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"Sights hardly recognized. Vision still impaired."

The day after TheBIGDay dawns tiny. Maybe the shadow of the recent BIG event still blocks most of the dawning sun. Maybe my eyes have been blinded to anything scaled larger than a finger hold. I might not care about big things anymore, not right now. I'm back into the world, my recently repaired right eye staring as though through a wad of wool, my forehead sticky with remnants of the gooey tape the nurse used to hold that creepy eye protector in place. I moved like a lame zombie before sleeping like a soggy dirt clod, waking around 2AM to wonder if I could see any better than I ever could before. In the darkness, with that eye protector still in place, I listed heavily to starboard as I stumbled into my bathroom to survey the damage in the mirror. I removed the plastic barrier but could tell without peeking that my vision remained impaired.

No news, not yet. A few days might clear the cloudy covering to reveal a world improved. I read the morning news with my one remaining working eye, sighing with pend-up impatience. More time waiting for some sign of improvement.
More idle hours twice removed from primary impressions. More time cowering in my head, trying my best not to dread the latest outcome. None of the clever preparations worked. I showed up for the surgical procedure with so many beta blockers roiling through my system that I rattled like I had gravel in my wheel bearings. I'd swallowed that tranquilizer while waiting in the parking garage for my scheduled arrival time, hoping to time everything just right to achieve full effect. I wandered around the waiting room wearing thick cotton batting around my head, barely able to respond to the attendant's questions, hardly remembering how to sign my name.

We expected my blood pressure to register something close to zero over zero once I was positioned on the gurney. I smugly submitted to the cuff and the huff and puff of the automated machine, which sounded more like a one-armed bandit than a medical device. It brought up three lemons, 189/130-something, a perfectly historically congruent response. My
NinnyGene was expressing her distaste for the context again. The attendant nurses were alarmed, as they are paid to be whenever someone like me falls under their care. They exhort me to just relax, as if I was not already floating somewhere beyond a fifth level comatose state. They nudge down my arms as if that might help, fetch a larger cuff, as if that might help, invoking a dozen little witch doctor-quality injunctions before reinitializing the machine sequence, as if that might help. An even worse result the second time, as if I were trying to disappoint them. Off to confer with the surgeon then, returning to report that he's dedicated to doing this procedure whatever.

I'm directed to rest some more, as if I might somehow scramble back up into that relatively excited state. I'm struggling to stay awake. They pass me two more sedatives, though they'd earlier promised me three, before the doctor stops by to visit me. "We dare not defer this procedure again," he explains. "The longer that lens remains displaced, the greater the danger of scarring, which brings greater complications." This sort of talk calms me down, or not. I'd not heard of any danger of scarring before. Another blood pressure reading shows slightly better, but still worse than the reading that got me rejected the last time. The nurses return to reiterate that the doctor's going ahead no matter what, which I interpret as meaning that all the preparations which left my wheel bearings rattling were really for naught, since they didn't prevent another prep-room spike and even another spike wouldn't get me rejected again.

We had one of those great-laid plans. We understood that the plan could never rise above the level of a grade three experiment, that we'd have no way to test our assumptions before
TheBIGDay arrived. We had no fallback plan and we didn't end up needing one. Like in most real world grand strategies, when the master plan utterly fails, we decide to just bull through anyway, to get to that grand other side and count our remaining pocket change afterward. I'm counting spare pocket change this morning. I knew beforehand that I would not be able to visually verify the quality of the result until some indeterminate time afterward. The surgeon proclaimed the procedure a success, a technical success, which says nothing (or very little) about the practical aspects of the result. Will my vision be restored? Only more time, time counted in excruciatingly smallDays, will tell.

My watch remains in the shop awaiting repair. I must pull my iPhone from my pocket to check the time. I hardly bother, time being temporarily a relative construct related to nobody and nothing. It crawls whether it knows itself or not, enlightenment and understanding contingent future values and not presently properties of the present. I wait to see, perhaps wait until I see rather than seeing while I'm waiting. I can't quite tell if the haloing's still there through the wooly fuzz of this first morning after. My visual sphere seems dreamlike, unmemorable, unenlightening, a fifty cent feature at the old skid road theater, space rented so I might sit out of the weather rather than huddle in some sodden doorway. Time not entered into the permanent register of experiences. Sights hardly recognized. Vision still impaired, exclusively measured in smallDays.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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