Jen’s Eye Trouble

I woke up as normal, dealt with the kids as normal, showered as normal, then went to put my contacts in as normal…and noticed they were strangely misshapen (almost like they were dried out).

The strange thing was this exact thing had happened yesterday, but since it was about time to switch out lenses, I just tossed them and opened a new pair. So when the same thing happened the second day in a row, it felt like something had to be wrong. I wasn’t sure what it was, though, and could think of no reason to NOT try putting them in, so I tried. When I finally got the first lens in after a few attempts, it felt very wrong in my eye so I took it out immediately—almost like it had been soaking in something BAD (but it was just the same contact solution I’ve been using for years). I tried the other lens in my other eye and that one went in much better and felt fine. So then I went back to the first lens and the first eye and nope, not happening. And now that eye was really red. I rarely use Visine but thought I would today to get the red out before trying to put the contact in again. So I dripped a drop in and HOLY SHIT DID THAT BURN. Wowza. Well, that definitely wasn’t a normal reaction, so I knew at this point I wasn’t going to be wearing my contacts. It was at this point I realized that my vision was hazy in both eyes—I likened it to being in a steamy room where all you could see was a blurry white haze. There was no pain, but something was definitely wrong. So I took out the other lens I had already successfully put in.

And then started having a minor panic attack.

I tried to find my bottle of plain saline solution (not contact solution) and it had disappeared. I put in a few drops of contact solution (better than nothing to try rinsing if something was in there) and that felt awful. I rinsed with cool water. No change.

I googled and, of course, every source said GET IT LOOKED AT IMMEDIATELY and the worst case scenario was detached retinas and cataracts. I was pretty sure it wasn’t either of those, but it was still concerning. I couldn’t even call my eye doctor because he had closed his local office like a month after I saw him and his new office is 30 minutes away (and I knew I didn’t want to drive that far with my eyesight in an unknown state—I could see well enough, but didn’t want to be caught off guard in a 30-minute highway drive with diminishing vision). I didn’t think it was quite worthy of an ER visit so I found two local optometrists and of course neither opened until 10. And it was only like 8:20. So I left a detailed message for one and crossed my fingers.

At this point everything was still hazy, though it was at least a bit more clear with my glasses on. And I was trying to stay calm while getting the kids ready for school and without worrying them. I texted both close SAHM friends to see if they could take Katie if necessary—or drive me to an appointment if my sight worsened—but of course both were busy so I crossed my fingers everything would be okay. And oh yeah, Tom left last night for a week away for work. I talked to him and he said he could come home in an emergency (he was only three hours away) so he was put on notice.

I swear the next 90 minutes was one of the longest waits of my life. At 10, the optometrist called back, we went through the details, and she told me it didn’t sound life-threatening, the doctor wasn’t in, but she could make an appointment for tomorrow at 11. My heart sunk. Then we realized they didn’t take our insurance, so she recommended an ophthalmologist a few doors down. I called and got an appointment at 11. THANK HEAVENS.

So I get to the appointment and they take pictures of my eyes and give me a quick vision test where she asked what letters I saw and I said “What letters?” Yeah, I couldn’t even tell there were letters there—though with the glasses and both eyes I could make an educated guess. It didn’t take her long to come back and tell me I had whatever the technical scary-sounding term is for, basically, dry eye. My first thought was Phew, I’m not going blind! She showed me the picture and told me that my eye basically looked like sandpaper.

severe dry eye
This is a similar photo of dry eye. A normal eye should be completely clear of all those pockmarks.

We discussed how this could have happened—and her best guess was a batch of bad contacts (since the same thing happened to two pairs two days in a row) OR it could have been a combination of bad contacts and bad contact solution (I had just switched to a different bottle of the same stuff that was technically expired but she said it shouldn’t have caused this amount of pain and she had never seen contact solution cause contacts to shrivel like that). So she was honestly clueless. She did say I should contact the office where I got them and see if they would replace them (which is fine and logical, but UGH, that’s at least an hour round-trip now).

