Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bug in the Eye

It happened two times. Once in St. Louis, once in Chicago. I don't know if you've ever had a bug fly into your eye, but I can tell you: it hurts. Especially if any part of the bug sticks. The first time was in June of 1993, it must have been. I was with a friend from law school (the friend who, in a star-crossed misadventure, would become more than a friend that summer; I've posted about it before), and we were doing a monumental favor for another, mutual friend. Turns out that when I took that self defense class, this other friend took it with me. And while the stand-in attacker scared the hell out of me, my friend had it much worse: the attacker, who was a pretty large and heavy man, basically landed on her knee and did something to it that ultimately required surgery (and a lawsuit to cover medical bills). So while my friend flew home to Florida with her bum knee, I agreed to move her belongings out of the apartment she needed to vacate and into a storage facility. It was at the end of an afternoon of packing and hauling boxes, as I stepped off the loading dock for the self-storage, that the bug did its crazy kamikaze move. It happened so fast—faster than the blink of an eye, literally—and it stung like crazy. My friend drove us back to my apartment in his yellow-gold, oversized Caddy (or some similar car, old and not particularly reliable). At home, I rinsed my eye with water; he looked at it and wasn't sure if he saw anything there. After what seemed like at least an hour but was probably less (funny how time extends like a telescope when you're in pain), my eye was still watering, still hurt, and had turned pretty red. My friend and I debated, then we went to the E.R., maybe because it was a weekend and the doctor's office was closed. I felt weird about it, because this was hardly something that seemed like an emergency—not a shooting, stabbing, severed finger, burn, heart attack—yet I didn't know what else to do. A brief exam revealed that when the bug (a tiny gnat-like thing, apparently) hit my eye, its body broke apart. A wing was still stuck on the surface of my eyeball. Once removed, I felt fine. I remember, though, the follow-up appointment I had with an ophthalmologist. The doctor asked if I had trouble reading exit signs on the highway before coming right up on them. It wasn't a question I liked. I had always had 20/20 vision. But I was told I was slightly near-sighted and had astigmatism in one eye, and I was given a prescription for glasses I could use for nighttime driving if I wanted to. After this, the other buggy incident was about three years later, in Chicago. I was walking down Michigan Avenue, returning to my job at the Chicago Sun-Times after my lunch break, when—Bam!—same thing, bug in the eye. This one either hadn't stuck, or else got rinsed out with water, but my eye hurt just the same. I seem to recall another round of medical treatment, but honestly couldn't tell you whether I was in a doctor's office or the E.R. this time. Things during that period were a bit of a blur, with mostly just work on my mind, chasing down crazy deadlines. Could've been the E.R., or else I'm just superimposing the first incident on the second somehow. Anyway, it was the last time to date that this happened, for which I'm thankful. My biggest problem with winged creatures now is the same one we all have every year: how to keep the skeeters from biting.

1 comment:

  1. i haven't had this happen to me, but i have seen bugs fly into people's mouths - that doesn't hurt, it's simply disgusting!