Thankful for sticking a needle in my eye?

26 08 2008

I suppose it could be worse, according to the the pledge “cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye,” I received the lesser of the three, but still… I mean come on, who really keeps up with these promises.  Apparently someone and they are serious about it. They were most likely a hall monitor during his or her youth and this was just part of the natural progression, this or become an IRS agent, or maybe he or she is just into S&M.  Anyway whoever is keeping tally, I hope your happy now and for the record I received no joy in this.  By the way if you know who I broke the promise to some umpteen years ago when I made the pledge, let me know.  If it was about that girl I met and hooked up with at the beach that you wouldn’t know when i was 13, don’t you think this is a little severe?  

Woke up early to get to Emory on time in the middle of the biggest storm we have had in years. I wish I could say the hospital was located on a hill, all by itself and lightening was striking all around, so I knew just what an ominous day it would be, but no, it was just another boring building getting rained on.  I was feeling pretty good about the day, and how the checkup would turn out, but I was a little off with my gut feeling this morning.  So much for using gut instinct anymore.  

I arrived just in time for my 8:50 appointment thanks to Corinne dropping me off out front while she parked. Being on time is apparently not a huge priority for the hospital as I was not called back to see anyone until 9:45.  The first person I saw today was not a Doctor, but did the normal preliminary tests with me, and dilated just my left eye today. They have all sorts of odd looking Dr. Who devices around the place and absolutely no color.  Very stark settings. But when they use the devices to test things out, all ideas about the decor or lack there going flying out, (I’d say window, but they do not have any.) They look like some strange torture devices  but as it turns out they are all pretty benign.

After the initial test Rinne and I were sent out to the waiting area.  This is the worst time in the waiting area.  Your eyes take a little while to fully dilate, but in the mean time you can not  read because your pupils are becoming the size of quarters, not allowing you to focus on any words. You are left sitting there with no magazines with pictures, or books with pictures, just words, and you can not read a one of them. This is cruel, apparently the guy who keeps cross my heart oath is doing a little overtime in the waiting room. 

Eventually we are called back to the room where I get to see the Dr.  For the first time she is the first one through the door, not her intern.  I am stoked to see her.  She is the happiest Dr. I have ever had to deal with in a professional setting. Not only is she friendly, she actually takes the time to explain to me what is happening.  

What’s happening?  Well, the conservative approach to bring back my vision has failed.  I seem to have an edmea, or a pocket of fluid that is causing me to not see so great currently.  So in her words “to expedite the seeing process,”

This sounds good doesn’t it…. but wait for it….

“we are going to stick a needle in your eye.”  


How sticking a sharp needle or for that matter anything in my eye, will “expedite the seeing process” is beyond me, but she somehow convinces me, and gives me the option to do it now or come back in a few days.

Let’s get this over with, I can not begin to imagine having to be anxious about this for several days.  We go over the side effects, glaucoma, infection, retinal detachment… uhhhhh retinal detachment, you mean when my eye falls apart?  

Yeah, that’s the one, but it only happens in less than 1% of the patients.  

Pretty good odds, but seeing how Eale’s disease affects way less than 1% of the general population, I’m not a big fan of this one in a million thing any more.  If someone says you are one in a milliion, with the current population count, that means roughly there are 6.8 million people just like you.  I sure feel special though.

After dropping the needle bomb and seeming way to happy that I’m ok with her sticking a needle in my eye for a shot of steroids she is off to call my insurance company to see if its ok.  I am pleading on the inside that my insurance company has a personal vendetta and will deny the claim, but the oath guy has strong ties everywhere.  The doctor returns with a nurse, and they begin the process.  

Dr. Yan asks if I would like for her to explain each step of the process,

“Absolutely not, but thank you.”

I receive some numbing drops, and the the equivalent of a shot of lidocaine in my eye, before the big shot. The nurse asks me to focus on her why the doctor slips around me and out of my field of vision.  She asks me to keep my eyes on her, which I do.  I have not been this focused on anything in a while.  She has me adjust my eyes back to the middles, and thats when it happens… the needle goes in!@$^&^&

I think I can get used to breaking promises if they stick needles in your eye like this each time.  It was suprisingly not painful, mildly irritating, but not painful.  The anticipation was much worse, but overall the procedure was fast & simple. Now it is just a waiting game for my vision to become of superhero proportions.   This is how I see as of right now…minus the scene in the background. The whole world looks like an evil sno-globe that has been violently shaken, well at least in my left eye.  



