Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Shot In The Eye 7.5" x 12" watercolors

Drops had been put in my eyes several times, to dilate, then numb. Technicians or aides had talked to me, examined my eyes, taken blood pressure, had me sign papers. I sat in the room, alone, my fear of needles was building.
When I was first told that treatment for wet macular degeneration would consist of getting a shot in my eye, I tried to find out everything I could. My sister, who had had a serious eye injury from a tennis ball, told me a little of her experience. I had read e-mails from a couple of people on different lists who had mentioned their eye problems and having to have shots in their eyes. I contacted them, and their experiences made me feel a bit more confident that I could face this, too.
Will I faint? Will I die? Will all the air or juice run out of my eyeball? Will I be blind afterward in that eye? How much will it hurt?! It was getting hard to breathe as I sat in the chair-waiting.
The doctor entered the room, quickly, followed by a nurse. I suppose she was a nurse. It's hard to tell an RN from an LVN or an aide, technician, or office worker. The uniforms and caps that I learned to recognize are no longer used or are important, it seems. I know they were probably uncomfortable, but, it was a symbol of achievement and recognition. Now, everyday is "casual day".
The doctor took something from the cabinet and walked over to me. "Just going to numb this a little more." He jabbed his hand, quickly, several times, at my eye, while holding the lids open with the other hand. Then turned back toward the cabinets.
"I'm scared to death, you know," I told him. I gripped the arms of the chair with both hands. My chest felt like it would burst. It was hot, and cold. My throat was tight, my jaws clenched.
"I know. That's normal." The doctor turned back toward me, and this time, he faced me.
"I don't like needles. Sometimes I faint." I explained.
He leaned toward me, his hand in my face. I didn't think that he had anything in his hand. Maybe he was just checking to see if it was numb.
His hand came closer to my eye.
I could see his lips, his nose, his chin, his cheek, and a bit of his neck above his white doctor's jacket. His neck seemed to fade into the surrounding darkness. I could see light whiskers underneath the skin above his lips and around his jawline. His hand was close to my eye, but I couldn't see anything like a needle in it. I could see my eyelids all around and red all around that, as if I were able to see from inside my eye.
Suddenly, he stood up, walked back to the counter, wrote something and walked to the door.
"All done!" he announced.
What?! I hadn't felt a thing! But, I was still in an anxious mood. I wished I had someone there to hold my hand. I always wanted my mother to protect me, but, in her later years, she didn't always come anymore-especially if she had to go upstairs. The only one I had left was a young grandson who was still affectionate enough to share hugs and kisses. Today, though, he was in school. I wouldn't want him to have to see me get a shot in my eye, anyway. So, I just had to be a "big girl" and hang onto those chair arms. And tell myself that I had to do this to save my sight.
"Shot" was done in Winsor Newton watercolors on 140 pound Strathmore watercolor paper. The colors in the original are much brighter and richer than in the scan that I have posted. The reds and greens offer a great deal of contrast and the reds and purples of the backgrounds are much richer.
Getting a shot may not be such a pleasant subject. But it is a part of my story-my experience in dealing with wet macular degeneration.

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