I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve seen too much. Way too much. It happened like this. On Wednesday I got my first cataract removed and on Thursday I had to see the doctor in his office. As he told me before surgery, we see you a day, a week and a month after surgery. Sure enough.
So the technician spoke in broken English. She seemed to want me to confirm that I was there to get a contact lens taken out of my eye. “No,” I said, “I am here because I had cataract surgery yesterday.” She neither confirmed nor denied that, but began to explain the rather complicated procedure of “the putting in of the eye drops.” Instead of saying the names of the drops, they go by the colors of the tops on the wee little bottles. So I have pink tops, gray tops, yellow tops and…I forget the fourth color. These are to be put in the eye around meal time and bed time. Rather a full-job if you ask me. But I digress.
I read the eye chart and had my pressure taken and then the doctor came in. The first thing he did was, are you ready for this….take a contact out of my eye with a tweezer!
“See that mark I made above your eye with the pencil yesterday before surgery?” He asked me, conversationally.
I had made an effort to wash it off, but it remained persistently there. “Well,” he said, as if he was not a pre-eminent eye surgeon, “I scratched your eye with the pencil. I didn’t want it to irritate you, so I put a contact lens over it.” That seemed to be the end of the matter for him. I, however, write jokes, and will never be content with passing up such a gold mine.
He had been warning me about not scratching the operated eye after such delicate laser surgery.(To even turn the laser on costs well over thirteen hundred dollars, he had told me on the pre-op visit). He didn’t tell me that he couldn’t operate a number 2 pencil skillfully.
After I got home, I came up with the perfect one-liner response to him. “So I shouldn’t do anything that might scratch the eyeball myself. Instead, I should rely on a skilled professional such as yourself to do it for me!” Because, folks, that is exactly what happened.
The tag end of this story, which I called “I’ve Seen Too Much” happened in the parking lot of my Public Supermarket. Rob had run in to give them my latest prescription for eyedrops. I pulled out my purse mirror that has a magnifying side and gave myself a look. Oh. My. God. That is me????
Words cannot describe what I saw. There was an old lady looking out at me. Her eye bags had bags and her nose and cheeks were scrawled in red ink. That is what it looked like to me. Never mind that the eye doctor had penciled in something on my eyeball that shouldn’t have been there. He at least could cover that up with a temporary contact. I have to wear this face out into the world. All I can do is laugh and cry about it all again, as Leonard Cohen wrote so well. That line applies to everything, dear Leonard. In my head I am already shopping for a new pair of glasses, ones that will make me see less, not more, of myself. Is that possible? Maybe only if he uses a box of crayons the next time. I would use a color called “Youthful.” One can dream….