I had a fairly weird moment today when I I walked into the eye hospital and came out an hour later with much more pain and injury than when I went in.
I woke up this morning with a throbbing pain in my face and eye - the same side that often paralyses. Highly concerned, we slept in, went for coffee, took the kids to the park, visited a friend and then I headed over to the eye hospital to get things checked out - as you do.
A frustration I have is that this is often my experience - in London of all places with the distance of a good hour and a half between each one:
Have red, painful, swollen Zombie Eyes:
Go to my GP: Your case is too complicated for care in the community. You need to go to the hospital.
Go to the hospital: Your case is too complicated for general eye-care. You need to go to the Eye Hospital.
Go to the Eye Hospital: Your case is too complicated for just opthalmology care. You need to go to the hospital.
Sigh. You have to start somewhere, right? So off to the eye hospital I went with my swollen, puffy red eye to get it checked out. An opthalmologist saw me right away, given the file they have on me there, and confirmed that it wasn't a new flare of uveitis but instead seems to be some sort of viral infection - probably something minor that had been compounded by my suppressed immune system. Not to worry, here are some eye drops, the nurse will take a quick swab so we can get it checked out further and you will be on your way.
So I go over to the 'procedure chair' - kind of like a dentist's chair in the middle of the examination room. A student nurse welcomes me into the chair and makes sure I'm comfortable - as his training nurse arrived to see how I was doing. She was lovely.
Chatty, friendly and kind, she took the student nurse through the motions and prepared some sort of swab kit. No big deal, I've had swabs up my nose before - surely an eye swab can't be too different. Completely relaxed I sat back in the dental chair, closed my eyes and rested while I listened to them talking and preparing.
A new voice entered the scene. Gruffer. Kind of aggressive. I heard a "You go on your break, I'll train him on this." bark and then meek footsteps out of the room. I opened my good eye.
Without even introducing herself she leaned my head back, used tissue to pull down my lower eye lid, said 'this won't hurt a bit' and scarred me for life.
She took the medical swab
and stuck it in the bottom of my eye, slowly dragging it UNDER my eyeball and through to the other side. I felt as though my eyeball was being sandpapered. HOW IN THE HELL IS THAT NOT PAINFUL??? Even the nursing student jumped back and shouted "WHOA!!" as I twisted and writhed around in the constricting dental chair - unable to escape from this woman's death-grip on my face.
It was too much, I finally twisted to the side and let loose a "Wwwwwow that's enough! Holy hell, HOW is that possibly described as 'not hurting a bit'?"
Nurse Olga said nothing.
I still gripped the chair emotionally recovering as she busied herself with the sample tray, putting the swab into it's tube and preparing the next one.
"Alright. This one is going to feel a bit rougher than the last one."
I then did the WORST POSSIBLE THING YOU CAN DO IN THIS SITUATION.
I looked at the 'rough' swab.
Ho. Ly. Crap. It looked like a miniature toilet brush covered in tiny white razor blades. This wasn't a nurse, she was a torturist from some former fascist regime.turned British eye hospital nurse.
Oh my freaking God. I've never felt pain like that.
She pulled down my eyelid again with the tissue and shoved this razorbladetoiletbrush thing INTO MY EYE and slowly scraped it along my swollen, infected lower eyelid. The nursing student turned white as she pressed even harder and muttered to him that she needed to open the skin so she could collect as much blood as possible.
A high pitched 'eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE' came out of me as I gripped the dentist chair with everything I could. Hands, arms, ankles, calves... bum cheeks.
It just wouldn't end! I felt every excruciating rip as she drug it across the underside of my eyeball. When she made it half-way I literally begged her to stop. I couldn't take any more.
She sighed in annoyance and pulled it out, handing me a tissue to dab at my dripping eye saying 'don't worry, it's only water.'
That wasn't water! That is BLOOD! That is MY blood ALL OVER that tissue! What the hell did she DO?? Oh God, the pain. My eye felt SO MUCH WORSE now than when I came into the hospital in the first place.
I snapped a picture of the offending torture devices before I booked it out of there, traumatized for life.
I made it out to the street with my eye drops - too scared to jar my eye further by putting them in, and called Paul to relay the horror I had just endured as I made my way over to the train station nearby.
Have you ever had those paranoid moments when it seems like everyone is staring at you?
I waited for the light and walked across the street, people slowing down to stare at me as they approached and passed me. That was weird, but okay. No big deal. I continued down the street, coming to yet another crosswalk and a London black cab stopped for me. This was a pretty clear indication that something was seriously amiss. Cutting through the Marks & Spencers to get out of the rain I took down my hood and a teenage boy gasped and jumped back at the sight of me.
Okay, what was going on????
I found out soon after when a guard at the ticket gate stopped me to ask me if I was okay.
"Yes, fine - why?"
"Yeah uhm... ah... you've got blood pouring out of your eyeball."
After freaking out appropriately and accepting some first aid wet-wipes from the ticket guards I boarded the train, humiliated as usual and really just wanting to go home.
(no makeup today. I thought it would look way weirder to only have made up one side of my face, though it does look like that's going to have to be my plan for tomorrow.