Not to go all woo-woo on my new readers right away, but I do love me some good metaphorical thinking. So when I went to the eye doctor this week because an injury did not seem to be healing and I discovered that I have acquired a condition known as Corneal Erosion, I wondered what this might mean for me in the realm of symbol.
I wondered, that is, after I went into a brief panic about encroaching blindness and, perhaps more importantly, the realization that my month of not wearing my contacts or eye make-up would need to continue into the indefinite future. Life-long disability I would handle with grace and aplomb, I felt sure, but walking around with a squinty little swollen red eye for the rest of my life? I crumbled into a vain heap on my bed at the thought. “I used to be cute,” I cried into my pillow.
Here’s what happened: about a month ago, I was snuggling in bed with Zoey, the terrier mutt rescue with whom I share my life (and yes, my bed). She rolled over and stretched a paw toward me and somehow managed to scrape that paw right across my eyeball. Ouch. This being 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, I did what any rational person would do: I got on Facebook to whine. My friends were reassuring and I decided to just rinse my eye out, take some ibuprofin, go to sleep and see the doctor the next day. I couldn’t get an appointment until late afternoon and when the doc arrived, he glanced at me for approximately 29 seconds before tossing (literally) a small sample bottle of antibiotic drops my way and heading out the door. I tried to ask some questions while he stood looking impatiently down the hall (how often do I take the drops, when can I wear my contacts again, do I need to come back for a follow-up, how long will it take to heal, etc.). He shrugged and said I should probably hold off a day or two on the contacts and don’t bother coming back unless I’m in extreme pain or my vision changes. I’m considering giving him an Empathy of the Year Award. So I used the drops and didn’t wear my contacts for ten days, instead of the recommended two. Then I put them back in for the Thanksgiving Holiday and woke up the Saturday after Thanksgiving with an eye swollen shut and goopy and very red. Somehow, I decided this did not merit a trip back to the doctor since the eye looked a little better by Monday. But when another two weeks passed and I still looked hungover every morning, I decided to return. I got a different doctor this time, who actually took some time to look at my eye and then declared with Some Concern that I had developed Corneal Erosion which would likely become a recurrent problem that would plague me for the rest of my life. I’m thinking I’ll give that doctor the Reassurance of the Year Award.
So I spent a day letting my vanity and imagination have its way with me. In the midst of my pondering, I got this smudged but timely post-card in the mail:
The postcard came from me. I sent it to myself in September when I attended a big hoop-te-do with Oprah, which was really pretty great, but that’s for another post. It made me stop and think, “Hmmm, I wonder what this all means? Does the universe have a grand vision for me? And if so, will I be able to see it now that my cornea is crumbling?”
The thing is, I actually did have a sense of vision for my life earlier this fall. I was feeling stable and secure in ways that I had not felt for several years and as my only child had just left home, new time opened up in front of me. I started to get a picture of the next phase of my life. Energy bubbled up. Joy shimmered through my days.
Then the guy I loved walked out of my life with-whoosh-a scrape across the cornea of my heart. And all that clarity walked right out with him. I felt all squinty and blurry. Nothing came into focus very well. My vision eroded.
So then my dog paws me in the eye and Oprah sends me a postcard. And I think, OK, so I can’t see as clearly as I used to. So my vision is a little lop-sided. So the injury is still with me. So I’m healing. So what? Make a move. Be bold. If you have to drive into the future with one eye closed, do it.
I don’t need to have the whole vision. I just have to trust that Somebody or Something does. My BFF reminds me, “This is the season of miracles, Laura. More Light is coming.” Come on, Solstice! Come on, Chanukah lamps! Come on, Baby Christ! My eye may be shot, but I’m still willing to see what I can see. Light the way.