Eye Object

by florence ondré

While window seated at dinner with my beloved Tom, I gazed out at the light blue, summer sky.  A few soft, white clouds scudded across the clear horizon when all of a sudden a flock of tiny birds flew past my line of vision, like the swooping birds I see out on the parkway.

When seen, I have named them harbingers of good luck.   Each time I watch their airborne wings wheel and turn above waters, dune grasses and marshes this happy sight always uplifts and gives me pause for positive pondering.  I think, ‘Woo hoo!  We’re winning a lottery soon!’ or ‘Wheeeee!  Something wonderful is on its way!”

I peered out the window and watched to see their air show, thinking,  ‘Wow!  How neat they’re in town and these guys are persistent!  They don’t seem to be flying away!’

Then, out of the far side of my left eye, a veritable Rorschach test pattern emerged; dark whorls and paintbrush strokes joining a host of black squiggle lines and the flock of itty bitty birds.

No matter how much I squinted or blinked, none of these works of art in my eye dissipated.

In fact, they increased in intensity and left me staring off into the blue to discover that the ‘little birdies’ were hundreds of teensy, black, clear-in-the-center circles.

As I realized something was unusual and very wrong, food-forgotten-fear crept up onto the hem of the garment of my mind.

Seeing me  burger-dropped, stopped still, Tom asked if I was ok.

No answer.

Again, I heard him as if through an ocean away.

“Blubber blub burble…”


“Something something… you ok?”

Slowly, through the molasses of my mostly mesmerized mind,  “I’m not sure but I don’t think so, ” I replied and described, zombie-like, what I was seeing.

It was more a curious experience; a slo-mo movie reel unspooling.

Realization of why it had just been difficult to read the menu board, dawned on me.  No amount of head shaking, blinking or peep peeking, one eye to another, had kept me from ordering stintingly like I’d just learned language.

“Blub burble… pain?”  I could see Tom’s lips moving again.

“Ummmmmm… nooo…”

“Do we need to go the hospital?” he queried quickly, alarm now visible on his face, swimming ashore on my wavering vision.

Back to the blue, with my baby blues, checking inside for symptoms of sanity,  “Mmmmmm, dunno,” I mused in answer; still eerily trying to get a handle on this weird panorama, which I now knew was inside my eye, not part of the sky above us.

Ohhhhh, darn.  No swooping birds of budding good luck and prosperity.

Grief and sheer shock merged into a confused yet calm countenance.

“Let’s go home,” I said outside.  Inside, I hard-hoped it would all go away; this fresh hell looking horror in the palette of my eye.

Most definitely now, a full fledged gallery showing of water color brush strokes, broad and black; a museum worthy chiaroscuro, was moving ever so gently inside me; wonderfully weird and absolutely awe-ful.

Funny odd how one’s life can be stopped in its tracks; sheared off, like being beamed off planet by instant alien events.

Back up in the apartment which I, post-hurricane/sans electricity and elevator, dubbed ‘ Mt 6 Manjaro’ for its steep daily climb, I sat at the dining room table, wondering,  ‘What next?’ while Tom hit the computer, looking up eye everything; my description of the birds, painting and eye objects; reading to me so we could share unfolding understanding of what was happening.

There it all was, in ethernet black and white; terrorizing and comforting in a couple of clicks.  Textbook.  No flights of fancy or any other ilk..this was blood vessel hemorrhage retinal detachment.

Sitting soberly still, cold comforted with computed communication, I remembered back to childhood; always having some little lines called ‘floaters’ in my eyes and recall being on the beach with my mom and sister; lying on a towel; closing my eyes, face up to the warm sun, and seeing these little curiosities from behind closed lids.

We’d been told everyone has them.

Sharing this with Tom, the next thoughts beamed laser of ‘now what?’ into the picture.

Usually a person of zip into action, I couldn’t move a muscle as I grappled with a parade of possibilities, none very pretty.

With no hospital in our own town, post Superstorm Sandy flood-out, Tom began calling hospitals and emergency rooms anywhere on Long Island, to find any place with ophthalmologists on staff or on call.