By this time my eyes were starting to hurt. I was sent to get both prescription and OTC drops. The doc didn’t give me a brand—she just said “tear drops preservative free” which of course no bottles actually said that so I had to Google while standing there in the aisle. I started using them as soon as I got home but 1) it hurt when I put them in (I definitely wasn’t expecting that—I had envisioned a calming cool feeling of relief) and 2) they didn’t seem to be doing anything. It was awful. I just wanted to cry—and I actually did try crying in case that would help but it didn’t at all. And it actually felt like it got worse as time wore on. Every blink was torture. And my vision wasn’t even coming back! I actually called the doctor back to ask the questions I forgot: 1) when I should start feeling some relief and 2) when my vision should start coming back. She assured me that I should be feeling better pretty quickly and if I wasn’t better by Friday to call her. FRIDAY? IN FOUR MORE DAYS? Lordy I hoped it felt better before then. She also said my blurry vision was normal and would go away.

I have just never experienced anything like this in my entire life so it completely freaked me out. What was even more odd/disconcerting is that at one point, one eye felt completely fine and the other felt like someone was scratching it with sandpaper. Both were fine last night AND upon waking up so that just blew my mind. And once I started thinking about it, I’m sure I’ve had dry eye issues for quite some time now but I never realized that’s what it was (the doctor hinted at this as well). But it only seemed to manifest in the later evening and I just assumed it was my contacts bothering me after being in all day…and my eyes always felt fine in the morning. The doctor said it would be like putting a Band-Aid on every morning—it helped it feel better but it wasn’t taking care of the underlying issue.

I told Tom “You know, it’s funny. Every time something wonky happens you think ‘Oh this is the worst thing ever!’ A bad back, a constant cough, a hurt knee, etc. But I think eye stuff is officially the worst.”

In posting on Facebook and getting advice from LOTS of friends who have similar issues (huh! who knew?), they were surprised I wasn’t prescribed something more permanent. I am assuming when I go back for my follow up there will be more talk of a future plan—today was more of a let’s just fix the immediate issue plan. And I may go back to my old brand of contacts that I was using before switching to the new ones last fall.

I ended my day going to bed when I put the kids to bed. I figured having my eyes closed would feel the best—except by that point, it actually hurt worse to keep them closed! WHAT?! I just couldn’t win! So I took two Tylenol PMs, put a cool compress over my eyes (it actually felt better than a warm compress) and it also helped me keep my eyes closed.

FOLLOW UP: I was out by 9…and then slept 10.5 hours!!! And upon waking, my eyes felt better! It felt like a completely new lease on life after yesterday’s hell.

Also, I’m interested to see what, if anything, our insurance covers. I have only used insurance for exams prior to this. I don’t even know if it covers anything else—it doesn’t even cover frames or contacts or anything typical like that so I don’t have much hope of it covering any of what I was seen for. I could research to see but it doesn’t really matter at this point because I had to go and get looked at.

It’s time for new glasses.

It’s been two years since I’ve had an exam and I’m on my last pair of contacts so it was time. (I’m supposed to go annually but I made my contacts last extra long to save money.)

So I was trying to be cost-conscious and asked if they could use my old frames and they can but it would still be over $200! What? Yuck. So I asked about a clearance section and picked out the best [of the worst] from the very limited $199 selection. Can you pick the same ones I did? (Highlight the rest of this sentence to see which one: I picked #1.)

I picked # 1.

Then I looked around and of course found a regular-priced frame I liked a lot better. Gah.

This is me trying out different hairstyles to see how they looked to try and make my decision. I liked that they were plastic frames (versus metal) and that they had blue on them. And they just FELT right.

So, so much for being cost-conscious—after the military discount, the glasses were about $450. And I still have to buy the contacts. Now you see why I try to make them last longer than a year. (And yes, I could have just gotten new lenses for my old frames at that price point, but they’ve been stepped on and aren’t in the best condition. But had he price been right, I would have.)

But on a good note? My eyes have gotten slightly better. :)



Owen’s reward for being bored.

I had a doctor’s appointment at the hospital this morning—plus lab work—and even though I told him to bring something to keep busy, he only brought his Pokémon book and he quickly tired of that. It was a long wait to get my blood drawn (almost an hour) so when we were done, we went Pokémon hunting…and he won the same gym twice! (Well, at least that’s what I’m pretty sure happened and what these pictures mean!)



