How was your day?

I ask not out of any real interest, of course, but as a tiny psychosocial experiment. Call it the Theory of Day-Quality Relativity.


My day began with bright sun on my face. This is more or less customary, but the puddle of pillow-fluid that traced directly to my own personal right eye socket was something new. I gingerly and nervously attempted to ensure that the eyeball was still properly installed, and discovered to my immense relief that it was so. That decided, I initiated further investigation into my current Eyeball Performance Level and discovered that a bit of something was causing all the pain and leakage. Grit or sand or something.

There are a number of tricks to dislodging a pesky bit in one’s eye. I tried them all — upper lid out-and-over the lower, the reverse, opening my eye in a pool of water, showering with my eyes open, flushing the eye with some kind of sterile fluid poured into a grotesque little eyesucker-shaped cup ($11), weeping — nothing worked. Gutted it out until noon when I gave up went to the doctor. (My reluctance to start there stemmed from my desire not to pay $50 to have a medical professional tell me “You’ve got something in your eye”.)

The eye doctor — whom I have been going to since I was about four and who has, since my last visit, thoughtfully added to her practice an seriously fetching assistant — tells me that I have something in my eye. After dyeing the surface of my eyeball a festive orange, she peered at it through the most amazing upright microscope and said to her lovely assistant something which sounded to me grave. (In fairness, everything any doctor says about me sounds grave.)

I said “Beg pardon?” and she said, “I said you have an embedded foreign particle.”

I had arrived with two mental lists: Things I Wanted to Hear and Things I Didn’t Want to Hear. 

Tops on the first list was “Why don’t I recline the exam chair and leave you and Roxie here alone for an hour or so while the drops take effect.” 

Number one on the second list was “Eyeball Cancer,” which may or may not exists as a thing but was still worrisome. “Embedded” was not on the list of Things I Didn’t Want to Hear, but only because it hadn’t occurred to me as a possibility. The notion that something could be “embedded” in my eyeball — still can’t read it without cringing, canya? — was too out-there for me to have imagined the medically nightmarish consequences, which is an accomplishment indeed. 

Then it got better. The doctor put a few drops in my eye, told me to relax, and then pulled out a Q-Tip the size of a cigar. I asked her what she was doing, and she told me she was going to poke my eyeball with the giant Q-Tip until she was able to gouge out the bit, and hopefully the eyeball wouldn’t rupture first, though if it did that wouldn’t be all bad, as she was a payment behind to her dealer and eyeball reinflation surgery is a gold mine, hahaha, so hold still.

It’s a good thing she spends a lot of time with toddlers.

She got it out, the bit, and said casually, “Oh, it’s an iron filing.”

That’s when I did something really, really dumb: I asked her how she could tell.

Brace yourself.

She said, and I quote, “Because there’s a rust-ring on your eyeball.”

Isn’t this a nice story?

True: The hole in my eyeball previously occupied by a sliver of metal now has even tinier bits of pitted and discolored metal in it in a sort of decorative fringe around the original eyeball puncture. I have been given drops for this — presumably Eyeball Formula Rustoleum — and have to go back on Monday morning because if the rust ring doesn’t dislodge of its own accord over the weekend, the doc has to “go in and get it”. I’m so excited about this, I rushed home and hurriedly Googled “French Foreign Legion.”

Now that you’ve recalibrated, I ask again:

How was your day? 

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