Soap Could Be the Death of Me

I have tried to describe the events leading up to my scratched cornea to several people today. All attempts failed to portray that extreme physical pain caused by, yes, projectile soap.

My morning began with good intentions. I awoke early to drive into BigCity, NC for meditation. After using the toilet, I went to the sink to wash my hands (it should be noted that I am staying in a friend’s house this weekend, taking care of her cat). The soap near this sink is in it’s own re-usable pump bottle. This is precisely the kind of household item that is occasionally convenient and chronically clogged.

I pressed down on the pump and noticed the resistance. Realizing that the soap would probably come out on the next pump, but with extreme velocity, I cupped my hand around the opening of the nozzle, foolishly aiming the heel of my palm upwards, at a 45 degree angle, pointing in the direction of my face (which was a good three feet away from the soap dispenser).

I pressed down on the pump again, this time with determination, and the next thing I knew approximately one tablespoon of tea tree oil mint hand soap had splattered DIRECTLY onto my open, exposed left eyeball. Contained within this tablespoon of liquid soap were presumably ancient chunks of dried soap that had been clogging the pump.

A loud, exotic yelp escaped my lips, I shoved my head under the faucet, and wailed for a good ten minutes while flushing out my eye. By all accounts, this is the most physical harm I have every caused myself (excluding broken bones and ankle sprains from sports). It was simply that bad. How was I to know that a measly soap dispenser could morph into a weapon of mass destruction, targeting a humble Buddhist on her way to meditation? The ridiculousness of the situation grew to mammoth proportions, but I was in too much pain to laugh.

The pain increased over the course of the next four hours. I became obsessed with getting every bit of the soap out of my eye. The oils were so pungent that I could taste and smell the soap even though it had entered my system through my eye. There was no escaping its potency. The entire left side of my face throbbed. I squeezed and pressed and flushed my eye and it wept and leaked and yes – bubbles actually came out of my eye. My entire body began to shake. My breathing became erratic. I considered driving to the hospital – forty minutes away. No – parents? No, still asleep.

Unsure of what to do, I gave way to momentary mental hallucinations. My endurance with the pain was running thing. Wicked miniature hyena children cackled at my pain, playing in piles of bubbles that constantly flew from my eyeballs. Then Helen Keller came to mind, and I thought for a moment that I could lose the ability to see out of my left eye. Next I saw bands of pirate ships with barking ogre men, all wearing eye patches over their left eyes (or where their left eyes used to be).

I wailed louder into the sink, snot and bubbles and tears and water mixing in some disgusting oasis at the bottom of the drain. At that moment, I would rather have been the sludge going down the drain, than to be experiencing the peak of pain from, of all things, a freaking squirt of soap (and ancient chunks, don’t forget the ancient chunks).

I lay in bed moaning until four in the afternoon. So much for BigCity. So much for hiking this afternoon. I cooked a can of artichokes in curry for dinner (one pot meal) – there would be no chopping, no tofu, nothing technical. The dirty dishes remain on the counter. I meditated with my eyes closed in the living room. I have typed most of this document with my eyes closed. Coincidentally, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon that was schedule weeks ago.

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