Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Secret Danger Every Contact Lens Wearer Should Know About...

I was reading one of those family/women's mags (Family Circle, Women's Day, who can tell the difference?) and I swear, every other page was some dire threat. "Protect Yourself from Schemes and Scams," "Are Your Kids Safe at Camp? What You Don't Know Could Hurt Them," and "Hidden Summer Spoilers" (ex. Watch out for that wired glass in public buildings! If your hand goes through that, it's worse than going through plain glass! Why that's a "summer" spoiler and not a year-round threat, I don't know). That's actually my gripe with Motherhood magazine too, crunchy as it is. I can't read it without being reminded of Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine. Which, if you haven't seen, you should. It's all about our culture of fear.

OK, so back to the title of this post. I just returned from the stupidest urgent care visit ever (and I've had some stupid ones). I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when my eye itches. I had contacts in, so I skillfully rubbed the inner corner of my eye ever-so-slightly. I know about not rubbing your eyes - I've had contacts, and severe allergies, for over 20 years. OK, so for some reason my contact decided to take a holiday underneath my eyelid. Just at this moment, neighbor came out and wanted to give us some branches off her pelargonium. G. was very neighborly and pretended he was interested in them, I was trying to keep A. from running down the street while propping my eye open. I couldn't get the contact back into place, so I growled at G that I had to go inside and find the damn thing, and I got to a mirror. No sign of it. I was wearing sunglasses, so if it fell out (and I have never, ever, had a contact "fall" out - I'm much more likely to have to peel the stupid thing off my eyeball)I would've felt it on my cheek. I mean, soft contacts don't just FALL out.

OK, so I didn't see it anywhere under my eyelids. Usually I can see the faint blue edge and can drag it down and then peel it off (apologies to those of you with eye phobias), but nothing. I went outside and had G. peer under my eyelid, and he couldn't see it either. It feelt like someone had dumped a box of sand in my eye, and despite lots of flushing, it was nowhere to be found. My eye was red and swollen by this point, and A. kept looking worriedly at me. I smiled and waved, hoping he'd think I was just winking at him. A really long wink.

No luck, so I called the advice nurse. She suggested I open my eye under water by filling a bowl with water and dunking my head in it. Well, I did call for advice. I tried it, and you know what? It's really hard to just open up one eye under water. It's also impossible to do this and not get soaking wet. But no little contact floated up. So she said I had to go to urgent care and get a doctor to take it out. The first appt. was in 2 hours. Sheesh.

So we packed up A., I apologized for making my men go to the hospital with me for such a stupid reason, I paid my $25 co-pay and we waited. And, as you might imagine, waited. And waited some more. The NBA game was on, so that was OK. A. loved the elevators, so he was OK too. G. was worried that he'd have to go in with me and watch them pop my eyeball out. I told him he didn't have to go in with me. Then I started worrying that they were going to have to pop my eyeball out.

I got a doctor who was 22 if he was a day, and a klutz on top of it. He couldn't get the stool for me to sit on right, and he made it way too high. It was one of those round swivel stools in the exam rooms, and I had to sit on it on one side of the eye-examining-machine. Well, it's really hard to sit on one of those when it's too high and your feet don't touch the ground. In fact, I may go so far as to say it's impossible to even get on the damn thing. You can imagine how it rolls away from you on the slick floor as you try to jump on. He said, "Be careful, I've lost a few people that way." He also admitted he wassn't very good at flipping over eyelids, but he gamely tried it in every position imaginable. Arms through eye-exam-machine, arms around e-e-m, swiveled to the side, laying back, standing up. I started wondering if he was one of those people with an eye phobia, and if his skin was crawling at the thought of pulling on my eyelid and that's why he couldn't do it.

Anyway, he couldn't see it either, but unlike me, he thought that meant it wasn't in there. No, no, no - I just went through all this hooha - you are getting out a pair of tiny tweezers and you are pulling something out of my eye, damnit!

He called over Chipper Physician's Assistant and asked her if she sees anything. She's much better at flipping over eyelids. Way too good at it, in fact. It hurt. And she kept telling me "Look down down down down down to the left to the left to the left waaaaay down, waaay to the left, c'mon you're doing great, down down down down" like she's the "yeller" on Survivor and I'm the blindfolded teammate trying to get a puzzle piece into the right square. I yelled, "That's as far down as my eye goes!" and the doctor started to laugh. She replied, "I know - you're doing terrific!" Hey, I guess I can look down with the best of them. Then she wanted to flip over another corner of my eyelid and have me look to the right to the right to the right to the right, I know, you're doing a great job! to the right to the right etc. You know what I think? I think they whispered in the hall and he told her, "The chick in the eye room doesn't believe me that there's no contact lens in there, so go in there and torture her so she knows we really are looking." That's what I think.

So it turns out that I do have a scratch on my cornea, which was dispatched with a bottle of antibiotic eye drops. I'm just realizing now that he never told me how often to use them. He pulled them out of a drawer somewhere, so there's no prescription, which is a good thing, because if I had to shell out $10 more dollars for the contact lens that wasn't there, I'd be unhappy. G. was very nice about it all - "Well, it's good we had that checked." I probably should've told him they popped out my eyeball and looked behind it. At least my hand didn't go through wired glass. Which makes me wonder, if your hand goes through plain glass, do you think, hey, at least it isn't wired? No, I don't think so. I think you say, Damn, I'm bleeding anyway, wire or no wire.

(Sorry for all the cursing, kids, but it's been one of those days).


template by