Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eye Scare

I hope everyone remembers to always wear eye protection. I know I do. Always have on protective lenses at the range, and when I'm in the field, I always wear protection that looks like generic wrap around sunglasses, but is actually mil-spec polymer that will stop a load of #3 shot from 30 feet. Not that I'd want to test that out myself, but better safe than sorry.

This scare comes from an incident where I was not wearing eye protection. Mainly, because I was in a situation that didn't call for it. Namely, my kids' bedroom, Monday night, after bath time, getting the little ones dressed. The oldest, in a little spat of over exuberance, managed to shove one of the fingers of her left hand into my right eye, and up under the eyelid. I'm fairly certain I startled people up to half a mile away with the shout that escaped me as I ran to the bathroom, fully expecting to see blood.

Luckily, there was no blood. The pain, however, was quite intense. I managed to make it through getting the kids to bed, and then the pain ratcheted up a notch to agony. I swear, it felt like someone had shoved a jacked rock under my eyelid, that was shredding my eye with every blink or movement. I finally ended up taping my eye shut so that I could go to sleep, with plans to go to the doctor's office the next morning if it didn't feel any better. After a fitful night of much pain, and little sleep, I decided that I'd call my partner, see if he could cover for me at work, and then head on to the doctor.

I get to the doctor's office about 0830, and check in. I'm thinking that my only problem, is probably something lodged under my eyelid that I can't flush out, but surely the Doc or one of his nurse-types, can get out for me. I'm told that they'd be happy to squeeze me in, but it'll be about 1630 before they have an opening. I think my jaw actually bounced off of the receptionist' desk at that. Seriously? They want me to wait eight more hours, to see if they can squeeze me in for a five minute eye wash and check?(and we wonder why Emergency rooms are so full of ridiculous problems?) Luckily, this cute redhead with a British accent behind the desk leans over, and points out that there's a CVS pharmacy, with a Nurse Practitioner on duty, about a mile and a half from where we are right now. I thank the pretty lady, and head out.

As an aside, I'm not really sure what the deal is with Nurse Practitioners. They seem like a regular Doc, handling everything I've ever been able to throw at them, just without the Doc in front of their name. Great people when you need something sorted out though :)

I get to the aforementioned pharmacy, fill out the little slip, and sit down to wait. Maybe 20 minutes later, she calls me back. We go through the initial questions as she's filing my insurance paperwork, than she starts looking at my eye. She hems and haws, puts dye in my eye, and looks at it under various lights. Then she turns away, picks up the phone, and calls a specialist. She tells me that there is a cut, directly over my pupil, and she thinks an ophthalmologist needs to look at it with their specialized equipment. So much for something being stuck under my eyelid. The NP tapes my eye shut, and sends me on my way.

I get to the eye Doc's, and have to wait about an hour or so before they can squeeze me in to look at me. It's a long wait, but I don't mind that much, because the NP told me that this is the best eye place in the area, and we don't want to take any chances with my vision. I get back to see the Doc, and he does a lot of poking and prodding, more dye, and a greater variety of lights, all while peeking through one of those eye scope thingies. He sits back, and says "Wow, she really did a number on you." Turns out, there is a layer of skin that covers your eyeball, called the epithelium, or something like that. My three year old, managed to shred mine, directly over the pupil. Bit and pieces of hit hanging out and flopping around. That's what was causing the majority of the pain.

Doc puts some numbing drops in my eye, then grabs one of those little swabs, and proceeds to scrub my eyeball with it. Talk about a freak out. I'm getting shivers just remembering it. He gets all the loose stuff off, gives me a bajillion different drop things to put in my eye, and says see you in a couple of days.

That's been almost a week ago. For those first few days, I was down to about 30-40% vision in my right eye, and what was there, was useless. It was like looking at everything through pea-soup fog, all fuzzy and blurry, and of course, bright light just sent stabbing pains straight into my brain. Now, almost a week into it, I'd say I have 85-90% vision in my right eye, and looking at things through more of a haze than a fog. Makes me think of a smoke filled room. Bright lights, while no longer painful, are blinding. Kind of like it hits whatever is clouding my eyesight, and just intensifies somehow.

The Doc says it should heal all the way back to normal within another week or two, but I swear it can't happen fast enough for me. I've already developed a sort of skittish, nervousness about anything coming up on my right side, and the headaches from my brain trying to sort out the two disparate images from each eye, and resolve them into one homogeneous whole are, quite literally, a pain.

While this was not a circumstance that one would generally wear eye protection in, it really drove home for me the absolute necessity of wearing eye protection when you're doing anything that might put your eyesight at risk. I can guarantee that I'll be getting some eye protection to wear for all yard work now, not just the power tools, and just about anything else I might be doing. You might want to think about your own eye protection, and if it's adequate.

Take care all,



Rev. Paul said...

Wow, just wow. I'm glad you're going to be alright, but ... wow.

Suddenly I'm glad I wear glasses.

Casey said...

Yeah Reverend, after this incident, I see a real asset in the people with small children that wear glasses. They might get broken for a toy, but at least you've got basic penetration protection.

It just goes to show, that everything can change in an instant, and not necessarily because of ill intent.

Take care,