Tuesday, August 23, 2011

blinded by the light

About a week ago, I decided my hormone cream, specially compounded by a local pharmacy just for me, wasn't working.  When I ran out, I tossed the syringe in the trash and kept going.

I really couldn't tell anything different.  There were still middle-of-the-night hot flashes, and I still awakened white-eyed many nights.  I thought I could just live with these things and not use anything.  Cold turkey off my hormones.  Stevie Wonder mentioned once or twice that he would be glad to go pick up the cream.  And I just scoffed, saying I was doing fine without it.

Until yesterday morning.  In the space of a few seconds, my life changed.  I went blind.

Well, not truly.  That is the drama primpcess playing the world's smallest violin, just for me.

What happened was this...I started seeing a clear shimmer in the middle of my eyes.  A bit different in each eye.  I noticed it when I sat down to do some paperwork and read email.  A big part of my job now is using my eyes for hours to read and write.  I don't mind, but my eyes aren't real happy about it.

I looked at that screen (a nice big flat screen by the way), and realized I couldn't read.  Actually, I was reading, but my mind was filling in letters, because the words were twisted.  Then I got to the point I couldn't read the letters.

So I called.  First I called my boss' administrative assistant.  And of course she was out of the office and didn't answer.

My vision was rapidly getting worse, and by this point I was a bit panicky.  So I do what I always do when I panic.  I called Stevie
Wonder.  Who didn't answer the phone.  So I left a terse message that basically said "CALL ME WHEN YOU GET THIS MESSAGE!!!" and hung up.

Then I started laughing.  Me, who had responded to untold emergencies, both in real life and at work, couldn't get an answer.  After I laughed, I calmed down and realized this was some sort of phenomena, and just decided to wait and see what happened.
Then the drama primpcess emerged again, and I called the admin assistant.  She answered the call.  And I heard the concern in her voice.  And decided maybe it was serious.  By then I was seeing shimmering waves around the edges of my vision.

She told me to put my head on my desk and rest my eyes.  WHAT?  Put my head on my desk like a kid?  Ok.  I tried.  Really I did.  Lasted about 1 minute.  Because: a) I am a woman of action, and b) bending over and laying my head on my desk bunched up the fat on my abdomen and cut off my breathing.  The combination of a and b caused me to jump up and start searching for contact lens lubricant.  My eyes were dry I was betting.  I found them and shot about half a bottle of it in both eyes.

Nothing.  Shimmering waves.  Kind of like being at the beach.  In your eyeball.  Without the sand.

About that time admin assistant walks through the door, and so does the nurse practitioner.  She listens to me describe it, and says "it's probably an optical migraine".  That sounds reasonable.  By this time I have made an appointment to go see an optometrist that afternoon.

And by the time all this happens, while I am talking to the CRNP, my vision starts to clear.  And of course I go back to work, and then go to the optometrist that afternoon.

Yep, ocular migraine.  Never had any pain with it.  He was amazed.  No pain, no nausea.  Just the optical show.  Along the way I get a really good eye exam and some new contacts.  Hooray!  I can see again.  Well sort of.  He dilated my eyes.  So I could see but was blinded by the light.

I learned these lessons yesterday:
1. Never take eyesight for granted.
2. Ocular migraines are often related to hormone levels.
3. Never make snap decisions about not taking hormones.
4. Being able to see is worth sporting a mustache.

Blinded by the Light, written by Bruce Springsteen and performed by Manfred Mann's Earth Band:
~cath xo

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