Damnit! I should never have written that story about 3D glasses. Now Cyclops, the god of corneas, has vehemently expressed his displeasure.
You see, I used to wear glasses of the Extremely Correctional kind. But three years ago I had laser surgery, and bingo! My naked eyes could suddenly make out individual leaves on trees that were way over there.So when I went to a 3D movie the other week, I slid the cinema glasses onto my nose easily and contentedly watched the movie in sharp resolution.
If only I’d written about how elated I felt at not having to do that anymore or how thrilled I was by the clarity of my new 3D experience. Perhaps Cyclops would have been appeased.
But since I tapped out that ludicrous tale without a hint of such gratitude, I have clearly invited his wrath.
Four days after that post, he struck me with a terrible eyeball malady.
It began in the morning with a constant gritty itch in my right eye. I put in some eyedrops to wash the irritation away. But it didn’t go anywhere.
I kept looking in the mirror, expecting to find an eyelash. Or dust. Or particulate matter from some long-exploded star. But I couldn’t find anything, and the irritation kept getting worse.And worse.Come lunchtime, it was so bad I went to the doctor, hoping he might be able to flush out the mystery irritant.
He put in more drops, and without warning, the whole world turned yellow.
Then the eyedrops started leaking out my nose. I didn’t realise this at the time. I thought it was just a watery drip brought on by all the other irritation going on in the general area.
The doctor was still examining me under his huge magnifying lens and I couldn’t grab a tissue. So I opted for a sneaky little nose-blot with my sleeve.That’s how I realised the nose-drip was actually eyedrops.I was still cursing my stupidity when the doctor told me to go to the eye hospital.
I had an important appointment that afternoon and told him I’d go after that.
He explained that he’d found what looked like a “dendritic ulcer” – an indication that I might have herpes. In my eye.
The doctor explained that a typical scratch on the cornea would be a fairly clean line, but mine had lots of little branches on it – characteristic of eyeball herpes.
At this stage my eyes must have bulged under the strain of remaining composed, because he added that he couldn’t be sure – he didn’t have the specialised equipment to view my eye properly. Again, he firmly encouraged me to go straight to the eye hospital.
Then he wrote a referral, put a stupid big patch on my eye (not even a cool piratey one) and sent me off on my mission. On the train on my way to the eye hospital, I googled “herpes” and “eye”. It turned out that the offending virus is the one that causes cold sores on your lips, not the one that creates problems in your pants.
Still, that was no consolation when I read that 10 per cent of sufferers will lose their sight from it. And the remaining 90 per cent will retain sight that might just make the grade for a driver’s licence.
On top of this, herpes doesn’t go away. It remains dormant in your body forever – except for the notable occasions when it decides to come out and party some more, causing further damage to your eye.
So 75 per cent of me was now thinking, I’m fine, just another one of those false alarms my body throws at me, where it threatens a Really Serious Ailment, but turns out to be Just Kidding.
Like the tiny little melanoma that could have been fatal if I’d nurtured it to maturity – but since we nabbed it in infancy, only resulted in annual appointments with the skin specialist for the next decade. Or the virus of “unknown etiology” that incited an emergency tracheostomy, then slunk off never to return.
As tedious as this was, it helped calm me down.
Finally I saw a technician, then an ophthalmologist – both of whom made reassuring noises and prodded my eyeball some more. They put in some dilatory drops that felt like a razorblade slashing my eye jelly.
Then they were done – sending me off with a tube of antibiotic cream and some bored words about a slightly infected abrasion. Two hundred dollars poorer, and a hell of a lot sorer from all of the foreign substances and poking.