We’ve Not Reached a Stalemate

“All the world’s a stage, and I’ve been given the part of Job.” – Me to one of my friends yesterday after sharing the results of a recent opthamologist’s appointment.

It all started in September or October 2009, near the end of my pregnancy. I started noticing an odd problem I’d not previously experienced, double vision. Not only was there double vision, my eyes were visibly turning inward, and I had no control over my eyes’ movement.

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1/31/13 at the opthamologist’s office, after my eyes were dilated. I couldn’t see anything I was doing. Surprised I actually got the pic.

I told my OB/GYN, and we hoped it was a temporary problem that would correct itself, like so many other strange conditions that occur during pregnancy. For the rest of my pregnancy, I tolerated the double vision. After RB was born, I experienced severe carpal tunnel syndrome and swelling in my hands and wrists, so severe that I could hardly bend my fingers. I used most of my Rx pain meds for the pain in my hands more than the pain from childbirth. The eye condition continued, and I lived with it, assuming it would go away eventually like the hand swelling and other transient effects of bearing a child.

By summer of 2010, the ailment hadn’t improved. Driving at night was becoming impossible, and I kept one eye closed or covered most of the time. With the urging of many friends and family members, I made an appointment with an opthamologist. I wanted to see the surgeon who’d performed my Lasik surgery in 2005, but he didn’t have any appointments available. I went to one of his associates. She examined my eyes and explained the condition is more commonly a pediatric malady, for which I’d have to see a pediatric opthamologist.

It was my first visit to CHNOLA, long before RB’s intrusive alien interloper took up residence in his brain. The doctor I saw explained my ailment as intermittent esotropia (AAPOS http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/48).

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Photo c/o The Eye Specialists Center (http://eyespecialistscenter.com/detection-treatments/strabismus-amblyopia/esotropia.html)

What the diagnosis basically means is that my eyes turn inward because of a weakness in the muscles that control my eyes. For good measure, a CT scan was conducted and showed only a small polyp in my sinus cavity. Hoping treating the polyp would help resolve the esotropia, the sinus problem was treated. And, in a week or so, the esotropia disappeared. Yay! Thank goodness that was all over. . .

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Marty Feldman, Igor, in Mel Brooks’s classic Young Frankenstein. I’ve been likened to Igor, lovingly, over the past few years.

 Unfortunately, it wasn’t all over. Only a day after my follow-up appointment with the opthamologist at CHNOLA, the esotropia returned. Well, it isn’t that bad, I thought. I can live with it. I have more important things to worry about. Besides, there were two solutions to the esotropia problem: 1) Prism glasses which cost $500+ and are not covered by my insurance or 2) Surgery.

I ignored the problem. I drove with one eye closed. I watched TV with one eye closed. I did just about everything with one eye closed. I stopped making eye contact with people. But to me, my daily routine wasn’t effected that much.

Fastforward to late 2011, RB starts getting sick all the time. Here’s a brief rundown for those of you who are just joining us. (You can read more about Robot Boy  here.)We’re at his pediatrician’s office once a week. He’s admitted for pneumonia in December. By January 2012, he stops walking and starts suffering dizzy spells that cause him to fall down. We’re still at the pediatrician weekly. March 3 2012, he isn’t breathing. We come to the ER at CHNOLA.

Esotropia becomes a non-issue. We embark on an epic journey that if written could only have been penned by Homer, or perhaps more appropriately, Dante. We spend nearly a year in-patient through RB’s treatments, tests, scans, infections, and changes in feeding, fluids, and medications. (We’re still in-patient, by the way, but we do have a pending date of discharge.)

November 29 2012, I finally take the advice my aunt gave me two years prior and visit a rheumatologist. Since childhood, I’ve experienced odd symptoms and been diagnosed with everything from IBS to juvenile arthritis to osteoporosis. My body is hurting. I can barely function, and I know the time is drawing near that I will be home with my disabled son. I know I will have to be at my best to be the best caretaker for him. I make a list of diagnoses, tests and their results, and my symptoms. The doctor goes over my papers and says, “Fibromyalgia.”

I’d suspected the diagnosis, as I’m familiar with the symptoms, and I fit every damn last one. He prescribes me meds, gives me encouraging words about RB, and sends me on my way. I take the initiative to be serious about my health. I start eating better and exercising again. I start doing yoga again, every day. I take my meds, and I give up caffeine and alcohol. (Update: I had a follow up appointment with the rheumatologist last week, and he is very pleased with my progress. I feel great, and I’ve lost over 10 lbs since my first appointment with him. You can read more about my first visit here.)

