Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've worn glasses since the wee age of 6. My amazing first grade teacher (Mrs. Luksic, I still see her at mass when I make it down to go with my parents) was the one who suggested it to my parents. She noticed I was always active in answering questions during class and acknowledged that I was bright, but my handwriting was awful and I did poorly on handwritten tests. After my very first trip to the eye doctor, it was confirmed: my eyesight was awful. Astigmatism in the right eye to boot. Thanks a million to awesome early childhood educators! I probably would have been held back if I had had a less attentive teacher.

Fast forward to yesterday, I'm 26 and in for a yearly checkup/follow up on an ocular migraine I had in my left eye two weeks ago. (Side note, if you've never had one of these, here is what it was like for me: wavy vision that doesn't go away when you close your eye and mine lasted about 15 minutes then went away. Don't google wavy vision in eyes, results all say Stroke and that is scary business. The doctor says if it lasts longer than 30 minutes, seek medical attention.)

I do the standard eye tests, puff of air to the eye, press this button when you see the lines, "which is better? 1 or 2? Blah blah blah". Then I'm doing the whole "look at my ear while I point this annoyingly bright light in your eye ball" thing where they make you look around in a circle to examine the innards of your eye. Pretty standard stuff. But then he is looking for a really long time, way longer than the norm for me. My eye begins to water for the first time, and it actually hurts a bit too. Something isn't right.

He looks again, and then decides he want to dilate my eyes, to get a better look, then he looks again and then he says he wants me to see a specialist in the near future. He seems a bit nervous. Then he looks one more time (my eye is screaming at me by this time, and it actually hurts quite a lot) and says, he wants me to go today. That's when I start to freak out a bit, on the inside.

He tried to explain what might be happening with my retina, but he had already dilated my eyes and I don't really get it. All I know is I might need emergency surgery. On my eyeball. Fantastic.

So I scoot on over (in the pouring rain, mind you, I think Ohio is trying to be Seattle recently, for some unknown reason) to the specialist, and took a seat in what appears to be Heaven's Waiting Room. No one in there was under age 65. I can do nothing besides people watch through blurry vision, since I'm dilated. Let me tell you, old people are not very entertaining for people watching. I overhear the place is running behind, due to an earlier in the day emergency. I wait what feels like an eternity, literally just sitting there, doing nothing besides thinking about the possibility of having to have eye surgery. I almost go to the restroom to cry a couple times, but I would hate to occupy the one unisex bathroom in the waiting area, with all these old bladders surrounding me. I kept it together, somehow.

An hour and a half later, I'm called back. The medical assistant congratulates me when I can read the second to last line during the vision check, "You are the first patient I've had all day who could do that." Just remember my waiting room buddies though. I'm re-dilated and they put those weird, numbs-your-eyeballs drops in as well. I get really sleepy then, so I sort of wander around the exam room waiting for the doctor, who I'm told is the on-call guy, since the lady my Optometrist referred me to is the lady that is an hour behind. Whatevs, I'm not going to make a big stink about who I see, since I didn't have an appointment.

Once the doctor comes in its more of the "look at my ear while I point this annoyingly bright light in your eye ball" happens, and all I can think is, how does all this bright light an inch from my eye not do any damage? I should ask that sometime I'm not waiting for a possible surgery diagnosis. At this point, I've probably had a total of at least 30 minutes of bright light in my eye for the day. I am Le Tired, but need to know what the fuck is going on in there.

(And it only gets worse, in the bright light department. After my diagnosis, the doctor tells me he wants to take pictures of my eyes. Ever had this done? Talk about torture. Plus I'm pretty sure I had a lady who had never done it before. It felt like it took 25 minutes, on each eye. Then you are blinded for at least 10 minutes after your are done. I didn't complain, because I am not that sort of patient, but it sucked big time.)

I'm told I have retinal stasis (which I've tried googling multiple times and I think I've got the spelling totally wrong because I can't find it) meaning 5 of the 10 layers of my retina have detached. No clue why, and no indication that the remaining 5 layers are going anywhere. I'm told not to worry about this. I did make the doctor tell me the symptoms of retinal detachment, so at least I'll know what is going on if it ever happens. He also tells me I have calcium deposits around my optic nerves, in both eyes. Yay.

But I don't need emergency eyeball surgery. Thank goodness for that.

Ophthalmologist appointment has been made.

Conclusion: my eyes are moderately jacked.

And: I can remain semi-calm during what could be a medical emergency, at least when I'm surrounded by a waiting room full of old people. I think that's a win for me.

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