|Taken by a very tall man. Los Angeles 2014|
I've been wearing spectacles ever since I was a little girl of nine or so. At first, for reading the writing on the black board at school. For years I walked around in a fuzz, not realising that I needed to wear them all the time. Then, when I was sixteen, I got my first pair of contact lenses. Epiphany: the trees are not big green blobs - they are made up of leaves! And the boys have very hairy legs. (My mom remembers me telling her that)
I've always known my eyes are bad, but it was a shock to me when my optometrist told me that if I had been born in the middle ages, I would have a staff and someone would have had to lead me around - in fact, if my right eye was just a little weaker, I would be legally blind. Not in darkness, but without aid I saw only light, colour and blurry shapes. The long legged man often stands in the doorway and smiles at me - I know this because I hear the tiny kiss of the corners of his mouth. For what my maker took away in sight, I was compensated for with a fine set of ears.
Last monday I went to see the Superman of corneas, Dr. Michael Attenborough. By a stroke of luck, I was bumped up to have PRK laser surgery on thursday - the waiting list is normally months long. It was over within minutes: the pasting of eyelashes with special curved tape, the flashing lights, the ice cold drops and a smell I'd rather not remember. Gentle words of encouragement from the doctor and the firm pressure of a nurse's hand on my arm the entire time.
I asked him a few days later what it felt like to bring such miraculous change to people's lives. He said that often it doesn't feel like work - in a case like mine, it's actually fun. Then he showed me some of the other work he's done - cornea transplants for people with cataracts covering the entire eye. He has special powers that man, and a very steady hand.
I can now read the teeniest little words on the eye dropper bottle. I've just done some darning and could thread the needle - piece of cake. Long distances are still settling in - there's a haze. But it's early days yet and just another lesson in patience.
The eyes can do a thousand things that the fingers cannot.
- Iranian proverb.