By now, my esotropia is becoming a royal pain in the ass. I take to wearing a patch.

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This cool rockstar/pirate look is going to be difficult to give up.

I finally decide to make an appointment with the opthamologist, something I should have done months ago since he works here at CHNOLA, where I’ve been living for nearly a year. The diagnosis is the same, and I’m again given the options of the prism glasses or surgery. I opt for surgery. First of all, my insurance will pay for surgery but not the glasses. Secondly, I need a permanent solution that won’t put me back in glasses after I’ve already had surgery to be free of them.

I’m currently waiting for a call to schedule the procedure. It’s outpatient, but moderately invasive. I will be under general anaesthesia, and the doctor advised it will be a few days before I feel fully recovered from the anaesthesia. The pain is supposedly  minimal. Two months from the surgery date, I will have a follow-up to find out just how well my esotropia has improved, or -more hopefully – has diminished entirely.

So raise a glass for me, Old Job, as I’m sure ‘Ol Mephisto is moving his bishop. We’ve not reached a stalemate, yet, and we’re not intending on it.

Walgreens, Waterworks, and Parking Lot Ire.

I was proud of myself today. I actually went into a Walgreens store and purchased just what I went in for. Those who know me best know that is quite a feat. It’s not my fault they always have my favorite candy 3/$3, or that they carry lots of miscellaneous shiny merchandise. Blame Walgreens! Every time I’m in one, I succumb to the sweet siren’s call from those center islands, a virtual pirate’s booty of brightly colored and otherwise enticing products. And who hasn’t gone into a Walgreens store during Halloween and been automatically, magnetically drawn to their holiday aisle? Well?

Image property of Walgreens Co.

Anyway I was there to fill a prescription after my annual visit to my doctor. By the way, as much as I enjoy shopping at Walgreens, their pharmacies usually suck. This one was OK. No problems. No trying to charge me full price without going through my insurance. And the people were really nice… But I digress. I was visiting my Ob/Gyn for the first time in a year, as is customary, but it was also my first visit since Doodles got sick. I didn’t realize what an upsetting experience it would be until I was there. I’d already read Pinwheels and Poppies’s post My Tale of Baldness, Bliss, Magic, and Cheese Sandwiches. in the waiting room, and I wanted to call my husband and admonish him for letting me go there alone. Although I knew he was at the hospital with Doodles.

I go in the back and right away I’m recalling our many visits there during my pregnancy. I try my hardest to hold it together until the nurse and I are in the exam room and she asks the inevitable question “How’s the baby?” This is when I broke down, babbling that he wasn’t well and explaining the situation. (If you’re just tuning in, you can catch up here.) Of course she was very comforting and understanding and concerned, but I still felt like a big blubbering dummy. I get through the exam all right and when I’m leaving, the nurse at the front desk asks me the same question. I try to hold it in, but again I’m overcome with emotion and again she is very understanding and concerned and what not.

Later I texted my husband about it. The conversation went like this:

“They asked me how AJ was and I lost it.”
“Who asked? The doctor’s office?”
“The nurses. They were like ‘Oh how’s the baby?’ and I was like ‘Not good.’ And they’re like ‘Why?’ then I just started balling. I felt like an idiot.”
‘Why? People cry.”
“I know. And it’s the Ob/Gyn. They prob have preggies in there balling all the time.”
“Prob so.”

* Yes, that is an exact transcript. All of my text messages are perfectly grammatically correct.

On the way back to the hospital I stop at the above mentioned Walgreens to fill a prescription. To my delight, a spot on the end near the curb was free. I parked there thinking it would be easier to pull out since people have a tendency to want to park their cars as close to my car as possible. All was well until this happened-

Jackwad's work truck blocking me from pulling out

Some jackhole parked his big friggin’ work truck in a spot behind where I parked, blocking me in. As soon as I saw it I said some words aloud that I won’t reproduce here, but let’s just say they are NSFW. Then I see the driver walking to the truck and I assume that he is going to get in and go. I wait a few seconds then realize he isn’t going anywhere. He is jerking around with a styrofoam ice chest in his truck and talking on the phone. At this point I decide I can maybe fit, but I was too close to the curb (irony!) and unable to get out due to his stupid truck being there. I then exit my vehicle and stand there with the door open where he can see I am obviously waiting for him to get a move on. About a minute passes and I decide I’ve had enough so I start to walk over to tell him something when he gets in his truck and starts to back out. I don’t know that he actually noticed I was walking that way, but I like to think he did and decided to move because I am so super intimidating.

Right? Pretty intimidating.

*The above text transcript is just a dramatization. The words are the same but the grammar has been edited for effect (affect?). Meh.