Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Good Eyes, Bad Eye

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.


  1. I love your two tags on this post. Hah.

    I also find little kids in glasses adorable. Except, I was in 4th grade when I "earned" mine and I still loathe them. I used to have the same excitement about pretending to have braces by shoving tin foil into my mouth in rows... and then I was lucky enough to have braces. And glasses. At the same time. In middle school. So I guess I can't relate.

    Though I think my former Burberry frames were quite sexy. But having Lasik has changed my life and I'd never look back.

    Happy to hear your eye is feeling a bit better. $75 sounds like robbery (which it is), but I know I'd pay it!

    Godspeed, my friend!

  2. You sound like a real sexpot with all the oozing and pushing... Tell me again why David is avoiding you? ahhaha


    Not surprised in the least that Zuzu charmed them up at the eye doctor. She is definitely charming! and Adorable! And cute and delicious.

    I keep telling myself to go to see an eye doctor and have an exam. I haven't had one in YEARS- like possibly also 1996 or so? And since I have benefits I could get adorable glasses or (prescription) sunglasses. Ever since pregnancy, my eyes are incredibly sensitive to light- weird, huh?

    $75 sounds like a good deal if it cures eye goup!

  3. Oh man. Eye stuff is the worst! So good you already had an appointment and got fixed up!

    It would NEVER occur to me to go to an eye doctor for pink eye considering every time my glasses break or go out of style (about once every six years) I look up "optometrist" online and pick the closest one to my house. Good to know! It also would not have occurred to me that eye drops could interfere with breastfeeding.

  4. I've never heard of the InfantSEE program. Sometime between now and one year I think her ped. will also give her a similar test. The girls get one every year at the doctor's office - and I seem to remember the early ones being tracking type tests.

    E's been to the eye doctor once, and has great eyesight now. We'll probably go every few years. I'm sure she's eventually end up with glasses. M and I both got them in middle school.

    Marcus always goes to eye doctor for any eye issue (which is best), but we've always taken the girls to their own doctor for eye infections. Maybe this is just because I don't think of them as having a regular eye doctor. Also, my husband does everything "by the book". He got some miracle eye ointment too recently - he actually injured his eye coming out of surgery a few weeks back. He's not sure how it happened, but his eye was burning like crazy, and went to the eye doctor and had a cross shaped tear. He thinks maybe he swatted at his eye with his left hand that had the IV and scratchy gauze tape without knowing it. It kept re-tearing when he would wake up in the morning - GROSS - so this magic ointment kept it from doing that.

    Usually that sulfate stuff knocks the infection out - you must have had a doozy. The crustiness is gross - that's what F had that sent us to the emergency room one night. It can be a big deal if the area around the eye is hot to the touch and hers was - they want to make sure it's not an infection that can go to the brain.

    Who knew I had so much to say about gross eye stuff?

    Glad it's getting better. Can't wait to hear how the show went Sunday night and what sort of riff raff you were hanging out with that gave you the eye crud!

  5. I heard about your eye today and was wondering if you'd blogged about it. ;)

    And? I was SO excited when L had to get glasses! B wasn't thrilled but I think kids in glasses are so, so adorable.

  6. Never heard of the InfantSEE program - wish I had.

    I didn't see an eye doctor when I had pink eye either. Tsk tsk.

    I had to do a vision test the other week when I got a Texas drivers license, but I think that's because when she asked if I wore glasses I said "I probably should." But I passed the vision test! But seriously my left eye is sucking of late. If I do ever have to get glasses I'm totally going to get some color changing contacts.

  7. You sound like me! I woke up on Valentine's day (!!) with what I thought was pink eye, which turned out to actually be a scratched cornea that had become infected, because, go big or go home, son!

    Dr said since I could only see out of one eye (yay! birth defects!) I would be out of classes for 10 days until I could wear contacts again since I didn't have back up glasses. What the what for real.

    While on Valentine's Day dinner, we found a place that could do same day glasses if we got there, uh, now, for a sweet $240! (Did I mention I spent $120 on new contacts that would hopefully come in before 7-10 days of eye drops was over?)

    Remember how I paid the $250 for new glasses to avoid missing school? Ha. Ha... new glasses = migraines from hell. Weee!! Then I go sick with sinus congestion etc again.

    I've managed to get to class two days in the last two weeks.

    Life... you rock.

    On the bright side, contacts came in yesterday and I can seeeeeeeeee!!

    I hope your eye heals fast. Eye problems SUCK.

  8. Kids with glasses = NOT FUN. They are expensive and it is hard to find ones that stay on their faces. And they need to be replaced very often. Ewan has had glasses since he was 1 -- he used to hide them as soon as he got to daycare so that he wouldn't have to wear them.

    Grown up glasses? FUN. Especially if you only kind of need them, like me. I am fine without them but if I have to read for a long time I wear them. It's a low prescription. I would also wear them when teaching just to feel smarter. :) I haven't worn them since I taught now, though!

    Going to the eye doctor for pink eye? Um... never heard of that. I guess it makes sense, but if you just need some of those medicated drops, one would think the regular doctor would be okay. Provided they know to give you those super-drops, I guess! Lots of eye healing vibes to you!

  9. I visit the eye doctor on the regular since I started wearing them at age 5. The really cool thing about going these days is that they can do this scan thing of the back of your eye which can tell them if you have heart issues or diabetes and some other undetected serious health issues. It does cost $20 extra or so, but I think it's totally worth it knowing that strokes are fairly common in my family. Maybe they are just scamming me, but my optometrist ( I did see him when I had pink eye) is pretty straight forward about things (like my total disdain for, but strong desire for contacts). Thanks for sharing about the InfantSEE program as well. I always wonder if V will get my craptastic eyes or his dad's perfect vision. ~Missy

  10. just use the boob juice! Its a magic liquid =)