It’s a ritual before bedtime.
Now running for 14 months.
I stand in front of the bathroom mirror.
Take a deep breath.
Raise my left hand to pull down the lower left lid,
Raise my right hand to apply a thin stream of the prophylactic.
And if I had a third hand (and was a Believer),
I would make the sign of the cross, look to the heavens, and whisper:
Work your magic. Please.
Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment.
40% cheaper than the Name brand.
Found and bought on Amazon.
Produced in Lake Forest, Illinois by some unknown bucket shop.
You are one strange dude. You don’t think twice about the risk of a no-name eyeball lube bought on the web but refuse to buy generic Raisin Bran cereal at your local Stop ‘n Shop.
Apply every 3 to 4 hours, or as directed by Doctor.
Ophthalmologist’s instructions were nightly. And nightly it is.
For temporary relief of corneal edema.
edema: the collection of excess of watery fluid.
But that’s not the real pain point.
the eye lid clamps with an air-lock seal on the cornea,
not permitting the normal lubrication that occurs in functioning apparatus.
And in the morning, on the occasion when the lube job fails,
I peal (tear) the eye lid from the cornea
and water explodes from the socket.
The eye grimaces at any form of light after a bad outcome.
Pain shoots through eye surface areas where the skin was torn away.
And miracle tears flood the area offering a modicum of salvation from the spear.
I sit in darkness for 30 minutes waiting for It to pass.
And relief typically arrives.
With light tremors and after shocks lingering for minutes, and up to 8 hours, on a bad day.
The silver lining:
In the mornings with bad outcomes,
I now have forced meditation for 30 minutes.
No laptops, no smartphones, no books.
Just me. My breath. And a yearning for a good outcome.
Back to the nightly ritual.
Too little lube = bad outcome.
Not evenly applied = bad outcome.
Turn too soon to left side and it pools left under lid = bad outcome.
Lay flay on back and let it distribute = even chance of success.
It’s almost bedtime.
Here’s to good outcomes.
Photograph: Daniel Wildi