Friday, August 04, 2006

Note To Organ Donor Program: You'll Probably Want To Leave The Left Cornea.

OK, last eye update for a while, I promise. Because I know I probably wouldn't be reading this stuff if I didn't have to live it.

Anyway, I did get hold of the optometrist first thing this morning. He sent me to a different optometrist, whether because the other guy knows more about this stuff or just because he had an open slot in his schedule today, I don't know. Eye Doctor #2 told me that Eye Doctor #1's diagnosis and initial treatment had been completely correct, and was exactly what he would have done. Not that I doubted the man, but, hey, that sort of independent confirmation is always good to hear. So, yes, I have a shiny happy case of recurrent corneal erosion. In case you missed the ever-so-appetizing description the first time around, this occurs when the outer layer of your cornea doesn't want to stay attached to your eye. It's apparently not all that uncommon after an eye injury. It's not really dangerous as such, but it can be painful as hell, and it can come back repeatedly for years (hence the "recurrent").

Anyway, the main treatment is to keep the eye lubricated, because the slicker your eye is, the less likely your cornea is to decide it wants to stick to your eyelid. (And, geez, you think I'd be used to it by now, but I still feel all nauseated just typing that. Ick.) So I've got to apply eye drops every hour or two at least until the current bout clears up (something the doctor couldn't even give me a time estimate on, as it's just too variable), and ointment every night before bed for, I dunno, forever maybe.

He recommended that I use ointment (and perhaps also drops) that, in addition to the regular lubricant, also contains a medicine that's supposed to dry the area under the cornea to help it stick better. This stuff is over-the-counter, but it's also pretty hard to find. I literally had to ask at every pharmacy in town before I found the ointment, and the one I eventually got it from said they only had a tube because there was one person they regularly special-order it for and they usually order an extra. I'm supposed to call them when I start running out so they can order more. Great. One more thing to keep track of in my life. To add insult to eye injury, this stuff is expensive... Eighteen dollars for a tube the size of my pinky! And to add pain to insult, well, the eye doctor warned me that the medicated drops would sting a little. I forgot that, translated from doctorese, "this might sting a little" equates to "this will hurt like burning for several seconds during which you must resist the urge to claw out your own eye." Eek. I think I'm going to be using those rather sparingly...

I'll tell ya, I'm about ready to kill that damned cat. I took him in, raised him from the day he was born, got up at 3 AM to feed him, nurtured and sacrificed and fretted and worried, and this is the way he repays me. Bastard animal. Then again, the optometrist says a lot of people with this condition got their initial injury at the flailing hands of their sharp-fingernailed offspring, so at least it's not just me going, "I raise you from birth and you maim me for life! There's gratitude for ya!"

Anyway, I have no idea how long it's going to take to get better. Wish me luck. I really need to pull it together, whether the eye improves quickly or not. I've already missed several hours of work over this damned thing, but going home every time it starts to bother me too much really isn't an option, especially if it's going to be a frequent occurrence or take a long time to heal when it happens.

Ugh. Where are the nanorobots who are supposed to be repairing my eye?

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