I don't know if it's
like this where you work, but we're such kind-hearted people such that when someone is
having a baby, or a wedding, or an unfortunate situation befalls them, someone usually
takes up a collection. One of the most recent was a co-worker who is being ordained as a
minister, so we took up a collection for flowers and everybody brought food in, some of
us brought gifts, and we had a little party to celebrate our friend's hard work. Another
co- worker had a brain aneurysm. She was a graduate student with no health insurance, so
we took up a collection to help her out with her expenses while she was recuperating.
Most recently another co-worker was out because she had shoulder surgery, so a collection
was taken up for a gift and the welcome back card was passed around for everyone to sign.
I, too, experienced a recent event of my own. See, I work nights, and I
get home late, and sometimes I'm just not with it in the morning. One morning in
particular, I woke up and my eye was itchy. I made a mental note to put some Visine in it
when I had a chance. I got the kids ready for school and sent them out to the bus.
Yawning, I shuffled into the kitchen in my white pajamas with the green pine trees on
them, rubbing my head, and then I remembered the eye drops. I stuck my hand in my
pocketbook and fished around for the bottle. I tipped my head back and put a little
pressure on the bottle. Sometimes I end up with the drops all over my face, but this time
my aim was perfect. And in the millisecond before the stream hit my eye I realized that
eye drops don't come out in a stream of liquid and the bottle in my hand was not Visine.
It was fungicide for a nail infection. I immediately closed my eyes, but not before the
fungicide hit me in the dead center of my eyeball.
I cannot begin to
describe the pain. Childbirth didn't hurt this much. My eye burned so badly I was sure
my eyeball was going to be marbleized, with the colors of the iris and pupil melding with
the white. That is, if I could ever get my eyes open again. The reflex that makes the eye
close in trauma was so strong that the other eye shut and I couldn't get that one open
either. So there I was, in my pajamas with the green pine trees on them, stumbling around
the kitchen feeling for the faucet, making noises like, "Ah! Ah! Arck!" and uttering
sundry other choice words as I fell over my dogs. I pointed the dish sprayer on the sink
right at my eye and tried to flush it, but it was no use because I couldn't get my eye
open to get the water in. I pried open the good eye, found the phone and dialed my
sister, who works at a preeminent eye hospital in Boston, and told her what I did. She
told me to keep flushing, and if it didn't feel better in a couple of hours, to call her
back. So I took to the bed with a wet facecloth, hoping I could fall asleep for a couple
of hours and my eye would be better when I woke up. But it was not to be. After an hour,
I couldn't stand the pain anymore. I called a friend for a ride, and she picked me up
and took me, sniveling and clutching my facecloth, to the preeminent eye hospital where
neon-green liquid was flushed from my eye. After a thorough examination, I was sent home
with a pouch full of eye drops and a prescription for Percocet because the doctor said my
eye would be "very, very painful."
It was a week before I could see
clearly again, and thus I was out of work.
But there was no
collection. There was no get well card.
While signing the latest card
making the rounds around the office, I asked my boss why, after being out of work for a
week when I hurt my eye, nobody gave me a get-well card. She told me it was because they
were all too embarrassed for me, and they were laughing and talking about me.
The bottom line is this: If you are blessed with a new baby or a
wedding or other happy event, or if you are befallen by an injury or disease, you get a
card and a collection. But if you are stupid enough to squirt a caustic chemical in your
eye, you don't get a card. You don't get anything. Nada.