Sunday, June 12, 2011

The plagues of Job

Just about survived my trip to Baltimore.

I was still really pretty sick the whole time, and the last straw - it was ill-timed to say the least - was that when I woke up on Saturday, my eyes were very gummy in a way that made me start worrying; and by late afternoon (the wedding was at five) it was horrifyingly evident that I had been struck down by one of those plagues that makes you feel a true pariah (I had it once before, which is how I knew what it was): bacterial conjunctivitis!

I was dabbing my left eye (only one eye was really bad) with a tissue during the service, and slapped the sunglasses back on afterward as the situation was wildly escalating with every passing minute. I had to explain to anyone who asked that it was not an affectation but that my eye was truly so disgusting to look upon (teaspoonsful of yellow-green pus streaming out of it, and so grotesquely swollen that I looked as though I had gone eight rounds with the heavyweight champion of Sao Paolo!) that I had to keep it covered; the glasses stop you from rubbing or touching your eyes, too.

(The reception and dinner were held here, in the remarkably beautiful library of the Peabody Institute. The rehearsal dinner the night before was at Da Mimmo's, famous for its veal chops!)

So during the first part of the wedding reception I stepped outside and put in a call to the practice where I see a doctor, and he called in a prescription to my local NY pharmacy (it did not seem to make sense to try and find a Baltimore pharmacy that would be open on a Saturday night, and my timing really was most unfortunate!).

I took an earlier train home than I had planned and made a beeline to the pharmacy; I know from past experience that the antibiotic eye-drops are basically a miracle cure. But when I got there around 1, they had no record of the prescription having been called in, and I proceeded to spend an extremely frustrating hour and a half calling the medical answering service again and again until I finally got an answer back. By this time I had given up and gone home; the doc said he'd tried many times to get through to the pharmacy, but not been able to until just then (3pm Sunday by this point, almost 24 hours after I had first talked to him). So I went back over there, but they only had one of the two kinds of eyedrops and I had to go to another Rite Aid pharmacy to get the more important of the two! By this time it was almost four o'clock...

It was a huge relief to put in the first set of drops, I must say...

In fact it is much better than it was last night and this morning already; I took some Benadryl before I got on the train, and it brought down some of the swelling. Not so leaky now either. But - talk about disgusting!

I have now been sick for a week, and with no exercise - I would guess it is at least a couple days more before I should even attempt an easy hour on the stationary bike...


  1. Sorry you have been so ill. Sore eyes are like sore feet or ears; they make you truly miserable. Warm water lid scrubs go a long way toward easing the discomfort; I do recommend them.
    Reception and dinner in such a beautiful library! I am envious!

  2. It is perhaps for the best that large sunglasses appear to be in fashion right now (I risk exposing myself as a raw provincial w/ this comment...). Sorry to hear about all this; hope it doesn't damage summer schedule too much.

  3. Good heavens this sounds awful! So sorry you had such a terrible time...(but thank heavens you have a doctor who even responds on the weekends!)

  4. Oh dear, definitely not nice!

    May I make a small suggestion - or rather, two?

    In Africa I kept antibiotic drops on hand (or ointment, which sometimes works better due to its 'staying' power). As anyone with children will attest, dire infections always seem to strike on weekends or holidays!

    And in Germany a calendula wash, though not likely to heal the infection, is often used to sooth inflamed and infected eyes. It's available without prescription here both in pharmacies and shops which carry wholefoods and natural remedies.

    Hope you're feeling better soon!

  5. I know this seems weird but I think you have whooping cough. look up the symptoms, you have described it. i have it too, and my kids, we got on antibiotics for it and it went away. you should get it cultured. it is highly contagious. it goes away in three weeks or so for adults but can kill babies and some kids and old people.