24 07 2008
Got the rock back!

Got the rock back!

Well at least from my vacation and today’s run. Getting caught back up at work and doing my best to adjust to running in Atlanta again with the summer heat. I ran 9 miles today at a slower pace than normal, but it was nice to be able to run on trails, relatively alone, after work, in a city with 5 million people.

Vacationing in Seattle and then heading up to Canada did not help with my acclimation, but at least is not been as hot as it usually is.

I went to the Dr, guess what she told me, guess what she told me… my vision has improved! Not that I did not notice it, but to what degree the improvement is was lost on me, I just knew it was “better.” She expects it to keep improving and if I continue at the same rate of improvement this next month I should have x-ray vision, and be the envy of eagles everywhere. Ok, well maybe that is going slightly overboard, but you can dream.

There was one challenge though with my eye, there is still fluid behind one portion not allowing the retina to lie (or is it lay, either way you know the point I’m trying to make) completely flat. The result is by closing my right eye and looking through only my left, I can shrink your head. Sure this has some fallbacks, but for keeping me entertained when I have a troublesome eyesore, well that’s just priceless. So if you happen to be talking to me, and I start to giggle, and you know for a fact you are not funny, check to see if I’m winking at you, if not perhaps you have something hanging from your nose.

To try and rectify the Dr suggested we take a conservative approach and is having me administer 4 drops a day for a month of some new very expensive eyedrops. In addition I am back on steroids, which means by the end of the summer my lefteye is going to be looking totally buff. I’m going to buy him some trips to the tanning bed once he is fully pumped to round out his new persona.

This is the conservative approach to help my retina get back to normal. I like conservative and I hope it works because the alternative, (and keep in mind the dr. said this in passing like it was no big deal) is an INJECTION. I know, I know, being conservative has never sounded so good to me in my life.

But wait an injecton… why do Dr’s just not lie to their patients anymore. Really, there was a time when they would tell you it was not going to hurt a bit, or that it was ok not to floss, or that smoking was good for you. I am disappointed in their honesty. I am putting the drops in on schedule according to an atomic clock as to avoid this whole injection thing and I hope it works. Needles in general do not bother me, they help deliver some great chemicals to all sorts of people, but one to the eye, “no thank you,” no matter what’s in it. And for the record I’ve not made the “cross my heart hope to die promise” since the first ordeal, so maybe it’ll work in my favor.

Running pirates… really?!

7 07 2008

Sedentary life is now history. Today I finally got to run again… with my patch! I got a few funny looks from some people along the flat loop at Cochran shoals. I even managed to keep the run relatively classy by staying on the flats with only a small diversion into the single track and one nice little hill.

All said I managed 5 miles and it felt great to be out and running again, albeit as a cyclops. I never thought running would have such a hold on me, but it does, and the past 2 weeks of not being in the woods have been more painful than any run.

With that said, I now finally understand when people would say “well at least he has his health” when referring to someone down on their luck. I did not grasp what it would be like to not be healthy, and I have now been given a very brief (thankfully) idea of what it would be like. Gratitude is not a word that fully explains how I feel now for what I have, but it comes close.

Back to the trails tomorrow, I’ve got my rock back, and in case you’re wondering I’m smiling.

The eyes have it

1 07 2008

Ok well at least one of them does. What is “it”?

STEROIDS!!! They are no longer just for breakfast & muscles anymore.

My left eye has been hitting the gym and and roiding out for the past week. Occasionally left eye will go into a rage and threaten right eye. Right eye is pretty tough and holds his ground, but if things came to a head, my money is going on left eye, at least for now.

As a matter of fact my Left eye could not only kick your left eye’s pucker it could put the smack down on your right eye as well. BRING IT! If I were more creative I would draw a cartoon description of this, however I am lacking in that skill, but mind you it would be one tough looking, pucker kicking right eye. Kind of like this, but tougher with more visible veins, no smile, and maybe a few pimples on its back.

not too tough eye

Wow, that is what its been like living with my left eye for the past week, I can not wait for things to get back to normal.

Normal; the eye doctor I saw today says I am far from it, but heading in that general direction. Which means, no running for at the very least another week, however I can now take leisurely strolls in the woods as long as I do not go fast enough to break a real sweat. No swimming or kayaking allowed until I get the clearance from them and apparently, after my discussion with them this morning, they do not allow you to ever get back in the Chattahoochee.

