Thursday, February 7, 2008
Vision- Migrane In The Eye
8.5" x 11"
Seventh period. Last class of the day, finally. I stood at the door as teenagers tumbled and dragged into my room, laughing, talking, sulking, glaring.
I smiled, but tried to be firm, as I encouraged them to get in the room before the tardy bell rang. Inside, I wondered what my little mischief-makers in the class might be up to today. It should go smoothly, though. They already had a project started that they were enjoying doing-one that allowed them to visit and talk as they worked. But, this class always had someone who would either come in late, angry, and wanting to stir things up, or they would lose patience, or get upset over having to be in class instead of out playing sports. Those teenage hormones and emotions could spill over at any time.
I walked into the room to my desk, and, one tall, big, quiet, football player followed me to stand beside me. I stood by my desk as the tardy bell rang, ready to check my roll and put it out on the clip outside my door. The football player continued to stand by me. He didn't say anything, but he didn't sit down, either.
I needed to get that roll done, but this one student would not sit down, no matter what I said to him. "Please sit down" didn't work. Neither did, " You need to be in your seat", "I said to sit down," or "You will be tardy if you are not in your seat, " or "Did you need something?"
The assignment was on the board, but the students knew what to do anyway. Projects had been started, and they just waited for their materials to be passed out. For once, they were content to talk quietly as they waited.
I had to get that roll checked and decided that it was not worth an argument at that moment to get this boy to move. I picked up the roll sheet from my desk and started to look at the names.
A cold fear struck me. I'm sure that I gasped as I gripped the roll sheet and my pen.
Across the names on the sheet, it looked as if there was a tear in the paper. Jagged edges that separated and would not go back together. I blinked, I squinted, I moved the paper around, but the two parts of the paper would not go back together. Nothing worked. Was I going blind all of a sudden? I wanted to grab the boy beside me and ask if the paper was torn. But, I couldn't do that. I had to control myself and be the grown-up here.
Instead, resourceful person that I am, I handed the roll sheet and my pen to the boy.
"Here," I said. "You might as well do this since you are standing there. I need to get papers passed out."
The boy smiled and eagerly checked the roll and hung it out for me. Then he sat down at his desk. Maybe he just wanted to be a helper that day. I still don't know, but, I felt like he was put there, at that moment, to help me out. Instead of being upset with him, I was just glad that he was there.
I picked up the stack of art work to pass out, but I still couldn't read any names on them. There was that tear across all of the writing. So, I split the papers up and had three students pass them out, to speed things up. Some students liked to do things like pass out papers, not to help me, but just to give them something to do while they waited.
The students were busy with their projects and I sat in my chair behind my desk. I put my hands over my eyes for a few minutes, hoping my vision would clear.
"Maybe if I just rest my eyes, or myself, for a few minutes, it will get better."
No one asked about me, why I wasn't working along with them that day, or why I was sitting with my hands over my eyes. One girl did look at me, and I offered, "I have a headache." I didn't have a headache, but I didn't want to tell the class that I was terrified that I might be going blind, right there in class, and to go to the office for help.
"Just make it through this period," I thought.
The end of the period came, students put their work up, still engaged in their conversations, and left the room as the bell rang. After they were gone, I picked up my grade sheet, which was similar to the roll sheet, and I could see again.
"Whew! I hope that never happens again! Whatever it was." I breathed a big sigh of relief.
I had not thought that I had to drive home to the next town after school. What would have happened if it had not gone away, and I couldn't see? And, what if everyone left school and I was there, alone, as I often was, working late, and still couldn't see?
I decided to go home early, and call my opthamologist.
I couldn't get an appointment to see him for two weeks. Fearing that it could happen again, I drove to his office and told the young lady at the desk what had happened. She talked to the doctor, and said that it would be okay, and to come in for my appointment.
I spent a very anxious two weeks, worrying about what happened and that it might happen again.
At the exam, the doctor explained that this was like a migrane, but in the eye. It could have been brought on by stress. (I didn't think I was particularly stressed, and had never in my life had a migrane headache. It was just a normal, in fact, even a little bit better, day at school. But, I did have a lot of anxiety as I tend to be a perfectionist. But that was normal for me.) My eyes checked out fine, and he told me that I could get some reading glasses at the drugstore to help when reading, or he could give me a prescription as the distance reading had changed a little bit. I always had 20/20 vision, and used some reading glasses from the drugstore, for some reading like computer printouts and small print in newspapers. I thought that was just a normal part of aging.
The doctor did tell me that, the thing to look for, was flashing lights. If that happened, I should call him immediately. That could indicate a detached retina. But, as for the migrane in the eye, that was not anything to be concerned about. He said that I might call him if it happened again, though.
This happened several years before I had my diagnosis of Macular Degeneration last year. It was probably about in 2002, and has not happened again. The doctors that I have seen told me that the migrane in the eyes had nothing to do with the MD.
On the MD Support list, there has been a discussion about ocular migranes. So, I thought it was time to show my drawing and share my experience with that vision problem, although it is not a part of Macular Degeneration, as far as I can tell.
I have to emphasize to readers that it is important to get a good eye care professional to check your eyes. You can't always tell, either by looking or by reading of symptoms, just exactly what is going on in the eyes. In some cases, an early diagnosis is imperitive. Sometimes symptoms can be of something that is not serious at all, but other times, they can be extremely telling and urgent. Self diagnosis is not the way to go. The only way that some things can be detected is by
a good exam of the inside of the eye.
We can talk about and share experiences, and that can be of help in understanding and in coping. But there is no substitute for seeing a good eye care professional. So, have regular exams, and see your doctor when you notice any changes in your vision. And, of course, you want to do things that will promote good health for your eyes, as well as for the rest of your body.
You can check out some of the links I have listed under Eye Sites to learn more.