21 | Specialist Appointment – Part 7

I walk into the exam room and sit in a mauve chair on the edge of the room. I text Jeremy, squinting to see the letters and hoping auto-correct will help me communicate the gist of what I mean to say: “I’m in exam room 2 now. Looks like dr will come in here. Want to come?”

“Z is continuing to throw up,” Jeremy texted.

“Oh no :(,” I texted.

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20 | Specialist Appointment – Part 6

“So, I’ll give you a shot in the arm with a red dye. The dye then flows through your veins and toward your eye, illuminating the blood flow in your eye for us. It’ll give us a better idea of what’s going on in the back of your right eye. The only real side effect is that occasionally people feel woozy once the whole dose enters the blood stream,” she said. “Oh, and your urine will be neon for awhile, and you might look in the mirror and your skin might look a bit yellow – that’s all normal.”

“Okay,” I said, nodding and reaching for the paper and pen she held out to me across the desk. “Doesn’t sound too bad.”

“Nah,” she said, shaking her head.

“I am totally fine with yellow pee,” as I scribbled my signature.

An Interesting Event

An explosion in my flesh. I writhe in pain, splashing in an inflatable tub in my living room. “Shit!” My husband ducks to avoid flying elbows, arms, my scratching fingers. Midwife eyes — six in all — look over the edge of the tub, cheering, but I cannot hear their words. I do not care what they are saying. Is it over yet? I push with all my might and split in two, and then blood and a cough: my husband holds in his hands a naked, slippery, breathing child.

19 | Specialist Appointment – Part 5

I waited, listening to the tapping, to the computer fan quietly humming, as my eyes adjusted back to the dim room, the orange fading like my first grade teacher’s name.

A song flitted into my mind. We had sung it, Jeremy and I standing side by side in the pew, that previous Sunday: “You’re a hiding place for me / you preserve me from trouble / you surround me with shouts of deliverance…” I let it pull me back into my body. I noticed my feet touching the floor and I felt them tapping in time with the melody. I imagined myself melting into my chair, firmly rooted. I felt my heart bump in my chest as I breathed deeply, each inhale and exhale a prayer.

“This will all be over soon enough,” I thought.

18 | Specialist Appointment – Part 4

The nurse strode out the door; I followed, Jeremy and Zeke rolling behind me. We snaked along another hallway until Amy stopped before a door. On the frame, a plastic green flag laid flat against the wall. Amy reached up and flipped it toward the hallway, then opened the door. “In here,” she said.

I walked inside the beige room while Amy stood in the hallway, scribbling on her clipboard, and I sat in one of the two mauve chairs edging the room. I noticed a computer and stool to the right of the doorway.

“Actually, Dr. Patron will need you there,” she said, looking up and motioning to the black exam chair in the center of the small room.

17 | Specialist Appointment – Part 3

Just then, we heard a knock at the door. “Come in,” Amy said.

The door opened a crack and a blurry Jeremy entered with Zeke.

“Hi, hon,” I said.

“Do you want us to sit with you?” Jeremy asked.

“Please!” I said, grinning. “I failed the eye test, by the way,” I said to Jeremy, smiling. “No surprise there.” He grimaced.

6 | Appointment – Part 4

“Let’s try with your left eye and we’ll get back to that right eye in a minute,” Dr. Jordan said. “Can you flip around that occluder? Yep, like that. Now we’ll do the same with your left eye. And go ahead and read that first line for me.”

“H, S, K, R, N,” I said.

“Okay, the next one,” he said.

“C, H, K, R, V, D,” I said.

“And the next one,” he said.

“O, K, H, D, R, N,” I said.

“Next one,” he said.

“D, N, K, U, O, S,” I said.

“Next,” he said.

“U, E, O, B, T, V,” I said. “And T…W. Then J, uh… S… P.”

“Good,” he said, nodding, and turning to his keyboard to make a note.

2 | Kind of Scared

On January 29, 2017, I stared at myself in the mirror in my bedroom, the one that hangs on the wall to the right of the bed. I stand in my underwear, a foot away from the glass, opening and closing my left eye. My optometrist appointment was the next day, and I had decided to do a final experiment before going to sleep that night – after all, I’d probably made the whole thing up, hypochondriac that I was, and I wanted to be sure the problem was even worth bringing up to a physician.

Left eyelid open: I can see my whole face. Left eyelid closed: I’m missing a nose. Open: all there. Closed: blank in the middle.