"You're not going to touch my eye, are you?" I clarified, obediently placing my chin on the metal bar and resting my forehead in the proper spot. Finding her 'I'll tell you in a minute' comment to be wildly unacceptable, I frowned and decided how to protest.
"No blinking for 2 seconds," the doctor warned and while I was deciding how to politely decline that she touch my eyeball with the probe thingie, she did one eye. Then the other. Then sat back and confirmed that she had touched my eye. "Those drops work wonders," she declared proudly and I blinked rapidly and glanced at the tissue in my hand.
"My dog has glaucoma," I told her, having almost checked yes on the form where it asked if anyone in my family had eye diseases. I decided in time that Chienne and I have no genetic link and my paperwork need not reflect canine issues. "The drops she gets are yellow like this too," I displayed the crumpled Kleenex, stained yellow from the numbing drops I'd dabbed away.
I consented to having my eyes dilated, though I've not done that for years. My pupils are pretty large so other doctors have used advanced technology or made due with a darkened room.
"That's unpleasant," I told the doctor when my eyes burned as the drops soaked in. But I obediently left the room to pick out my frames and watched the assistant struggle with the insurance billing. I tucked my sample contacts in my pocket, having firmly refused the Toric lenses.
"I know I have astigmatism," I told her. "But I hated those lenses with a fiery passion. I could feel the edges of them. Constantly aware they were sitting on my eyes. I won't use them again." She attempted to argue but I insisted that my eyes were either too small or oddly shaped because they were miserable to wear.
When 20 minutes had passed, she peered into my eyes with bright lights, murmuring when I said it was hurting. It felt like the light was searing my brain, neurons wincing from the white rays.
"You're fine," she assured me, referring to my eye health, as I blinked at her with watery eyes and squinted against a headache.
"I'm sure I'll be fine," I told her, waving off the offer of paper sunglasses that would fit over my old frames. "I don't live far from here." But I took the plastic covered object, rolling my dilated eyes at the thought that I'd need them for my short trip home.
But once outside, I staggered back from the brightness of light, eyes chemically prevented from protecting themselves from the onslaught of bright sunshine. I lowered my eyelids, reaching blindly to find the precious paper sunglasses and fumbling to get them over my eyes. I nearly crashed my car when they slipped, body reacting to the miserable pain by closing my eyes before I recalled that driving required vision to avoid running into other cars and curbs.
Having arrived safely home, I kept my eyes squinted and found that even the computer screen was too bright to tolerate. As I settled in for a nice nap, relishing the relief of having my eyes closed, I realized it's much how I feel lately.
Abnormally, irrationally, vulnerable to emotional stimuli. I want to cry at criticism. Grow overly angry during arguments. Feel everything is unfair and overly difficult and absolutely exhausting.
"You just don't seem happy anymore," a colleague said, frowning at me yesterday in concern.
"Oh, for goodness sake," I scoffed, unable to help myself. "I'm so tired of hearing how people are worried or I don't look good or whatever is the matter with Katie. I'm fine. Relax."
She approached me later, asking earnestly if I was angry at her - if she'd done something to offend me. I shook my head, sighing in frustration at myself, telling her I was just off lately. And it really wasn't her. It was me.
"But I love sweet, happy Katie," she said gently, reaching to wrap her arm around me.
"Yeah," I agreed. "Me, too."