Sweet swisslin’ cripes, I damn near rubbed the eyes right out of my head this week.
It started last Sunday morning. I woke up and my eye was all itchy and sorta crusted shut more than usual. I noticed it, but I didn’t pay too much attention because me and Cyril and Murph were in a wrestlin’ match with Captain Morgan the night before.
But even after I drove some coffee into me and straightened up a bit, my right eye was right irritated.
Why are you always rubbin’ your eye like that? Minnie says, interruptin’ my gougin’ ol’ frig out of it.
I’m not, I said.
Oh, OK then, Minnie said. Well listen, when it pops out on ya, try not to get any blood or eye juice on the carpet, eh?
Oh, she’s some smart, her.
Anyways, Monday morning Minnie’s alarm goes off and before I can get up, I have to sit on the side of the bed and rub my eye and pull at the lid everything just to get it to open.
Well now I know there’s somethin’ wrong, Minnie says. In all the years we’ve been married, your eye has never been the thing you rub and pull when you get up in the morning.
You’re a riot, Minnie, I mumbled, rubbin’ my eye over and over with my knuckle the way Rosie’s cat Mittens washes her face.
I’m a riot and you’re goin’ to the doctor’s, she says.
Ooohhh no I’m not! I said, but the argument was over as soon as we got downstairs and Minnie got on the phone.
So I get an appointment for Thursday morning.
Minnie grabbed the flashlight from the junk drawer, got me in kind of a headlock and shined the light right in my eyeball before I knew what was happenin’.
Looks infected. That’s pink eye, I’d say, Minnie said. Now, you can’t be rubbin’ your eyes all the time and touchin’ everything in the house because you’ll spread the infection to me and the kids and then we’ll all have pink eye. So, I know it goes against your character, but you gotta start washin’ your hands all the time.
‘Goes against my character’? What’s that supposed to mean? I said.
That you don’t like washin’ your hands.
TUH! I said. G’way witchyer lies, Minnie! After I put the new fan belt in the truck Saturday, I came right in and washed my hands!
I know you did, she said, because the kitchen sink and counter was all splashed with dirty suds and there was a bunch of engine grease on my blue dishcloth. But I mean in regular every day life. I bet you didn’t wash your hands after you used the bathroom this morning, she says.
I didn’t use the bathroom this morning, I said. I only took a leak.
She rolled her eyes and gave up on me and by Wednesday we all had pink eye.
So Thursday comes and Minnie decides we’re all goin’ to see the doctor. You’re supposed to make separate appointments, but Minnie decided we’d all just pile in at once.
I hate the doctor’s, I said. The waitin’ room’s full of people with god-knows-what and you gotta wait forever to get in.
Suck it up, buttercup, Minnie says.
Easy for you to say, you’re there all the time, I said. You go once a year for that thing where they put your chest in a vice, and then once a year again for that thing where they put your legs in the air.
Wow, she says. You’re quite the scientist, you are. Maybe you should get out of the worm business and start doctorin’.
Yeah, I said. Cuz it takes a real genius to look at somebody with a pink aye and say, Looks like you got pink eye.
Anyways, me and Minnie and Rosie and Little Bill all cram into the truck and we’re off to the doctor’s office. Apart from one pregnant lady and one guy who was maybe 30, I’d say the average age in the waitin’ room was 105.
I hope the doctor’s not runnin’ too late, I whispered to Minnie, cuz some of these people don’t look like they got that much time. And she elbowed me in the ribs.
Half an hour after my appointment time, and a good two-thirds of the way through a 12-year-old Readers Digest article about a restored Mustang, I finally get called in.
We wait another 15 minutes in the little exam room, and Little Bill entertains us by puttin’ the blood pressure thing around his wrist and pumpin’ till’ his hand turns blue. So we’re all roarin’ our arses off when the doctor walks in.
OK, let’s see what we have here, he says, and he takes a look in my eyes with the light.
I expect him to say – Don’t worry, it’s just pink eye. Take a couple of drops and you’ll be good in no time.
But instead he says, Hmmmm.
What do you mean? I say. What’s wrong?
Looks like you’ve got a case of viral conjunctivitis, the doctor says.
Oh my god! I sorta choked out. And here, I thought it was just pink eye, but the doctor comes out with this horrible disease name. I swear to cripes, my life flashed before my eyes. I felt so bad for infectin’ the whole family. I could see the whole terrible thing unfolding – donation jars for us on convenience store counters, a benefit dance with donations at the door…
And what’s that? Minnie asks the doctor.
Oh, he says, handin’ her a perscription sheet. It’s just pink eye. Get a bottle of these drops for each of you and it should clear up in a week.
That’s it? I ask him.
And wash your hands a lot, he says.