Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Eye Saga, Days Two and Three: Frankly, Boredom Is a Nice Change

Despite not leaving a forwarding address, my birthday still had no trouble locating me here in Beijing.  Yup, today starts my last year of my twenties . . . I'm not sure how I feel about that, to be honest.  Part of me feels like I'm already 40, but then there's also a part of me that is frolicsome and young and bears absolutely no resemblance to the slightly frumpy ole gal I'm starting to get glimpses of in the mirror each morning.

I was, admittedly, initially rather sad about the prospect of spending my birthday alone in Beijing with an impending surgery dangling its black crepe over the day.  I live in an environment where it is pretty easy to feel or be forgotten, so that mixed with the general migraine-created gloom that had descended over my life for the past few months.  I quite frankly was all set to skip this birthday entirely because it just didn't feel like a day worth remembering after the past few months that I've had.  But, thankfully, my natural self is starting to return little by little (especially now with a cure in sight . . . pun unintentional), and I actually feel pretty good today.  I'm not entirely alone, either.  I was awakened by a text message from one of my two dearest friends here wishing me a happy birthday, and by the time I had blearily texted back a reply, my other dearest friend texted me.  It was a nice way to wake up.  And then, at noon, I'll be joining my new friend Diana for lunch before we head off to my appointment with an eye specialist (whose name, appropriately, is pronounced Dr. "Eye" — although it's actually spelled Dr. Ai).

Yesterday's appointment went well.  I saw a Dr. Xi who was friendly and quite competent  — I liked her immediately and felt like she took my problems seriously.  She agreed with the previous diagnoses, but wanted me to see the strabismus specialist before actually having the surgery (I like the whole "measure twice, cut once" philosophy when applied to my eyes or other body parts).  I do not have glaucoma, which is a HUGE relief.  I do have something a little off about my left retina, but it's nothing worrisome.

After the appointment, I spent some time with my friend Kathryn, who had come to Beijing to join me for a day, and then from 1:00 on, I was on my own.  I elected to stay in the hotel room and do absolutely nothing, since my eyes were really bothering me (particularly after some of the eye tests I had to do).  One Beijing is bustling enough  — when you see the whole thing in double, it's beyond overwhelming.  It wound up being a very dull evening, but I honestly appreciated having a boring night.  I dealt with necessary correspondence, listened-rather-than-watched to some television programs, and decided that impending surgery justified eating some of the birthday cake Oreos that my roommate bought for me before I left Qingdao.

After the meeting with the specialist in just a few hours, I should finally have a surgery date and know exactly what is about to be done to me.  And then I'll have another pleasantly boring evening, I hope.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"