The eye is healing as they expected, but I still have some bleeding which is keeping my vision in the left eye blurred for now, and we will not know for a few more weeks if my vision is equal to that of the right eye. I still am to avoid direct sunlight, and bright lights, so on a good note, I still get to sport my black patch, which makes me feel tough.

Oddly enough the eye patch is the clothing accessory that I have had more compliments on than anything else I’ve ever owned. Perhaps the idea of a Prada patch may have some merit, but then again, sporting a designer patch may take away from looking “murdered out”.

I’m going to cheer myself up and watch Goonies…

So many days…

26 06 2008

If I were a movie I would be rated \I’m sporting a black patch! I believe this is the longest I have gone without some form of exercise in a long time, and I am beginning to get the hang of it. For one thing you have a lot more time on your hands if you choose to live a more sedentary lifestyle, not that I have done anything productive with the time, I am just making an observation here.

I’ve been reading a lot, and am enthralled with the House of Leaves. I have never read anything like this before, so its kind of cool, but I’m only 60 or so pages in right now, so not too much room for error.

Here is how the book describes itself:

With a little luck, you’ll dismiss this labor, react as Zampano had hoped, call it needlessly complicated, pointlessly obtuse, prolix – your word -, ridiculously conceived, and you’ll believe all you’ve said, and then you’ll put it aside – though even here, just that one word, “aside”, makes me shudder, for what is ever really just put aside? – and you’ll carry on, eat, drink, be merry and most of all you’ll sleep well.

Then again there’s a good chance you won’t.

This much I’m certain of: it doesn’t happen immediately. You’ll finish and that will be that, until a moment will come, maybe in a month, maybe a year, maybe even several years. You’ll be sick of feeling troubled or deeply in love or quietly uncertain or even content for the first time in your life. It won’t matter. Out of the blue, beyond any cause you can trace, you’ll suddenly realize things are not how you perceived them to be at all. For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how. You’ll have forgotten what granted you this awareness in the first place.

Old shelters – television, magazines, movies – won’t protect you anymore. You might try scribbling in a journal, on a napkin, maybe even in the margins of this book. That’s when you’ll discover you no longer trust the very walls you always took for granted. Even the hallways you’ve walked a hundred times will feel longer, much longer, and the shadows, any shadow at all, will suddenly seem deeper, much, much, deeper.

You might try then, as I did, to find a sky so full of stars it will blind you again. Only no sky can blind you now. Even with all that iridescent magic up there, your eye will no longer linger on the light, it will no longer trace constellations. You’ll care only about the darkness and you;ll watch it for hours, for days, maybe even for years, trying in vain to believe you’re some kind of indispensable, universe-appointed sentinel, as if just by looking you could actually keep it all at bay. It will get so bad you’ll be afraid to look away, you’ll be afraid to sleep.

Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you’ll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you’ve ever lived by. You’ll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you’ll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you’ve got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name.

And then the nightmares will begin.

Yeah, you think… I’ll let you know when I start having my nightmares.

My eye is still dilated and causing me some concern that I looked like I smoked a joint about an hour ago. I called the Dr, and she or one of her fledglings is to call me back and let me know if it is normal or not. Granted I have eaten several Vegan cookies recently, but I have not resorted to sitting around a drum circle… yet!

One thing that has been reiterated to me during this experience, like it is with most tragic events in my life, is that I am loved. Wish I could provide a profound thought provoking statement here, but it is really nothing beyond that, I feel loved. I feel lucky, I live a very charmed life and then some. I am positive this has to do with the people who surround me, but even outside that there are those who reach in occasionally and give boosts, like small gifts from the blue. The other day after my check-up on my eye, Corinne, Chelsea & myself went to see a horrible movie, get smart, ( to give you and idea, I have not fallen asleep in a move theater since I think I was 5, but this was like watching golf and eating xanax) and after walking out of the theater a little girl about 4 or 5 passed holding her mom’s hand, and began tugging on her mom’s arm, pointing, screaming “Mom! Pirates!” The mother kept walking, snatching her daughter by the arm and leaning down to tell her something, at what I can only guess. This was the hardest I‘ve laughed in a while , well at least since I had my surgery.

Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye

23 06 2008

Vitrectomy Surgery-

Do not, I repeat, do not make this promise unless you really, really, really, really mean it. I think the particular promise I broke was to Chris Michaels regarding a wooden block or something in kindergarten.

So, Chris I would like to apologize… and for the record it was not worth it. Crime does not pay.

