A Clockwork Dracula


Here’s the story of great popping balls of fire.

Don’t worry if you hear clicking sounds, that’s just the blood vessels in your eyeballs popping. Ah… rightio. Oh, and that burning smell, try not to think about it. It’s just your eyeballs on fire. Ah. Do you have a bucket? Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. THAT’S NOT NORMAL! How can I not worry about my eyeball blood vessels popping? Something that’s perfectly normal is something that happens every day, if one’s eyeballs are popping every day, I’d seriously consider a trip to the doctors. Ah, don’t worry, said the chirpy consultant. You’ll look just like Christopher Lee when he played Dracula. Oh gee, thanks, I’m sure that won’t freak out the hen party on the train. I’d rather look like Brad Pitt, but sure, Dracula. I mean, he’s from near where I live in Yorkshire, so maybe I can get away with the red eyes look as a homage, of sorts…

Yes, I’ve had my laser eye surgery. Apologies for the, what I’m sure are, like, a billion grammatical mistakes. I really can’t see a thing. Up close. I’m okay with distances, to a degree. They said I’ll have 80% of my vision back to normal within three days. I really shouldn’t be anywhere near a computer at the moment, to be frank, but I thought I’d let you guys know that I’m reasonably okay except for that bathroom thing. Oh, I never wore my glasses in the bathroom. My entire life, the bathroom has been one big blurry mess. It’s amazing how filthy it is. An unforeseen side affect of my surgery is getting used to being able to see. It means everything looks a lot bigger. In some instances, twice the size. I got an almighty fright when I woke up on Sunday and looked in the bathroom mirror. My head was enormous. Like one of those bobble heads. I’m seriously concerned about the size of my head. Was it always that big? Huh.

I must admit, I was incredibly frightened. I tried to take my mind of it by singing songs. In my head. I’d probably get kicked off the train if I did that aloud. My singing voice is truly awful. It’s why some people call my Cher. I don’t get the train very often. I could probably count on one hand how many times I’ve gotten a train in my lifetime. It’s a bit of a novelty. That said, it’s always nice to visit our grand old train station. Well, what’s left of it. The Germans bombed it. Still haven’t forgiven them for it. During World War 2, of course. Not… not last week. I think it probably would’ve made the news…

As I neared my destination, about an hour north, up in Newcastle, the butterflies in my stomach turned angry. Feral, even. Like those gremlins. Or Bill O’Reilly on a good day. The screaming hen party next me wasn’t doing much to calm said nerves. “Oh my God, I never thought he’d propose in the middle of Venice! I’d thought he’d order a curry and put the ring in that!” Yes. Welcome to northeast England. It’s a classy place. I wish them a lifetime of happiness. And curries, if she’s anything to go by.

You don’t need to know much about Newcastle. It’s all right as a city. Maybe a low, low 5/10. There are some pretty old buildings, I guess. A lot of people out drinking during the day. A nice bridge. Built in my hometown, nowhere near Newcastle. They’ve conveniently forgotten that fact, even though our name is stamped all over it, but there we are…

I wasn’t overly comforted by the fact that, as I sat in the waiting area, there were others around me who had just had the procedure done. One man, in his ‘60s, was practically on the floor curled up in a ball with tears streaming down his face, practically in a heap on top of a puddle of snot. Then a young girl came out. She looked around 18. She couldn’t see a thing and her eyes and nose were streaming, too. She turned to the old man. He turned to her. He tutted. “BLOODY ‘ELL, I’VE NEVER BEEN IN SO MUCH PAIN!” I mean, I love Optical Express, they’ve been wonderful to me. But I really don’t approve of the ‘waiting room for a procedure’ and ‘recovery room after a procedure’ being the same room.

Of course, I’m not going to give you the gory details of my surgery. It might make you vomit. Uncontrollably. A lot. Repeatedly. And then some. What I will say is that they took me in to this room that looked like one of the rooms you often see in alien films where said aliens take their kidnap victims to and experiment on. I really was… wetting myself at this point. They laid me on a bed that swivelled, left for the cutting laser and right for the correcting laser. My head was put in a mould and anaesthetic put in my eyes to numb them. The nurse then showed me these pretty lights I’d be looking at. Bright white. In a circle. You know, like those above the bed you see in all those alien films. I’m not saying it’s alien technology, but… erm, well, let’s just say I’m curious where NASA got it from. That’s all.

I won’t sicken you with the gory details. I won’t tell you about the huge rubber ring the surgeon put over my eye to keep it open, akin to Clockwork Orange. I won’t tell you about the suction cup thing they put over my eye to suck away the outer cells. I won’t tell you about the laser slicing the top of my eye open. I won’t tell you about the surgeon sticking a huge implement into my eyeballs and fishing around inside for a couple minutes. Nor can I tell you about the other rubber ring they used to press down on my eyeballs so firmly I lost vision in them for a minute and caused numerous blood vessels to pop. I also can’t tell you about the gritty feeling you get in your eyes afterwards, like someone is rubbing sand in them. Constantly. I can tell you about the nifty pair of swimming goggles they gave me to wear in bed at night so I don’t damage my healing eyes. They look pretty gnarly. I’m like Michael Phelps. Except I can’t swim. But apart from that…

Everything remains a touch hazy and a touch blurry. It’ll be a week before I know exactly how well all this has worked out, but early signs are good, even though I feel like utter shit. The consultant said I would, to be fair. He was funny. I liked him. He did actually say that. “Look, I’ll be honest with you. For the next few days, you’ll feel like utter shit.” Yes. Quite. Quite a lot, in fact. So apologies if I sound a bit groggy and miserable. Sorry, more miserable than usual. Important to make that distinction, I find.

I can’t quite believe I went through with it. Since I made this decision, there’s been a little devil on my shoulder telling me it’s stupid and pointless. But I’m already seeing the benefits. Metaphorically. I can’t actually see a great deal. I mean, I went for a bite to eat after the surgery and I had a glass of Coke and, for the first time in nearly two decades, my glasses weren’t ruined by all the fizzy Coke flying out of the glass and smearing across my lenses. I mean, it’s not a common perk to getting one’s eyes lasered, but I’ll take it…

I mean, sure, there are some downsides. I have to clean the bathroom, now. I’m not allowed to touch my eyes, which makes getting the sleep out of them in the morning a real pain in the backside. I’m also on around five drops a day. For a month. Oh, and I keep forgetting I’m not wearing glasses. It is all a bit surreal. The downside to this is that I’ve gotten into the habit of pushing my glasses up and I haven’t broken it yet.

There’s only so many times one can tolerate poking oneself in the eye…

American writer and journalist, Jeannette Walls (b. 1960), once wrote: ‘Glasses were like crutches. They prevented people with feeble eyes from seeing the world on their own.’

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the ‘Archives’ page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other blog:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
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