We were on our way to get an eyelift. He was getting the eyelift, not me, and frankly I was a little jealous. Why was he getting cosmetic surgery? Did he want to attract a younger woman? He could already do that if he wanted to. Was I about to be replaced by someone prettier? It couldn’t possibly be because he just wanted to look better. My insecurities were showing and, if truth be known, I was a little bitchy about it.
It was seven in the morning and I don’t do mornings well. We were already in traffic and I don’t do traffic well. We were on our way to a hospital and I don’t do them well either. He drove. I brooded. I had made up my mind that I would see him safely home after his surgery and I’d leave him to heal on his own. I was angry and I wasn’t going to help.
I sat in the waiting room with my book of Sudoku (which I also don’t do well). I worked the puzzles and watched the clock. I thought about how much more handsome my handsome old man would be and how threatened I felt about that.
Then they called my name. He was in recovery and I followed the uniform. His eyes were covered. The doctor took me aside and explained that it wasn’t ordinary but, “It looks a little scary so don’t be shocked.”
She had stitched his eyes shut. I peeked under the ice pack and his lower eyelids were attached to his eyebrows with the largest stitches I’d ever seen. She explained that his eyes would be closed for a few days to facilitate healing and we would return to have those giant catgut spider legs removed.
There was no choice. I would have to stay… give him total care… I would even have to feed him, be his eyes for three days. No option, nothing for it and every bit of anger I harbored melted away. I had resigned to nurse this man with loving kindness to the best of my ability, with everything I had.
The effects of his anesthesia began to lessen as we drove home. In between sleep and semi wake I tried to explain why the doctor chose to do this. I expected him to be devastated. I certainly would have been.
“I’ll be blind for a while. I guess I’ll have to surrender to that,” he said.
A couple of times, in the past few days, he awoke confused and he called out my name. Aside from those bouts of panic he’s been the best patient ever.
He told me that being temporarily blind was not such a bad place. It gave him time to reflect and appreciate his senses… all of them. He said how nice it was to hold me, how much he trusted me and valued this time together. He spoke of the pleasure it gave him to know that I cared enough to nurse him.
I got a little tearful in the bathroom, part shame for yesterday’s pettiness, half relief that tomorrow he will see and a big chunk of thankful that he loves me today.
I learned to see me through his eyes and I didn’t look too bad at all.