Friday, August 19, 2005

Are You Two Sisters?

Beyond numerous occasions, my partner and I have been asked if we were sisters. In my opinion, we don’t look anything alike, but in a way, I can see how they may come to that conclusion. We both have dark hair, dark eyes, wear similar clothes (wear each other’s clothes sometimes) and pretty much think alike most of the time. Being with the same woman for eleven years now, I guess I took on some of her traits, and she has taken on some of mine. (Sadly to say)

Madelene is one of a kind. She is absolutely heaven-sent in my eyes. She really helps me with a lot of things that I am clueless about. Even with my finances, I come to her, because she is the ‘brains’ of this relationship, where I am more into the practical, artistic way of looking at things. She is more ‘book smart’, and I am more ‘street smart’… We compliment one another very much. Her attitude is more reserved and conscientious, whereas I have an attitude of speaking my mind too freely sometimes, without reservations. We’re both very outgoing and extroverted, however our personalities differ in the aspect of, you would probably hear my laugh on the other side of the room; where as Madelene will talk to everyone and anyone, but with a more conservative touch.

It was a Monday morning, and Madelene and I went to the bank to deposit some money. There were a few checks from different sources, and my mind was frazzled a bit that day, so I asked her if she would come up and do the processing with the teller. I wasn’t feeling too well, had an awful headache, had my dark sunglasses on even while I was in the bank, and I remained quiet, as she proceeded with the transaction that was needed for my account.
“Well hello again, Debbie.” The teller says, as she darts her eyes back and forth between Madelene and me.
“Good morning, how are you?” I asked.
“Wonderful! Just wonderful! And who is this, doing your transactions for you?” She asked inquisitively.
Oh, this is my partner Madelene.” I introduced them.
“Oh how nice, what type of business are you in?” She asks, thinking that “partner” meant, partner in a business.
“No no no, she is my life partner, my girlfriend…sorry for the misunderstanding.” I said, as I chuckled of how embarrassing that was, since I noticed the pretty teller next to her had just glanced over. Lovely. I’m outed at my bank now. I can see that my teller got a little red in the face after receiving this information.

I guess you can say it’s awkward when you get outed without expecting it. I tell, if asked. I am a bit uncomfortable holding hands with Madelene walking through Shoprite, but if it’s a gay-friendly atmosphere, I am thrilled to walk around having Madelene under my arm.

Another incident like this, was when I was getting the lasik surgery for my eyes to be corrected. I was excited that I would no longer have to wear contact lenses, or wear glasses anymore. This was a very big step for me to take, because I’m squeamish with things such as this. It took me a long time to even put a contact lens in my eye, no less having someone poke and prod my eyeball with a laser.

We went into TLC in White Plains to go ahead with this surgery. They had to do numerous testing before the actual procedure can take place. The doctor came in. It was a beautiful female doctor. I was pleasantly surprised to see a woman in this line of work. She informed me that my cornea was too thin to have this procedure be guaranteed a success. Great. My corneas are too thin, and my thighs are too fat. What next?

She explained to me that she performed surgery on Tiger Woods. He had the same vision as me---legally blind, and his corneas were way too thin as well. Now, he sees 20/20. She went on to explain that every case is different though. She wanted me to make a decision if I still wanted to go ahead with this, because the risks involved were serious. I can go blind---and if that happens, I would need a cornea transplant.

I sat there in the doctor’s office to think about this, and to talk it over with Madelene.
“Deb, this is a really dangerous thing, we can leave if you want to.” Madelene says in a reassuring way.
“No. I am so sick and tired of cleaning my contact lenses, making sure that I have them when I go on vacation or travel, I’m so sick and tired of waking up in the morning and not being able to see what time it is. I’m doing it.”

The lovely doctor walks back in with a questioning smile on her face, and asked,
“Have you made up your mind? Or do you need more time to think it through Debbie?”
“Let’s do this.”
I said, with a frustrated tone.
Okay, well first of all, since you are such a high risk candidate, you are going to have to sign a few forms for us.” She says as she hands me not just a few forms, triplicates upon triplicates! I signed all of them; knowing that they are not responsible for lawsuits if I do become blind, bumping into walls for the rest of my life. Great.

