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The Eye

I was agitated. 

“I cannot reschedule this anymore. I filed for leave for this procedure,” I told the attendants at the operating room, trying my very best to emphasize through my voice, intonation, and facial expressions that finding a date when I could file a leave isn’t easy. All the stars must align. 

This was after I learned that, after days of psyching myself up for the impending slicing of my eyelid, that my schedule for the day wasn’t booked by the appointments officers with the operating room people after all. “Just talk about it amongst yourselves,” said the opthalmologist, who was also baffled why my appointment after the previous week’s consultation (when he decided I needed the minor surgery) was marked as another consultation. What were we supposed to talk about? 

So I begged them to please find a way to put me on the table that very day. Actually, it’s not just because of the anxiety of a wasted work leave and the trouble of filing for another. It’s also because, once and for all, I want this nuisance residing inside my eyelid gone. Once and for all, I wanted to get rid of the stye (comically called kuliti in Filipino) that has been repeatedly appearing every now and then, especially during seasons of sleeplessness and stress. 

I don’t remember being prone to having stye when I was a young kid. But I am sure I started frequently getting it once I started working. The severity varies, sometimes appearing just like a mosquito bite, but there was time it made my eyelid swell so bad (Quasimodo bad) that I was wheeled at Makati Medical Center cause I found it difficult to keep my balance. The pattern is consistent. My body just charmingly decided that having stye is going to be its choice of reaction to stress. 

It’s not just limited to work stress by the way. Most of my photos from my overseas vacations for example also feature my kuliti in various sizes - brought about by the stress of packing and preparing for the trip.  

So yes, I fought for the surgery. I know that there’s going to be a chance that the whole procedure will be rather rushed, since the doctor has to operate on a third patient (me), when the time window is normally just reserved for two. I just wanted to have that round bump underneath the eyelid, the eye of the kuliti, gone. 

My persistence won, and after more than an hour of waiting, I was wrapped in a blue hospital gown with the bright operating table lights flashing on my face. “This is going to feel a bit ‘makirot’,” said the doctor while injecting the anaesthetic - something I have heard from several doctors before, but to me, this bit of kirot they’re talking about is always excruciatingly painful, maybe because I am overly dramatic (I cry from pain during facial sessions at dermatology clinics). 

I had no idea what they were doing, but I just felt like they have clipped something like an eyelash curler on my eyelid and sort of tuned it inside out like what grown ups in the nineties do with their eyelids when they try to scare kids. And then I felt it. The cut. As mentioned, I’m overly dramatic so I grunted and squirmed and teared up like I’m undergoing a major surgery like a heroic soldier who got injured on the line of duty. 

But the truth is the doctor is just trying to squeeze out a small dot of pus. But I kinda saw blood welling over my eyeball so that really terrified me. The doctor kept pressing on my eyelid to express all sorts of dirty fluid out of it, also squeezing my eyeball in the process, of course. The nurses kept wiping off the blood, which I’m sure, also had my tears mixed in. I wanted the whole thing to end already. I wasn’t able to time in, but I know the whole procedure lasted for the duration of two songs playing on the doctor’s phone - one of them More Today than Yesterday by Spiral Starecase. I forgot what was the other one, but I think it’s something covered by Nina in her live album. 

After the procedure, I expressed my heartfelt (really) thank yous to the doctors and his staff, and we all wished this particular stye does not come back ever again. I stepped out of the clinic with my one eye patched, and those were wobbly steps (why do clinics insist on having stairs?). For a minute there, I questioned my being a strong, independent, self but that was just a short burst of time. After some time, I was back to my usual self taking selfies with my new face accessory of gauze patch and adhesives. 

Today, it’s been days after the procedure and I am happy with how the eyelid is healing, and of course, with the fact that there’s no longer a small bump that sort of makes my vision less HD. I have mastered the art of dropping medication, being able to do it with one hand and not blinking before the liquid touches the eyeball. 

And yes, after I’m fully healed, I’m gonna take a lot more selfies.