There are so many things we take for granted in this world, and one of those is our eyesight. Unless you know someone who has serious eye issues or is sight impaired, you just don't tend to think about what life would be like if you couldn't see. The last couple of days I've had the unique opportunity to really consider the fact that my right could be damaged beyond saving. Thank goodness I don't have to continue that line of thought!
Today I went to the opthamologist, ordered by my family doctor. I saw my regular doctor yesterday because I had pain in my eye socket. We knew this was an important symptom of the Shingles, being told to come in immediately if I had pain or a change in vision. I have also been having depth perception problems since Saturday morning, so the trip to the doctor on Sunday was filled with fear.
An antiviral eye drop was prescribed, and the doctor said it would be very hard to find but it was imperative that we find the medication as soon as possible and get started taking it. How I treated myself would be the key to saving my eyesight if, in fact, the Shingles had moved into the eye as the doctor suspected. I was also told the doctor would be making me an appointment with the specialist and would call me to let me know when to go to the doctor. This wasn't a matter of IF I was seeing the eye doctor, but WHEN. And, I wasn't going to wait until Tuesday to do it. The doctor was adamant that I would be following his directions to the letter.
At 1:30 this afternoon I saw the opthamologist. His diagnosis was a clear eye! The pain in my eye socket and my vision problems are all due to the Shingles virus. Because the virus settles on nerve stems, there can be a lot of strange effects. For me, the entire right side of my face is in pain. The depth perception could be my eye trying to adjust to the pain itself, or the Shingles virus could just be sitting on the nerve just right to cause the problem. My sight, upon examination, has remained 20/20 with my glasses on, so I haven't actually lost any vision. The issue of depth perception SHOULD come back as the Shingles pain goes away. If not, I will need to see a neurologist. We'll deal with that mountain when we get there.
This has all been great news. There is some bad news, though. The headache I've had for 11 days now? It will continue. Until the Shingles decides to let up, I will feel the pain. That is because, again, the nerve is being affected. There is nothing the doctors can do to help me. The Vicodin only helps to a certain extent, and that is mostly to keep me calm. The doctor did say on Sunday that staying stress-free will be a key to length of recovery. He recommended taking the Vicodin every six hours, regardless of my pain level. The theory, as my dad put it, is that if I wait until I am in too much pain, the stress has already begun to rise. So for now, I will follow both the doctor's and my dad's advice and take the medication. I am VERY against pain pills unless they are absolutely necessary, but I guess if they've ever been called for the time is now.
One REALLY big trigger of the pain is the sunlight. The eye doctor confirmed that I have Shingles blisters on my scalp, and the entire right side of my face and neck are dotted with the blemishes. My eyes are also very sensitive to the light. So, Daniel went out and bought me a hat that I feel cute in so I can wear it when I ride with him to pick up the girls from school and any other time I am outdoors. I've also got my sunglasses to wear constantly. It reminds me of the times I was little and lived in Illinois. Only instead of being protected from the snow, I am now bundling up to protect myself from the UV rays.
So, while I am going to be in pain for the next couple of weeks, at least, I know I am going to come out of this illness with all my body parts functioning! Compared to this time 24 hours ago, life is looking pretty good. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may not be exercising for quite some time, and when I do it will be slow-going at first. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I need a chauffeur for an undetermined amount of time. (Hey, I really didn't like driving anyway!) I'm coming to terms with the fact that I won't be in the classroom for several weeks.
People have been telling me to take a break since the day I got done student teaching in November. I just wouldn't listen to them and kept pushing and pushing. Life has a way of stopping you in your tracks when you are doing too much. I guess it takes a lot to get me to sit down, shut up, and listen. I've got it now, body. I WILL rest for however long this takes to heal. And, I'll even TRY to enjoy some down-time!