The eyes have it

Last Wednesday was not an easy day for me.

I was recently switched from one migraine med to another, so I’m going through the side effect dance all over again.  You know the one.  You finally get used to all of the side effects from the old medication so you start taking the new medication and there are a whole new set of side effects to get used to.

The most fun one with this new med is nausea.  It’s great.  I’m hoping it’s one of those side effects that disappears with time, but until then, I get to live with low level nausea all. of. the. time.  Unless it’s last Tuesday night and I have to be at work at 7 on Wednesday morning.  Then it’s bad nausea and I’m up all night and not sleeping.  Between the bad nausea and the not sleeping, I didn’t go to work and I spent most of the day on the couch watching Food Network (maybe not the best choice when you’re not feeling well, but I love the shows during the day!).

After a day full of lounging, I remembered I had an eye doctor’s appointment that afternoon.  Being as crazy busy as I am, it’s hard enough just to schedule an appointment between work and class, so rescheduling wasn’t an option.  I dragged myself off the couch and to the doctor’s office.

The appointment was normal enough.  Read the eye chart.  Check the eye pressure.  Make sure I don’t have glaucoma.  Then it was time for the dilation.  I always forget about that part.  The sensitivity to light.  The inability to see anything close to you.  The disorientation.

The disorientation.

Bad enough on a normal day.  On a day when I’m already so nauseated I can barely stand up?  It was nearly unbearable.  And I still had to drive home.  Luckily it wasn’t a long drive.

When I got home there wasn’t much I could do, not being able to see and all, so I watched TV and napped a bit until Joe got home.  While he was getting ready to go to practice and I was getting ready to meet my friend Leanne for a dinner I was most likely just going to sit through, my left eye started bothering me.  It was itchy and red and swollen and felt like there was something in it and no matter what I did I could not get relief.  After calling Joe’s mom (a nurse) and my mom (a nurse) and trying to get ahold of anyone at the eye doctor’s office, I canceled my dinner plans and Joe and I went to the immediate care center.

They put drops in my eye, lifted my eye lid, shone black lights in my eye, and declared that I had a tiny laceration on my cornea.  The doctor said it had most likely happened after my appointment earlier in the day when they had put the numbing drops in my eye to check the pressure; I must have scratched it and not noticed until the numbness wore off.  The best part was the only prescription I got was to go home and sleep.  Nothing for the itchiness.

And the best part is I couldn’t even follow doctor’s orders.  I had a big test the next day I still had to study for.  One of those tests that doesn’t have a single multiple choice or true/false question on it.

Luckily, when I finally got to sleep Wednesday night and woke up the next day, the eye pain was gone.

I learned a couple of things while I was at the eye doctor, though.  Did you know you’re supposed to replace your contact case every few months?  Apparently bacteria can get into tiny cracks and crevices in the case and can cause horrible infections.  It doesn’t matter how often or well you clean them.  I had no idea.  I have been wearing contacts for 18 years and this is the first time anyone ever told me the cases needed to be replaced.  I guess I’m lucky my eyes are as healthy as they are.

I also asked the doctor what my vision is.  My actual vision.  You know, a person with normal vision has 20/20 vision, so what is mine in those numbers?  I only know what the side of the contact box says.  The doctor said they don’t really use that to measure vision anymore, but mine is about 20/450 or 20/500, which means what I can see from 20 feet away a person with normal vision can see from 450 or 500 feet away without correction.  Out of curiosity I looked up what defines legal blindness.  According to the National Federation of the Blind, a person is considered legally blind if they have visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction.  Obviously, I’m not legally blind since I can see when I wear my glasses and contacts, but without the help of either of them?  I am more than twice legally blind.  No wonder I can’t see a damn thing.

Crazy the things you learn.  Especially on days when all you want to do is a whole lot of nothing.


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