Back before Christmas when I was fitted for my temporary off-the-rack prosthetic, the nurse warned me to be careful when I rubbed my eyes because it would be very easy to accidently pop it out.
This was important to know because the temporary fake eye is made of glass and has the potential to shatter if it hits a hard surface. Then there's the whole "freak-out factor" should it pop out unexpectedly in an inappropriate place, like at a dinner party or in a shopping mall. But the main reason to be careful about accidently knocking the prosthetic out is that I wasn't going to be taught how to put it back in until my permanent plastic one was ready.
So I was very careful about rubbing my eyes initially, and it was easy to remember because the glass eye feels very different under the eyelid than a natural eye does. But I must have gotten used to the sensation because this morning, while sitting in my office talking to a visiting former colleague, the prosthetic popped out of my eye socket, bounced off the desk and clattered across the hardwood floor.
I'm not sure which one of us was more startled, my friend Jessica, who hadn't seen me since before the surgery, or me, who for the first time in weeks did not have an eye-patch in my pocket. I HAD to get it back in, and I'd never inserted it before.
I picked it up and sprinted to the bathroom where I could wash it with warm, soapy and water and use the mirror to help me get it back in. Jessica stood by for moral support while I literally tried to figure out which way was up. The prosthetic itself is not symmetrical, and because I had not yet been shown how to insert it, I was unsure which side was the top and which was the bottom.
After consulting with Jessica, who was game to offer up an opinion despite having even less expertise than me, I managed to slide the top side (we think) of the glass eye up under my upper eyelid and then pull the lower lid over bottom of it. And it felt okay, so I'm guessing I had the thing right-side-up, thus dodging the embarassing bullet that would have been spending the rest of the work day in a perpetual wink.