Catch the Red Eye!

red eye

No, this post isn’t about hopping a midnight flight from LA to DC. In fact, I’m one of the few people I know who hasn’t flown an airplane since before 9-11. It has nothing to do with the fear of flying into a skyscraper or having my toes strip-searched at check in. I just don’t have the budget to vacation anywhere further than where my minivan’s full tank of gas will take me.

I call this post Catch the Red Eye because I actually have a red eye. Fortunately it’s not contagious. I was just looking for a title that was catchy. I’m full of puns today.

Here’s my story:

I sat down to dinner last Monday when my husband Tom noticed my eye.

“Wow. Your eye looks really red.”

It wasn’t wow with an exclamation point or anything since nothing short of an emotionally-vested baseball or football game would warrant palpable excitement out of him.

I figured my left eye was just red from the year-long bout of shingles I can’t completely shake. But my daughter Mary leaned over and looked, and her shock and awe equaled about half an exclamation point.

“Yeah, Mom. It’s kind of gross.”

Tom also noted that my right eye was the wrong eye to be red, so I went to the bathroom mirror to take a look.

Yuck! It was really red! It was like my eye was bleeding on the inside, but the eyeball was holding all the blood in. There was a large spot on the outside corner of my eye, and in the next few days it spread through the rest of my eye.

My doctor assured me it was just a broken blood vessel and that it would go away eventually. It doesn’t hurt, so I don’t really think about it. It’s only when I run into someone I know that I remember I look ghastly.

“Geez! What happened to your eye?!”

Most of my friends use the exclamation point in this case. It’s nice to know that they care so much about me that their voice grows loud and concerned. It’s also a good thing for me to know that my husband cares about me even if he doesn’t use an exclamation point when commenting on my potential blindness.

It’s an interesting experience when I talk to people I don’t know. I find that when we meet, they are either drawn to my eye, or they’re trying particularly hard not to look at it. During our chat, I imagine our actual conversation juxtaposed with the conversation in the stranger’s head:

Me: “Hi. I’m Mary’s mom, Cathy. Thanks for dropping off Kristen.”

Stranger: “Hi. I’m Jamie. Kristen’s mom.”

Stranger’s Head: Jesus Christ! What happened to her eye?!

Me: “Mary talks about Kristen all the time. I’m glad we finally lined up a play date.”

Stranger: “Me too.”

Stranger’s Head: God, that thing must hurt like a bitch! Kristen didn’t mention that Mary’s mom had an accident.

Me: “Mary just got a new dog, so they might take it to the park. Would that be ok?”

Stranger: “Sure. Kristen loves dogs.”

Stranger’s Head: It doesn’t seem to bother her, but that eye’s really red. Is she stoned? There are a lot of those shops with the green crosses in this neighborhood.

Me: “Can I get you something to drink? To eat?”

Stranger’s Head: Munchies? Yeah, she’s stoned.

Stranger: “No, thanks. I was just going to drop off Kristen and pick her up in a couple of hours.” (pause) “Or less.”

Me: “I’d be happy to take her home.”

Stranger (a little too quickly): “No!”

Stranger’s Head: But she’s only got one red eye. I don’t think you can be half stoned.

Stranger: “I mean, thanks, but I need to come back to the area around 5:00 anyway.”

Stranger’s Head: Is her eye always that red? Maybe it’s a birth defect.

Me: “Great. So I’ll see you about 5:00?”

Stranger’s Head: Bummer for her. She probably gets a lot of people gawking at her.

Me: “Later?” (No answer). “Julie?”

Stranger’s Head: Damn! She caught me staring at that bloody thing! Look somewhere else!

(Stranger nods over to Tom who’s watching a football game).

Stranger: “Is that Mary’s dad?”

Me: “Her stepdad. Tom, this is Jamie, Kristen’s mom.”

Tom (ignoring stranger, shouting at tv): “Run! Run! Run! You $^%@* tool!”

Me: “Sorry. My husband’s a big Colts fan.”

Stranger’s Head: Wow! Mary’s stepdad sure loves his exclamation points!

Stranger: “My husband likes the Red Eyes.”

Stranger’s Head: “What the hell came out of my mouth? Backpedal! Backpedal!”

Stranger: “I mean Redskins.”

Stranger’s Head: Damn! I hope Kristen has a terrible play date. I can’t face this woman again.


I say goodbye to Kristen’s mom Julie and escort her out the door. Thank goodness. She had something green on the tip of her nose and I couldn’t stop staring at it.



Filed under Anxiety, Humor, Husband, Illness, Kids, Parenting, Recuperating

10 responses to “Catch the Red Eye!

  1. Just a heads up, you are now going to get a ton of new traffic on your blog – one of my most popular posts is My Eye is Bleeding Just in Time for the Christmas Party. My post is not entertaining like yours, but hundreds of people from Pakistan to Paraguay wanting to know about the red eye have landed there. Your post will be especially helpful because you actually asked a doctor about your eye, so you are practically an expert. 🙂

    • I had just started reading your blog last year when you had the red eye. I would have thought you were exaggerating, but you uploaded a photo, and boy oh boy, was that eye red! I’ve actually been thinking of you a lot during my own red eye experience, and from the beginning it made me hopeful that if yours went away, mine probably would too. Thanks for the “Pakistan to Paraguay” warning (from your lips to God’s ears), but I’m even more thrilled that you continue to read my posts. I’m sorry I don’t tend to comment much on other bloggers posts or even my own during my busy work season (September – May), but always strive to make up for it in the summer. Thank you so much for commenting! And for anyone who wants to see that other red eye, go to

  2. Funny imaginary conversation.
    It was a catchy title.
    Feel better.

  3. Well, the good part of your little drama is you did not concoct some scenario where I caused your red eye. Yes, I did not think your eye was serious. You seemed shocked when I asked about your eye so I concluded it wasn’t bothering you and must have broken blood vessel. Your doctor seemed to think so too. It was funny that the blood in your eye kept moving around. It reminded me of Marty Feldman in Yong Frankenstein with the moving hump on his back. How can you be half stoned? That is like being sort of pregnant or married. Either you are or you are not, no transition area.

    Yes, I am not prone to hysterics. I do try to show an appropriate amount of sympathy when someone is hurt. You did not seem like you were pain. Unlike when Mary came up to me a few weeks ago saying she scratched her arm or hand and it really really really hurt. I looked at the proposed wound and could not see anything. No scratch, no tearing of the skin. There wasn’t even a light red mark. I had to even ask where the scratch was. She pointed to a spot, but I still could not find anything. I told her she would be fine very soon and there wasn’t much I could do to help.

    Yes, I am a die hard Colts fan. I have been all my life. I did not expect to have the opportunity this year to yell and scream for my Colts in the hopes that somehow my fanatic enthusiasm would propel them to victory. I thought this year would be rebuilding year and the team would be lucky to get 3 or 4 wins. They are a good team this year with a lot of heart. More heart than talent, but it is getting them wins. I don’t know which kid was Kristen, but if her dad is really a Redskins fan I don’t like him. I hate the Redskins. I would root for USC before rooting for the Redskins. That is how low I think they are.

  4. Anonymous

    I love Tom’s replies.

  5. Arno

    Hope the redness goes away soon, great writing…. I liked it very much.

  6. I’ve totally been half-stoned. Just sayin’.
    Ps. Thanks for the pic, because I probably would’ve made it waaaay worse in my head.

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