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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Not going blind. No really. Not going blind.

All is well.  Just starting there cuz what follows was a bit intimidating,  Ok, maybe more than a bit.

On Thursday I managed to poke my eye with a cactus.  Totally lame.  Leaned over to pull a deck pot into position only to be poked in the eye with a blue agave.  Square in the eye.  At first I thought - no big deal.  Just a scratch.  Oh how I wish that were the case.

I called my brother.  The one who is now an attorney (and hence on speed dial for near to everything anyway).  He was a paramedic and worked for an Ophthalmologist.  He said, "sis you already know you should go to the ER".  Um.  Well, no actually I didn't.  My eye didn't hurt much.  I didn't figure I was hurt that bad.  He said "get your ass to the ER.  You could lose your eye if you punctured your eye".  He probably saved my eye (will become clear as you read this).  Note to self, don't take eye scrapes lightly.

We went to the ER here in Punta De Mita (cost $25 USD).  The little hospital that is walking distance.  The doctor looked in my eye and asked how long it had been since I injured it.  I said it had been maybe 30 minutes.  The response, "good, then you still have enough time".  Yikes.  Time for what?  To save my eyesight?  The doctor there found an Ophthalmologist in Puerto Vallarta that was on call and willing to come in.  By then it was 9pm and would be close to 10pm by the time we got there.

What we learned when we saw the Ophthalmologist was that I had punctured my cornea.  The liquid inside the eye was leaking out.  Ok, that can't be good, right?  She sent us home with a prescription for antibiotic eye drops and instructions to put them in every hour.  Ok, yeah, not gonna get a lot of sleep tonight.  Sigh.  ($50 USD to see the specialist after hours.  These numbers are not after insurance.  That is the total cost.)

Next day we went back to get a checkup.  I had figured she would say keep doing the eye drops.  Alas.  No.  The hole had not closed and she wanted to do a surgery to close the hole.  Ok, fine and dandy, but we were also supposed to close on the condo this day.  The Ophthalmologist offered to do the procedure in the evening after our signing (without us asking mind you). So we went and singed the papers at 4pm, and then at 5:30 back to the hospital for the procedure.  (Which ultimately cost $1200 USD - for the OR, the Ophthalmologist, and the rest of the staff.  In the US - that would have been 5x or more.)

I asked if it would hurt.  Was told "no".  I think what she meant was that the "super glue" they would use to close the hole wouldn't hurt.  True.  Alas.  The paddles they used to hold the eye lids open were like medieval torture devices.  And the assistant who held them was in training.  So she scratched my eyes something awful.  My brother says this is to be expected.  Yeah - so seems like a technology ready for some innovation.  During the surgery, my head was covered with a sheet, and with COVID, my mouth covered with my mask.  Plus they had instruments sitting on my face.  So I couldn't really talk.  Just whimper.

Meanwhile microscope that they used to find where the hole was in my eye appeared to be state of the art.

So there I am thinking "it's not supposed to hurt, but I am in agony so something must be wrong".  Nope.  This is apparently normal.  Well, not MY normal.  Yeah.  So then I'm having a panic attack, and trying to talk myself out of it.  You are fine.  Just count to 10.  Ok, count to 100.  You will be fine.  Keep breathing.  Keep breathing. Oh yeah.  Good times.  Mind you, none of this has anything to do with the competence of the doctor.  It has everything to do with me not speaking the language so I don't know exactly what is happening.  In the end, they did great.  I got the hole in my eye patched and all was well.  But when the procedure was done I was quietly sobbing.  Fear, pain, and exhaustion from no sleep the night before.  Doesn't matter.  Just at my wits end.

For the next few days, I laid in bed putting antibiotics and anti fungal meds in my eye every few hours.  I fretted I might lose my eyesight in my left eye.  I wondered if I should have flown back to the US to get treatment.  My brother kept assuring me that I was getting the same attention I would have gotten back in the US.  I hoped that was true.

I love my husband.  He was scheduled to fly home on Saturday.  When I came out of surgery on Friday night, he took one look at me and elected to change his flight home to later in the week. Still, its tough to figure out how to best support a vigorously independent woman.  Best I would tell him was that, yes, I wanted breakfast.  Other than that, I would insist on putting in my own medications and following all the other doctor's instructions.  Yes, he could drive me to the doctor because without one eye I had no depth perception.  So, yeah, probably shouldn't drive myself.  What is a guy to do?  I'm near to impossible.  But, hey, he married me, right?

The next day, I had a checkup with another doctor who confirmed that the patch was in place and working as desired.  Thank goodness she warned me that if the hole healed up it might spit the patch out.  Had I not known that, when on Sunday I experienced a pain like a knife in the eye I might have freaked out.  But no, I figured, ok, that is in all likelihood the glue popping out because the hole is healed.  Fortunately the pain lasted only a couple of seconds. 

On Monday, when we saw the Ophthalmologist, she said that the patch had moved.  She hoped it meant it healed.  She decided to remove the patch and the contact lens and see what lay beneath. Fortunately for me, she found that the hole had healed.  Hooray!!!  She decided to put back on a clear contact lens to protect the cornea and instruct me to wear my dark sunglasses for a few more days.  I still have to keep up the antibiotics and anti fungal drugs every few hours.  But I can return to (more or less) normal life.  My eyesight is normal.  Whew.

All this because of a stupid plant.  Its evil looking isn't it?  It might have to be thrown out with the trash.  Stupid plant.

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