Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eye Opener

This week I had a near death experience. Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but I did have a bit of a health threat that got me thinking about my life and what is important to me.

Tuesday morning I woke up and my right eye was blurry. I chalked it up to not getting enough sleep and went about my morning. As the day wore on my vision got worse and by lunchtime I was seeing double. My left eye was fine so I googled “blurry right eye.” The search yielded a long list of potential ailments that could have led to my condition, ranging from a stroke to a tumor to something called “ocular herpes.”

While a stroke or a tumor certainly sounded like an awful diagnoses, ocular herpes (or as I call it OH, as in “OH shit, I have ocular herpes!”) seemed the most embarrassing. I immediately began to wonder how I could have contracted such a virus. I hadn’t 69ed or had a girl use my face as a stool any time recently. I wondered if I possibly rubbed my eye after putting my fingers in that bowling ball the night before. And no, that’s not a metaphor for using my hand to pleasure a fat girl-- I’m actually in a bowling league Monday nights.
How does one get Ocular Herpes?

Concerned that I could have the dreaded OH or one of the other conditions, I set up an appointment with my optometrist for the next day. And then my imagination kicked in. I began to worry about the worst-case scenario: What if I had a tumor and they had to remove my eye? Would I be able to drive with no depth perception? What about my softball career? I hadn’t been hitting well lately as it was! Worst of all, I was currently single-- how would I meet a woman in a city as superficial as LA if I only had one eye? Would this mean I would have to settle for someone with only one eye? I think I’d rather be blind!

“Come here often?”
I watch a lot of House and it’s always a “happy ending” when the clever doctor solves a case and saves a life, even if the patient is left with a missing limb, limited use of their faculties, or some physical deformity. Rather than stand and applaud these scenarios, I always think, Fuck that, I’d rather be dead.

Now, after reading the abundant amount of medical “expertise” offered on the Internet, I began to hope for a terminal diagnoses as opposed to one that would simply mar my face. Somewhere in the back of my potentially doomed brain I wondered, What kind of a person am I if this is how little I value my life? For many people out there, “life” was purely survival-- battling poverty, disease, genocide, etc.—and they were happy just to stay alive another day. And here I was, only worried about my hybrid car going to waste, my softball stats suffering, or my ability to meet women taking a hit because I would scare them off with my flawed facial façade.

“Congratulations! You’re healed!”
If I were lucky enough to survive a serious illness, shouldn’t I just be happy to be alive like the characters in House? Shouldn’t feeling the sun on my face or making my friends laugh or spending time with my family be enough? In the past, I had always needed more than the basics to life to give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I wanted to do something special with my time here. I wanted to leave the world with something significant and unique to who I was, and have a great time doing it. I wanted to live life, not merely “survive” it.  

At least that’s what I thought.

I had my optometrist appointment yesterday. As I sat in the waiting room I realized I didn’t want to die-- I hadn’t even had a threesome or tried lobster yet! No matter what deformity I was left with, I would find a way to be happy. The doctor called me in, and after a few tests, my fate was sealed. Apparently I simply had astigmatism and that was causing my blurred vision. I won’t be dying anytime soon-- at least not from a brain tumor.

The thought of dying at my young age made me appreciate all the seemingly small things that I never thought were enough to make me happy, but were actually the only things that should really matter. Maybe in a few days when I’ve forgotten about the eye scare, I will go back to taking these things for granted, but for now, it was a nice reminder to always appreciate everything I have (friends, family, career) and everything I don’t have (ocular herpes). It’s ironic that it took blurry vision to get me to finally see things clearly. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Todd, glad you're ok. Do you want to come over for lobster this weekend?