Sunday, November 11, 2012

and playing the role of Anne Sullivan...

Just to keep you up to date, I have this eye thing - apparently, at some point I injured my eye, and since I have dry eyes to begin with, I have whats call a recurring corneal erosion. Basically, that means every once in a while, since my cornea never really healed correctly, it catches on the inside of my eyelid and tears open. Which sucks. A lot.
A couple of weeks ago, at around 5:00 on a Tuesday morning,it happened again. The eye doctor who I have been seeing told me that if it happens again, I should just go right to Wills Eye in Philly instead of coming in because there wasn't much more they could do, although I suspect she was just getting tired of seeing me. So I stewed about it for a while, put on my work clothes, and by 8:00 gave in and decided to go. I made the 8:41 train, and rode into Philly all red eyed and weepy.
It was a relief to be there, to be honest, because eye pain blows, and I just wanted someone to fix it. When I finally got in, the doctor peered into my eyeball for a while, put some eye drops in, and poked at it. "so the reason your doctor told you to come down here," she said, with her two fully functional eyes, "is that the way we treat this is with a pretty short procedure."
"Yaa! I love eye procedures!!! Can you do it without painkillers? Can you use a knife covered in smoked salt and lemon juice?", are a bunch of things I didn't say. It turns out, the plan was to cut off the injured third of my cornea, so that I would grow back a new one instead of trying to have the flap of torn cornea just reattaching itself. Which sounded terrible. To make matters worse, she started pulling all sorts of probes and tweezers out of the drawers. "OK, ready?".
Um, no, not really. I assumed, I guess, that she would have strapped my head down to something, and had a crash cart at the ready. But no, she was just going to cut that baby out of there and go on with her day. "OK, lets chop that be-atch out. I'm meeting my college roommate for Ethiopian food at noon."
She didn't really say that. In my head she did. In my head I was saying a lot of things to her too, the majority of which I won't repeat. Regardless, even though my left, working eye was sort of squinted with a look of scepticism and annoyance, she dove right in. Well, it wasn't really a dive, it was more of a slow calculated poke - and to spare you the spine tingling details, she put in some numbing drops and spent the next ten minutes cutting out a piece of my eye while I got to watch, really, really close up. It just sucked, and sucked doesn't even really cover it, but I can't come up with a better word for it. To add to the joy of it all, when I was done I had to sit in a dark room and wait for another doctor to come and look at it while the numbing drops wore off. Finally, in a new an exhilarating sort of pain that started on the tip of my eye and went all the way down to the tiniest little hairs on my toes, they let me leave.
So I walked out, into the day, and immediately knew I was in trouble. In the dim light of the hospital I was coping pretty well, but out in the world, with the drops worn off, I was an orphaned baby squirrel.
The first thing I noticed, as I walked out of the shaded overhang of the building, was that I was almost completely blind. My right eye was completely useless, and my left eye was dilated and tearing out of sympathy for the other eye - and the sun was so painful I had could only open it the tiniest bit. For a minute, I wasn't entirely sure what to do. I didn't really want to go back in, and I figured I could find my way to the train station since it was only three blocks up and three blocks over... So I casually stretched my hand out, found the side of the building, and started walking. Easy.
As soon as I got to the first intersection, I discovered the flaw in my plan. Walking along a wall was one thing, but when I got to the first intersection I ran out of wall, couldn't see the traffic lights, and couldn't see the oncoming traffic. I could see, however, the butt and legs of a guy in front of me waiting at the intersection, so I just waited for the butt and legs to cross, and figured if I got hit by something, we'd get hit together. This worked for the first few intersections, until I got to the fourth corner and found it empty... I toyed with a few ideas, the most plausible of which was trying to blindly construct a zip line out of the items in my backpack, when I noticed a skirt and some dark blue high heels come into view and walk quickly into the road. I followed, thinking the whole way that whoever this person is must have noticed me keeping my left eye glued onto her ass as we walked into the street together.
I made the six blocks unscathed in about half an hour, but by the time I got to the train station, my right eye was tearing so intensely it ceased being tears and was more like a running faucet, which left a growing wet spot on the front of my shirt (and a couple of strategically placed wet spots on my crotch) and gave me a runny nose. In my limited field of vision, I noticed that the normally indifferent crowd in the Market East station had started to move out of my way as I passed, I assume because I looked like a new brand of crazy they hadn't encountered yet.
Two escalators down, I made it to the track level, and remembered how many trains come through there - mostly because it occurred to me I didn't know what time to get on what train... and I couldn't read the lit up train schedule board, the tiny print of the train schedule, or the lit up screen on my phone. Like I said, baby squirrel. Luckily, there is a service desk down there, so I went up to find out my train info, but couldn't seem to get that out either, because what I said was something along the lines of "Can you tell me when the R5 comes and what track I should get on, because I got a schedule, but I can't read. Well, I can read, but I just can't read right now. I mean, I can always read, but I just had this eye thing and now I can't see. I mean I can see, because I can see you, but I can't read because I can't really see. I can usually read."
Apparently, this sort of thing happens all the time, because although I was rambling on about my extensive reading experience with my runny nose, one mostly closed eye that was letting out a constant stream of tears and the other eye still so completely dilated that for the brief moments when I actually could open it, it looked like you could stare directly into my colon - she seemed completely unfazed. "1:41 on track 4," she said, "you just missed it. The next one is on track 4 at 2:12. Please stop crying on my desk."
Miraculously, I made it on to the train without falling on to the third rail, and found a seat that wasn't someones lap. Someone on the train knew me too, which was nice, because at some point a six foot tall blur said to me "Joe! Nice to see you, it's been a long time!". "You too, buddy," I said, "we should totally get together, give me a call..." So far, I haven't gotten that call, so they may or may not have been talking to me.
But I made it home, successfully found the right key and opened the door, and here I am. It's better, I'm a little blurry, but that'll change. I have a new appreciation for pirates, Sandy Duncan, Peter Falk and Sammy Davis, Jr. though. And cyclops.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Crying right now. Just crying.

Clicky Web Analytics