A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flashlights, battering rams, and pieces of string

While walking down the hall yesterday at work, heading for the ladies room, I saw this little flash of light. Hmmm, I thought, someone must be taking a picture in that office over there. Then I saw another one. Nothing direct, just a flash out of the corner of my eye. Then I realized it was actually in my eye! A bit unnerving, I must say. During my noon meeting, I tried to pay attention but was a bit distracted by trying to “see” the flash. I’m sure I was looking like Marty Feldman doing one his manic eye rolls checking out the light.

Suddenly the flashes stopped and were replaced by a “floater”. Not one of those annoying little dots that I’ve had forever, but something that looked like a small piece of string. And, no matter how hard I tried to see it, as I move my eye, it moves out of the line of sight. Now I know what those greyhounds must feel like when they chase the rabbit at the dog track.

Sure, now I can laugh. But yesterday I was a bit scared. First I went online to do a little self-diagnosis. I found a few sites (once I put in the right combination of words that didn’t make Google think I was trying to install a virus!!) Of course, after reading them I was sure I had a detached retina and would be having emergency eye surgery and wearing an eye patch for the next several weeks. So I called the Ophthalmologist office and, after listening to my symptoms (which I tried to play down a bit), they wanted me to come in at 3:00. Like in 15 minutes!! So I bailed out of work and headed to the doctor – flashing lights, pieces of string, and all.

A tech did the first part of the exam. Some of the usual stuff, reading the letters on the wall, resting my chin on that little harness so he could look into my eyes, etc. At this point I had to take out my contacts. I was concerned about the possibility of having a detached retina and ripping the whole thing off while taking out the lens. Made the mistake of asking the tech that question which led to eye rolling on his part and a soft but patronizing, “No, that won’t happen.” Then he put some drops in. Now, I don’t like people messing with my eyes or anything going into them. Yes, I wear contacts. But they’re the 30-day kind so I only have to stick my fingers in my eyes once a month! This guy didn’t seem to care. He just yanked on the eyelid and put the drops in. They were the consistency of maple syrup and pretty much as sticky. I asked if I could wipe some of the gunk that was running down my face and he said he had put in numbing drops so I had to be careful not to scratch my eye! I dabbed at the corners of my eye and underneath and the tissue was full of some yellow stuff that brought back visions of an old X-Files episode.

Next step was the glaucoma test – not with the puff of air, but with some contraption where he would stick something in my eye. My lids were fluttering madly trying to ward off the attack. He stopped and mumbled something about how contact lens wearers are usually more compliant, blah, blah, blah. That’s when he came at me with the battering ram! No, I’m not exaggerating. It was this huge white thing that looked like a ballpoint pen on steroids. He held my eyelids open and jammed it in. I must proudly admit that I have some strong-ass eyelids because he had to do this a couple of times to actually make it work. Heh, heh, heh.

Step 87 was the dilation drops. Then he sent me to the waiting room to sit while my eyes dilated. There I am, blind as a bat, yellow stuff running down my face, no more eye makeup, stumbling around the waiting room. Good times….. Of course, it was right at that time that my husband decided to send me a text message. So I went around the corner to an unoccupied hall so I could roll my hand into a fist and look through the little tiny hole by my thumb which works well as a corrective lens (try it some time – it’s cool).

Finally I was called back into the room for the official eye exam by the physician. First she shines this light into each eye which is the intensity of a solar eclipse. Then she decided to check around my eye ball. This was done with a little metal shovel that she shoved into the crease where the eyelid rests over the eyeball. She said it might be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable!!!! A stick poking through your eyelid!!! I told her this was the exact type of thing that we always warn our kids not to do. She wasn’t amused.

Turns out my retina is okay. Which was good news. Bad news is that what I have is something about the eye gel pulling away from the retina which is a common part of – you guessed it – THE AGING PROCESS!! Whooppee! That’s always such fun to hear. She said it could happen again with this eye or with the other one. And told me what symptoms would indicate a more serious issue. This, apparently, is not serious. I asked if there was anything I needed to do or not do because of this. She said that for the next six weeks I should limit my activities. What!! What the heck did that mean? Turns out it means no strenuous exercise (no problem there), no jumping on trampolines (okay, so I’ll skip that Thanksgiving tradition this year), no heavy lifting (apparently she didn’t see the note in my medical chart about the “old” back).

Looks like I’ll survive. Just need to get used to the flashing lights and the piece of string. Wait, there it goes again!!!


Christine said...

Glad to hear your eyes are okay. You had me squirming in my seat as I read about the metal thingy in your eye.

Autumn said...

Ouch, how horrible for you. Try to rest your eyes as much as possible. I hope you feel better soon.

Fleur de Lisa said...

I'm glad you are okay. I must admit that I'd be very scared. I'm funny about my eyes too! And yes, I do wear contacts. I don't know if I could have handled the battering ram thing. You were brave!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.