Friday, January 22, 2010


So Wednesday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch, reading a magazine with Joanna perched on my lap. She had grabbed a coupon that I'd torn out of the magazine and was in the process of scrunching and munching it, so I took it away, tore off a page that I'd finished reading, and handed it to her. She delightedly played with that paper instead, swinging it up and down while I read.

And then, she connected. The corner of her paper to my right cornea.

To tell you that it hurt would be a bit of an understatement. My eye was running, my nose was running, and it felt like she'd shoved all of my eyelashes up into my eye. I tried blinking it out, but a) it was hard to open my eye, and b) when I looked at it, it was clear that there was nothing in it.

So I called my sweet husband at work, in the middle of inventory prep (his busiest and most stressful time of the year, triply so this year as he's using a new system that he's never used before _and_ he's being audited while he does it), to explain that our child had just poked me in the eye with a piece of paper and it was clearly (ha!) not ok.

A quick call to our primary care doc told us to take me to an urgent care ($50 co-pay, but in Laurel) or the ER ($100 co-pay, but 5 min away). So VNB came home, thinking that we'd pack the kids up and have family day at the ER while I was thinking that I'd drive myself there since AJ was still napping and we had no idea how long it would take. So instead we phoned a friend and she quickly came from work (close by) to drop me off at the ER.

I spent a few minutes waiting to be triaged, then went immediately from there to the "Eye room" where I sat for about an hour and a half. Oh, occasionally a nurse would come in and ask if I was ok (which, seriously? I'm in an EMERGENCY you really think I'm ok?), and the lady came with her rolling computer station to check me in...but I got there around 4:30 and it was after 7 before I was actually "seen." I never even saw a doctor - it was a physician's assistant. And she did a fine job, and I know in the grand scheme of things my injury was minor, but still...

So she put some numbing drops in (and the angels sang for approximately 15 minutes), then some other drops, then she looked at my eye through a special filter thingy to see what the damage was.

This is the picture she drew to show me:

The black in the middle isn't my pupil inside the iris. It's the chunk of my cornea that Joanna ripped off.

So she put in some antibiotic ointment, then put a patch over my eye and told me to see the ophthalmologist the next day.

This is what I looked like:

After an eventful morning of hitching rides places with two carseats (and kids), our babysitter came over and I drove myself to the ophthalmologist. Don't worry - I stayed in the right lane the whole time and it was only like three miles away.

She took the bandage off, poked around in both eyes, declared that I was healing up quite nicely, gave me some antibiotic eye drops (which I have been consistently forgetting to use), and sent me home. My vision wasn't completely clear by then, but at least I didn't have the patch anymore (that tape was ITCHY!).

I spent roughly 18 hours as a pirate. What have I learned from the experience? Tape is itchy. Corneal abrasions hurt like the dickens and move you one step closer to madness (because it feels like there's something in your eye...but you can't get it out...because it's your eye that's "in your eye"...and's usually frowned upon to poke those out). It's good to have friends who work close to your house and who have big cars. Some kids make the connection right away that you're a pirate and it's cool (when you have an eye patch), but most are mildly scared while also being very curious. So basically they can't stop staring with this slightly horrified expression while you try to explain that your eye has a "booboo" and needs a band-aid.

But it's also awfully sweet when your son (who cried all the way home from the ER because mommy was scary - well, until we said the magic words "who wants fries and chicken?" anyway) kisses your eye patch at night and again before you go to the doctor to make your eye all better!


Rose said...

Oh my golly! I had no idea it was so bad. I guess it will not affect your sight? And nice pic, pirate! :D

Anonymous said...

What an adventure :/ I'm glad you're doing OK now!

Mark said to tell you he remembers when our daughter got him in the eye with a fingernail. He had to do the antibiotic ointment, but never got an eye patch. (Too bad - he would have made a swashbuckling pirate, complete with dark hair and a mustache :o)