So this year, instead of breaking my foot for the holidays, I decided to tear my retina. Well, actually gravity decided for me. Apparently sometimes the jelly stuff in your eye (the vitreous) decides to part company with the retina. If it comes away cleanly, no problem. If it takes the retina with it, all hell breaks loose. There are spiraling stringy floaters and huge flashes of light.
A little like Fourth of July inside your head.
So off I go to the eye doctor. He shines the world’s brightest light into my dilated pupils and starts shouting directions. “Look up, down, left, right. Look farther to the right. A little farther.”
Any farther and I would have been looking over my own shoulder.
“Hmmm…there’s a tear at 7 o’clock. We’ll have to laser.”
We’ll have to what?
“It’s just a small tear. We can stop it. The rest of the eye looks stable.”
Go back to the part about the lasers…
He turns to the nurse. “Get her set up.”
She takes me to another room which looks exactly like the room I was in, except there is some kind of large gray box on one side with a list of laser instructions taped to it. The nurse gives me painkilling eye drops. “There shouldn’t be any pain. Just some very bright lights.”
Then why are you giving me painkilling eye drops?
The doctor arrives and puts on some impressive-looking headgear. He leans closer and shines a light in my eye. I was wrong about the other light. THIS is the brightest light in the universe. “Look to the right. Now don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.”
The world explodes into bright yellow and orange. I know at any moment I am going to be blinded forever. I know that the San Andreas has waited over a hundred years for this moment. I know that I will be unable to keep looking insanely far to the right for one second longer.
“Okay, we’re done.”
The room is bright purple. A really pretty bright purple, but purple just the same.
“The colors will fade after a bit,” says the doctor with the purple face.
And the back of my eye begins to throb in a low intensity way, not exactly painful, but not exactly pleasant, as I quickly make my escape out the door.
So much for painkilling eye drops.