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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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An absolutely nonsensical post about eyeballs

I keep absentmindedly rubbing the inside of my eye. Not the INSIDE, it's not like I'm rooting around in my optic nerve. I mean the part around the tear duct. Probably I mean "the tear duct." This move then activates mysterious Itch Receptors all around the inside rims of my eyelids and subsequently I want to spend the rest of the day scratching at my eye-coverings with a shrimp fork. What kind of fucked-up god or Science Devil decided this was a good plan, to make the tear-duct area so exquisitely sensitive to any kind of rubbing/scratching/poking? All it takes is the least pressure with my finger or knuckle or dog nose and then JUST LIKE THAT mascara is running into my cleavage while I claw at my face. I can't remember if this happens all the time or it's some kind of allergy-related itchiness. Has it happened my whole life? My brain has cleared all the eye-scratching memories right out of my head. It's like there have been more important things!

I do clearly recall the time I scratched my cornea, because you don't forget a thing like that. I still maintain that my corneal scratch was more painful than childbirth. Certainly less rewarding. Absolutely nothing to show for it at the end. Except for an infection a couple of months later, which was just as painful and decidedly un-cute.

How did I scratch my cornea, you may be asking?  Here is the true answer I gave to every medical professional I dealt with that day: I poked myself in the eye. With my finger. The entire story is that I was trying to get something out of my eye when my cat startled me, but the cat detail didn't seem important. I can't blame the cat for this genius move. The fact is, when your finger is already resting against your eyeball, you should concentrate. And really, what could the cat have been doing that was really so alarming? I can't even remember. This was a cat we had long ago. She's dead now, and cannot answer my questions. Even if she had leapt off the armoire and sailed past me like a flying squirrel I should have at least REMOVED MY FINGER before turning to see what she was up to.

This actually looks like something my old cat could have done. She was kind of flappy.

Speaking of eyes, which it appears I am doing, my sister tore her retina a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't anything she did or (fortunately) anything I did (I would really hate to have injured someone else's eye with my wayward fingers); apparently this can just…happen. Bodies! They are totally fucked.

She had to have emergency futuristic laser-cat surgery (except without cats) and then, you guys, THEN. Then she was instructed to not move her eyes for a week.  A WEEK. I still cannot get over this. The period has already come and gone and I am still talking about it to anyone who will listen. No eye movement for a week! She could not: read, email, Internet-browse, cook, use a phone, or take a walk. All she could do was watch television (from a distance), and, I guess, stare into space. Probably she could also bathe. BUT NO READING THE SHAMPOO BOTTLE. No reading! At all! Do you know how much daytime television she had to watch? How many Dove commercials about the perils of discolored armpits? Do you think this caused permanent emotional scarring because I DO. It scarred me, and I only had to hear about it.

I called Liz a few days into her no-eye-moving trial and I was like WAIT A MINUTE WHAT ABOUT RAPID EYE-MOVEMENT. How do you control your dreams, Liz?! And then she had to explain to me that the goal was to minimize movement as much as possible, that of course some movement was inevitable, and I breathed into a paper bag and we were both okay.

And then my eye started itching again.  I wasn't going to call her back to update her on this itching situation. But then I realized she had nothing better to do than to listen to my problems, and anyway she shouldn't watch that much Kathie Lee and Hoda. And the moral of this story is that I am a really, really good sister.

Reader Comments (22)

The things we do for our siblings. Liz is lucky! Lucky Liz! Except maybe for the whole no reading b/c her eye has been futuristically laser beamed due to a spontaneous injury. That's not really lucky. No.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArnebya

I have problems with crazy itchiness in the corner of my eye. Antihistamine eye drops work great. Also, almost instant relief.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKarenP

That's far too sensible, Karen. Have you tried one of these shrimp forks?

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Oh my god, crack me up!!
And I am getting the shakes thinking about your poor sister. If that was me, I'd have to wear double eye patches in order to not have the urge to move my eye...I cannot even fathom how you control that without it severely messing with your psyche. Oh..,.pass that paper bag!!!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

This post actually held a valuable life lesson - remove finger from eye when surprised by cat. I have totally learned my one thing for the day.

