I've written about the curse of malocchio, but yesterday at 4 a.m., I experienced a much different kind of "bad eye." I woke up with a literal one that was tearing, burning, itching, and just being a big ole pain.
Needless to say, I couldn't fall back asleep--did you notice that I posted at 5:30 a.m. yesterday? Yeah, you probably won't be seeing that again unless the eye strikes back.
So after posting, I woke up P for work. He asked if I wanted to go down the mountain to the doctor. Nah, I said, we'll see how it progresses.
I don't like the doctor, but I really hate going here, where it can take hours of sitting among a bunch of sickies before I'm seen only to get news that I could've gotten at the pharmacy, where the pharmacist diagnoses you and sells you whatever he thinks you need. No thanks.
A few minutes after P left for work, he returned and told me that he had two different volunteers in the piazza that would take me to the doctor if I wanted. Again, no. Let's just wait and see, I said.
So once I was sure the pharmacist had arrived in the village, I ventured out for some medical advice; he usually rolls in around 9:30, but to be safe I waited until 10. And wouldn't you know? A line of people.
I, of course, kept my sunglasses on, so I got even more stares than I normally would, as oddly enough, young people don't often hang out in the pharmacy in a village where the average age is somewhere around 65. After a few minutes and a gasp from the pharmacist at how bad my eye looked, I got some drops (the famous collirio for fellow expats) and was on my way.
And then more fun began.
First I ran into P's sister-in-law who diagnosed me as having pink eye, which I had thought was a possibility as well, but she seemed particularly concerned because "My how your face is swollen! You look terrible!"
Then the clerk in the tobacco shop (needed to get tissues) seconded that emotion, and told me (in a speech that lasted no less than 15 minutes) that her two daughters had just gotten over pink eye.
Alrighty then. Moving on the grocery store, which is about a ten second walk down the street.
On the way, I was stopped by three different elderly women asking about my eye. I was wearing sunglasses, by the way, so they hadn't actually seen a problem, but the word had clearly gotten out.
And then inside the grocery store, the clerk also diagnosed me with pink eye, although another customer thought I had just gotten something in it, like a mosquito, he said. I hadn't thought of the mosquito angle, so I thanked him for his ingenuity.
The morning was rounded out by a phone call from P's mom (who doesn't live in the village, but rather down the mountain) asking me if I wanted to go to the doctor. Again, I resisted the invitation, and I didn't even think it was strange that she knew I had an eye issue.
Instead, I squeezed some drops into my eye, causing ridiculous burning for a few seconds and finally some relief, and then called the school to tell them I wouldn't be teaching today. They, incidentally, hadn't heard of the Great Eye Debacle yet, so it was good I called.
More drops and many cold compresses later, the eye was mostly back to normal by yesterday evening--much to the relief of the village, which sent some representative questioners this morning when I took Luna for a walk.
As for the eye, I'm not sure if it was a quickly traveling virus or even, say, a mosquito, but it seems to have passed, and I am left with only photographic reminders of all the annoyance. Because of the horrible pain, I was up for the sunrise yesterday, and that didn't turn out to be a bad consolation prize.*
Unfortunately the weather turned cloudy and rainy soon thereafter, but you wouldn't know it from the way the day started.
This from the balcony:
And this from my kitchen window as the sun traveled through the sky:
*Excuse the crookedness factor please. I was only working with one good eye, you know, and even that wasn't so good since I didn't have my contacts in. I'm virtually blind with uncorrected vision.