Thursday, August 4, 2011

The story of my eye....

This camera is driving me nuts. I suppose it's time to move on. We're not finding the old one. Sad.
Last Sunday we took our friends and crashed my mom's house. The kids were a little nuts (as they always are), but we had fun - especially outside. There was much swinging....
And much baseball.... And much running around and craziness...
This week we have lived at the Y. Between swim lessons, sports classes, and t-ball, I think we should rent an apartment there.... It's been a busy week. We also had ice skating and then I went in for eye surgery yesterday. Ick.
For those of you who don't know, I'm blind in my left eye. I was born with a congenital cataract. My mom noticed it at 5 weeks old and I quickly had surgery. Turns out there was much more wrong with my eye than just that, so they went in again and pretty much removed a lot of the insides. I grew up thinking it was normal to have shoddy depth perception and to run into walls on my left side a lot. It never bothered me that it looked a little different, or that I have to turn my head really far to merge in traffic. There were few ignorant people over the years that gave me a hard time about it, but mostly people thought it was cool to look inside my eye with a flashlight. I was the coolest camp counselor ever.
It really never physically bothered me at all until a few years ago when apparently (unbeknownst to me) my retina in that eye collapsed. Again, I have no vision, so the only symptom I was aware of was the growing pressure around my eye. I put off going in until it was so bad that the secretary at my school called pretending to be my aunt and made an emergency appointment for me. An hour later they were shooting a laser into my eye, opening a hole to allow the fluids trapped in my eye a way out. Now I've never been comfortable at the eye doc, but this was a whole new level. They took me to a room upstairs for the procedure. The building was closed up for the day, but they opened it for me. This meant that it was dark and deserted in there. It was a room with two stools and the machine. And that was it. I made it through a few shots with the laser and then I blacked out. Being that I was on a stool, this meant I had to lay down on the floor. The doctor did give me his lab coat though. So kind, as I remember it being really dingy in there. It took three more rounds/blackout sessions until I was done. The doctor kept leaving to go see other patients and then coming back when I thought I was ready. I would call this somewhat traumatic. Though it did solve the problem. As I left, he told me that it wasn't a permanent solution and I'd have to have it done again, and again, and just maybe again. Eek.
My pressure stayed down for my next few checkups and then we moved here. I haven't had any trouble with it, though I did notice a lot of sinus pressure behind my eye. (This is what we call denial. Sinus pressure is not only one eyeball of pain.) I finally made an appointment to see an eye doctor and went in a couple of weeks ago. Your eye pressure is supposed to be between 10 and 20. Mine was 46. And so it was told that I would need to do the iridotomy again. Enter sickening feeling.
The doctor assured me I wouldn't feel anything and that it's no big deal at all (Which is true for most people, just so you know). My friend Sonia offered to come with me and offer me moral support (read hold my hand and keep me from running away) and I almost convinced myself that it was no big deal.
When I got there they made me take tylenol (but I thought you said it wouldn't hurt?!). As they put me into the chair (a nice reclining one this time) he informed me that I would feel it. Great. They put the "reminder strap" behind my head (read restraint) and made me grit my teeth. The laser felt like someone was pinching my eyeball and the "zap" sound effect was a bit more than I could take. He was making multiple holes this time, and each hole takes quite a few zaps with the laser. I made it a while and then I felt myself starting to go. He saw me starting to fade and said it was fine, he could be done. I put my head between my knees and next thing I knew I was laying back in the chair with a wet towel on my forehead. This made me laugh. It took me a bit to come out of it, but both the doctor and his assistant sat there with me, making me laugh and comforting me. (I might have made some comment to the assistant about my doc looking like he stepped off the set of Baywatch and she kept subtley bringing the show into our conversation.) Neither left until they were sure I was okay. Which took a bit. Sonia took me out for coffee and I returned to life as normal. Well, kind of. My eye was draining a lot, and the swelling made it feel like I had pinkeye. I had survived. Now we wait to see if it worked. If not, they'll have to do a much more involved surgery, but I'm assuming I'd be put out for that one. If not, they'll need to do a bit better than a dinky "reminder strap" behind my head.
Today, all is well in the eye - swelling is down enough that I don't feel it and now I just have to put up with all the drops. I hate drops. I'm just thankful I have the one good eye. As he put it, I don't have a spare tire like most people.
On another note.... I'm not sure whether I like it better when the boys are bickering or when they are getting along and team up against me. I feel like there should be a third option.
Today was Boys 10 vs. Mommy 0. Tomorrow? Re-match!


Claudine Stepper said...

Wow! You are exceptionally brave, (because you have to be), but you beautifully told of the challenge you are faced with. I am in awe of your story, and what you have to deal with every day of your life. I never realized you were blind in one eye. I wondered, but would never have had the courage to ask. You are an inspiration to all of us who can have our full sight (even with glasses!) Thank you for sharing your story. It helps us all to know you better. I so wish I had gotten to know you better when I was with you at VR.

McConnels said...

Ugh, that story alone is enough to make me feel faint :(