The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

08 April 2011

The eyes have it

Isn't it funny (in a sad sort of way) how self-centered we are?  I should speak for myself I suppose - don't you find it funny (in a sad sort of way) how self-centered I am?  I blather on and on about myself, what I've done, what's been done to me, how my nephews are the cutest and smartest little people you'll ever come across (because they're my nephews, of course), my insightful ideas about all things and so on. You get the idea. 

The strength of my self-interest was made clear to me yesterday during a visit to an eye doctor.  I've been squidgy about eyeballs since I was a very small person. I had eye surgeries and many eye appointments with much poking and prodding.  Eyes may be the window to the soul, but they are a window I'd rather not have too up close and personal, thank you very much.  I get tense during eye exams when you're asked to voluntarily put your face into a medieval torture device like contraption while various instruments approach your eyes, expelling puffs of air, or beaming bright lights.  I once pushed an eye doctor away with enough force to roll his chair back when he got too close and I panicked.  I don't like scenes in movies where someone's eyes are taped open, or crime dramas on tv that show close ups of eyeballs, or pamphlets about eye health that show too much detail.  I'd even prefer advertisements for contact lenses and mascara not feature the eye too prominently. This squeamishness is limited to the eye, for I'm fascinated by heart surgery, the brain, trauma treatment, and so on. 

This is going somewhere, bear with me.

When I called to make the appointment, it was explained to me that they would like to take pictures of the back of my eye, at an additional cost of $45. The pictures can reveal such things as retinal tearing (my toes curl just typing the words), diabetes, heart disease, and other unpleasant things.  Instead of being eager to make use of this simple diagnostic procedure, I was fretting about the money, but more so about a machine getting right up next to my eye, and a photograph of its insides flashing up on a screen that I may be expected to look at.  I explained somewhat nervously about pushing the last doctor who got too close, the panic attacks, and did I really have to do it?  Let's try it and see, they said. Breathe in, breathe out, I told myself.

Well, some of the test were predictably uncomfortable, and having the pictures taken was no treat, but my goodness, I have a nice looking inner eye! It looks like a piece of modern art, representing the vastness of inner space... or something like that. It was rather disconcerting to see the inside of myself like that, and it may take a while before I can apply mascara again without imagining the optic nerve peeking back at me like a wee camera behind my pupil.

What I discovered is that my eyeballs are fascinating; it's all the other ones that are icky.

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