Monday, June 19, 2017

The Eyes Have It

I was at the optometrist's office this morning and was told I needed a follow-up appointment in six weeks. 

"That puts us into the first week in August," the receptionist said.

Wow.  The first week of August is only six weeks away?  How did that happen?  

I've been absent from the blog for over six weeks, too.  How did that happen?  Well, I have a bunch of reasons, but I think I'll start with today's adventures first since they are still fresh in my mind.

I started out the day at the aforementioned optometrist's office for an appointment for the following condition, shamelessly cut and pasted from an internet search:
 A posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a condition of the eye in which the vitreous membrane separates from the retina. It refers to the separation of the posterior hyaloid membrane from the retina anywhere posterior to the vitreous base (a 3-4 mm wide attachment to the ora serrata).

Yep, that's what I have going on right there, a separation of my posterior hyaloid membrane from the retina.  What does that mean? I'm not sure, but I can tell you when the retinal/vitreous separation proceedings were in full swing last week Thursday night, they certainly got my full attention.  

I was working on writing a blog post when suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge black blob appeared in front of my eyes, shaped, oddly enough, like an upside down horse.  I immediately remembered how my mother was waving her hands in the air in front of her eyes a few months ago, trying to 'get rid of the dark blobs hanging down'. 

"Do you see that?" she had asked me, alarmed.  "What is that?  What is happening?"

And I have to admit, I know now why she was so panic-stricken at the time.  Poor Mom, she had to endure all of this just a few weeks before she died.  She was so brave.

When it happened to me, I tried not to panic but as in the immortal words of Yoda of Star Wars fame:  "Do or do not, there is no try."  Ok, I did panic a little bit...and immediately hit up Google for a search of 'dark black floaters'.  Luckily, I could still see as long as I kept blinking rapidly; Mom had not been so fortunate.  

Dire warnings of a looming full-blown retinal detachment were included in my searches along with some hopeful stories of patients who had gone in soon enough and had a laser procedure to basically weld the tear shut.  But those patients who waited too long were subjected to air bubbles put in the eye and having to lie face down in bed for days waiting for the tear to heal.  At least, that's what I think I read; my eyes weren't focusing all that great.  I was doing my best to not panic.

I called for an appointment last Friday, but there were no openings until Monday (today) and since overnight the dark black upside down horse in my right eye was turning to dark brown (which the receptionist and I thought was a good sign) the decision was made to wait until Monday for the appointment.    However, if my condition were to worsen or be accompanied by flashes of light, I was to call back immediately.

The flashes of light thing is not new either; a few years ago I was working in the garden during deer hunting season and noticed flashing lights out of the corner of my eye.  I was wearing blaze orange so the hunters wouldn't mistake me for a deer.  In my denial of any eye problems, I passed off the weird flashing sensation as my eyes catching sight of the bright blaze orange jacket I was wearing.  When I came in the house that night, I realized the flashes were happening in a dark room, too.   My next move was to my regular eye doctor for a checkup.

"What causes flashes and floaters?" I asked.

"Birthdays are your biggest culprit," he said, wryly.

Oh, hurrah.  

"That and being extremely near-sighted," he added.

Hurrah, again.  

I have had floaters for as long as I can remember.  I distinctly recall helping my mother take laundry off the washline when I was a little girl and asking her if she saw the 'circles in the sky' and how they all floated around.  

Mom didn't know what I was talking about, so I filed my concern away as just one more weird thing wrong with me and did my best to ignore the sky circles which were then soon joined by squiggles and drifting fog.   However, when the upside down horse appeared, it was impossible to ignore.  The horse was soon joined by thick, black lines and mid-size black spots, coming and going, cavorting across my field of vision. 

"Your eyes will be dilated for the examination," the receptionist said.  "You may want to have someone drive you if you've never had a dilation before."

The appointment was scheduled for 10:30 AM, the only time I could get on such short notice.  Hmmm, Carl and our sons have day jobs, but there is one person who came to my rescue again; Ann.

What a blessing to have Ann's help.  She whisked me away to the appointment, sat with me during the exam while I described the problem to the doctor and helped me remember all that was said.  

