Then, Monday night, I started to see flashes of light (photopsia) from the periphery of my left eye. I blew it off – not recommended – and went to sleep.
As I showered the next morning, I suddenly noticed what appeared to be a black spider over my shoulder. She multiplied into quite a few black, lacy images dancing vibrantly about in my visual field.
I called my doctor and was told to go immediately to the eye doctor. He said, “Tell the staff you may be having a “retinal” emergency.”
Emergency? Was I ready for a medical emergency?
On the positive side:
- My car had a full tank of gas;
- My insurance card, list of drug sensitivities, and doctor’s phone number was in my wallet.
On the down side:
- My cell phone was dead.
- I didn’t know the location of the nearest emergency room.
Meeting my Destiny
I grabbed my Swiss Army crafted computer bag. It houses all my key personal items like my wallet, cell phone, and calendar. I threw in my prayer beads (gently, of course), medication, and an apple. Then, I headed my car north toward my destiny.
Thanks to the cold, my brain was too fuzzy too drift into wild scenarios. The frenzied dark creatures in my field of vision had gradually morphed into one less wild, lacy friend.
“Posterior vitreous detachment” is a common condition for older adults, but not rare for people in their 40’s or 50’s either. Not serious, but there is a small risk of retinal detachment.
It’s important to monitor symptoms for the next week. Any sign of serious symptoms – like loss of vision or a veil descended over the eye – I need to hightail it back to the eye doctor or emergency room. For the time being, I need to rest, not move my head around a lot, or bend over and pick up heavy things.
Tuesday night, I had another episode of photopsia. My doctor – having already checked my eyes thoroughly – felt confident enough to have me rest at home and simply return the next morning for another check. Generally, photopsia can be an early sign of a retinal tear or detachment and should be checked immediately by a doctor.
Wednesday meant another round of dilation. Another round of looking. Thankfully, there’s still no evidence of a retinal tear or detachment. This time I brought my I-Pod, which is full of inspirational teachings. Just in case I had to be put on a plane to Honolulu; there are no retina specialists on the Big Island.
I’m not the kind of person who is usually prepared. But this time, I felt relatively prepared because I store all the main things I need in my Swiss Army bag. I always have it nearby at night in the event of a natural disaster.
The earthquake in Japan made me think more about being prepared. At the time, I wrote about how to prepare for a natural disaster. I haven’t turned over an entirely new leaf, but I’m a little more prepared as evidenced by the current episode in life changes.
If you would like to be more prepared for a medical emergency, you could print these guides, read them over, and have them close at hand so you will be ready to intelligently deal with whatever arises.
I felt so tired driving home Wednesday, I collapsed into bed. I eagerly followed the doctor’s advice to rest. At the same time, I was counting my blessings.
- I feel grateful for the body’s elegant system of communication called “symptoms”.
- I feel grateful to have a medical doctor that I can actually call on the phone.
- I feel grateful to have a conscientious, caring, and competent eye doctor.
- I feel grateful that I was relatively prepared.
- I feel grateful that I remembered my spiritual priorities when I packed my bag.
- I feel grateful that my mind didn’t wig out over possible scenarios.
All this reminded me once again that anything can change in a moment. For me, the best preparation is having a steady mind.
Due to current affairs, I won’t be posting more on my blog this week. I need to catch up on rest and catch up on the work I missed.
Are you ready for a medical emergency? What would you take along?
P. S. Nothing here constitutes medical advice. If you experience similar symptoms, contact your medical doctor immediately.