But, despite this wondrous knowledge, I must add that if I were your sister and just had eye surgery, I'd be pissed that you called to talk about your eyes itching because then my eyes would start to itch and hello, recovering from eye surgery - do I not have enough eye issues already?!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCoraD

I don't know if you were living in the 'hood when this happened Alice, but I had not one, but TWO detached retina's (AT THE SAME TIME!!!) and had to have the emergency surgery on one of them STAT. I had to lie (lay?) face down for two weeks!!! TWO WEEKS!!!! And then do it again with the other one but that wasn't as bad as the first and didn't require the full lying (laying?) down portion. And I wore a patch and people kept going "ARGH" to me and expected me to laugh (which I didn't.) But I did wear a patch. And then there was the time when I had cataract surgery and the surgeons put a tear in my cornea and I thought I would die of the pain (much worse than childbirth IMHO) and didn't believe me until my eyeball practially exploded. Oh times. Thanks for the memories.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Prince

Ha! Alice, could be your mascara. Try the eye drops, they're instant relief and you won't have to scratch your face off.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKari

Cora, I didn't really call my sister to talk about my eyes. I took her mind off her troubles by discussing my terrible gas. SISTERS!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Anne, when I met you, you had one of the patches! I figured you were disfigured in a cat-related incident.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

One time I was convinced that the irritated feeling in my eye must have been a teeny rip in my contact lens, and I just wanted to pull the thing out. I kept pulling for something that I couldn't grasp on to, then I figured my eye must be really dry and that was why I couldn't get the necessary leverage to pull out the contact. I put some drops in and pulled some more, to no avail. It made me sweat. My eye was really, really red and the white part was swelling around the colored part, which I assumed was because of the contact lens that must be stuck there. I finally made an emergency appt. with my eye doctor, who, upon inspecting my eye told me there was no contact in there. That's when I remembered that I had forgotten to put my contacts in that day. D'oh!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdgm

Thanks for the nightmares, dgm!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

I'm not sure I could really tell you why but I loved this post! Probably means you are a really good writer or some such. Gee, I think maybe I envy you... :)

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBebe

Arggghhh! The last time I went to the eye doctors (which was FOREVER ago) he told me that my retinas looked a little thin. I also occasionally (OK, a little more than occasionally) get those black floaty spots and flashing lights "they" say could be a symptom of retinal problems. You have now sufficiently filled with me such a sense of dread and terror of having to undergo a similar procedure and recovery that I may start learning Braille tonight, because I'll need it when I'm blind! Is Braille available for Firefox? Also, every single time my eye starts to itch I'm convinced it's that scourge of schools everywhere, pinkeye.,

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I have had a corneal scratch, but have never given birth. You give me hope that I can survive childbirth, which surely no woman ever has done before!!

The only way I could describe the pain of a corneal scratch to my then-boyfriend was to say, "I want to punch the wall over and over just to distract myself from the pain in my eye." Ragged, bloody knuckles would be far superior to a corneal scratch.

When I got to an eye doctor and he smeared a Neosporin-like substance on my EYEBALL, I started to weep from the relief, which meant, of course, that he had to reapply the cream to my EYEBALL. Fun.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Oh my God. A week without reading? That sounds WORSE than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Thanks, I'll be around all week.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJadzia@Toddlerisms

Wow. Thank you for the giant queebs. I so enjoy reading about eyeballs. Really. Just because I'm so infuckingcredibly nearsighted that I am convinced my retinas are about to shred.

And I've had a scratched cornea AND children and both hurt.

And I second, third, and forth the suggestion that you seek some eyedrops from a professional. In the meantime, a warm compress might help. I have to do that in allergy season or I can't wear my contacts.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHope


April 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Well all I have to say after reading all these stories is that I guess I was pretty lucky. Though all the TV was pretty horrific. I can't even hear Ann Curry's voice without getting shivers. And, for the record, Alice was nothing but balm to my frazzled nerves!

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Speaking of eyeballs, remember that scene from Clockwork Orange? omg!

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhi kooky

...and now for something completely different...I was up all night last night with one of those deep inner ear itches. The kind that makes you think the spider eggs are hatching in there. The more you try to scratch at it, the more the baby spiders wiggle around.

Never thought of a shrimp fork though. Heaven knows they ought to be good for something. I'm allergic to shellfish don't ya know.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

WTF? How do you not move your eyes! Your poor sister. Your line about REM almost made me spit my coffee out.

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Mommy Psychologist

I have allergies so my eyeballs are always itchy. Now I'm gonna be extra careful! I can't imagine anything more painful then childbirth!

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhrl

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