John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 05.06.04
Fool's Hollow, Quebec


Eye Op II

SHERBROOKE, QC | In my best franglais, I urge Nurse Francine to slip me another tiny white pill to pop under my tongue.

"Zut alors!" she says, wagging a saucy finger in my direction. "Non, non, non. You are a very naugh-tee señor citoyen."

That's not exactly what she says, but I get the general idea.

I'm feeling vulnerable, sitting half-naked in the OR lounge (Ha! Talk about euphemisms.). I'm waiting for the surgeon to slice open my eyeball, suck out the old cloudy lens, and slip in a piece of expensive plastic that promises to restoreth my vision to the eagle-eyed days of yore.

If one tiny white pill will mellow me out, I reckon that two will make Eye Op II a delightful experience.

But, alas, it's not to be.

Wheelchair Man propels me down the corridor to the OR suite where I am handed off to Green-Gowned Dude who shares with me that he now has a satellite dish with access to a host of English-language programs. The info-glut, he confides, is making him crazy.

I laugh a tad crazily.

"I don't have TV," I say"You don't happen to have another tiny white pill, do you?"

He gets me onto a gurney, tucks me in, puts on my blue cap, and tells me to take a nap…

Sometime along my eye surgeon, Dr. Benoit Grenier, comes by and chats me up. He did my left eye in December and I now have 20/20 vision in that eye.

Someone wheels me into surgery, two nurses position me on the operating table, stick on some monitors, and cover my face with a blue drape that has a transparent hatch in the center.

Dr. Grenier somehow props open my right eye and instructs me to look at the light.

"We're starting now," he says.

The light is intense. You don't feel much -- a little pressure now and then that stops just sort of pain. The light becomes red and blue and green mixed with white. It remains a little…crazy.

You hear voices, the sound of a machine. Your "you" is concentrated in the light. You try counting to mark the passage of what we call time, but you lose count. There is only "now."

"We're done," the doctor says.

I'm bandaged, unplugged, and wheeled back to the OR lounge where the Silver Fox a-waits. Wheelchair Man hands me a carton of apple juice.

Next stop: the pharmacy in Lennoxville where I insist to the charming clerk that, yes, I've been there before. Hmmm. Wrong drugstore. I don't ask her for another tiny white pill.

The fun stops about midnight. I'm discombobulated with a Richter Scale headache followed an hour later by a puking session in the bathroom sink.

Next morning, the Silver Fox takes one look at my scarlet eyeball and nearly pukes herself.

This is Day Six After and I'm still sleeping downstairs on the couch. Although my eye is still sensitive, it's bearable. Back to the hospital in two days for the fourth time in a week.

There were sixteen of us operated on that Friday. Most were women. I was the rugged guy in the bunch. I was also the only one to react this way.

This leads me to conclude:

  • Women are stronger than men.
  • I have a deep pool of karmic debt to discharge.