Once upon a time,
There was a girl who needed new contacts. She waited, far past the time of need, but eventually got new ones to replenish her supply. New doctor, new city; he made some changes. Gave her "new and improved" contacts. She bought a years supply.
This little story prefaces all that occurred in the last few days. Now, I have been wearing glasses or contacts since the fourth grade. I now have a pretty darn hefty prescription. Even optometrists admit that I am blind.
Tuesday, I started having eye pain and drainage. I thought that maybe I had caught something from Cole. *as a side note, Cole is currently fighting a sinus infection, eye infection AND an ear infection* Being the busy caregiver that I am, I just wore my glasses on Tuesday and Wednesday and put up with it. I don't like to drive with my glasses, because I can not wear my sunglasses and I am photosensitive (though light does not cause seizures, it just makes me have a headache). However, I had a LOT of places to go on Thursday, so I put on my contacts.
On Thursday, my nurse didn't show up. I had to go visiting teaching. I had a haircut that I was in desperate need of and had scheduled three weeks earlier. I needed to take something back to Old Navy. I had to drag Cole and Slugger around for all of this. Not an easy task.
I asked Brian to come home early and he took the boys. I went to two different campuses for my new school. I had to bring (not kidding) 10 different documents proving that I live in this state so I can get in state tuition. Then I had to go to another campus to register for an Anatomy class. Prove to them with my old transcripts that I have taken Human Biology and register for the second summer block. After that, I went to my friend's baby shower. All the while, I did not feel very well, but attributed it to the fact that I am extremely stressed and tired.
On the way home, Thursday night, my vision blurred while I was driving. I just thought again about how tired I am and attributed it to the stress of our life right now. Got home safe, went right upstairs and took off my contacts. At this point, my right eye would immediately close if anything (i.e. a finger) came near it, so I had to pry it open with my other hand. It was really painful. I took out my left contact and noticed that I could still see. Wow-that is so weird. I proceeded to get into the tub, where I did not stay long, since temperature changes can trigger seizures for me. I had put a warm washcloth on my face and vigorously rubbed my eyes. Still blurry, yet I can see with my left eye. I put on my glasses and realized that I can NOT see out of my left eye with my glasses on. My right eye is blurry, with glasses....can not see at all without them (which is normal). My head was throbbing at this point.
Knowing so much about neurology, strokes, seizures, post-ictal blindness and such...is sometimes not so good. At this point, the left side of my face was starting to tingle and had that pins and needles feeling. I was certain I was having a small stroke, since I have had one before (doesn't this sound like a stroke to you?). I kept closing one eye, switching to the other, the results were still the same. I would rub them...results were still the same. I could not see out of my left eye if I had my glasses on.
We could not leave Cole with someone else, he wakes up multiple times a night due to his seizure activity and if he found someone besides mom and dad, he would freak out-therefore causing more seizures. After much discussion, I had Brian call a good friend, and drag her out of bed, to take me to the ER. We, being regulars, looked up wait times before I left. It seemed that our favorite hospital had an hour and a half ER wait. No thank you.
My saint of a friend showed up. At this point I was extremely nauseous and scared. If I can't see-I can't do anything. I can't drive, go to school, take care of Cole, the list goes on and on. My friend took me to the nearest hospital with the shortest wait time. Turns out, that going by wait time alone was not a good idea. Multiple people saw me, all looked in my eyes and shook their head about how weird it was. The nausea got very intense and I was sure I was going to puke all over the bed. The pain was intense. I could barely see out of either eye at this point. Here is a lovely picture of me, sans makeup, in the ER.
Eventually, around 2:30 pm (remember, I was supposed to be first in line) I get an MRI and an MRA. I then go and get a Bubble Echocardiogram. Turns out, my device is still in place and no bubbles passed the barrier...that is good!
So, what does a girl gotta do to get a full night's sleep around here? Apparently, get herself admitted to the hospital and have some major drugs on board. I came home and went straight to bed, sleeping over 10 hours. It was lovely. Woke up and still had the eye problems. Eventually made it to the Opthamologist who asked me, "Are you sure that you don't have a contact in that eye?", referring to the one that I could see without glasses and could not see with them on. Okay, I felt foolish. Why hadn't anyone else thought of asking that...including me!?! I furiously scratched at my eye, to prove to myself that I didn't indeed have a contact in my left eye. Nothing came out. I clawed at and touched my eyeball to see if I could move it from side to side. Nothing. I couldn't have a contact in my eye for three days, I would have noticed! When I woke up, it would have stuck to my eyelid, just like they always do when I fall asleep in them, for almost 20 years!
He told me that he was just going to check to make sure. Put the machine up to my eye and asked, "Would you like me to remove your contact for you?" I am flabbergasted at this point and just nod my head, thinking about the MRI, MRA, CT, Echo and everything else when it was just a measly contact. Another friend, who had driven me to the doctor, started to giggle. These things only happen to me.
The Opthamologist did more tests and determined that these "new and improved" contacts have not been letting enough oxygen into my eyeballs, and have caused an ulcer, even before the ER. The ones on my right eye have started to heal, because I have not been wearing contacts almost all week, the left is obviously exacerbated because I had constantly been wearing a bad contact for 3 days. The poor circulation of oxygen practically glued it to my eye, so that is why there was no shifting. SO, the mystery is solved. I had a major migraine, not a stroke. I did indeed have acute vision changes, but not so miraculous as we thought. The nausea, the pain, the face tingling-all because I am stressed out and have been overusing the wrong kind of contacts. The doctor told me that I should stress less (awesome advice, doc). He also gave me antibiotic drops to help heal the ulcers and admonished me to not wear contacts for a month and to get new ones.