So I saw a doctor today.


She was nice enough, but when we were talking about why I wanted a general chem panel run (in addition to my thyroid levels) and I casually mentioned that I had recently lost 80 pounds, she didn’t really even bat an eye. Instead, she asked what I was doing for exercise. And when I told her that I was walking about a mile 3-5 times a week she kind of gave me a look, saw my FitBit, and asked how many daily steps I was getting. I told her about 7,000 and she said “You need to get that up to 10,000.”

Gee thanks, lady. Thanks for showing me any kind of positivity about LOSING 80 F***ING POUNDS.

And on top of that, I shrunk a damn inch. I am no longer 5’10”. What the bloody hell? At least Tom and I are shrinking in tandem (he lost an inch as well).

* Sidenote. I had complained about this to my friends, saying “That’s the problem being military…you get a new set of doctors every few years so no one is ever really invested in you long-term. And even while on station, you might not see the same doctor each time (unless you specifically make sure you are).” And they unilaterally said no way, I had a bad doctor. That any doctor should be THRILLED with that amount of weight loss, new patient or not. So I got a dud. I knew my friends would make me feel better. :)

My leg is likely fine…

The doc said it’s likely just a sprained muscle but wants to rule out a blood clot (which I am fine with because of my previous vein issues). He said a clot can feel/sound like what I experienced…but that it would still be painful. Which it isn’t—it’s feeling much better after a full day.

Anyway, of course ruling out a clot required a separate visit to another clinic…where I was told that no, I have to go to the hospital for radiology…which has to be scheduled. :| Luckily I can get in this week.

Chest X-ray

So since I’m still kinda half coughing and wheezing, the doctor put me on Allegra (in case it’s allergies) and ordered a chest X-ray just in case anything weird is going on that she can’t tell.

It was a bit of a pain, though, because I couldn’t have the kids with me (ugh) so the first trip was wasted and I spent the afternoon trying to figure out childcare for a 10-minute process. (Our regular sitter ended up watching them after school for an hour while I ran back into town.)


UPDATE: The results show a perfectly clear chest so nothing strange…

Day 16: Urgent Care

So, my last 15 days have been fun:

  • Day 1—Very sporadic light coughing
  • Day 2—Sporadic light coughing
  • Day 3—Sporadic light coughing
  • Day 4—Consistent light coughing
  • Day 5—Consistent coughing
  • Day 6—Consistent coughing
  • Day 7—Consistent hacking; hoarse
  • Day 8—Consistent hacking with phlegm; hoarse
  • Day 9—Consistent hacking with phlegm; hoarse
  • Day 10—Sporadic hacking with phlegm
  • Day 11—Sporadic hacking with phlegm; NyQuil
  • Day 12—Sporadic hacking with phlegm; NyQuil
  • Day 13—Consistent hacking with less phlegm but adding snot; NyQuil
  • Day 14—Hard hacking with lots of phlegm and snot; NyQuil
  • Day 15—Hard hacking with lots of phlegm and snot; NyQuil even though it hasn’t really been working (I’m up at all hours of the night hacking)
  • Day 16—The day before I leave for Myrtle Beach…I figure I’d better get checked out just in case it’s something more serious. Also, a friend who recently had the same thing for three weeks said a hydrocodone cough syrup was the only thing that let her sleep…so I wanted that.

Of course I couldn’t get in to see my regular doc so they suggested Urgent Care next door. I’d never been there…and after today, I remember why I hate walk-in clinics. There were only five people ahead of me…but I waited almost 2.5 hours to get into a room. And then another 20 minutes to see the doc.

And I didn’t really like her.

One, she didn’t even listen to my chest! She just asked me questions and watched/listened to me cough.

