You know how it is when you’re high and dry for something to write about, then you stumble across something somebody else wrote, which jogs your memory about something you’d been trying like hell to forget?
Well, that happened to me today when I was reading a future bride’s blog about the need to get contact lenses because she doesn’t want to wear glasses at her engagement party. Apparently, glasses don’t go well with a sari, and never having worn a sari myself, I have to take her word for it.
But one thing I could identify with was hating to put stuff in my eyes, and it was her post about all the flinching and twitching she did while trying to insert contact lenses that had me thinking back to 2005 and a surgical procedure I had on my eyelid.
Fortunately, I jotted down the details about that incident shortly after it happened. The story became part of our family Christmas letter that year (yes, my family Christmas letters are nothing like your family Christmas letters), so I was able to track down the old file and relive the horror.
I had something called a chalazion in my eyelid, which felt like a grain of sand scratching the surface of my eye every time I blinked. From my old Christmas letter, here’s what happened next:
You won’t find pictures like these in just any Christmas newsletter, folks, and let me tell you, it feels worse than it looks, and you’re wide awake with a ringside seat for the whole thing. Let me describe the procedure for you.
First comes the needle full of Novocain in the eyelid. The doctor told me not to move or he’d put the needle right through my eyeball, so I just sort of gripped the edges of the table and screamed silently to myself.
Next, the doctor brought out a medieval torture device that was inserted under my eyelid, which was then rolled up — like peeling a grape — exposing the juicy pink underside that was never meant to be seen. At this point there is no escape, and I was left staring at a light 10 times brighter than the sun, with no way to blink.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, we moved to the next phase. Tears and blood ran down my face as the doctor took cold steel and cut out the offending tissue. When that was done, he whistled for the hot irons, and the nurse wheeled over a little cart so the doctor could cauterize the wound. It was neat to watch the smoke curling up from my own eyelid, and there was that smell of burning flesh, and a sputtering sound like bacon frying on Sunday morning.
Once I was branded to his satisfaction, the doctor released the clamp, and my eyelid rolled up with that thwack-thwack-thwack noise like a window shade that’s been let go. He bandaged my eye and told me not to remove the gauze for 24 hours. I wanted to cry, but decided that would probably hurt, make my bandages wet, and I’d probably get gangrene, so I bucked up, bit my lip and tried to make do with several shuddering intakes of breath.
After about five minutes, the nurse came back and asked one of the all-time stupidest questions I’ve ever heard. “Well, how do you feel?” she chirped. “Just swell,” I replied, and she sent me home to suffer.
Fortunately, I haven’t had a recurrence of any chalazions. I certainly don’t recommend ’em, and this is one case where the cure just might be worse than the disease. That needle of Novocaine in the eyelid is a real come-to-Jesus moment, let me tell you, one that I hope you will never have to endure!