When we last saw our heroine, she was at the end of her patience with a surgical scheduler who had clearly been mainlining Perky Pills.
It gets better.
You may or may not know the cataract drill. They come in and drench your eye with three rounds of five drops, so that after a half hour or so your pupil is dilated to roughly the diameter of a basketball hoop. Then they stick in an IV line, and then you wait behind the curtain, in this case listening to another patient narrating a lengthy, inane anecdote at just enough volume to upend your thought processes and hearing the nurses at the end of the waiting area asking if there have been any “sightings” of your surgeon (quotha).
The anesthesiologist warned me that I might be more aware of things this time. I need to find him and have a talk.
Remember the redheads and anesthesia thing? We need more and it’s slower to take? Wait for it: This time the pain drug didn’t kick in. AT ALL.
The first eye, while not the “mini-vacation” I was promised, was a painless, intriguing little adventure. I actually prefer to be as aware as practical during a surgery; I don’t trust doctors. And I didn’t really mind being aware this time of having my head duct-taped to the table (that peeling sound), or my eyelids taped, although when it came to the kind of rubber frammis they insert to keep your eye definitively open, I could have given it a miss. “You’re going to see colors and shapes,” said the surgeon.
Then he cut.
And I felt every bit of it.
I can state with confidence that I recall the point which represented the corneal border incision, the pressure involved in macerating the spoiled lens and the frantic spasming of all my eye-related muscles saying GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, the squicky feeling that was probably the tissue being hydraulically flushed out, and the bruising sensation which I imagine was the prosthetic lens going in (another nasty cramp). “That actually hurts a lot,” I heard myself say distinctly with eerie equanimity, because while I was not numb, I was at least sort of sedated. It was like having cramps in the days before Ibuprofen. “Antibiotic,” said the surgeon without responding to me. And I’m pretty sure he shot it right into my eyeball.
The pain stopped about twenty minutes after they wheeled me down to the car. I don’t know if that was just because it stopped or possibly the drug started to finally kick in.
We had three hours to kill before an in-office check fifteen minutes away. The Engineer found a park on the local map on his phone, and propped me up for a rubber-kneed slow walk up and down a short loop trail, trying to blow off the goofy juice.
At the end of the trail we emerged from scrub vegetation and beheld this:
Three vultures. I think that was a rabbit carcass.
“What the fuck,” I said. “Any day the vultures aren’t interested in you is a good day.”
We drove over to the office and an optometrist peered in my eye and pronounced it good, then put in some numbing drops to test the pressure. She waited for the drug to take effect.
How’s your week going?