None had anyone and the waits would be into tomorrow.

Next, I called my friend, Merri, who I knew was a night owl with a hefty medical tome of specialist’s numbers and experience.

She listened, compassionately, walked me through what happened , asked questions, helped clarify and gave me, among the best specialists-most in New York City- one number for an ophthalmic group three towns away, saying that her mom had had very good results with them.  “Go.  Any of the doctors there are wonderful.”

Suggesting that I call and leave a message stating  my emergency and try to get some sleep if I could, in a head’s up position, she gave me a bit of daylight in a night turned dark.

Waves of tension and fear receded offshore on this sandbar named ’emergency.’  Rational thinking returned enough to paddle my way to ‘ok, I can make it to morning’ island.

One neon sign of sight loss was absent in this ball of confusion…I had not seen flashes of light in my now covered eye.

The next day, refreshed a bit with a shower and a night’s whisper of sleep, my mind went into clearer focus on a fuzzy topic.

I made a call to another trusted friend, Terry, just in case there might be no room at any inn.  I knew it was best to have second opinions if needed.

She graciously also listened and responded with her own wisdom, kind help and recommendations and numbers.

I breathed in the love and support, building muscles in mind to self advocacy and felt the beginnings of freedoms within what had only been constricted prison of onset helplessness.

It is an amazing gift we give and receive in the present of choices in our communication with friends.

I made a couple of calls and got machines; left messages and prepared to wait.

In the meantime, in getting a bit of necessary business off my plate, I called my contractor’s office to delegate a bit of research and, when saying, “I don’t have time today to make those necessary calls nor do I have time to talk much, I have an eye emergency,” Lisa, asked if I needed a good ophthalmologist.  I almost said ‘no,’ but something stilled my tongue and out popped the word, ‘yes.’

She went on to rave about this ophthalmic group she, her mom, cousins and friends had all used to great success in several areas of needed care.  She gave me the exact information Merri had shared last night.


Hello Universe!

Wishing me well and assuring me that nothing was more important than taking care of myself and healing, she said she’d handle the business calls and flew off the phone.

Next, my friend Melanie called and when I gave her the 411, she told me to call her group.  She explained that she was one of the most fear-filled eye patients ever and when her doctor had told her she needed to have cataract surgery, she’d told him, “You’re gonna have to knock me out in a hospital to do it!”

Yet, with the gentleness,  expertise , full communication and patience of her ophthalmic surgeon, she’d had actually had the procedure done in the office without the slightest bit of pain or discomfort of any kind.

She blapped out the name of her surgeon and the retinal specialist, who’d taken care of her whole family.  Both on staff at the group Merri and Lisa had independently given me.

Tom, having done research, found outstanding reputations on all recommendations and, in particular, one of the top retinal specialists in New York was part of this group; the very one who’d taken such good care  of Melanie’s family.

Hello Angels!

A moment later, it was that office which got back to me first.

Hello Universe!

An hour later, I had a complete eye exam, had been assured there’d been hemorrhage  in the vitreous but no retinal detachment.  I would not have what I feared most- complete loss of sight.

The next day, though the big guys wasn’t available for weeks, another of their retinal specialists did his own examination and performed laser surgery to seal a retinal tear.

A week later, experiencing some further discomfort and blurry vision, I was back in the office and who was waiting for me?

Yep, you guessed it…that very specialist who I’d wanted to see but had been totally booked weeks out; who as it turns out, also had treated my friend Melanie’s whole family!

Hello Spirit!

One other doctor on their staff turned out to be a man I’d done shows in regional theatre with years ago.  An ophthalmic surgeon with an operatic tenor voice.

Thank you Angels!  Thank you Universe! Thank you Spirit!

Keep connecting the dots for me, please.

I’ll keep looking and listening with outer and inner eyes and ears.

‘Cause I/eye do not object to that!

One Response to “Eye Object”

  1. Ray Says:

    Bless you, Florence. God has a special place in his heart for you.

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