Better Than A Poke In The Eye With A Sharp Stick

Okay, I admit it - I did a really stupid thing.  A non-smooth move, a moronic, dumb-ass, unthinking, I-can't-believe-I-just-did-that sort of stupid thing.  After changing the strings on a Strat, I managed to put the un-clipped high E string right straight into my right eye.  Pretty much in the middle of the cornea, so things got blurry quickly; luckily it turns out eyeballs heal up fairly fast, and after only a couple of days I was back to full eyesight.

That was back in June, and I thought I'd gotten lucky, congratulated myself on being healthy enough to heal up and move on, and promptly forgot about it.  Sometimes life isn't quite so simple, however, and one day in mid August I started feeling a slight discomfort under the right eyelid.  Thought it was an eyelash stuck in there, or some giant clump of pollen or something, rinsed it out in the shower, and hoped for the best.  It didn't go away, though - the discomfort turned into a pain, my vision started getting blurry again, and within three days I'd lost sight in that eye.

Went to the urgent care place, who sent me to the hospital emergency room, which was an experience in itself: sitting there for a few hours surrounded by people in a lot worse shape than I was. Some of them were moaning and groaning, rather loudly, or making quiet sounds of despair; others coughing and wheezing and hacking out what seemed like copious amounts of who the heck knows what sorts of contagions into the shared airspace. I was feeling faint and thought I was going to pass out, until I realized that I was unconsciously holding my breath.

As it turned out, the area around the spot in my eye where the guitar string poked in had gotten infected; why it took months to take hold remains a mystery. Samples, or what felt like huge chunks of that eye, were taken away for cultures, and within short order I was pouring mass quantities of various medications into the affected eye at regular intervals throughout the day, plus a steroid to counteract the irritation caused by the meds. Exactly what sort of an infection it was also remained a mystery, since all the cultures returned negative; what wasn't a mystery, however, is what those cultures ended up costing. After a couple weeks things got better, and after a month it was all okay enough; although the vision in the one eye probably won't be as good as it once was, but hey, I'll take slightly fuzzy over zero any day.

I had to give the blog a rest for a good long while - even with the brightness turned way down it was still painful to stare into the computer screen for longer than a few seconds.  It was high summer, I got involved with other things, had some visitors staying at the house, bought a canoe and went paddling, built up and rode a couple of bikes, messed around in the back yard, played some music, and kind of got out of the blogging habit. Maybe just writing about this experience will help out with nudging myself back to sitting here clacking the keys, while looking out this big window at the Sweet Gum and Pin Oak's leaves in changing fall color, with squirrels and chickadees and jays moving through the branches - all of which I'm glad to see.

This is my first blog post without a picture at the top - up to this point every photo here has been either taken by me, or by good friends.  It felt weird taking a shot of my own eye, so I went looking for images on the net of eyes to use, but most all of them were either too cartoony cute, or just plain gruesome and/or creepy, or in bad taste in other ways. Thought about having a photo of the late great Marty Feldman and his famous eyes, but no. Thought of calling this post "Damn My Eyes", but also no.

They say that any sort of adversity can be a character building event, even something as trivial and non life threatening as losing a bit of eyesight; I don't know about that.  In the grand scheme of things (if a scheme there be, at all), what happened to me is relatively minor - I think about all those others in the hospital waiting room who really seemed to be in genuine distress, while I was nonchalantly reading a book, albeit with one eye closed. And holding my breath.

Even in my relatively boring, uneventful lifetime, I've been pretty darn close to death a couple of times - I'll tell you some stories sometime - and something like this is almost nothing compared to that.  It truly is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

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