I

was blind — temporarily. With a bandage covering my eye, I got a taste of the worst-case scenario. I took a deep breath, pushing away the panic. Only time would tell if I was crazy or a genius for choosing to do this surgery.

Five hours after surgery, the nurses happily waved goodbye to me — for this supposedly small surgery, I wasn’t privileged enough to be hosted by the hospital overnight. Armed with a ludicrously large pair of sunglasses, I moaned my way through the two-minute drive to the closest hotel. The two-hour drive home was out of the question. The surgery had started at 6 a.m., so it had been a long day, and as nausea and pain faded, my stomach demanded attention. Hubby located a nearby kosher restaurant and I stumbled inside like a one-eyed bandit.

We sat down at a free table. We didn’t need sight to realize we had the immediate attention of our next-table neighbors. It took all of three minutes for the guy to angle his chair in our direction and, attempting to sound casual, begin a conversation with the now familiar, “So, what’s your story?”

Well, technically those weren’t his first words, but his gaze shifting between my bandage and my husband’s hearing aids said it for him. The expression “it’s none of his business” flashed into my mind, but was quickly replaced by a different thought. Instead of complaining that people don’t understand me, I realized suddenly, I can educate them so they do understand me — and others just like me. 

In between spoonfuls of chicken soup, I explained the anatomy of the eye and the problem with a Marfan’s eye, where the lens is often dislocated. As I dealt with the slippery noodles of my chow mein, trying my best to aim for my mouth without the benefit of fully functioning eyes, my husband took over the class on Disability 101. Taking off his hearing aids, he let the guy and his son feel what it felt like having it on their ears. Their mouths hung open as they contemplated a life different from their own.