Last month, before going to bed one night, I felt a slight discomfort after taking my right contact out. There was very little pain, but just enough that I said something along the line of “owchies!” and took note of it before going to sleep. Nothing out of the ordinary.
I woke up at 6AM and could not open my eye, which was not ordinary.
I actually couldn’t open my left eye either. When I forced my left eye open to try to see, it felt as if a thousand piranhas were eating away at my right eye.
It was not pleasant, to say the least. I said many things, much much worse than “owchies!”
I ran back to bed, wrapping a blanket around my head (so as to escape any form of light) and, naturally, assumed the fetal position.
I laid there for a while, but when tears streamed out of my eye, I actually turned on the light (voluntarily dealing with the pain it produced) in order to verify that it was water coming out of my eye and not blood.
It hurt that bad.
Being not quite sure what the hell had happened to my eye, and equally unsure of how to proceed with my life, I did what any independent twenty-six year old male would do.
I called my mommy.
I remembered that my mom scratched her cornea with a tree branch while raking leaves. I figured that she would be the best person to call in such a crisis. Plus, she’s my mom. And there’s nobody better to provide comfort in trying times than your mother.
Or so I thought.
I was tired, confused, and frightened, so my memory might be a bit groggy, but after explaining the situation, here is her to-do list diagnosis.
“Don’t scratch it…”
No problem. It doesn’t itch.
“Put a warm washcloth on your eye…”
“Don’t use the washcloth on the other eye in case it is an infection…”
Okay, good tip. This “infection” word worries me, though. Heh heh.
“If it is an infection, you’ll need to get an antibiotic…”
Okay… still not liking this whole infection talk, mom… starting to worr-
“…Or else you could lose your eye.”
I understand that my mom was only trying to help, but at this point in my morning, I don’t need to hear the worst possible outcome of my fresh, brand new ailment.
It’s like when I go to the movies, I don’t need somebody to tell me the fact that the main character could die. This is something that I know is possible. When you randomly put this idea in my head, it kind of ruins the movie for me, ya know? Is he going to die now? How about now? I wonder if a bomb is going to go off now. At the end, when the character dies, I am disappointed that I wasn’t surprised. But when the character lives, morbidly I am equally disappointed.
Of course, I will never be disappointed to not lose my eye. But the point I’m trying to make is the fact that my mom gave me a wonderful prescription and directions, but the warning was something that was entirely unnecessary and not well received.
So I hung up with her, my dad promising to call from work to see if I felt better in an hour or two.
I laid in bed, warm washcloth strictly segregated to the right side of my head.
I laid there, eyes (obviously) closed. Thinking.
Thinking about my eye, and how much I loved it. Wondering if it knew how much I loved it. Wishing I told it I loved it every night. Devoting myself to telling it how much I loved it every night henceforth, so long as it survived this catastrophe. Wondering if my left eye would pull this same shit out of jealousy, should I only tell me right eye that I love it every night.
I thought about how much better I felt about the whole situation before picking up the phone.
I thought about the ticking seconds that I was wasting, just laying there.
I was seeing some weird black and white shapes, laying there with my eyes closed. But even more clearly I was able to see things with stunning clarity and recollection. I saw Future Youngman, fifty years from now. I was an old man with an eye patch, and there were small children running away from me in fear. Future Youngman raised his fists to the heavens, cursing Past Youngman (aka Present Youngman) for laying there in a bed when he should have been running to the doctor.
Then I saw all the eye deformities that I had seen at the Mütter Museum, where I had gone two weeks before on a date. The Mütter Museum is dedicated to medical oddities, and contains pathological and anatomical specimens as well as wax models of other deformities. The section, which I was vividly seeing again in my mind shows fifty or so eye deformities. Here are some:
The toothpick-in-the-eye (bottom, center) is the one I thought of the most, because it was the way I currently felt.
The one good thing about thinking about the Mütter Museum was that for about one minute I didn’t think about my eye, or potential lack thereof. Instead, I thought about the fact that I am doomed to fail in the dating world because of the fact that I take girls on dates to museums that display grotesque medical deformities.
So that was a nice reprieve. [Continued…]
Onward to Part II!