I have a bacterial infection in my eye.
This is commonly referred to as "pink eye," but would more accurately be called, "red, swollen, pus-oozing eye."
Just trying to be accurate, people.
It started yesterday morning when I woke up. My eye hurt--like throbbing--and it was bloodshot and gunky. Gross me out.
I called my doctor (a family practitioner I met when interviewing pediatricians) and she squeezed in an appointment for me first thing so I could see her before work. She prescribed me some drops and wrote me a note in case I wanted to skip work for the day. I felt fine other than the throbbing, oozing eyeball issue, and the thought of rearranging my class schedule seemed more daunting than going in and talking about Lysistrata for a couple of hours. So I picked up my eye drops and headed into work. Sans eye make up.
On a normal day, I smear on a clear primer and tinted moisturizer and then swipe on on a little bit of eyeliner and mascara, and add some blush in the dreary winter months, before I go into to work. It makes me feel more professional and polished when I'm standing in front of the classroom. Since my sleep has been, um, let's just say unpredictable the last couple of months, I also think mascara and a little bit of under-eye concealer helps me look awake. So I feel pretty un-cute with no make up on.
I went to the doctor, the pharmacy, and then to work feeling decidedly un-cute. I'd curled my hair to compensate, but that only helped when I was wearing sunglasses.
I taught my two lit classes and then realized I actually wasn't feeling great. At all. Eye still throbbing and oozing (GROSS). So I canceled my afternoon composition class and headed home early. I moaned and groaned to David about it, who was really sympathetic on the phone but wouldn't come near me when he got home, as though I was so contagious that he was going to get pink eye just by looking at me. I went to bed early, feeling very sorry for myself.
This morning I woke up with my eye sealed shut with gunky grody eye goop (that's the medical term for it). It took the use of a warm wash cloth just to be able to open my eye, and the swelling had actually gotten worse instead of better. I looked like someone had punched me in the eye except without the purple bruise. Not cute. I was also hoping it would feel better than it did.
In the sort of coincidence that my students would call "ironic" but is actually not ironic, just coincidental, Zuzu had an eye appointment scheduled with the optometrist for this afternoon.
It is part of the InfantSEE program, which provides a free eye exam to any baby under a year of age. I just went to the website, plugged in my zip code, and called a doctor's office near my house.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but basically Zuzu charmed the entire office staff while I filled out a simple form, and then we went back for a quick examination. The doctor talked me through everything, and I held Zuzu on my lap the whole time. Basically, he made sure her eyes were both tracking a Big Bird figurine, he shined lights in her eyes to examine her pupils and retinas, he checked to make sure she didn't have congenital cataracts, and that both eyes were being used equally. He was able to determine that she is slightly far-sighted, which is developmentally normal for babies of this age. He was very pleased with her eyes and I was pleased that she was very cooperative (not that any of it was hard). The trickiest part was at the very end when I had to stand up and hold her facing over my shoulder, keeping her head close to my neck and shoulder so he could shine a bright light in her eye. She didn't love this part, but she didn't cry.
So Zuzu got a clean bill of eye health and instructions to come back when she's three years old or if I suspect any problems between now and then.
Then the doctor looked at me and said, "So what's up with your eye?"
I explained that I had conjunctivitis and that I'd already seen my family practitioner to get eye drops. He muttered, slightly under his breath, but also so I could hear him perfectly, "When you have an eye infection, you should see an eye doctor."
(Really? For PINK EYE?)
Anyway, he told me he had a few minutes before his next appointment, so he would take a look for me, which was really nice considering I was a new patient. I was actually really glad because my eye was still feeling pretty horrible.
He asked me when my last eye exam was and I said I had no idea. Possibly 1998?
The doctor managed to quietly guffaw and tsk-tsk me at the same time.
(But come on! I don't wear glasses or contacts and I have never had vision issues or eye issues UNTIL YESTERDAY!)
In spite of his exasperation with my lack of appropriate eye healthcare, he was actually really nice. He asked me what drops my doctor had prescribed and I said I wasn't sure but I thought maybe sulfate, if that sounded right to him.
He didn't like this answer either (!) and said that medical doctors continue to prescribe it but eye doctors haven't for at least a decade. He asked if I was still breastfeeding (The small human grunting and trying to suck on my boob through my shirt might have been a clue.) and then said he'd get me some drops that are safe for the baby but these wouldn't be cheap. And then he recommended that I schedule a real appointment in two weeks for a follow-up and a thorough eye exam.
When I went to check out, I had to fill out the new patient paperwork for myself, plus dig out my wallet and insurance card, which was not easy with the baby in one arm. The receptionist offered to hold her for me, so Zuzu sat happily on her lap and played while I scribbled down my name and insurance information. Then I heard a ripping noise and saw that Zuzu had grabbed a piece of paper that was partially taped to the desk and managed to rip it in half. Excellent! The receptionist didn't bat an eye and said it was no big deal, she'd just print another schedule. So Zuzu flapped that piece of paper around, very pleased to be entertaining herself and the other ladies in the office, while I frantically finished up everything.
I walked my prescription across the parking lot to the grocery store pharmacy so I wouldn't have to make another stop because it was almost nap time. Sure enough, as soon as I sat down to wait, Zuzu got serious about wanting to eat. So I nursed her in the pharmacy waiting area, which totally grossed me out because it seemed like possibly the germiest place on the face of the earth besides a public bathroom. Desperate times...
Then my "not cheap" eye drops turned out to be $75! What the what? Fortunately it appears to be Magical Miracle Cure in a jar because they soothed my eye in a way that the others didn't even come close to doing. One drop and it already feels ten times better.
Still looks like hell, though.
So that is the eye health update here. Any of you had pink eye? Did you use the old-fashioned Trimethoprim Sulfate solution? Did you see an eye doctor instead of your regular doctor? Anyone else take advantage of the InfantSEE program? I only found out about it from a friend, and I was surprised my pediatrician hadn't recommended it.
I'm relieved that Zuzu's eyes are perfectly healthy, but I also find little kids in glasses to be utterly adorable. I've actually been wanting to get some non-prescription glasses to wear just for fun--you know, add to my professional credibility in the classroom. Maybe I could get non-prescription frames to accessorize Zuzu as well... Okay, I know that's ridiculous. I'm just saying she would look really cute.