One of the things that I have always found peculiar that you hear reasonably often when people are discussing Asian cultures, especially, is that “it’s really considered rude in that culture to make another person loose face.” And I always think to myself “and it’s not in every culture?” Perhaps it’s true that losing face is a bigger deal in places other than the US, but still, it sounds to me a lot like getting a reminder that gagging on the food someone has prepared for you and then dramatically spitting it out into your napkin is considered bad form “in some places.” Anyway, one of the first things you learn in marriage therapist school is that families are a little like their own culture and when two people marry negotiating, adopting, tolerating and eliminating different aspects of the spouses’ family of origin culture is one of the major tasks of the first five to seven years of marriage. I’ve found this to be true in my marriage to Rob. I love some aspects of his family culture. For example, if two members of the family are having a disagreement, they see no need to hash it all out during meal times, like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. My family, all of whom I love, is much more likely to go ahead and get it all out the very moment we feel it, rather than take the very real risk we might forget about whatever it is that we’re upset about. Robert loves some aspects of my family culture, perhaps his favorite of which is the concept of “the birthday week,” which I think I’ve written about before. You get to choose which of the seven days around your birthday count as your week and you get to choose all of the meals, all fun activities and so on. We’re still working out how we’re going to make this work with two people who have the same birthday. Other aspects of my family culture, though, have been more of a challenge for him to adjust to. My family is all about seeking medical attention at the slightest provocation. It’s not that we’re hypochondriacs (although maybe there is an element of that to it) and, if you look closely at our family history, do in fact have valid reasons that we’re a little more “proactive” in the treating illnesses early department. However, in the time I have known him, upwards of ten years now, Rob has only willingly see a doctor once for a bout of the flu he had our first year in
All of that is important background for the story of my ER visit the weekend before last and the not-so-very-good week that followed. I had gone to visit my hometown with the girls, as Erin and my newest nephew James were visiting for the weekend. It turned out not to be the best weekend we’d all had together; James had to get his four month shots and didn’t feel so great about that, L. and E. refused to be photographed by the professional photographer and even showed a lot of resistance to being caught on film by Aunt Erin, who they usually pose for. And, however it happened-and I am not making accusations here, but I think I know- one of two people I know who enjoy vigorously poking others in the eyes poked me in the eye with her razor sharp finger nails. So by Friday night, I felt like I had ten thousand eyelashes tuck in my left eye and was unable to hold it open without being blinded by the torrent of tears it was leaking. When I awoke Saturday, the situation was no better. Wisely, I decided to use my one good eye and drive us on back to
So off I went to SmallTown’s Emergency Department. Let me state for the record that I am not a stranger to emergency rooms; arguably, given the bizarre series of events that occurred during my pregnancy, I received up to a fourth of my prenatal care from emergency rooms throughout
Anyway, Rob eventually arrived and just in time for me to catch one last hatchet throw on-screen, they called me back. I could hear the annoyed wailings of the kidney stone woman behind me, but at that point, I was just so glad to be out of the waiting room with her giant crowd of social support that I had a difficult time feeling bad that I getting in first. The nurse immediately gave me eye numbing drops. I realize these aren’t available over the counter, but if you ever get a chance to get your hands on them, I can’t say enough positive things about them. They then gave me some “make the wound on your eye glow” drops. Here is an actual artist's rendering of what they found:
Needless to say, Rob felt a little bad about secretly judging me for seeking medical attention too quickly, because in his words, “it was really disgusting.” But bear in mind this is from a man who doesn’t like to wear contacts because he hates touching eyes; it could well be that he just has some sort of eye issue. So, anyway, they taped my eye shut and patched it. The next day, E and L took turns gently poking at my patch, which I tried to discourage, given that it’s how I got myself into the situation in the first place. But you couldn’t blame them for being fascinated with Mommy’s pirate eye. And you know, I’ve always had kind of a pirate-y look in terms of my personal style, so you can imagine how well I pulled off the whole thing. So let this be public service announcement about the dangers of letting small children near your eyes.
Here are some pictures for the grandparents:
E. with crazy hair. L. trying to climb onto the picnic table.