They rushed me off to the operating room which was across the hall from her little office. They had a television monitor for loved ones to watch the procedure take place.
Madelene, can you watch the procedure for me—just in case.” I asked, for reasons of ‘feeling safer’. Don’t ask. I needed her to watch for some odd reason, as if she would know if they did something wrong!

There were literally eight girls in the operating room. I looked like I was going to get my hair and nails done, but no. They put ten million drops to numb my eyes, and magic markered my eyeballs!!! X marks the spot where they’re gonna cut! Oh lovely.
“Here, take this.” The doctor says, as she hands me a valium.
“Now we’re talking! Where’s my martini????” I asked, laughing out of nervousness.
She handed me a teddy bear to hold, in case I needed to squeeze something… They even gave me a blanket too, in case I got cold in the room. I felt like a three year old at this point.

“Okay, for ten seconds you will go blind---and then you'll regain your vision again.” They said to me, as it was no big deal.
“BLIND?” I ask.
“Blind, yes, for a short period of time so we can make the incision. You’ll be okay…I promise.”
“Ten….Nine….Eight….” They began to count down as my vision blurred, and the darkness had set in. I was officially blind for those ten seconds. My heart was racing. This valium was a sugar pill; I needed something much stronger at this point. I had no clue what they were doing, all I can see were lights; one bright white light, (no not the tunnel to heaven) and the red laser lights flickering.
“Wait, what’s that awful smoky smell? Something’s burning.” I said.
All the doctors laughed and chuckled when I said that.
“Deb, that’s your eyes being cut by the laser…it’s normal.”
“Ah, okay, great. Thanks for telling me that. You could have lied!”
I said, hoping they were.

This process normally takes people about twenty seconds. It took them five minutes---way over the normal standard time to finish this process. It hurt- I don’t care what anyone says, “Oh you’ll be back to work the next day!” WRONG! It took me one week to recover and another two months to regain my 20/20 vision.

They lifted me up from the operating table, and continued to put those drops in my eyes. I saw fog and I saw images that were clear, however it looked like there was a huge cloud in the way. The surgery was officially done.

One of the nurse’s outside was hugging Madelene. I had no clue what was going on, but I can see from the big window, Madelene appeared as though she was crying. Did they give me valium or LSD???? The nurse came inside the operating room to talk to me.
“Your sister out there is crying, I had to console her. I think the surgery was a bit too much for her to watch.” She said to me through the thick fog.
“Oh, tell her I’m fine, but the only thing she has to worry about now is that I will finally see what she really looks like.” I reply.

They literally thought we were sisters this whole time. I come outside the operating room, and go over to Madelene. Sniffling and blowing her nose, I held her hand to make sure she was okay. She guided me back to the office to sit for a while.

“Why are you crying?” I asked.
“I saw them peel off the top layer of your eye to get to your cornea, and it hit me, those were your eyes, and I started crying hysterically.” She says, as she blows her nose from all her crying. The nurse comes back in to make sure I’m okay, and I thank her for being so gentle and considerate, as well as inform her about my beautiful girlfriend getting upset because of my procedure. It was at that moment I was not ashamed to say, “She’s my life partner.”

I believe when two people are together for a long period of time, the love matures in a way that is almost to the level as ‘family’. Assumptions made by others around us are only observations they see of how unconditional love can be. We share so much of each other, that we almost become as ‘one’, as a couple should be; yet we have our own identities. Madelene completes me, she balances me out, and we both understand our differences as well. Am I a pain in her in @ss? Sure. She wouldn't have me any other way...(unless Angelina Jolie crosses her path) Let's hope that doesn't happen!

As far as the laser eye surgery, I now see 20/20, and I am able to wake up, and see Madelene's beautiful face as clear as day. It was definitely worth the risk!

4 comments:

Natalia said...

That's a really nice post. You really managed to express how you two feel and some of the difficulties you go through. And, oh the eyes!!! Ick :) Glad it all worked out.

-N

Chelsea's Mama said...

My best friend is no longer with her partner but, when they were together EVERYONE thought they were sisters as well.

That was a really nice blog.

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