When I woke up with my eyes exceedingly crusty and gross, I
was reminded of an operation I witnessed on television one morning while
preparing to leave for work.
I awoke in
the morning to find my hyperactive puppy slobbering over me, breathing heavily
into my nose for every breath I tried to let out. For some unknown reason, it was more
difficult than usual to force open my eyes.
It did not take long to realize that they were crusted shut with a mass
of dried goo, which at some point had to have been clear, but now formed a
greenish yellow barrier on my lashes.
morning before work, I switched on the television to watch a graphic, usually
bloody, episode of The Operation. At the
moment I was laying in bed with the dog’s face in mine, I was reminded of a
child’s brain surgery. The television
doctors sliced a clean, sharp incision across the top of an infant’s forehead
in the shape of an arch, following the hairline. One doctor, with latex gloved hands,
carefully slipped two long fingers into the incision, pushing down towards the
child’s face. He then slid them across,
lifting skin gently upward. While that
doctor was lifting skin, another had carved into each side of the child’s face,
like a mask, around the front of the ears, just to the bottom of the lobe on
either side. A masked nurse suctioned
bloody juices from the incisions while another cauterized the areas that were
oozing. I could smell the burning flesh
and see the metal tool singe the interior of the wound in my mind as I was
trying to force open my crusty eyes while still laying in bed lazily, just as I
had been able to smell it as I watched it that other morning.
minutes, the doctors on television had turned a young boy into a limp doll and
cut a flap out of his head. When the
child’s face was peeled back, he seemed to be made of plastic with his skin
made of the same latex as the doctors’ sterilized gloves. I experienced a temporary bout of
squeamishness, thereby missing the skull removal procedure. When I was able to look at the television
screen again, I saw the mushy section of brain that would normally be
encompassed by the forehead.
definitely something disgusting about a live human brain, exposed to the
elements, as though it were an appendage above the face. It was around this time that I went off to
shower and dress for work; definitely needed by then, before I got sick to my
shower, the doctors had stitched up their patient with bright blue nylon
thread. The antiseptic lotion a nurse
swabbed on the incision was a marigold color, further enhanced by the blue
undertones of the child’s skin. Some
sections of the incision were coated with a crusty, light orange ooze, similar
to the goo on my eyes, that seemed to harden within seconds of being exposed to
It was this
operation on television that I was reminded of when I awoke that morning with
my eyes glued shut with nighttime crust.
What was worse was that these visions would not cease until I fumbled to
the bathroom and splashed warm water on my eyes. Once I was able to see again, picturing the
brain operation was not nearly as personal and so I hopped in the steamy shower
and got ready for work.