I am writing this from the waiting room in a Paris clinic, while Jordana's about to have lasic eye surgery. She's sitting in a closet-like cubicle in a massage chair "relaxing." She's being very brave about this procedure. Having worn glasses or contacts since she was a child, she's ready to ditch the glasses - even when they're very stylish frames. The surgery is an early graduation present.
Meanwhile, my friend Gabrielle got up at the crack of dawn to drive from her home near Versailles to Charles de Gaulle. All this to pick up Jordana's boyfriend Keith, arriving on a flight from Boston. So it's quite an eventful day for our household - and truth be told, a little nerve-wracking. Did I mention I haven't met the boyfriend?
Alas, there's been a delay in the surgery scheduled before Jordana's. The doctor is here, but the operating room isn't available. This means more anxiety for Jordana; we weren't to know by the time the surgery begins, she will have waited more than 90 minutes in that little cubicle, listening to noises, footsteps and snatches of conversation all around her. So much for the "relaxed" intent of the massage chair.
A grown woman sitting on a banquette facing me is playing a videogame - a noisy videogame, which does not help to promote a calm atmosphere, when everyone's tense - with one exception. The guy she's accompanied has fallen asleep in his cubicle, while waiting for surgery. She's taken a photo of him on her cameraphone, no doubt to tease him later. This reinforces my theory that men can sleep through anything, because it's a very lively place.
Then the woman's portable phone rings and a loud conversation ensues among the caller, the (now wide-awake) guy in the cubicle and the woman in the waiting area. I am ready to scream. I take Jordana a magazine and tell her she has to wait a bit longer. She isn't happy.
fueled by loud technology;
the wrong time and place.
Gabrielle leaves me a voicemail to say "the bird is in its cage." Later I discover not only did she pick up Jordana's boyfriend at the airport, she took him out for coffee and croissants. She said Keith was sweet and charming and "very excited to see Jordana and anxious about meeting you." I decide Gabrielle is a saint.
At last they take Jordana off for surgery. I've watched two guys who were wearing glasses pre-surgery, come out smiling, sans lunettes. This gives me hope that the surgery won't have the after-effects I've been worried about, although I know it isn't a walk in the park - something Jordana's convinced herself it will be.
Later, Jordana comes out of surgery squinting and feeling unwell. The doctor assures us all is fine. He said Jordana will experience some pain and a burning sensation for about four hours and should use special eyedrops, every time she wants to touch or rub her eyes. The receptionist phones a taxi and Jordana keeps her eyes shut all the way home. In between regaling me with horror stories about the surgery itself, she asks how far from home we are. I try to soothe her by reciting familiar landmarks; 15 minutes, 10 minutes, two more blocks until we arrive. She holds on to me and keeps her eyes closed, opening them only briefly to throw her arms around Keith.
Keith and I introduce ourselves briefly. He's taller than I expected. Still wearing my coat, I get Jordana's eye drops, to alleviate the burning sensation. She puts on her sunglasses, then sits in a dark room while I fix a late lunch. When the food is ready, she asks me to lower the blinds, so the dining room will be in half-light and she keeps her sunglasses on. I threaten to take a picture; she is not amused.
A little while later, David phones and I tell him I have to call him back, as "I'm taping Jordana up." She and I both have a good laugh at how this sounds. After I taped protective plastic lenses over her eyes, she's sleeping. It is hoped when she wakes up, she'll be feeling much better. Tomorrow is her birthday and we start the day at the opthamologist's office for a post-op check-up.
And the boyfriend? I'm happy to report, so far, so good!
Update 6:40 p.m. - Jordana's feeling much better and is walking around exclaiming, "I can see, I can see! It's amazing!"
Photo of "Christiana" floralina doll designed by the fabulously-talented Constance Muller.