Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fuch's Dystrophy And, Of Course, Drama

In case you think my somewhat over-the-top reactions are limited to my fur family, I thought I'd share that Opie has been diagnosed with Fuch's Dystrophy.
Which sounds like some disgusting STD, I know.  I mean, with a name like FUCH'S, everybody's mind probably went to the same place.

But it's's an eye disease.  In fact it's a "degenerative disease of the corneal endothelium."  Which basically means that the cells in his corneas are dying off.
You know how many people have it?

Less than 1% of the population.
You know how I handled this news?

Not well.
But this is partially because Opie came home from his annual eye appointment, told me he had this disease that could eventually BLIND him, and had none of the relevant details.

"Did you ask the doctor how fast it progresses?" I demanded.

"Did you ask him what warning signs we should be looking out for?"

"Did you ask him the odds of it getting worse?  Or the percentage of people who end up needing cornea transplants?  Or how many of those transplants are successful?"

And that's when I lost it a little.
"Did you ask what we're going to do on the day you WAKE UP BLIND?"  I screamed.  "Did you happen to mention that you're a computer programmer and that if you are suddenly STRUCK BLIND you'll probably lose your job and we'll lose the house and then we'll end up living in my car and considering I have a Miata and we have a Rottweiler, things are going to get pretty damn crowded!  Did you go over any of THAT?"

Surprisingly, no, none of that came up in the doctor's office.
Equally surprising was the fact that Opie chose that moment to remind me that Bubba is only half Rottweiler and didn't I think we'd live in his car since it's bigger?

Which means the most surprising thing of all is that I didn't beat him to death.
Especially when he followed that up with "It's probably no big deal.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens."

My reply was so obscene that I don't actually feel comfortable sharing it.  Suffice it to say that I decided NOT to wait and see what happens and instead asked around and got the name of the top eye guy in Tulsa, and made an appointment.
"You don't have to go with me," Opie said quickly...which probably sounds suspicious unless you realize I have a weird thing about eyeballs…I’m like Rachel in Friends, I freak out when I go to the eye doctor…I can’t even put drops in my own eyes.  About 10 years ago, I had a really disgusting case of Pink Eye and every night I had to drive over to my parents’ house and have my mom put the drops in…which is embarrassing enough but I needed those drops twice a day.  So, in the mornings, I had to have the English department secretary do it.  This is slightly mitigated by the fact that the secretary in question was also my godmother, but still EMBARASSING.

But my husband was in need so it was time for me to face my demons..."Of course I'm going." I said. "What kind of wife would I be if I didn't support you?"
To be honest, I'm not sure sitting in a chair, gripping the arms with white-knuckled intensity, moaning every time they poked something in his eye, and mumbling about needing to vomit was the type of support he was looking for but I was present that's what counts.

Besides, I think constantly asking me "You ok over there?" probably took his mind off his own troubles.
Especially when he told the nurse about my unfortunate eye aversion--complete with eye drops story--and she decided that she was going to single-handedly cure me of a lifelong neurosis.

"Oh, honey, it's easy!" She said, grabbing my head and tilting it back.  "All you have to do is...."
And I'm pretty sure she said some words after that but since she also basically ASSAULTED me with eye drops I have no idea what any of those words were.

"Honey?" Opie asked gently. "Are you all right?"
And it took awhile for me to answer, largely because it's difficult to fight back waves of nausea AND plot the nurse's bloody death at the same time. "Call the police," I finally mumbled. "Tell them I've been the victim of a drive by eye dropping."

And then things got ugly.

The nurse came back and dilated Opie's eyes so we could finally get in to see the specialist and at almost the exact same second, the specialist got called away for some eye-related emergency (his office is connected to the hospital for just such a situation).

I tried to be unselfish and compassionate, I really did.  I tried to think about the poor person with the eye emergency (though I desperately tried not to speculate on the nature of the emergency because that made me feel even sicker). That worked for the first hour.
By the time we hit hour number 2 of waiting, I had forgotten all about the other person and was bordering on insane with rage.

If I hadn't been woozy and half-sick by all the eye-related paraphernalia, I might have gone on a wild rampage.

A situation made infinitely worse by the fact that when the doctor finally came in, he decided the best way to ease the tension was to turn into it a comedian.

He did the exam, ran a few other tests and then confirmed that Opie is in the beginning stages of Fuch’s Dystrophy.
I, of course, had a few questions.  “Does it progress quickly or slowly? Is there anything we can do to help?  Is it something we need to monitor closely or do we just have to wait and see what happens?"

"Yes" he said and laughed.


I think, at that moment, Opie had never been more afraid in his life.  Afraid that I would actually leap from my chair and pummel the doctor with a huge plastic eyeball.

However, this clown came highly recommended as the top eye specialist in Tulsa so I tried to restrain myself. Instead of punching him right in the face, I had to settle for giving him my best teacher look.

The one that says "I know you think you're funny but I don't think you're funny at all. And the only thing saving your life right now is the fact that I'm so scared of prison."

It worked.

He got serious immediately and explained that, unfortunately, there's no way to tell how fast things will progress, we just have to keep an eye on his cell count and see. Sometimes it goes slowly, sometimes quickly--there's just no predicting the disease.  Some people need a complete cornea transplant within five years of being diagnosed and some people never notice any ill effects at all.

So, the long and the short of it is that we went through all the drama for NOTHING.
Opie was right, we just have to wait and see what happens (and, yes, that did hurt a little to say!) and we'll need to keep meeting with the specialist at least once a year.

But next time I'm taking my pepper spray and if anyone comes near me with a bottle of eye drops, you'll probably all see me on the news.

 These don't look like bad eyes, do they?

1 comment:

  1. Kimberly, not to make light of your husband condition, but I laughed until I cried... I didn't pee my pants, but almost. Only you could experience this situation and make one laugh......girl you have topped yourself!!!!!!