-From my practice notebook, 8/9/05 (about two years ago)
My right eye is purple today, the eyelid, the area under my eye. So far the white of my eye is still white but already I can imagine a few days from now the old blood making its way down from the lid to the globus.
Globus. That was what the eye doctor called it. No damage to the globus, he said. But the risk, he continued, is that you’ll develop a secondary infection in your sinuses or in any of the areas back there. It could even go to your brain.
In the emergency room, or the Urgent Care’s version of an emergency room, they told me to lie down on a bed, and they pulled the thin blue curtain around me. I could hear the nurses and doctors walking in their rubber-soled shoes on the linoleum. Ploit, ploit, ploit, their footsteps seemed to say.
Over in one part of the room I heard someone talking in low tones to a patient about migraine headaches. Then two nurses or orderlies talking, a third and fourth person joining them. The one male voice was saying that his wife was craving steak so he took them out to eat at Texas Cattle Company the night before. Guess what she ordered, he asked the other nurses. What? Chicken tenders. They all break out in laughter.
He goes on like a newborn comedian: My son went to dinner at some friend’s and he came back that night and told us, Mom, Dad, they served us filet mig-non. Filet Mig-Non, the male nurse said for effect. They all burst into laughter again.
I sat in my space, folding my legs left over right, then right over left. I practiced my brave face, afraid that if anyone showed me the least bit of compassion I would start to cry. I noticed the blue fabric of the curtains seemed to have a repeating eye pattern. I thought, That’s spooky. A wall of medical supplies on one side and an evil eye staring at you from the other.
Finally, the curtains parted and a tall, stocky woman stepped in. She was wearing a white smock. She asked me about my eye, took a close look and in her eyes I could see almost a fear, What is this??, and she asked me about the rooster. I told her the story and still her face held that disgusted look, not a judging look but a disgust just thinking about a rooster on my face, like those pods in Alien, the original one, that wrap around a person’s entire head.
I told her I thought I needed tetanus. She agreed. I told her I should probably get something for infections. The rooster walks around all day in bird droppings, I said. Eww, yes, and again the bloom of disgust. That’s a good point, she said, all while continuing to stare at my eye.
In the background I could hear a man’s voice, Dr. Raul G. of the blue, blue eyes. I had hoped he’d attend to me but no, he is with the migraine headache patient while I am with someone whose mouth and eyes are stuck in the Yuck position. Don’t doctors see way worse than me? Maybe that’s ER, not urgent walk-in clinic.
And now I’m thinking, I wonder what she did when the retarded man with scrapes from his head down his elbow and thigh went in. Of course, he was oblivious, flipping through magazines as if they were those cool books that show frames of a cartoon that when you flip fast through the frames animate the images. A galloping horse.
Lindo the Rooster (now long gone), photo taken around
2004, a year before he attacked me.