When I was growing up I was one of those kids who didn’t like to miss school. I feared falling behind and or worse yet, missing out on something. It didn’t matter if we were going on a family vacation, taking a trip to Disneyland or going for a routine check-up to the orthodontist, I did not like to miss school. And I absolutely hated it when I got sick. Most often I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t sick and on the rare days when I was actually a sneezing-coughing-running nose kid and beyond the point of self-deception, I would bargain with my parents to let me go to school for half a day.
Some things never change.
I still don’t like to miss school. And I still try and convince myself that I don’t get sick. I figure if I am going to take a day off work, then I want it to it be one of those sunny-lie-by-the-beach, visit-good-friends type of days. I hate, HATE taking sick days, when I am actually sick.
But today I gave in. I called the district sub line at 6:25am and requested a sub. My left eye had been bothering me all night and it was not any better. So with a red-watery eye, I laid in my bed moaning from the pain and discomfort. The doctor’s office didn’t open until 9:00. I couldn’t see out of the one eye and it felt like someone was scraping my eyeball with a piece of glass. And perhaps, the worst part was I couldn’t do anything about it.
I spent those first three hours just mad—I was mad at my eye, mad at the doctor and mad that I had to miss school. I couldn’t read or watch a movie or journal or go for a walk- all things I would happily do on a “day off.” No, instead I had to just lie there, with my eyes closed because any bit of light caused excruciating pain. I had to lie there and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was like some cruel joke.
I was humbled; humbled by my weakness and my inability to do anything.
Maybe this is what it takes sometimes for me to stop and pay attention and slow down. As I lay there I prayed. I selfishly prayed for healing (because lets be honest, its hard to pray for anything but yourself when you want to tear out your own eye). I prayed for people who are hurting in Santa Barbara and our country. I prayed for men and women and innocent children in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine– they are hurting in ways that I will never know. I laid there and dozed on and off, in-between prayer and restless sleep.
Two doctor’s visits, two separate co-pays and two trips to the pharmacy later (thank you, to the American insurance bureaucracy) I was diagnosed with a scratch on my cornea. My eye didn’t get immediately better, but my perspectives on the day did. For one the doctor gave me these glorious numbing drops that stopped the pain and then he recommend I wear a patch to keep out the light! All in all I am pretty impressed with modern medicine and the fact that some magnifying machine can look into my eye and see tiny scratches and infections. I was not however so impressed with the patch idea. But I’ve learned I can’t really negotiate or argue with doctors. If they say wear a patch, then I will wear a patch…ever so reluctantly.
I am sure I looked ridiculous with my black, pirate patch plastered over one eye. I sat in a coffee shop with my black looking pirate patch, I walked to the grocery store with the black object still there and I even did a little shopping at Ross complete with my black, pirate piece. Pretty soon I just started ignoring the blank, empathetic (or maybe slightly concerned) stares. I pretended no one else noticed : )
I did feel much better after my incredibly culturally savvy sister reminded me that this same thing happened to Monica on Friends. Maybe Monica and I have more in common then I’d like to admit. I mean c’mon she doesn’t look that bad with her eye patch on, right?
Hopefully, tomorrow I will be back at work…without an eye patch!