Surgery went well, I am cyclops. Will report more later when the drugs where off.One eye reeve

Drugs are not so bad, at least not yesterday. I was grateful to have whatever they gave me at the hospital. My father and his girlfriend, Cindy came into town for the surgery and took Rinne and I out to eat the night before, at Aspen’s (very good food I might add, but they do not stock lemonade there). We came up and everyone went to bed except me, as I was feeling a little nervous, and also wanted to write a little about my solstice run. I finally got to sleep around 2:30 or so and woke up around 7, took the dogs on a walk in the backyard trails.

I could not remember if they said not to drink water or not, so I took a few sips of water before leaving the house to head to Emory. We checked in, were given the buzzer to let us know when it was time for me to go back to get prepped. I got called back after a relatively short period of time, but not before finding a book in the waiting room The Loneliness of the Long Distance runner. WOW, something is going on here, I suppose I am in the right place.

After I was called back and asked the same question several different times, “which eye, have you had anything to eat or drink, is someone with you, etc.” They were not happy with my answer of “yes” to the water question, but prepping to pay the penance for earlier transgressions, I decided to be honest and tell them, “well yeah, I drank some water.” I was dehydrated…

The nurse trying to give me my IV, missed the first time, or as she said, “the vessel keeps blowing up.” I count it as a swing and a miss. She said she would wait a little while before she tried again and put a few more drops of something in my eye, and then gave me a temporary tatoo of the word “yes” over my left eye.

She got the IV in me the second time and I “drank” 1 bag fairly quickly. They asked if I needed to use the restroom, which of course at the time I did not. Not sure if I was so nervous that I did not need it or if I was too dehydrated. Her medical opinion was that I was severely dehydrated from Saturday’s activity. I.V. ‘s are good for rehydration, I think I might try and get one for the home.

Surgery was scheduled for 11:30, but we did not get started until 12:30. They took me back to the operating room and past that I do not remember a damn thing. At some point during me being in altered state of consciousness, they did this. and this

and cleared out a plethora of scar tissue, removed the vitreous gel, and mind you, they used freakin’ lasers. That’s how tough I am!

Came back to consciousness and was greeted by my beautiful wife, and one question came to mind “how did I get here?”

“Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.”

I have not been in altered state of consciousness in quite some time (other than running), and have discovered I am not very good at it. So with a little help from Corinne I found my way to my bed and put myself down for several hours. Good riddance.

Had a check up this morning and the surgery went as good as it could. Will not know about how my vision is for a few weeks. I will have an air bubble in my eye for the next several days, and currently everything is blurry. Perhaps the only people who ever see bigfoot happen to have the same eye challenges that I do.

Sporting a patch today and have to have something over my eye for the next week, to keep it protected, so I will look like a pirate for next week or so…

not that kind of pirate you sickos!

A kick in the eye

18 06 2008

Oh mother of God! On Monday I am scheduled to have a Vitrectomy on my left eye. I have been aware of a small challenge in my eye since the beginning of April and have been trying to discover, or rather letting the Medical professionals discover what is wrong. I have been to a few Doctors, and had more pictures taken of my eye than of Hannah Montana. I have had enough blood drawn to where I can now tap the vein out myself, without the use of the belt.

I have a macular pucker in my left eye and neo-vascularization in the retina. I like to think I am just the next step in evolution, but they say “nay” to that. They told me at one point it could be one of several diseases, none that were particularly appealing to be afflicted with. After several weeks of worrying about having various diseases that have benefits, dinners, and armbands to raise awareness, they ruled them all out.

I have been diagnosed with Eale’s disease, which is a diagnosis of exclusion, or idiopathic. In other words they do not know what causes it, just that I have the symptoms. All in all this is a good thing. If you have to have a rare disease, apparently this is the one to have. So if you make a deal with the devil, this could be a negotiation point for you.

See like I do by going here and sliding the scale to advanced:

I asked the Dr. about the surgery and the need for it, and her answer, “you could go blind” in a very matter of fact tone. I told her the Nuns told me the same thing and it never happened. She did not even crack a smile.

So now onto the surgery. Apparently I will be conscious when they stick a few things in my eye, so to say the least I am nervous, but apparently it should make everything better, but the big thing is, I am not supposed to run for a few weeks, nor lift anything heavy, nor write any more run-on sentences. I think I am more worried about this part than anything else.

In honor of not being able to exercise for a few weeks I will be doing my Solstice run this Saturday in the Smokies. If you want to join me, let me know. Oh and for those of you paying attention, the trail ends at the lake, far from any roads, I have arranged for a Jetski shuttle out. For the route you can vist: