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Exhausting Darkness (33.3)

March 31, 2014

My eye has turned me into the kind of person who will not shut up about her medical problems and consequently putting everyone around her to sleep.

"Hey how are you?"
"Doing better! Still weaning myself off of my steroid eye drops because I hear withdrawal symptoms are a bitch. Just the other day I messed up my eye drop schedule and oh man it was..."


But seriously all of this eye stuff has made me a big bundle of tension headaches and anxiety dreams.

Dreams about losing independence.
Dreams about losing direction.
Dreams about losing control.
Dreams about losing what's dear to me.

Darkness and fear and ugh I'm so ready for March to be over.

Eye Face and Magical Steroids

March 21, 2014

Two weekends ago I had a fantastic engagement session at Beluga Point. There were no clouds in the sky and no wind at all, making the weather perfect, if chilly, for the gorgeous sunset session. I photographed the lovely couple back lit by the sun a lot, because damn it was pretty.

Then on Monday my right eye had a bit of a headache, light sensitivity, and was hurting a bit when I moved it. Eye strain from all of the looking into the sun the day before, I figured. A ton of ibuprofen helped, but the headache and pain didn't go away all week.

Friday I woke up and my eye was swollen, weeping, and bright red. Aha, pinkeye was surely the cause of my eye face woes!

I saw a doctor first thing who gave me eye drops for conjunctivitis, but was very concerned about the pain and light sensitivity - apparently those aren't normal pinkeye symptoms. I was to call his nurse for an ophthalmologist referral if I wasn't better on Monday.

All weekend I had terrible anxiety dreams of going blind, of my eyeball being ripped from my head. I worried what would happen if this pinkeye was something much worse and I did go blind:

I'd have to give up photography.
Quit my job.
Lose independence.
Not get to see Zoe graduate.
Steve would leave me.
I'd die homeless, alone and unloved in a ditch.

Monday my eye pain woke me very early in the morning, and wouldn't subside. I couldn't get hold of anyone at the doctor's office, and no one was returning my calls.

I fretted.
I cried.
I napped.

Meanwhile my eye pain got worse. There were times on Monday that I couldn't even open my eyes because it hurt so much; times I buried my face under blankets and pillows to block out any teeny bit of light; times I cried from the pain.

Steve took over and yelled at some people over the phone for me, making a ruckus and getting noticed - something I was not up for doing myself. I have a hard time knowing when a medical thing is an Important Thing and when it's just a thing and yeah ok I can wait 24-48 hours for a nurse to call me back.

Monday night, after much discussion and a call to my insurance nurse hotline, Steve brought me to the emergency room. When the doctor handed me some Percocet and a referral to a real ophthalmologist, I realized that this eye pain was an Important Thing - they don't give Percocet out for just any wimpy little thing - and was finally being taken seriously.

Tuesday I saw the ophthalmologist who did lots of tests with lots of bright lights and pointy things, apologizing while forcing my eyelids open and swabbing my teary face with gobs of tissues.

And then I finally had a diagnosis: iritis, an inflammation of my iris. Not an infection, not contagious, not sight-loss causing. But very painful.

Now I have steroid eye drops to make my eyes extra strong, speak in a baritone and grow chest hair! I have dilation drops that my doctor called an eye splint to keep my pupils from changing on their own.

And I have old-lady wrap-around sunglasses!

And most importantly, I have an eye that feels more normal than it has in over a week. It's amazing! I can have lights on and look at lighted screens and keep both of my eyes open and not want to jab something sharp into my temple!

The moral of the story is: eye steroids are magic and should not be taken for granted.

Playing After the Snowstorm

March 16, 2014

Additional Content

Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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