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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

curse Sir Walter Raleigh (he was such a stupid git)

The painkillers made it possible for me to function until yesterday.

Despite being on 2 vidocin every 4 hours, the breakthru pain was SO bad yesterday that I broke down in tears & had to leave work.

Fortunately my wonderful friend, John Saul, was able to swing by the resort & give me a ride home.

I spoke with my prescribing physician, Robert J. Bartz, MD, and will be seeing him on Friday.

Today I went in to UCSF to see my surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD. He says my eye is 'coming along', however I still don't have a green light to wear a contact in my new eye until I'm off the steroid drops.

I know I need to sleep because I'm incredibly unhappy:

I'm SO tired of being in constant pain.

And I'm SO tired of people who feel it's okay to try and take their negative insecurities out on me. It's not okay to be a jerk, ever. I'm encountering too many people who are bitter, nasty, and small-minded, and I'm really sick of it. Just because I'm polite doesn't mean I'm not paying attention.

Thank goodness for my true friends. This is for you:

I'm So Tired, The Beatles


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

valley of the dolls

Today is sunny & pleasant. I just met with my GP, Robert J. Bartz, MD to discuss pain management. Thank goodness, because I've been in misery.

Last evening I was chatting on the phone with a friend when I was overcome with pain & had to get off the phone. It took what seemed like an eternity for a pain med to set-in & I was able to fall asleep. This morning I woke up with a different headache that continued to get worse as I started to move around.

So this morning Dr. Bartz prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a pain-killer, as well as something to help me sleep through the night.

Today I'm taking it easy, which feels good because I'm exhausted. It's my hope that the pain medications will help me get through the next month or two until my new eye heals & I can see again.

Until then I see a nap in my near future...

Onward & upward!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

hello mystery!

The medical profession is wonderful! I have an appointment to meet with my general physician, Robert J Bartz, MD, this coming Wednesday to discuss pain management. My surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD, recommended that I start with my GP to see if something can be done for the crippling headaches I'm currently enduring. Fortunately Dr. Bartz called-in a script for some pain killers to get me thru the next few days. What a relief. Painkillers certainly have some merit when you're in constant, severe pain. The side-effects of nausea are tolerable in light of getting some slight relief in pain. Feels like a miracle, especially considering I haven't used painkillers thru this entire surgical process! I'm exhausted, but even though I can feel the pain it's somewhat muted. I'm still having trouble sleeping due to too much pain, however I'm optimistic that I can hope to see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel soon. Considering I have at least another 3-weeks of being legally blind in my new eye, even the idea of hope is good.

Music has been a great distraction through this whole process. (That, and dark chocolate, but I regress...) Right now I'm enjoying 'Black & Blue' by Miike Snow:

Black & Blue
performed by Miike Snow
Black & Blue by Miike Snow

And I'm heading to take a nap...

Onward & upward!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

inflammation = legally blind

So yesterday I went back to UCSF to see my surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD. I told Dr. McLeod that the headaches are becoming unmanageable, and that I am starting to wake up at 2 or 3am due to headaches. I suspect it's because I'm taking the steroid drops every 4 hours to control the internal inflammation, and when I'm sleeping it's a longer stretch of time without the medication.

Dr. McLeod said the inflammation is still considerable, and he wants my inflammation to reduce before letting me wear contacts (the risk of infection is too high because the contact can breed infection on the surface of my eye), and has to taper me off the drops first. This presents a challenge because I have to manage the headaches from being legally blind in the eye. You may recall that vision of 20/200 is considered legally blind if uncorrected, and mine is 20/400 in my new eye without a corrective lens. According to both Dr. McLeod and Dr. Casey, I cannot wear glasses as my retinal plane doesn't accommodate being able to see with glasses, only contacts.

Since my eye is still inflamed considerably, I will be legally blind in the eye for the next 3 weeks or so. This means I will be on 4x/day this week (10/14-10/21), 3x/day next week (10/21-10/28), 2x/day the following week (10/28-11/04), 1x/day the following week (11/4-11/11). I cannot wear my contact lens in my new eye until I am doing the drops only 2x/day. Even when I do start wearing the contact again, I have to wait a couple of hours both before and after the drops before putting the contact in to assure I don't get an infection. Dr. McLeod also mentioned that when I start tapering from 4-3 drops I will have to pay close attention to see if the tapering works; my eye may need the drops even longer. Let's hope I can taper off sooner rather than later.

Dr. McLeod doesn’t prescribe pain killers, so he recommended I see a neurologist to manage the pain from not wearing a contact in my new eye. It is possible my normal physician may help with meds, however he will likely want to refer me to a neurologist, too. Hopefully I can find some solution to this pain; I'm taking at least 3 ibuprofen several times a day, and it's not always touching the pain. Fortunately I only have to manage the pain for the next month or so (assuming the tapering off the steroids goes as planned), however it's really bad and seems to be getting worse.

Onward & upward!

Take what you can from your dreams, make them as real as anything. ~Dave Matthews

pain, pain, go away...

The headaches are constant. My latest trick is waking up sometime between 2am and 3am due to headaches. Today is no exception; this stunt has been going on the past week. Trust me, late night television is no solace!

My hope is that the eye drops will decrease the swelling enough that I can start wearing a contact again in my new eye, which will hopefully help with the pain. Right now I have 20/25 vision in my good eye, and 20/400 vision in my new eye, which wrecks havoc headache-wise. I'm seeing my surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD, this morning, and will have to ask for some pain relief suggestions for the first time since my surgery.

All the same, I'm determined to remain positive, even though constant pain & loss of sleep are challenging... helpful suggestions are welcome. :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

good thing I didn't throw out those eye drops...

Fortunately I have complete faith in my surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD, & his team of doctors at UCSF, which is a great relief!

My eye is considerably inflamed internally, which explains the pain, swelling, and weird (diminished) tunnel vision. The weeping is less, however it's still going on some. It's a bizarre sensation to feel fluid coming out of your eyeball. So because of the inflamation, I'm back on eye drops (have been off them for the past week); a steroid drop 4x/day & a glaucoma drop 1x/day. My pressure was good (16), and the suture is still fine. Apparently Dr. McLeod placed the suture in such a way that it is supposed to reform the shape of my cornea. It's interesting how little I know about my own eye.

After my appointment my friend, Bradd Haley and I grabbed fresh bagels & coffee and went to the Palace of the Legion of Honor for a little scenic picnic. It was an incredibly gorgeous fall day in the City, and it was fun to see him, too.

So I'm going back next Wednesday to monitor the inflamation and my pressure again. Once the inflamation goes down (and assuming the pressure remains good), I'll be very curious to see what my final vision is.

In the mean time, no complaints about the pain. I know I'm in good hands with Dr. McLeod, and any pain I have is worth the final product -- a working 'bionic' eye! ;-)

Onward & upward.


So things have been going along swimmingly until now.

I am heading back into UCSF as my new eye is noticebly swollen and the vision is greatly diminished (almost like I'm looking down a tunnel).

What happened is that Monday evening I was in a squating position getting things out of my satchel when I sneezed 4 times in rapid succession. I suspect the pressure of the sneezes combined with the pressure of a squat didn't help, as my eye hurt from the sneezes & the eye has continued getting better.

Think it's time for the suture to come out!