The surgeon plucked at my eye with a forceps. I said I was fainting. Then I fainted.
It was a textbook instance of the “vasovagal reflex”. You can ask the CIA. Touch the lenses of the eyes and you can induce loss of consciousness.
Reader: perhaps you’re a frequent fainter and are familiar with the poetry of the matter. I doff my hat to you.
I woke in a chair. Although I couldn’t see I heard a nurse say: “I can’t hear his pulse.”
The neo-cortex (mine) which thinks fast (yours does too) said inwardly: “Merd! Je suis mort!”
(The neo-cortex it turns out, speaks only French, as it was in fact discovered by Denis Diderot. You don’t have to know French to understand the neo-cortex. The translation process is automatic. It does not matter if you are a Finn or a Croat or Laotian.)
(Theory: the French language was invented by and for dead people.)
(Proof of above: Diderot: “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”)
The nurse said next: “Okay. I can hear his pulse but it is very faint.”
ABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.
(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger