Thursday, November 29, 2007

At Least It Wasn't On A Holiday

My 21-month-old daughter scratched my cornea. That's a part of the eye in case you are wondering. I've had a scratched cornea before, and I never ever wanted to repeat the experience. But Mia has the habit of reaching up and snatching my eyeglasses off of my face as often as possible, and her hand motion is unbelievably fast - she's destined to be a magician, or else a pickpocket.

She was sitting on my lap watching TV, not my best parenting moment as most pediatricians will tell you TV should be off-limits for those under two. She did her slight of hand maneuver, and I thought I was going to catch her that time. But all I did was trap her little hand as she slid her thumb up under the bottom of my glasses and - if you are squeamish, stop here - shoved her thumbnail under my eyelid, taking off a layer of my eyeball.

I screamed.

"Everything ok?" Jo called from the kitchen.

"No, not really." The pain was intense, kind of like when you get brainfreeze from drinking an ICEE too quick, but more like if you soaked your brain in ICEEs.

"Well I'm kind of in the middle of cooking dinner."

"It can burn this time. Mia took off part of my eye." My eye was watering, and I was blinded by the searing pain, but I still had Mia on my lap, afraid to let her go and have her wander off where I couldn't find her. This was a feat, because very sharp pieces of glass were stabbing my eyeball every time my other eye blinked, or my eye moved, or my pupil constricted. All those things that happen automatically and you take for granted until a time like that.

Did I mention it was dinnertime, so of course the doctor's office was closed. I couldn't drive myself to the urgent care center, and sitting in the waiting area with Joey and the two kids seemed much worse than just taking ibuprofen and putting a compress on my eye. I regretted this decision at about 2 am, then even more around 3 am, and then every second until daybreak. But finally the sitter arrived, we found an opthalmologist who would see me right away, and we made an eye patch out of a kid's washcloth held on by a bandana tied around my head.

Luckily, this fasion statement fit in at the eye doctor's waiting room.

By seeing me right away, the eye doctor meant that I could come over immediately and wait in the long line of people who needed urgent attention. They also needed me to fill out forms; you'd think they would realize that people with eye injuries can't see to fill out forms, but I've filled out so many lately because the kids always seem to get sick on holidays or weekends when the pediatrician is closed. I was pretty close to being able to fill medical forms out in my sleep.

After about an hour in the waiting room, I finally got called in to have a vision exam. I couldn't open the injured eye without welling up in tears, so my vision in that one was zero, but they still wanted me to try. Then they dilated the pupil and put me in another waiting room.

Finally the doctor, who shall only be referred to as doctor because I couldn't read his name on the door and he didn't introduce himself, called me in and put drops in my eye that numbed it and took all of the pain away. I wondered why they didn't have a policy in the office that if they saw someone come in with a bandana holding her eye closed, they would administer these pain relieving drops at the entrance, rather than two hours later.

The doctor examined my eye. "Hmph," he said, and not anything else. He was a dry guy; besides not introducing himself, he didn't elaborate on the grunt for several minutes, keeping me in suspense. He finally finished the exam.

"Your baby did this?"


"She got you right across the part of the pupil that affects vision. Took off a good layer."

I glared one-eyed at Joey, who hadn't believed me when I'd said that.

The treatment involved either putting a contact lens in or patching the eye to prevent the blinking from causing damage. I opted for the contact, and the doctor's hands shook when he tried to open the contact case. They shook a lot. I preferred to think Parkinsons rather than the DTs, but both did occur to me. His hands kept shaking the whole time he was putting the contact on my eye. It took three tries. I can tell you that those numbing drops are worth every penny my insurance company will be paying.

I also had to dilate my eye for almost three days until I came back for a follow-up appointment, so I needed a cover for it. When I came home with a pirate patch, 5-year-old Sara was thrilled. She wanted to touch it. I cringed.

A friend of mine called and I told her about my ordeal. "Oh what we mothers give of ourselves," she said. Followed by, "what, you don't trim your daughter's nails?" I hung up the phone on her.

The followup visit with the shaky hands doctor showed that the eye should heal without permanent damage. I'm very thankful. Thankful for finally getting to watch the new Battlestar Galactica episode that has been on the DVR. Thankful for being able to read and blog and see the stars. And for vision that can be corrected by my regular glasses. But I think I'll keep the patch on until Mia grows out of this phase.


Heidi Hyde said...

oh you poor dear! Glad to hear you're on the mend.


Kathy said...

Oh my GOD. *runs and trims her 2 year olds nails...*

Cate said...

oh no! i've had my cornea scratched before. i was bking through the woods with my brother when i was little. my brother pushed a branch out of the way, and it snapped back at me. the end of one of the twigs scraped right across my eye. man, did that hurt! i had to wear an eyepatch for 2 weeks. just the kind of school fashion a 12 year old girl likes! ;)

hope you feel better soon!

cate -

Veronica said...

THis is a rather good reminder to go and trim nail again. I will just have to deal with the screaming fit that will ensue.

My Toddler shover her finger so far up my nose the other day that I think she touched my brain. She promptly got her fingernails trimmed then as well.

I hope your eye gets better soon. It sounds excruciating.

Lisa said...

Oh Veronica, at least I've never had the nose shove. Something to look forward to I guess -