When my bedroom alarm clock buzzed at 5:15 am, I reached up to shut off the alarm, rolled onto my back, and opened my eyes. The winter pre-dawn pitch-black illuminated by the tiny Santa night light on the far side of the room (wouldn’t want the guy to trip, after all!), I could see everything was where I’d left it the night before. Reassuring.
I turned on the bedside light….ZOUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!… LEFT EYE. PAIN, LIKE SOMEONE PUNCHED ME IN THE EYE AND PUSHED A PENCIL THROUGH MY PUPIL.
The pain drove through my eye, climbed to mid-brain, and shot through the back. I IMMEDIATELY turned off the light, covered my eyes, took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly.
“WOW, that was bright!!!!! Well, good morning!” I blinked my eyes a few times.
Feeling only slight discomfort, like there were only a tiny grain of sand under my eyelid, I took another deep breath, exhaled, and turned on the light again. PUNCH PENCIL PAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIN. I turned off the light.
Rising from bed, I showered in the dark, dressed in the dark, and, with a hand over my left eye, drove to work in the dark, my head shooting with pain every time my right eye focused or constricted the pupil as car headlights appeared.
Several hours later…
… in a Boston hospital Emergency Room, I listened with one eye as a physician summarized the visit – “Your eye is inflamed, we’re not sure why, we can see only a tiny corneal scratch, it should heal on its own. I’m prescribing several things for you. Take the Prednisolone or Pred Forte, 1 drop, four times a day, that will reduce the inflammation; Bacitracin, two to three times a day, that will address any remaining infection; cyclopentolate hydrochloride, 1 drop if the eye muscles spasm again, but be aware that that will dilate your eye and you won’t be able to see very well; use the liquigel drops in the other eye if it dries out; make an appointment to come back again within the week for a follow up visit; if it flares up again, come back sooner. We’ll fax the prescriptions to your drugstore, pick them up this afternoon and start using them immediately. OK?”
“OK,” I replied, and smiled with the good eye.
My family drove me home and picked up the medications. In the kitchen, we laid them out on the counter. I read the instructions on each medication box. I shook my head, not sure where to start.
“Look here,” said my wife. “Put these in your pocket.” She handed me the meds, one at a time. “Pink cap at 7:00, noon, five, and bed time.” I nodded. “Tube at 10:00 and 3:00.” I nodded. “Red cap if there’s pain.” I nodded. “Green bottle, other eye, when needed.” I nodded.
“Repeat it,” she suggested.
“Pink at 7, 12, 5, and 9. Tube at 10 and 3. Red if I need it.”
“Right,” she said. “Want me to write that down?”
“No, I’m good,” I said, dribbling the first dose of “pink” down my left cheek, missing the eye completely. “I just need a little practice.”
A little later, setting medication reminders on my phone, I thought, “You know, the doctor was very nice, and I just wish she had given simple instructions like my wife’s. ‘Pink here, here, here, and here. Tube here and here. Red when needed.’”
“Simple,” we think, when we sell to our clients. “Our clients are adults, our solutions install easily, very straightforward. They just have to do this, this, this, and this, and then that and the other, and they’ll be good.”
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