I just got back from up north where I had surgery on my right eye. As I sit here, I am blind as a bat in that eye. Driving home one-eyed was an interesting and sometimes exciting experience.
There is no need to go into the details of the surgery. Suffice it to say that the doctor put a gas bubble inside my eye and told me that I had to spend the following six days in a face-down position. As near as I can tell, the gas bubble is supposed to press against the retina, smoothing and stabilizing it while it heals.
The face-down period is finished, hence the interesting, one-eyed drive home. There wasn’t much danger that I would look up during those days, except for brief moments while drops were administered to the eye. I am compliant by nature. There isn’t much rebellion in me. Besides, the most serious consequence of not maintaining the face-down position was blindness.
I can’t quite put my finger on the indelicate joke, but it must have something to do with my eye having gas and something about the risk of blindness. The juxtaposition of gas and possible blindness somehow appeals to the juvenile mind. We are all probably better off if I just let it go.
Maintaining a face-down position for six days and nights was challenging. My best success was when I sat in a chair, leaned my head forward until I was facing the floor, then rested my head on the padded end of one of my walking sticks. About all I saw of people was their feet.
We were at our daughter’s place during all of this. There were lots of people in and out. I didn’t see any of them. Later, they showed me a picture on the cover of a golfing publication. The picture was of a beautiful Asian girl who has been Utah’s most outstanding female golfer two years in a row. She had been there visiting for an hour or two. They neglected to introduce us. But there was a lot going on. They told me that she was barefoot while in the house. I would like to have met her feet.
One thing I could do in the face-down position was read. I read three Dean Koontz novels while I was there, plus a bunch of other stuff. The family took me with them while they ran errands a few times. I could sit face down in the car as easily as at the house.
To tell the truth, there was an overriding feeling of being old. I make jokes about being an old guy, but when I was the guy in the corner, sipping drinks from a straw because I couldn’t lift my head, and people spoke of me in the third person, I began to feel like my father when he was old.
We had a conversation about whether it would be better to be blind, never having seen, or better to be blind after having seen. Clearly, it would be better to be blind after having seen everything possible. As I thought about being blind the picture of a magpie came into my mind’s eye. I don’t know why. I guess once you have seen magpies you have seen it all.
I don’t know how long it will be before I can see clearly out of the repaired eye. Weeks at least. But I wasn’t seeing all that well out of it before they fixed it.
I don’t think the gas in my eye is toxic, so even if it escaped I don’t see how it could cause blindness.