Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It's the Medicine
8.5" x 12" watercolors
The shot was over. I had not fainted, or died. And, it didn't hurt. In fact, I didn't feel it. The most discomfort was in having the doctor's hand and face coming toward me. I had been told that I would probably feel a little pressure, like someone pushing on my eye. But, the doctor was kind, fast, and skilled so the injection was over before I knew it had happened. And he was able to hide the needle so that I didn't see it.
"We'll just let you sit here a little while, then come back and check the pressure in your eye before you go home, " the doctor was working at the counter.
I dabbed at the tear running down my face with a tissue I had been given earlier.
"If the doctor hits a blood vessel when he gives the shot, you may have a really red eye for a few days. But that's normal, nothing to worry about. " The techincian advised me. "We'll give you some drops for your eye that you must use as directed. If you keep them in the fridge, and use them cold, that will be soothing to your eye. Cold wash cloths will help too, if it should bother you. Some people say that it feels like something, like a grain of sand, in your eye for a few days. That's normal. Call us if you have a lot of pain, or if your eye gets extremely red. Otherwise, just go about what you would normally do."
"We have a lot of patients with the same thing. It's becoming very common as the population ages. You're lucky that they have come out with this new treament. And, you're lucky that you have the wet form, and it isn't bleeding yet. There is treatment for the wet form, but not for the dry form, " he had told me earlier. "I would say that about 75% of our patients have AMD."
I remembered that the doctor had told me that I would not lose all my vision. I would not go completely blind, but I would lose my center vision. This new treatment promised, for some, that vision would be improved, in some cases, and the destruction of center vision stopped.
It had already gone further than I needed to lose my vision. I was having trouble reading signs, watching tv, writing, connecting lines in my art work, and lights sometimes bothered me. Sometimes, the computer monitor seemed too bright, while the tv seemed to be too dark or distorted.
As the doctor walked to the door after finishing whatever he was doing at the counter, my vision was changing. It was getting dark and foggy, with a light in front of me. I think they dimmed the lights in the room, where I was supposed to be waiting. It may have been just what was happening to me.
"Oooooo! Bubbles!" I blurted out as the doctor stood at the doorway. I felt a little giddy, playful, as I said it, but quickly thought that sounded so childish. Why did I do that! It was how I felt. Very surprised! And I let it out instead of controlling my urge as I would normally do.
In the middle of the lighted area in front of me, bubbles appeared and floated around. Bubbles of light or liquid, touched with silver light.
What on earth was happening! I knew those things were not there, so why was I seeing them.
I could see the shoulder of the doctor's white smock and part of his jaw in the darkened doorway.
"It's the medicine," he said softly, as he walked away.
I was getting hot, my stomach hurt a little, my chest felt tight, my heart was pounding. I wished I was not in that room by myself in case I was about to faint. Then I felt a little cold. Clammy, I guessed, since I had been hot and cold.
What would happen next? Hopefully, my vision would go back to normal and I could just go home quickly.
"Relax," I told myself. It didn't help much.
I thought that, maybe I could make the bubbles bounce and move around, the same way I did the floaters in my eye when I discovered them. When I was in a boring meeting, trying to stay awake, or trying to entertain myself when I couldn't draw or write, I would "play ball" with the biggest floater in my eye. I would bounce it from one side of the "court" (my eye) to the other, learned to dribble it, weave, throw, and things I remembered from high school basketball. Or, I could pretend it was a tennis ball and play a game with the floater-bounce it right over the imaginary net in the middle of my eye.
(That reminded me of our imaginative Modern Dance teacher in college who, one day, pretended to draw, or pull, an imaginary curtain across the room. All those who were on time to class were told to stand on one side of the curtain. Since we were there, we knew what she meant. But, the poor latecomers, who were told to stand on the "correct side of the curtain" when they came in after the bell rang, just stood dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. Everyone thought the poor woman had completely lost her mind! There was no curtain there, just the hardwood floor in the center of what had once been a swimming pool. )
These bubbles wouldn't cooperate, though. They just went where they happened to float. Sometimes they divided, covered parts of others, moved apart, but, once they appeared, they just seemed to cluster together, shimmer, and float.
I hoped that this would go away soon. It was a bit frightening because I couldn't see anything else, except this dark fog, the light area, and the bubbles. It was a bit annoying, too, especially since I couldn't even play with the bubbles while I sat there with no one to talk to.
At least, it didn't hurt. The side of my face with the eye that had just been injected just felt a little bit big or heavier than the other side. But, that was very slight.
There are quite a few websites with information on Macular Degeneration and similar vision problems. And a few artists who also have, or did have during their lifetimes, AMD. Georgia O'Keefe was one famous artist who developed AMD. Monet was another. They were able to adjust and continue to develp their art the rest of their lives.
At this point, I was more concerned about what was happening to me right now, and what was about to happen as a result of the shot I had just had in my eyeball. And, what about all the other shots that I was scheduled to have. Well, if it would help, I would just have to steel myself. I didn't think I could manage without good vision.
Be sure and look at the links I have added in my Authors and Artists , and my Links sections. I think you will enjoy their work, and the information provided in their websites.