A Strange Intimacy
I am lying on the table in the upstairs surgical suite after hours. My eye is taped open, my other eye covered. I am staring into a bright light with a small green dot at the center, The doctor is stitching closed a leaky wound in my eye that did not close after cataract surgery the day before.
Compared to the operating room in the hospital there is an eerie peaceful quiet here. It is only the doctor, my husband and myself. I know it is getting dark out side, I am breathing deeply. With each breath I am thankful for all my years of meditation.
I try a few different mantras, om mani padme… shema Israel. I eventually settle on something that combines the om and the shema. I keep breathing. I think about the breath reaching in to the back of my shoulders as well as down into my belly. I think that the pull of the stitch and the pinch of the needle are very temporary. I think this man is trying to save my vision. It is a strange intimacy as he taps one finger on my forehead reminding me not to move. He concentrates on his work. I concentrate on mine.
A twitch in my shoulders lets him know I am feeling even more than I should and he asks my husband to put in more numbing drops. It helps. I keep breathing very deeply. I think I must be imagining how long it is taking but I am not. It really takes as long as it feels.
Somewhere near the end I say it a really good thing I trust you. He thanks me.
In the car on the long drive home we are quiet. I have no idea what the surgeon will tell his family. I keep thinking of the old child’s chant; a needle in the eye. I keep thinking that he closed a small hole that was lethal to my vision.
This is the day after. I am resting at home. Not wanting to move around much, trusting in my eye to meet the healing begun yesterday. Waiting for the blur to clear, and my vision to restore.