Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Great Eye Adventure
Friday morning marked my big appointment at the Krieger Eye Institute in Baltimore where I would receive the all important follow-up visit. After getting lost in the world's largest hospital basement for nearly twenty five minutes, I swallowed my pride and asked for directions. In perfect form I was led right back to where I started. My final destination was ten feet from where I started.
After checking into the Eye clinic I waited patiently in the sitting area. After reading several boring magazines my name was called, and off I went. After a brief initial exam the doctor came in and began working over my eyes. Many of the tests were the usual ones you expect at the eye doctor, including my least favorite where they test eye pressure (the one where they keep moving a cone closer and closer to your eye until you think it might poke it out). The doctor seemed quite pleased with my progress and said I was in great shape. Of course he also insisted in dilating my pupils. After putting some eye drops in he sent me out to the waiting room for ten minutes. Apparently if you are fair skinned and light eyed, eye drops work faster.
As my eyes began to dilate my close-up vision became horrible at best. I could no longer read my phone. As hard as I tried I could not read a magazine headline, one text message on my phone, or even keypad of my phone. After a quick look I was sent on my way and that is where the fun began. With my sunglasses on I made my way to the parking garage as I was too stupid to have someone pick me up. The garage was one of those where you insert you ticket into the vending machine and pay before you go back to the car. My first problem was that I could not read one thing on the machine. After ten minutes of staring at it and trying to figure out what to do I began to panic, wondering what I was going to do. I could not see. Nowhere in my mind did it occur to me that if I could not see the machine, perhaps I should reconsider driving.
Then as if sent from heaven a parking garage attendant came by. I stopped and said "excuse me miss, I cannot see anything and cannot even figure out where to put the ticket, how to pay or anything. I can't see any of the buttons. Can you help me?"
She kindly assisted me as I could not see anything within one arm's length.
I made my way back to the car, buckled up and began backing out. As I did someone rudely honked. There must have been many rude people that morning who were not watching where they were going because people kept honking at me. I of course waved and kept on going. As I made my way to leave I handed the parking attendant the ticket. It was the same girl who helped me with the machine. For some strange reason she asked me how I was feeling, if I felt okay to drive, how far I needed to go... It was very nice that the parking garage checks on all their customers well being.
After a few minutes I made my way back to the seminary, after stopping at the pharmacy and having the cashiers help me find what I was looking for. Maryland is a nice state and the cashiers were very kind to ask me if I needed to be directed to my ride. I said, no worries I am driving.
When I arrived back at the seminary I was just in time for Mass. Everyone was seated and ready to begin. I made my inconspicuous entrance down the main aisle. I did not think anything of it, but it did seem like everyone was looking at me. I sat down in my seat, adjusted my sunglasses and shut my eyes. Throughout most of the Mass I had my eyes closed which was fine. The only awkward part came when it was time to stand for the Gospel. The way the chapel is set up we all turn 90 degrees to the left when the priest prays over the deacon. The deacon then walks to the other side of the church, and we all turn 180 degrees in the other direction to the place where the deacon proclaims the Gospel. I stood and faced the celebrant when the alleluia was proclaimed. My eyes were still closed, despite my standing, when I heard the Deacon begin to read. It was precisely then, that to my horror, I realized I was facing one direction and the entire congregation was facing the other.
After a Mass and a few hours of rest my eyes began to slowly get better.
I was relieved to hear that in my absence my kind friends were getting a charge out of the possibility of my needing to where an eye patch. Earlier that morning I was scheduled to do a big reading of the bible for a public speaking class. I had promised them that if I got the patch I would read in "pirate." They apparently loved the idea and were cheering for an eye patch (without really wanting any harm, etc...) in hopes that I would have to begin my reading by saying "arghhhhhhhh reading from Saint Paul's letter to the Corinthians..."
I neither confirm nor deny that I wore sunglasses to my last class of the day and shut my eyes underneath them and took a nap...
In the end I am most grateful for my sight, for the medical care I received and for a painful experience which could have been much worse.
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