knife in the eye

Monday, my son and I spent the day hanging out at the hospital for his outpatient eye surgery. I hate the hassle of hospitals and medical procedures, but if you can’t avoid it, then UVA is a fabulous place. Everything was super organized, and the staff was so friendly. Towards the end of our day, I emerged from my son’s recovery room to stretch my legs. One of the employees spied me yawning and said, “Are you the driver? Would you like some caffeine?” And then she scampered off, returning a minute later with an ice-cold can of coke and a straw tucked into a brown paper bag. It’s the little things…

They now have these hospital gowns that can be hooked up to little vacuum hose-type nozzles that connect to the wall and blow either hot or cold air into the gown. All morning my son had been cold and suddenly he was comfy-cozy. He thought they were a hoot.

And then they rolled him off to surgery.

When I next saw him, he was no longer laughing.

I found the contrast hilarious.

Everyone had said his eye would feel scratchy, like he had dirt in it, but my son said the pain was sharp and stabbing. Every time he moved his eye, it hurt. So he laid there like a blind person and I spoon-fed him ice chips.

“On a scale of one to ten, what’s your pain?” the nurse asked.

“Five,” my son mumbled.

The nurse paused, considering.

“For him, that’s kind of high,” I said. “When he broke his back, he only went up to a seven or eight.” 

“Getting the painkillers right now,” and out the door the nurse zipped.

Every thirty minutes or so, a nurse would ask him his name and date of birth. Eventually, weary of the routine, my son snarked, “Sir Henry the Sixth.” My boy was waking up.

The surgery went fine (or so I assume—the check-up will be in a week or two). The doctor cut an eye muscle—the one opposite the damaged muscle—in order to balance out the wackiness. We took off the bandage this morning, and his eyes appear more even keel.

He’s still seeing double, though, and it’s worse than normal. But that means nothing. If someone just stuck a knife in my eye, I’d be seeing double, too.

This same time, years previous: the end, gingerbread, dam good blackberry pie, and down in the peach pits.


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