Amblin' Alameda: Pain

Amblin' Alameda: Pain

Morton Chalfy

There is nothing quite like pain to concentrate the mind. We share this trait with all other living beings. There is nothing that will take your mind off the mundane facts of life and nail it into one place than an action like poking oneself in the eye. Suddenly the rest of the world comes to a standstill while your brain focuses on the pain and what to do to make it go away.

On Friday my sweetie and I went to our health club to water-walk. After that leisurely stroll and a relaxing soak in the hot tub we went off to shower and dress. In the grooming portion of getting dressed I poked myself in the eye with the back of my comb. It's an embarrassment to suffer self-inflicted wounds even if one doesn't make the wound public, but more of an embarrassment if the wound is neglected out of cultural machismo. Men, you know, are supposed to suffer pain silently and stoically, presumably until you shake them and they fall over dead.

I could conceivably be found that way through neglect, but fortunately, my sweetie is not ready to get rid of me yet. In the manner of wounds to the cornea the pain doesn't really begin for a few hours, and it wasn't until later that evening that I relented to her urgings and went to seek medical help.

We wanted to try the new urgent care facility on Encinal Avenue but discovered to our dismay that its hours ran from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Not expected. Emergencies happen during the other 15 hours of the day as well.

So we were off to the emergency room at Alameda Hospital, where there was not much waiting time and caring professionals. After a wait of less than half an hour an examination revealed an abrasion to the cornea. They gave me an antibiotic ointment and a list of local ophthalmologists from which to pick a "follow-up" doctor.

The last time I had abraded my cornea was over 40 years ago when machismo still ruled my life and I spent a totally miserable night with my eyeball feeling like it was on fire and my hands feeling like the adage "if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out" made really good sense. That experience is what precipitated my visit to the ER.

Instead of a night of miserable pain, I had a night of restful sleep. Instead of an eye patch, I had expensive drops that aided in the healing process and killed any evil-minded germs. Of course, due to my clumsy wielding of the comb I spent a less-than-active weekend lying around doctoring the eye. But it was still a vast improvement over my experience of 40 years ago.

This is the core of civilization to me. It wasn't so long ago that any sort of care was crude and usually ineffective. In contrast, this civilization provides care 24/7. There are many things we haven't gotten right yet, but for the existence of a 24-hour emergency room I give our civilization very high marks.


Submitted by Anya (not verified) on Mon, Sep 22, 2014

I am so sorry that you had such a painful experience. Wishing you good health.