Oh, the pain! THE PAIN! Dear God, the pain. Please, make it stop. I will sacrifice my eye sight to stop this pain. Sweet baby Jesus, have mercy on my cornea.
That is how my morning started … just before I jumped in the shower–fully clothed–to rinse the molten lava from engulfing my eyeball and penetrating my brain.
Turns out … the warning label on my new contact lens solution was right after all. It’s not that I failed to read the bold, red text that said “use only with enclosed case.” Or the one on the other side of the box that said “do not use with flat contact cases.” It’s just that I took this Marketing 101 course in college where we had a whole section on product marketing. I distinctly remember studying an exposé on a major contact lens manufacturer, where it was revealed that their daily-wear and extended-wear lenses are the exact same lenses … just placed in different packages at different price points to appeal to two different demographics.
Normally, I sleep in my daily-wear lenses if absolutely necessary. Only, I have an eye exam coming up next month, and my optometrist somehow knows when I’ve been sleeping with my lenses in and scolds me unrelentlessly. So, last night, after I fell asleep watching a movie with my husband, only to be awakened by my daughter crying out in her sleep as she wrestled with a 103-degree fever, I raced downstairs to remove my contacts, change into my pajamas, and get back to my burning-up little girl. I decided not to take the time to rinse and store my lenses according to the directions on the box of the new solution. In that moment of only partial wakefulness, I reasoned that it was just a marketing ploy to get me to use more product on a daily basis, and therefore spend more on their product in the long-run.
Well, then this morning, as I was rushing to get ready for my daughter’s last-minute doctor’s appointment, the fact that I had inappropriately stored said lenses the night before escaped me. Completely. Escaped me. What happened next cannot be described with words in the English language. I like to believe that I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I’ve survived child-birth and spinal taps. But this was something like taking a razor encrusted cheese grater to the tender surface of my eyeball, and then pouring acid directly in the gaping wounds … only to try to remedy the pain by grinding large chunks of sea salt into the open sores.
“A bloody mess” is how my husband described what my eye looked like when I was asking if the contact lens was still in my eye–or whether I had managed to claw it out as I flailed around in my bathroom begging the Lord to smite the manufacturer of that wretched chemical I had just inserted into my eye. “And not ‘bloody’ like your English-folk use the term,” he clarified … “bloody like I think your eye is bleeding.”
I understand that there is only one person to blame in this whole scenario. And, in hindsight, I suppose that in addition to the clearly articulated warning labels on the container itself, the fire-engine-red cap on the bottle should have constituted “fair warning.”
But I have to ask–is a skull and cross-bones really too much to ask?
Once the pain had subsided enough that I could finally stand straight, I loaded the kids in the car and headed to the pediatrician. Where three different people tried to quarantine me and my “pink eye.” After explaining for the third time that I do not, in fact, have pink eye–I just have a blatant disrespect for warning labels–I decided it was probably best to stay home, so as to not frighten any more of my fellow community members.
Lesson learned. From now on, I am going to work on minimizing the self-inflicted pain derived from my total ignorance and complete disregard for authority. Don’t hold me to this pain-induced proclamation though … I have a sick child to care for, and an eye that is … well, not quite right for lack of a better medical term. I could be talking crazy right now.