Season One, Episode Eight: Of Peppers and Time…All In the Name of Science


Last week was craziness. Four of the girls in my office went to Niagara Falls (the New York side), so I had to work two thirteen hour shifts while the day receptionist was gone. I spent the rest of my week trying to catch up on my own work and sleep. I figured there was nothing interesting in the least to write about–unless of course, you wanted to read about dealer trades, filing repair orders and parts tickets, and the horrible joy that is known as month end at a car dealership. No? I didn’t think so 🙂

I’m going to insert a quick little red herring here and inform you that I am currently typing this with one contact lens (in my right eye).

Okay, so all was well until Friday evening. I decided that tacos would be delicious for dinner, so I dragged my mom and Nicky to the grocery store for taco-y goodness. I purchased some habanero and serrano peppers to mix in with the ground beef. I’d recently discovered the culinary punch that these little peppers gave ordinary dishes, and I figured that adding something new to my ho-hum Taco Bell taco kit would spice things up, both figuratively and literally.

Oh, how right I was.

I cut up the peppers with no problem, chopping them into little bits to add to the ground beef. Things were uneventfully going well until I got a stray piece of hair or dust or something on my lower lash line. For some incredibly dumb reason I completely forgot that I had habanero pepper juice on my fingers and I just oh-so-casually wiped away whatever had irritated my eye. Bad, bad move.

I’m going to try to describe what happened next as Hiroshima and Nagasaki going down in my eye at the exact same time in the tenth of a nanosecond. It was the most painful feeling I’d ever experienced in my life, apart from pushing out a nearly seven pound baby. I actually think I may have fallen to the ground in the bathroom as I tried to keep from crying out like a little sissy girl. There were tears. There was an eye that was squinched shut and I couldn’t really open it to see what was going on. I was scared that I may have blinded myself. I panicked and freaked all in about thirty seconds. Then I remembered that I should probably try to rinse the pepper juice out of my eye.

I fumbled around for my bottle of contact solution and I squirted like half the bottle in my red, angry, teary eye that burned like the hottest wildfire was raging across the span of my eye and under my eyelid. No luck. It was like using a Dixie cup to throw water at an inferno. I turned on the sink and started splashing my left eye with handful after handful of cold water. It would help momentarily but as soon as I pulled my face from the water the fire would start raging again. Two things came to me as I splashed my eye with the water: that my contact was still in my eye and that my iPhone was on the toilet seat. I squinched up my eye and quickly Googled what one should do when they stupidly get habanero pepper juice in their eye.

Yahoo Answers suggested that I try saline solution, water, and milk in the affected ocular area. I’d already tried two out of the three suggested remedies, and neither had worked. I’d even washed my eyelashes and surrounding area with Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo in hopes of washing the stinging juice from my skin. No luck. I was growing increasingly desperate and really was worried that I’d wind up spending my Friday evening in the emergency room. I was in no real desire to head up to Fairview General, and I didn’t have $150 to cover my ER co-pay. So…milk it was. I tried to rationalize what I was about to do by telling myself that when I ate hot food I drank milk to stop the burning feeling in my mouth. I also vaguely remembered all these fancy scientific terms that I really didn’t care about at the moment because my eye felt like it was on fire. I poured milk directly on my eye and the relief was almost immediate. Thank you, Yahoo Answers. I was able to get my contact out and I thought all was well.

I was wrong.

I refrained from wearing my contact lens in my left eye for the rest of the evening and most of Saturday. I was going out Saturday night and I figured that I’d soaked the lens long enough and that all was well. I popped that bad boy in my irritated eye and it was like a fiery blast from Hell all over again. I took the lens out and contemplated throwing it away. Obviously it was no good, it must have soaked up the juice from the peppers, but this was a lens from a new pair of contacts that I’d opened Thursday. I couldn’t justify throwing out a brand new contact, especially since I wear extended wear lenses and they tend to be kinda pricey. Moments of desperation are countered by moments of brilliance…so I filled my case with milk and threw the contact in it and went out. Not very hygienic, but pretty resourceful.

Taken from a text sent to my friend Destinie:

Hahaha I haven’t put it in my eye yet. I’m kinda scared to, lmao. But I must, in the name of science. When in Rome…hahahaha

When I stumbled in later that night I rinsed the case and the lens out with saline solution and soaked my lens until Sunday night when I put it back in my eye. Apart from some initial stinging, all was well. I wore it all last night and all day at work with out any problems until around 7 pm. My eye and upper lash line began to get irritated, so I took the lens out again when I got home. My eyelashes are still irritated, that grainy kind of irritation that comes with the onset of a stye or something equally awesome. I have a feeling that I may need to throw that lens out after all, which really, really sucks. Either that or my eye is really irritated from the peppers and I didn’t give it enough time to recover.

I learned a valuable lesson though. Next time I cut up peppers, I’m wearing gloves. And I’m definitely wearing goggles. I’m gonna make Mexican cuisine soooo dorktastic 😛