Features & Images » Travel

Travel Story - Thai Eye

Blessings cloaked in goo



A new perspective on Thailand comes with temporary loss of sight

Science has never been one of my strengths. In physics, when asked to describe what happens when you put a sugar cube into water, I launched into some flowery description of a knight on a horse and a maiden in a crumbling tower. When we were supposed to observe what happens to Alka Seltzer in water, my friend and I popped them into our mouths and pretended we were rabid. I did not dissect a frog; I was at Muffin Break. When I was supposed to be learning the Periodic Table, I was busy flirting. I claimed it was chemistry, but I was kicked out of class, nonetheless. I graduated from high school with A's. I did not take science in Grade 12.

My scientific apathy did not prepare me for the loss of the use of my left eye while I was in Thailand.

It was a Sunday. I went to the Internet café to send a few "sàwà-dii"s and to see if anyone was on MSN. Sélèna dropped by the café to see if I wanted to accompany her to the markets. I paid up and off we went. The Sunday market in Chiang Mai is a wonder. You can walk and shop and gawk for hours. After a length of meandering and munching, we decided to take a rest. We headed for the corner. There were rows of plastic chairs and stools and smiling faces wooing us to pay $1.50 for a half-hour foot or head and shoulder massage. Life is very good in Chiang Mai.

The man pushed, pulled and kneaded my neck, head and my shoulders. I vied to keep it together enough not to drool too much. As my eyes wandered over the sea of heads perking and lurking along, a stream of white haze slid across my left eye. It wasn’t sleep. My scientific mind immediately recognized the discharge as, "goo". I knew I had to head to the pharmacy asap, though I didn't cut my massage short.

I rubbed my eye. More goo seeped from somewhere. I rubbed my eye again. Sélèna told me my eye was really red, and that I probably shouldn’t be touching it. I nodded, as my hand reached once again for my eye. I had a roll of toilet paper in my bag, as you do in Thailand, so I tore off a piece, and dabbed my eye once more.

By the time I got to the pharmacist, my eye was poppy red and weeping. She prescribed some drops, recommended that I keep my eye shut, and told me to come by tomorrow. I had been planning to go to Pai for a week the next day with some Thai Massage classmates. I went home, abused the drops, cursed and crashed.

Add a comment