Six. Six months. Six diopters. Twenty-six.


Today is the twenty-sixth Saturday of 2016. That means it’s exactly six months since I fell off my bike and tried to take out my own eye.

How you noticed how the way I talk about it has changed? From a “catastropic fall off my bike” to “trying to take out my own eye.”

Time heals all wounds, the cliche goes. And my eye is healing. I just got back from a visit to my optometrist, who was able to adjust my prescription down. It’s still honkingly high – that’s what one of those sixes refers to — but it’s better than it was. And for the first time, the optometrist grabbed a prism and took a look inside. He said it looks good. He said that until he looked up to the area of the original tear, he’s seen similar scarring in eyes that haven’t had surgery, eyes that have had worse vision than a minus six. And he said the cataract was almost impossible to look through without dilating my eye. I can’t wait to hear what the surgeon says when I see him in a few weeks.

Way back in February and March, when celebrities and it seemed like everyone else was dropping dead on a daily basis, a lot of my friends were wishing they could have a do-over for 2016.

I get where they are coming from. I feel for their pain. It was a very rough way to start a new year.

But me? Nope. I wouldn’t redo most of the past six months. I wouldn’t reset time and not be on my bike. I wouldn’t stop my handlebar from hitting me. I might have gone directly to the second ER a bit faster, but that’s about the only change I think I’d make — but even that is a hard call, as it was the first ER who called the surgeon who saved my eye. Would the second have done that? Or would they have called someone else, someone who wasn’t as skilled?

I’d let it happen again. I think I’d let it all happen, exactly as it did.

Crazy, huh?

That’s because I had to almost lose my vision in order to see more clearly.

And boy oh boy, do I see more clearly. Like the value of so-called friends and the people who don’t call themselves friends but act like it when the time is right. Like the difference between what’s worth fighting for and what’s worth fighting over. The definition of respect, of healthy relationships, of what it means to be scared and what it means to have faith in yourself. I first noticed this back in March, at my son’s Frisbee tournament, but I am not planted in one spot anymore. I can and do move, and it’s fun and it’s great and I’ve got a right eye full of scars and ripples that may never go away and will always affect my vision and dammit, but I’ve never been happier.

I had to almost lose my vision to find a new freedom.

Six. Six months after that horrible Saturday morning. You can still look at me and see the incision the surgeon made just to the side of my iris. You can still look at the outside corner of my eye and see where it ruptured. You can still see a bloodshot eye that’s not quite as white as its partner. The incision should smooth out. The bloodshot areas may or may not go away and the trauma and steroids may not let my eye ever be totally white again, but frankly, I hope the rupture never lies flat.

I almost lost my eye, not just my vision. I should have a visible reminder of that. You all should see the scars; you all should know what happened, what I’ve overcome. And you all should celebrate with me that we can see those scars, that there is an eye to look at.

On the six-month anniversary, on the twenty-sixth Saturday of the year, the vision in my beat-up right eye is a minus six. It’s an improvement from what it had been.

Six. Six. Six.

I remember being in the hospital the day after it all happened — the fall, the hospital hop, the surgery — and asking the good-looking resident and the cool-as-anything fellow if it was fair to expect to spend the bulk of 2016 dealing with this. It was a fair question: it was the third day of 2016. People are still thinking about the promise of a year ahead at that point.

He couldn’t answer. Or he wouldn’t.

But I knew.

Twenty-six weeks. Six months.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *