Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ow! My Eye!

I truly feel like Kelso from "That 70s Show" when he was always hurting his eye. "Ow! My eye!" I couldn't find any screen grabs of that so I went with this one instead, which kind of sums it up just as effectively.

Last night, I was the victim of a freak accident. Never before did I ever imagine that I (or anyone really) could possibly be injured while doing laundry. Until yesterday of course.

It started off mundanely enough. I loaded the clothes into the washer and added a cap full of liquid detergent. And then, things went horribly wrong. I stood in the middle of our bathroom (where our washer is located) holding the jug of detergent and the cap. As I began to twist the cap back on, the jug slipped from my grasp and before I could even react it slammed to the floor with such force, an eruption of liquid detergent shot up, managing to not only soak me from head to toe but also to get directly into my right eye.

The burning was horrendous though I can tell you no pain is greater than that of when you go into labor. Still, it fucking sucked to have an eye that felt as though it were aflame. Despite my initial thought of "Oh shit," I managed to prove myself efficient in an emergency situation and without hesitating, began flushing my eye out with water. I heard myself chirp, "Help! Help! Help!" That did no good over the wooshing, whirring sounds of the washing machine. I kept rinsing and let out one big, loud "HELP!"

Jeremy was suddenly in the doorway of the bathroom asking 1,000 questions. And I tried my best to give him 1,000 answers as I desperately washed my eye out. I had laundry detergent in my hair and the jug had tipped over in the whole melee, leaving a pool of slippery goo on our bathroom floor. I could still see but not very well and my eye hurt, though the more I rinsed it, the less painful it was. After a while, I stopped and took a look. If I didn't already know I'd exposed my eye to harsh chemicals, I would have totally thought it was pink eye. It was hideous. The eyelid of my right eye hung at half mast like a sad flag in mourning over the backdrop of my bright red eye. God, please don't let me look like this forever, I thought.

As the night wore on, it showed signs of improvement. It became less red and my sight was back to normal. But it was definitely still irritated. This morning, it was better than last night, but still had lots more recovery to do. When I got to school, I went to the nurse. She said it looked like it would be okay but that it was very inflamed. She plopped some drops into my eye and told me she thought I should go to the hospital to have it checked out.

I should point out here to all of you in other places that here in China (as was the case in Korea too), you don't go to the doctor. You go to the hospital. Hospitals here are specialized. So the hospital I had Raelynn at only dealt with pre-natal and delivery. There are some that just deal with heart problems. And some for respiratory problems. You get the idea.

Anyway, the nurse and I go tell my boss, Lesley, who decides, what the hell? She might as well take both me and the other English teacher, who apparently has some truly awful illness and was in desperate need of medication to wipe it out of her, to the hospital together. I was grateful for Lesley's help. It would have been very difficult to hail a cab during that time and make our way to this particular hospital, which was specifically an outpatient facility.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. Hospitals here are really gross. The hospital I had Raelynn in was the rare exception. Apparently, this one is too. It was clean and neat. Lesley took us up to the fourth floor where they had an international clinic. The nurses at the counter there spoke excellent English. We explained our maladies to them. "I accidentally got laundry soap in my eye while doing the laundry last night," I tell her. I said "soap" instead of "detergent" because the word "detergent" tends to confuse people here. It is just easier to say soap.

"Ahhhh," says one of the nurses knowingly, and I wonder if this is a common occurrence. But before I can open my mouth to ask her, she is guiding me with her to the third floor where the eye doctor is. The eye doctor doesn't speak any English but that was okay since the nurse accompanied me there. I repeated my story to the doctor and then she had a look at my eye. To be sure nothing was damaged, she would have to put dye in my eye in order to see my cornea well. I, being the chickenshit I am when it comes to these sorts of things, recoil in terror as she approaches me with a cotton swab. Oh GOD! Please don't stick that thing in my eye! But the nurse reassured me the swab was not going into my eye. See, in China, I fear healthcare a little more. They do things very differently here. I was a little worried they would poke my eye out or something odd like that. The swab, as it turns out, was to wipe away the tears that had come from my poor watery eye.

The doctor and the nurse assured me that putting the dye into my eye wouldn't hurt a bit. And even if it did, I knew I needed to have them check my cornea for damage. Thankfully, it didn't hurt at all. Even more thankfully, there was no damage to my eye. She prescribed some special eye drops and said not to worry as the swelling in my eye would go down and my eye would go back to normal in a few days. I am beyond relieved. Of course, now I am beyond afraid of laundry detergent, but can you blame me? From now on, I'm doing the laundry with my sunglasses on.

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