At this time, on this date, one year ago I was running all over town looking for an open clinic or doctor’s office that could administer a tetanus shot without making me sit for hours in a waiting room full of flu-symptomed people. I didn’t think the puncture would from my rusty screwdriver knitting accident required medical intervention, but I did think a booster was in order since eleven years had passed since my last one. In the end, I wound up running across the county to find a clinic that had a latex-free tetanus vaccine.
I won’t be needing another one of those for at least 9 years, or until I stab myself again (whichever comes first – I won’t be offended if you bet) so to keep the tradition of weird medical quests going, today I had to drive all the way to Clayton, North Carolina to see an opthamologist for what I was certain was a sprained eyeball from binge-reading my Christmas presents. More accurately, I was driven to Clayton; I can’t see very well because ‘remove your contact lenses’ seemed like the kind of internet medical advice one actually should follow. To give you an idea how rare of a medical condition Sprained Eyeballs actually is, my optometrist still refuses to acknowledge that it’s a real thing and referred me to the opthamologist.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Is Clayton, North Carolina really where you want to go for diagnosis and treatment of a rare and debilitating medical condition? And the answer is obviously no. But it’s a holiday week and it was either this, or wait until the literal next year.
“On a scale of one to ten, where is your pain level right now?” Sherrie the nurse-type-person asked me.
“A two. Maybe a three.” Now I just felt silly. “But it’s a 2 or 3 in my eyeball, not like, a 2 or 3 on my toe. That’s different.”
Sherrie nodded her non-judgey understanding. I like that woman.
Soon, the younger-than-me looking doctor came in and introduced himself. “I’m Dr. Kevin,” and he shook my hand.
“I’m patient Serena.” Possibly patient zero for a brand new eye disease you’ve never heard of I wanted to tell him.
“It’s nice to meet you,” he said, his hand shake starting to feel uncomfortably long. “I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances.”
“Under what other possible circumstances would I meet an opthamologist?” I blurt.
He conceded that opthamology is a bit of a dull profession and got on with his exam.
After shining a bright light into both eyeballs, which I felt was total overkill because my left one feels fine (if not a little strained from having to do all the work of the diseased right eye, too), he retrieved what looked like a piece of litmus paper from an overhead cupboard and rubbed it in my eye.
“Woah! What is that? And why did it make my eyeball feel better?” I admit, I was a little disappointed to realize that if a cure was that readily available, the chances of having an eye disease named after me were dwindling.
“That was to numb your eyeball,” he answered one of my questions.
He told me that I have three white spots on my right cornea (and two, non painful ones on my left) and am suffering from something known as contact over wear. Even though it’s not a germ-related disease, he gave me a bottle of antibacterial eye drops and wants to see me again on Thursday.
I asked him if I could also have some of that numbing stuff to take home.
“No, that stuff will melt your corneas,” he attempted to be funny. Opthamologist humor. Sigh.
Tomorrow I have to go shopping for a pair of glasses, and that’s going to suck a little. But first, I really just want to stop and give a shout out to the real hero of this story. The internet. That internet thing has a really bad rep for doling out unsound medical advice, but today, it really came through for me. I Googled sprained eyeballs and the internet said, “Woah, I don’t know what that is, but you should really take out your contacts.”
Good job, internet!