Originally Cont’d From Last minute reprieve delays eye execution 1-25-10
I have never been good at waiting, and when I have something unpleasant to do — like undergo an operation in the hospital — I prefer to get it over with. Quickly. And not have to count the minutes that seem to pass by so excrutiatingly slow.
Forty, fifty, sixty minutes go by as I sit and wait at the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadelphia for the surgeon to see me and determine when to do a detached retina operation at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia. And now I’m pacing, walking from one end of the long seating area to the other, if not literally “climbing the walls,” then figuratively, as I spot pictures and stories with the history of the University of Pennsylvania and how it pioneered in the treatment eye illnesses, going back as far as the founding of the United States of America.
The reading kills more time, until I get to the fine print and am unable to see with the one good eye without having to bend my body into contortions, leaning this way and that to squint at what I see as pixels, not letters. Back and forth I go, feeling as if my behavior is now bordering on the inappropriate as I talk with clerks behind desks, admiring the personal pictures, then joking with them all in attempts to hide my anxiety, my fear of the worst scenarios. All are pleasant toward me, probably having dealt with other “basket cases” who were waiting for their doctors busy “in surgery.”
Were there complications with his last victim, I mean, patient, I begin to wonder? Why has the surgeon not come to see me? I’ve been out here more than an hour now, no food, no water, unable to still my mind no matter how hard I try. That’s just it, I’m trying too hard to meditate. Let me try some EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). I sit and go through the tapping, completely forgetting to “set my intent” by touching the “karate chop” hand. I extend both my hands right to the forehead, tapping above the eyes, the corners of the eyes, and then right below them. Beneath the nose, now above the chin and onto my chest, tapping the chest at the top of the rib cage, the place where the thyroid is, the bottom of the rib cage and finally the spots on my torso just below the arm pits. Now to “tap it off” with the last tap to the head.
“Mr. Contos” I hear someone say. Stopping my patting, I look up and see Dr. Will, the surgeon. We shake hands and he asks if I am okay, and I try to explain the “tapping,” procedure, what EFT involves as well as meditation and enlightenment and he just smiles, probably hearing similar babble from other veterans he’s treated here in the past.
He examines my eye, says it looks improved, but that some liquid is still showing. He wants me to come back Wednesday, to postpone any operation until further review then.
No complaints, doc, I offer in a silent swoon. Anything you say, as I shake both his hands and walk out with a skip and jump as well as a smile in my heart having battled my latest anxiety devil to a draw.
Now, I can run away, and to fight my Self again some other day.