Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Red Hot Poker!

If you are in your 30s like me, you may remember from MTV in the early 90s, the hyper blond actor that would seem to have a stress attack on camera. He would get uptight and his slogan was the feeling of "a red hot poker".

Well this morning I feel like I have a searing red hot poker in my good eye!

Here is how it goes: with NF2 I cannot produce tears or enough to actually cry. In addition, the eye lid of my right eye (the side which I have experienced facial paralysis on) does not actually close fully when unconscious (sleeping). Therefore at night I have to use Refresh Gel Drops in my eyes and wear an eye mask (obtained from an airplane trip in 2004) to keep my eye closed. Most people with NF2 tape their eye shut but I have not resorted to that as I get up many times a night to use the restroom. If my eye was taped shut I would have to remove it and reapply it each time while not fully awake.

The result is that I wake up in the morning with irritated eyes most often one of which is completely pasted shut (the left good eye) and the other not fully pasted shut but crusty. I need to use the restroom immediately upon waking. Hence my eye mask sits on my head and I use the one eye (the poor one) to stumble my way to the bathroom.

Normally I could take time to readjust by putting Refresh Tears on my eyes (which are thinner to loosen the dried gel). This would take a transition period though and I don't have that kind of time when I wake. My urge is immediate. If I can consciously become aware fast enough, I splash some tears on my eyes and hurriedly make my way to the restroom trying not to take off a shoulder, trip, or break my arm when I sit on the toilet seat (I often have to reach out and grab the floor to keep from falling).

After my relief is the time when I make the routine of splashing warm water (or using cold while waiting for the water to heat up) on my eyes to unpaste them. Sometimes when the water warms I use a hot washcloth compress on my eyes and lie back down to let the warm dampness unglue them. However, I have been known to fall back asleep when I do this.

In all it probably takes me a half hour to an hour to adjust to the vertical world from hours in the horizontal. Yes this is a rather significant transition and important daily ritual for many people with NF2 before they can function for the day.

Back to the searing hot poker.........Somehow something went wrong and happened to my good eye that gets pasted shut. I awoke with burning pain in that eye. I recall getting up during the course of my sleep to use the restroom. When I awoke very early this morning I noticed that my lower lid was dried hanging open a little (kind of if you slightly pulled your eye lid down to look for a hair in your eye). At that time I noticed I was half awake and disoriented. I think I splashed water on my eyes to get the gel off. Then I returned to bed and I THINK I reapplied the gel drops to both eyes and put on my eye mask. I really can't remember nor can I remember from when I woke up as the pain distracted me.

My right eye seems fine. Yet my left eye burns really bad and I have applied water rinses and several tear drops to try to wash it out. I thought maybe a hair got stuck under my eye lid.

Upon inspecting my eye with a flashlight (I cannot do this with the right eye), I noticed that it was all blood shot. The little red aggravated capillaries covered the white space of my eye ball. I could find no hair or debris. The only thing I can figure is that maybe one of the hard crusties fell it my eye and scratched it! I have scratched the cornea of my other eye before and the pain does feel similar.


I have gained minor relief by reapplying gel drops to that eye and lying down for a few minutes. It has improved and I can see out of it but it is sore and giving me dull head pain on that side of my head.

If I use the ointment not only will it blur my vision, but the ointment has caused a slight burning irritation in my eye in the past.

So for now and for this morning or maybe even today, I guess I will have to contend with a "red hot poker".

Click on the lighthouse in the above post title to see the Refresh brand website and find out what "dry eye" is.

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