Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eye Surgery - Take Two!

A few years back I had a DCR--that's a fancy way of saying I had a blocked tear duct, and it caused my right eye to look like I was in a constant state of emotional turmoil. Tears streamed from it continuously. I carried a tissue with me wherever I went, and if I had been foolish enough to put on makeup in the morning, in the evening my left eye would be lined and shadowed, and my right eye as bare as it had been when I'd woken up that morning.

So I'd undergone surgery, and I blogged extensively about it and my recovery (complete with my incredibly attractive post-surgery photos!) on my DCR blog. I was only supposed to have the plastic tube in my eye, called a stint if you want to sound really fancy, for a few months, no more than six, but being the lazy person that I am, I left it in for nearly a year.

For months, I was blissfully tear and stint free. I still had, and have, a scar from the surgery (though the doctor promised it wouldn't scar...), and I was comforted in the knowledge the chances of my eye ever tearing up again were minimal at best. "And if it does ever happen again," the doctor assured me, "you just come back to see me and it's a really easy procedure to fix it."

Sweet, I thought, happily skipping on my merry little way. Procedures were easy. I'd had several "procedures" for the blocked tear duct before I'd finally had to undergo the knife. They had pumped me full of drugs, then stuck a long needle in my eye and forced saline solution through my tear ducts to "clear the blockage." (How attractive does that sound? You can imagine how much I love having to tell people in real life about this...)

So when a couple of months ago, my eye started watering more than normal, I told myself, It's just your imagination. Don't worry about it. Then, as the watering got worse, I thought, It'll go away. Relax. Then, when it didn't stop and I ended up crying off all of my right eye makeup one night while out with friends, I stared unhappily at myself in the mirror and my odd-looking face and grimly realized, It's happening again.

I called the doctor and made an appointment to see him. My eye had stopped tearing as much, and I thought, It's not so bad. It's just a procedure. In and out.

The doctor gently slid a freakishly long blunt needle down my tear-duct (and let me tell you, there's nothing quite like having a long, flexible, freakishly long needle sticking out of you RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR EYE) and depressed on the syringe to squirt water into the duct.

It shot right back out at him.

"Okay," he said to me, rather cheerfully. He pulled the syringe out of my eye and tossed it away, going to his table to start scribbling in his folder. "Sometimes what happens is people heal too well after the DCR. The hole that we made in your nose closed up. So it's a really simple surgery--we do it downstairs--and we go in through your nose with a tiny little camera--it's very high tech--and a really little needle, and we open it back up. Then we put in some anti-scarring stuff, and you're good to go. It's called a CDCR."

I stared at him, sickened horror coming over me. Not a simple procedure. Back downstairs, where they do their surgeries. Not a quick in-and-out thing. They were going to put me under again. Knock me out.


But, I thought, resigned, at least they weren't going to cut me open again. So I nodded and headed out.

Over the next week, a dull, throbbing pain started to develop in the small space between my inner eye and my nose. Right over my tear duct. At first I thought I had been pressing it too much, but the pain increased every day.

Then the pain in my nose started.

When I had woken up from surgery after the DCR, I remember pressing my finger against the right side of my nose, a throbbing pressure concentrated in one tiny spot that seemed to bleed into the surrounding area making my entire face hurt. The nurse told me I was pressing right where they had drilled into my cartilage. Over the next few days, the pain had only gotten worse, and I'd actually had to go back because the pain had spread to the side of my face and my temple and even into the back of my head.

And this was the exact same pain.

I wondered if I had ruptured something. If I had another tear stone (yes, apparently I had a tear stone in my duct when he opened me up). I wondered if somehow, the new canal he had made had gotten torn apart.

But as the days wore on and the pressure and pain became more intense, and just moving my eye or making facial gestures hurt, I realized it wasn't anything so simple. The while of my eye, when I looked to my right, exposing the area usually hidden by my tear duct, was blood shot and red, horribly irritated and inflamed. The pressure on my nose and on my eye was starting to become excrutiating.

I had an infection.

When I called the doctor to tell him about it, nearly in tears, to my dismay they weren't as surprised as I had hoped they would be by my symptoms. They called in a prescription of painkillers and antibiotic eyedrops (yes, they're putting eyedrops into an eye that won't stop pouring liquid--go figure) and my loving husband went and picked them up for me today. I have an appointment to see the doctor on Tuesday.

Hopefully this just means they'll schedule my surgery sooner...