When I was in my twenties, back in the stone age, I got Ocular histoplasmosis which is bleeding in the center of your eye. I noticed it right after our daughter was born when I started seeing double vision on the tv. I went to an eye doctor who told me I could have cancer of the eye. He sent me to the IU medical center in Indianapolis.
When we got there, I met with the head of the vision department, Doctor Schlagel, and he put me through all kinds of tests, the results being I had Ocular histoplasmosis. The treatment was a shot in the eye. When he told me that, I almost fainted, but I knew it had to be done so I manned up and took the shot. This I would have to do several times and each time I had to go through all the tests again. One test something, which I learned later was sulpha, was shot into my veins so they could see more things in my eye. After having this done a couple of times, I fainted every time they did this. I was allergic to sulpha! So they could no longer use this test.
I went for quite a long time to the center and got my shots until Doctor Schlagel told me he had done all he could do, that the bleeding in my eye was stopped, but that I would always be blind in my central vision in that eye. I could live with that as long as I still had a good eye. Ocular Histoplamosis is a disease that is in many people’s bodies, but never affects them in any way. Histoplasmosis is prevalent in the midwest, Doctor Schlagel told me. He said just about everyone in the midwest had Histo in their bodies. My son found that out when he was in the military and they found a spot on his lungs. He was sure he had cancer. After being tested, the doctor asked him where he was from. When he told him Indiana, the doctor knew exactly what the spot was. Histo. He said the same thing. It was prevalent in Indiana. I guess we are lucky!
It traveled to my eye because my body was under duress. I had just had a baby, we were planning on moving to a strange city and to top it off, we chaperoned a youth group from our church on a trip to Arkansas to see the Passion Play there and we were going to camp with them. I was under a lot of stress at that time. All at once. My body just had to react some way.
Here I am many years later, and I very rarely even think about being blind in my left eye unless I’m getting my driver’s license or someone mentions it.
But things happen when you are making other plans. A few weeks ago I was sitting out on the swing with David looking at the sky and I saw hundreds of gnats. I realized they weren’t gnats, but floaters in the eye. This continued for a few days until I decided I should have it checked. The eye doctor told me that a piece of my retina had torn loose and was floating around which is why I was seeing floaters and a dark spot occasionally. She wanted to send me to a retina specialist in Indianapolis. I felt like history was repeating itself.
So David and I made the trip to Indy this week. My appointment was for 2:15. We were early and the sign on the door told people not to check in sooner than fifteen minutes before their appointment and that no one could come in but the patient. I told David he would go in with me. We discovered very quickly that everyone had someone else with them. So we checked in and waited. And waited. Finally, I was called and we went back and I had a few tests then we were told to take a seat and wait for the doctor. Well, we sat there and saw patient after patient leave. People who had come in after us were called. Four hours later, we were the last people in the waiting room and finally they called my name. I went to another room where the doctor talked to me and told me what he was going to do. He was going to laser the piece back onto the retina. Okay. That sounded interesting and a little frightening, but I knew it had to be done so I manned up and did it.
The doctor and I went into a special room where the laser machine was. He had me sit up and put my chin in a cup and hold onto the bars of the machine. And did I hold onto those bars! Having your eye lasered is like having firecrackers go off in your eye(without the noise.) One right after the other and I could not blink because the doctor had put something on my eye so I couldn’t. I was holding onto those bars for dear life and praying to God to give me strength and courage. Then as quick as he began, the doctor said I was all done. Phew! Then he said I would probably see things in purple and I did! “Purple Rain,” I told him. It was over. I had survived.
It was dark out by the time we left and we were one of maybe four cars left in the parking lot. As we drove home, the lights of the city looked like Christmas lights and the moon was hanging from a star in the sky. I could still see and for that I was thankful.
I have to go back after Christmas to be checked again. I got an early appointment so we would get home before dark. I am so thankful there are doctors who can repair eyes so people can still see. Years ago, this treatment I had would not have been possible. Never take your eyes for granted and take care of them because it really is a blessing to be able to see.
Now it’s back to preparing for Christmas. Bye.