So there I was, hanging out with my daughter in the living room, when, in the midst of yelling “Hocus pocus!” the girl swept her magic wand across the coffee table and poked it directly into my left eye.
The pain was immediate and indescribable; the kind of sickening sensation I can only compare to getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick. Ow. This is nothing you want to experience under the best of circumstances, and it is especially nothing you want to experience when you’re supposed to do a reading that night.
I lay on the couch, moaning. Then I called my doctor, who told me to get to Wills Eye Hospital’semergency room. Then I called my sitter, who, luckily, was free to come over early. Then I called my husband and told him that I had been horribly disfigured and I needed his sympathy, and also his insurance card in case I couldn’t find my own.
Over at Wills, they gave me a form to fill out: name, social security number, date of birth and reason for visit. I wrote down my name, my numbers, and -- shades of GOOD IN BED -- “was hit in the eye with a magic wand.”
First I saw a triage nurse, who gave me numbing eyedrops and a stern lecture about the importance of wearing my glasses at all times. (But we were playing princess! Who ever heard of a princess with glasses?)
I hung out in the waiting room for a while, pressing a Ziploc bag full of ice against my face and watching Matthew McConaughey give away a car on Oprah.
Eventually, the doctor called me back, looked at my eye, and listened to my explanation of why I was there.
“Well, I’m very sorry,” he said soberly. “But there’s nothing we can do for you, if there was magic involved.”
Long story short: after various stinging eyedrops and examinations under glowing blue lights it emerged that I have a corneal abrasion, which is treated with antibiotic ointment and time.
The doctors were pretty sure that everything was fine with my retina, but decided to dilate my pupils to check. I explained that I had to do a reading and they agreed to just dilate one of the pupils, which would at least give me a shot at being able to see the page. “And if there are any doctors there tonight,” my physician said, chuckling, “tell them that you haven’t felt right since you fell and hit your head and threw up a few times.” Evidently, falling plus barfing plus one dilated pupil, to the medically trained expert, equals bad concussion and/or imminent death. See, you learn something new every day!
I left the hospital with a horribly bloodshot left eye, a pupil the size of a pie plate, blurry vision, and a pocket full of Percocet, and headed to the Khyberfor last night’s Litpac event. I had a beer. I took Tylenol. I listened to Ken Kalfus read about a woman who has a very disturbing reaction when the Twin Towers went down, and Buzz Bissinger impersonate a potty-mouthed Ed Rendell refusing to pose with Mickey Mouse. Lise Fundeberg celebrated Mount Airy. Elise Juska read part of a short story about Northeast girls. I told a story about getting my Nanna cast as an extra in “In Her Shoes,” because I literally could not see my own book.
Then a bunch of the writers/spouses/significant others adjourned to a nearby Afghan restaurant where it emerged that Curtis Sittenfeld and I are possibly the only two people in Philadelphia – if not the entire world – with fond memories of “Looking for Love: Bachelorettes in Alaska,” which means I might turn her into a chick-lit fan yet.
Finally, my thanks to everyone who's bought THE GUY NOT TAKEN.
L'shanah tova to everyone who's observing the New Year this weekend, and I'll see you next week.
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