she was gonna have a ring on her finger soon. While my biggest concern right now is what color my bridesmaid dress will be, I know Liz, planner that she is, already has the wedding wheels churning. (Who am I kidding -- they've been churning since she was five.) Though I will not be using this site's services for a (long) while, I think WeddingPreParty has what it takes to make her wedding planning a little easier and a lot more fun -- so Liz, this one goes out to you.

WeddingPreParty was recently launched as a branch of OneWed, a wedding planning Web site. WeddingPreParty operates as a social media site -- heavy on interactivity and light on formality. The wedding party and guests can use this as a hub to share information, post photos and help the couple plan their wedding. Each wedding has its own login info, keeping the wedding details private. Facebook users are able to log into the site using their account, and a little help from Facebook Connect. Whatever they do on the wedding site can then be published back on Facebook, which puts the info in front of more of their friends -- hence the viral nature of the site.

A recent Mashable article suggests some great ways wedding parties can use the site: "Those who are invited to the wedding pre-party website can add comments, propose a toast, add wedding tips (useful if you’ve been through it before), and provide stark and truthful info on weddings (on top of that, the bride and groom can ask for inspiration for new ideas)." The bride can assign duties and their deadlines, as well as see a basic checklist every bride could use. Finally, the couple can easily link to their cheesy but necessary “how we met" stories, pictures and gift registry.

WeddingPreParty is the first of its kind, and for those looking for a little organizational help while maintaining a fun feel, this could be a huge hit. I'm looking forward to Nick and Liz using this site... but not nearly as much as I am looking forward to the wedding!


My Experience with LASIK

A little over two weeks ago, I finally received my college graduation present: LASIK (thanks Mom and Dad!). After over 10 years of dealing with glasses, contacts and the problems that come with both, I have 20/20 vision without any help. I never thought the day would come, and though the surgery itself was somewhat daunting, I am now its biggest proponent.

I got glasses at a young age, and with every doctor visit came another bump up in my prescription. When glasses became "uncool" I graduated to contacts, and at first I was pretty responsible with them. However, as the years progressed I became lazy -- to the point where I was only taking my contacts out once a month, and only to put in a new pair. Due to this I was once gifted with a corneal abrasion as a result of calcium deposits on the lenses, as well as wayyy too many bouts with pink eye. One might assume this led me to actually start taking care of my eyes, but that's giving me too much credit. Sure, my eyes would get dry, but other than these isolated incidents, I thought I was ok... until I visited a new optometrist early this year.

Right after shaking my hand, she asked if I have a habit of sleeping in my contacts. She said that just by looking at me, she could tell because of the redness in my sclera (the white part of the eye) -- it's due to a lack of oxygen, and it's also irreversible. I finally got the jolt I needed, and it was a couple months before my LASIK appointment. Go figure.

Flash forward to the procedure itself. After asking an obscene amount of questions (Can I just do one eye today, in case I go blind? What's your real track record?), I was given some form of a sedative and sent into the freezing cold "OR." A nurse came over to hold down my shaking feet, and the magic began. The following is my recollection, which may or may not be complete due to memory-inhibiting fear.

First, Dr. Probst used some type of metal contraption to open my eye as wide as possible. I was then told to focus on a blinking red light. Focus I did -- and I was greeted with the pleasant smell of my burning eye. Immediately after this came the loss of vision for about three seconds. This could have been my undoing; even though the doctor, sensing my terror, told me everything was going perfectly... I honestly thought I was done for. Thankfully, I was wrong. The process was repeated on my other eye before Probst told me to sit up and tell him the time. All of this was done in a span of about eight minutes, and for the first time since I was 12, I was able to see the clock -- I was floored.

It was really that simple. Aside from some slight discomfort (I mean, it's not every day your eye is stretched to its limit and zapped with a laser), there was no pain at all. Afterward I slipped on some protective eye coverings and slept the day away. Over the next couple days my vision continued to improve. Sure, my eyes were sensitive to light and needed some extra TLC that only eye drops could provide, but upkeep was surprisingly minimal.

Today, my vision is 20/20. I went from being legally blind (about a -7 in contacts) to having perfect vision, and it is nothing short of awesome. No more losing contacts in the shower. No more peeling them from my eyeball at the end of the day (ok, the end of the month). And no more paying out the gates for rewetting drops, lenses, saline solution and glasses. Yes LASIK is expensive, but so is the alternative. If you are contemplating this procedure, I say go for it. It's easy, it's painless and it's over before you know it. Oh, and it's pretty much life-changing.


Doctors to Consult Google Before Resuscitating?!

As far as search engines today, Google = God. Yes, Bing is picking up speed, but we all know Google is the mainstay for the majority of people doing a search. Google can do it all: alert you via e-mail, streamline your online purchasing, search the full text of US patents... and now it's even reaching into health records. Google's latest initiative? Google Health, which allows you to organize your medical records online. (I know a line should go between these two paragraphs, but stupid blogger won't let me!)
Given the generally unorganized state of health records today, this is one addition to the Google family I know some healthcare employees will appreciate. Users can upload documents to their Google health profile, then grant access to their caregiver. This means if there was a time you were unable to give permission for something and your family was unreachable, your doctor or nurse can login and quickly get your advance directive (aka end of life wishes).

However, how comfortable would YOU be with giving Google access to such information? Google promises confidentiality, and it goes without saying submitting these documents online is not the only way someone could obtain your records, but is this simply one more way to risk the privacy of such documents? Your two cents would be appreciated... I'm still working on wrapping my head around this one.
Image courtesy of http://www.atelier-us.com