A couple of weeks ago, I made a big mistake and accidentally used a strong contact lens cleaner as a regular saline solution ... the bottles looked the same. The result was a nasty chemical burn on my right eye. Not very fun. At home, I sat in my favorite chair and tried all kinds of things to make it feel better, but nothing seemed to work. At one point, in desperation, I actually taped my upper lid open because it hurt too much each time I blinked. I know, it must have looked pretty pathetic, me walking around moaning and complaining with one, very red eye that never closed. My Cute Little German Mother was very sympathetic. When I went upstairs to sleep, she asked, “Do you have a bell you can ring if you need somesing?” That was an unexpected blast from the past. “No, that’s OK, Mom,” I replied. “I don’t want you trying to come up the stairs ... it’s just my eye ... I can walk.” Isn’t she cute? She was going to take care of me just like when I was little. When we were kids and we got sick, my mother would put a bell by our bedside. We could just ring it if we needed something. I have always been the “just shut the door and go away” type, but my little sister would keep Mom hopping with that bell. “Can I have some ice cream? My throat hurts.” “Could you bring me some Sprite?” “I need some more aspirin.” “Do we have any soup?” If you remember from my last column, this is the same Cute Little German Mother who was trapped at home with her kids all day, with no car. Yet still she loved us enough to run herself ragged when we were sick. In her defense, my sister is now the one who does the nurturing, and she’s quite good at it. I must admit, though, it was comforting to have my mother right there recently, willing to answer the call if I needed her. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a distress bell all the time? When you are having a trying day, just got some bad news, are feeling stressed, sick or whatever ... you could just ring that bell and a comforting face would soon appear to make it better. Well, I may not have a distress bell, but I think there will be a new bell at my house soon. Right there at my mother’s bedside. She’s a spunky little thing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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