I was making curry yesterday afternoon, and I was making it hot. I have a bottle of 160,000 scoville pepper sauce, which I was injudiciously splorting into the crock pot. I closed up the bottle, put it away, and then VERY injudiciously rubbed my eye.
There was an explosion of pain, and I realized why pepper spray is so effective. I was suddenly blind, not because my eyes didn’t work, but because my eyelids refused to open.
I went to the sink and NEVER DO THIS spashed water on my face. This freed up unbound capsaicin molecules to float off to new nerve endings, resulting in a fresh explosion of pain in new places throughout the orbit of my right eye.
I didn’t panic. I know enough about this stuff to know that since I could still breathe I hadn’t had enough to send me into anaphylaxis (you CAN die from hot stuff, but it takes a lot, and you have to be very unfortunate.) So I hollered at Sandra. “I need help in the kitchen, please.” She may have wondered why I didn’t come down to her office and ask more politely, since my tone of voice suggested something other than “oh, geez, lookit these dishes” was up.
Eyes tightly closed, I explained what happened, and that I needed her help rinsing my eye because I was now effectively blind. I would need to lie on my back while she flushed it. Also, there would likely be screaming and profanity (just because I know the pain is fake doesn’t mean I’m immune to it.) She had to chase off worried children (“Daddy’s blind? I want to see.”) and escort me through the house to where I could lie down, and then we got started.
The flushing was quick and exceptionally painful. It felt like sand in my eye. Specifically, White Sands Missile Range sand on the day of a nuclear test.
Then it just felt like that whole side of my head was on fire. But that fire was more akin to the “this curry is way too hot” fire, and I realized that THIS pain wasn’t debilitating. It was just annoying. I’ve overdone it with the hot sauce before. I know this feeling. So I left my eye alone. I was now able to open it, so I did what any sane person would do — I walked to the mirror to survey the wreckage.Contrary to what the nerve endings had been leading me to expect, it looked completely normal, if a little red from the flushing.
There is a wonderful side-effect from dumping too much pain into your system at once: endorphin release! I knew this was coming, and I also knew I wasn’t going to get much work done while my eye burned so distractingly. I decided to lie down for a nap. I had been wanting one anyway, and these circumstances closed the deal.
It was the best nap ever. I slept deeply for an hour, slumbering in the happy embrace of a natural chemical high. When I awoke my eye felt better, and I felt very rested and very refreshed.
I’m never ever taking a nap this way again, though.