Two, I had to argue with her about the cough syrup and practically had to BEG for it—she didn’t want me to suppress my cough because I “have to get the crap out.” I said “BUT I NEED TO SLEEP.” She says “Well how will you hear them [points to Owen and Katie]?” Um, excuse me, but THAT’S MY BUSINESS, THANKS. I did tell her I’d have grandparents around to help out, and it seemed to sway her. But I literally argued with her for three minutes about it. In the end I still don’t think she gave me cough syrup, but some type of tabs (?). I’m not sure yet but that comes later…

Three, she heard me wheezing a little and asked if I ever wheezed before. Huh? I said like ever in my life, when I’m sick, or what? She says ever. So I say of course (thinking DUH—every time I get a chest cold?!) so she says she wants me to use an inhaler. Huh? Okay, whatever, on Day 16 I’ll try anything.

Four, I never even got a diagnosis. Which I didn’t even realize until after I got home and Tom asked me what I had. :|

So I pack up and walk across the hallway to the pharmacy (well, I had to walk outside, but it’s literally 10′ away under the same awning) and since the scrips are all electronic, they already had them. I waited less than five minutes (which is why I use this pharmacy) and I was on my way.

So I was almost home (15 minutes from the pharmacy, 25 minutes if you count the walk out to the car and getting both kids buckled in) when I get a phone call from the pharmacy saying the doctor just sent over one last prescription.


I didn’t pay close attention before I left the pharmacy so I missed that she only gave me two of the three she mentioned (I noticed there were three line items but I had bought something else but obviously it didn’t click). So I had to turn around and go all the way back for that one last prescription that I had had to fight for. :|

I was pissed. In my mind, there was no good reason it didn’t come over with the other two, but a friend later told me that since hydrocodone is a narcotic, it requires an actual written prescription (not electronic). That said, she should have made sure I walked out with it.

Owen asked what was wrong and I said I was mad at the doctor and he said I shouldn’t be mad at her because she helped me. I hate when he’s smart. :p So I said he was right, and that I was frustrated (one of his favorite words). And he says “Word of the day! Frustrated!” I said yes, it certainly was the word of the day.

I called Tom to see if he could get it by chance, and he called back when I was about halfway there. I thought he had to work late but he said this could be a good reason for him to leave early, so I said yay and turned around.

So here’s hoping I actually sleep ALL through the night tonight…and get healthy soon. I’d much rather knock down drag out flu for two days than this semi-sickness for three weeks.

Another trip to the doctor.

Walking into the doctors office…
Mama, I’m sorry you don’t feel good.

Awwww. :)

And he was REALLY good while we waited…


But the doc said it wasn’t strep or anything needing meds. It’s probably allergies or viral so lozenges, humidity, etc. I’m glad I’m not really sick, but I wish there was a pill to cure it. :|

Aaaaand it’s my turn.

My throat started hurting Friday night and Saturday I was achy and was thinking I had the flu (especially since I just got the flu shot) so last night Tom looked at my throat and said he thought it might be strep. :(

Of course, urgent care was closed (the card I was just given last week with their hours was wrong) so I suffered for the second night but was able to get in first thing this morning. And it was before the drop-off daycare was open so I had both kids with me.


And it wasn’t strep (yay!) but was pharyngitis (ugh). So at least now I have drugs. And hopefully this is the last sickness in the house for awhile…

Helping, Camping, Playing

Owen was a big help getting Katie inside for my doctor’s appointment today.


It was an OB appointment so I didn’t really want Owen there (the kid certainly doesn’t need to be traumatized like that!), but he’s been a little sick so I couldn’t take him to daycare. Luckily there was a curtain which I turned into a tent and camping experience—which he loved. Phew! Now he’d hopefully be occupied and not see me in the stirrups. :) And he liked peeking out at me.


And of course afterwards he had to play around…


Parenting Tip #53

Never schedule a doctors appointment for the day after you get back from a vacation.

I was still so apparently out of it that I forgot to pack extra underwear for Owen at daycare (though he did have pull-ups) and I forgot an extra bottle for Katie (though I did grab the bottle with the leftover 2oz from her last feeding). Then I wasn’t really paying attention to the time and I left about 15 minutes too early (not the end of the world, but why sit in a doctor’s office with a baby any longer than necessary?).

It all worked out okay in the end (Owen didn’t need the extra undies and Katie was happy with the 2oz) but it could have just as easily gone south.