The optometrist said I'd had a bleed in the right eye, but it didn't look too serious, especially in light of the fact the horse's color was starting to fade which was a good sign.  However, it could develop into a retinal detachment, so she referred me to a retina specialist later on this coming week.  If things go south, I'm to call them back immediately, day or night.  

Since Carl and I have been together over forty years, our problems seem to go hand in hand, too; in a truly bizarre turn of events, Carl started seeing flashers and a large floater a few days before my 'horse' showed up.  He hasn't had an eye exam in the 39 years we've been married, so when I was finished with my appointment, I asked for one for Carl, too.  As fate would have it, there was an opening at 3:30PM today and I took it.

Ann took me out to eat at a nice restaurant overlooking an abandoned quarry with peacocks strutting back and forth outside the window.  When Carl called at noon, I told him the plan was for Ann to drop me off at his work and then Carl and I would go back to the optometrist for his exam.

Thankfully, Carl's floaters and flashers weren't as theatrical as mine; no upside down horses in his eyes, and no referral to a retina specialist, but he, too, has a follow-up with the optometrist in six weeks for a recheck.  Back to the first week in August again.....where I started this whole saga.  

We didn't get any work done in the garden today, but in a way it was ok.  We're in a strange stormy season right now, and since we've had rain showers every few hours for the last week (ever since eight or nine tornadoes touched down a scant ten miles from here)  so everything would be dripping wet anyway.  We took the opportunity to pick up Carl's new work shoes and buy some groceries instead.

Has anything been accomplished around the yard since Mother's Day, you may ask?  Good question!  I'll get back on the 'What's Next?' series very soon.  

Hopefully before August.


outlawgardener said...

I'm relieved to hear that your eye problem seems to be getting a bit better. Fingers crossed! Your pots look beautiful and I'm looking forward to seeing what you've done in the garden. Knowing what hard workers you are, you've probably transformed your space into a summer wonderland again. It still boggles my mind how you keep such a huge space looking so gorgeous!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear sweet Karen ~ I do hope all will be well with your eyes.

Love you and have missed your posts.

Love & hugs to you and Carl ~ FlowerLady

El Gaucho said...

Karen - Very glad to hear that your and Carls' eye problems were minor. Best of luck that everything works out well.

Even though it was a picture of just one urn, it sure looked great. The pictures you post of garden are always tremendous. Hopefully you can get back in the garden soon.

Karen said...

Peter, thank you, and if it's not too much trouble, do keep your fingers crossed. I appreciate all the help I can get. I am having a pelargonium 'problem' this year; every time I see a new variety I've bought them. :-) The garden is being persnickety this year (like always) and we are scrambling.

Karen said...

Rainey, thank you, dearest. I am hopeful this will all work out well! Sending love and hugs. :-)

Karen said...

El Gaucho, thank you! I hope you are settling into your new home. I can't wait to see what gardening and canine adventures you encounter in a new climate.

Junebug said...

Wow, never a dull moment in your life! I sure hope the eye problem clears up soon. I must admit I had to chuckle over the Birthday being the culprit! Here's to continued improvement!!

Karen said...

June, I know! There never is a dull moment around here. I love horses; I'm just not fond of them being in my vision all day. Thank you!

Ellie's friend from canada said...


I'm so glad you've returned to the blog but sorry to hear about your vitreous detachment. I know exactly what it's like. I had one that was a big black blob in the centre of my vision and it refused to float away from the centre until finally it broke up and settled downwards. You should avoid lifting anything heavy or bending until you see the retinal specialist. If there is a little tear there you DO NOT want to make it a bigger tear which might be much more complicated to fix. A little tear is probably easily fixed by laser but you don't want to make it bigger. I am not a doc but we've had lots of family members who've had vitreous detachments and retinal tears and detachments. I presume the optom told you symptoms of a retinal detachment (for example, a black curtain across the eye and others) which require immediate medical attention. I hope he/she told you not to bend or lift until you've seen the retinal specialist. Please take it easy till you see the specialist! best wishes.