It never fails that when I would really like to look somewhat appealing, that is when my eyeballs turn on me. This past Memorial Day weekend was one of those times.
Our five hour journey began with a pit-stop at Bi-Mart so that I could purchase yet another pair of clip-on sunglasses. My eyes were feeling extra sensitive to the light, and I knew that I would either wind up with a headache from the glare of the warm sunshine or from the other pair of dark glasses I had, the sort that fit over the top of my regular glasses. The over the top variety feel heavy and rest on my nose funny, plus they make me sweat, then they steam up and I can’t see out of them anyway.
Feeling happy with my new clip-ons and rejoicing in the mountain scenery, I settled in for the journey, eventually convincing my husband to stop at a short waterfall trail we’d never been to before. We took the dogs with us, met a little girl named Zoey who thought I was talking to her instead of my dog, also named Zoey. Her family then proceeded to tease her about having a dog’s name. Poor thing. After listening to the family bantering for a bit, my helpful husband added that his sister also has a dog named Zoey.
The waterfall was enchanting.
Driving with our windows down and enjoying the warm breeze, we continued our excursion. The wind began to mildly bother my left eye though, so thinking that it was just dry, I grabbed my dry eye drops (which I try not to travel without) and soothed the dryness…for about ten seconds. It still hurt, but nothing alarming or excruciating.
That evening after we settled into our hotel room, I looked in the mirror and there it was, an ugly dark red bloody streak, starting at my iris at a narrow point and widening as it worked it’s way down to the bottom corner of my eye.
I knew what was next, the dispersion of all that blood to the rest of my eyeball, making me look like I was stoned or had been crying for days. I also knew that there was the possibility that things could get worse. If there was a lot of wind, I would be miserable. Worst of all, it could become really tender and be the precursor to a full blown flare, with an army of my white blood cells marching out of control.
We met my husband’s parents at a small country church the next morning, in the tiny town, more like village, where he had grown up. The people there still sang hymns, and they sang them robustly. Very warm and friendly, they shook everyone’s hands and introduced themselves. The dark red streak in my eye had broken up and spread to create an attractive red hue, in what should have been the white of my eye.
It wasn’t until after the service, when I was introduced to a friend my husband had grown up with and the friend’s family, that I felt the urge to say, “Really, my husband is not married to a drug addict and I haven’t been up crying all night either. It’s just a bloody eye!”
It’s moments like those, when you know that people have noticed, they wonder about it and then they pretend that the obvious is not there. Sometimes I do speak up. Sometimes I don’t. I didn’t say anything this time. The conversation was easy, and it didn’t seem necessary to draw further attention to it.
The beach at Yachats was next on our itinerary. Rain poured down that evening and early the following morning. But, by the time we were ready for breakfast, the weather had taken a turn in a positive direction. Large breakers tumbled over jagged rocks, as we moseyed along the path on our way to the beach with our nine month old puppy and our nine year old dog, both Lhasa Apsos. The older is a girl, white with brown markings, very loyal, proper and protective. The younger a boy, white with black markings, playful, curious, and full of affection.
As we walked the sandy beach, Josh the puppy, and Zoey, the veteran, ran in circles chasing each other, bounced into the ocean waves and across streams, dug holes in the sand, chased birds, and rolled over seashells. Most of all, they made us laugh. I had been concerned about wind, since often it is windy at the Oregon coast, but it was calm and pleasant. Not exactly warm, but clear skies.
Later in the day, we made the short hike up to the Heceta Head Lighthouse, one of my very favorite places on the planet, and walked around the lighthouse keeper’s home and the lighthouse itself. The views of the ocean are splendid from the bluff.
In the beginning, when I had a bloodshot eye,– an all-too-common occurrence due to weak blood vessels– I would stay inside, too embarrassed to venture out and expose myself to the looks and sometimes rude comments of people. But most people respond with concern and are well meaning. In the beginning, I didn’t really want to deal with them either. Now, I don’t care. It really doesn’t bother me. If they want to ask questions, they can ask. And if they make incorrect assumptions, as some truly negative people do, that’s on them, not me. A bloody eye can’t rob me of enjoying life getting out there and living it, unless I let it. And I’m sure not gonna do that. There’s too much life to be lived!
Please…feel free to ask a question. Your comment or sharing a thought is also welcome.