I couldn’t find a picture of an eyeball in my files so here’s my son doing an impression of me without my glasses (from a few years ago).
I’ll start this ball rolling by stating that I am blind as a bat if bats didn’t use echolocation. It all started when I was 10 years-old. My eyes decided they didn’t like me anymore and that I needed to learn the meaning of myopia. Here’s a hint. Webster’s defines it as “humiliating slow death”. When you’re a ten year-old boy and you suddenly can’t see the board at school and then you have to wear glasses… Well, OK it wasn’t that
bad. I always had style so my glasses were pretty fashionable. The real downside was that my condition meant my eyes would get worse for a long time before leveling off. I’m that guy who can’t read the “E” at the top of the chart.
By the time I reached 25 I had grown less fearful of contact lenses and the associated touching of my eyeballs required to wear them. And since then I’ve pretty much been a contacts guy, wearing my specs occasionally during the day and every single night. I also have dry eyes. Could it get any worse? It just means that I cannot under any circumstances fall asleep or otherwise close my eyes for more than a minute with my contacts in place or they’ll adhere to my corneas.
Guess what happened two nights ago.
If you guessed that I fell asleep then you’re wrong and I’m just as baffled as you as to how I ended up with a corneal abrasion. Trust me, I’ve done it before. It’s no joke. Painful as all get out and you have to use antibiotic drops for a week.
“It’s really amazing how the eye functions.”
But something happened the other night because when I woke up yesterday morning I would have sworn I had pinkeye. It was gross. I decided to chance going to work. You see, teachers really can’t miss the first few days. It’s considered bad form or something. I wasn’t too far off the mark either. The left eye never turned red and the right eye, given some time, started to feel a little less like a knife was being shoved into it.
To be on the safe side and since it did still hurt a bit this morning, I called the doctor and went in after work.
It turns out that yours truly has not a corneal abrasion but a corneal infiltration. When the doctor told me that I blanked out for a moment while envisioning a microscopic band of Goths with a trebuchet advancing toward my eye. It was funny so I laughed. The doctor didn’t get it.
“How’d that happen?” I asked as he was writing out a script for the same antibiotic drops I already mentioned. Apparently they’re multipurpose.
“Could be any number of things,” he responded. “All I know is that something ‘got in there‘ that shouldn’t have been and this is how the eye reacts. It’s really amazing how the eye functions,” he went on as if to justify his degree in optometry.
I could have cared less. For in my mind I knew what it was that intruded in my ocular safe zone.
Have you ever had something really embarrassing happen to you that maybe you were the cause of but it was so funny you had to share it even though it meant you would bring ridicule upon yourself? No? OK, have you ever written a blog and needed a funny story? Work with me people!
Last Thursday night our home’s plumbing system essentially exploded. The ultimate cause, as we found out the next morning thanks to a $200 plumber visit, was a clogged sewer line. But in the moment my wife and I had to deal with a lot of things happening all at once in our peaceful home. Two toilets backed up simultaneously as well as a shower, the main AC unit, and the washer. What a mess. We got it cleaned up as best we could before sending the kids to Granny’s for the night, washing ourselves up, and settling into bed.
It’s that “washing ourselves up” part that plays a big role here. You see, I stood at my sink, exhausted, disgusted from having just been in contact with raw sewage, and did I mention exhausted? Yeah, I was tired as hell. I took my contacts out after thoroughly washing my face and hands. All was fine. I placed the contact case on the counter (which I had bleached). Took the right contact out, poured solution in. Took the left contact. As I attempted to place it in the case, I knocked the whole uncovered case off the sink. The case hit the floor, the right contact hit the toilet. It landed on the edge, not falling in. OK, don’t even judge me. I hate you right now. You would have done the same.
Having run out of contacts, I knew I couldn’t afford to lose this pair.
Also I was tired as hell. Haven’t you been paying attention?
I picked the contact up, washed it in solution in the palm of my hand, and placed it in the case.
All was right with the world.
And at that moment this afternoon in the doctor’s office when he said “something got in there…” I knew what that something was.
Oh dear Lord… I think my eyeball came in contact with human shit.
I, of course, could never reveal this to the doctor – though I’m revealing it to the world right now.
“Wonder what it could’ve been, doc…” I said, trailing my voice off just enough to indicate that I might have actually known.
Look, I’m a dad. I’ve been puked on in the face. This, by comparison, is no big deal.
I drove home a little sick to my stomach. The past is done. It cannot be undone. I can never go back in time to a moment when my eyeball hadn’t touched minute traces of feces.
On my drive home, though, I thought of something.
At least I know the OCD germ-warriors in my life aren’t joking. AND, I’ll have one hell of a story to tell.