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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Family Visit

Written by Kodi Wolf at 4:19 PM

The Vermont side of my family came to visit on Monday and Tuesday. It was my sister (the High Priestess of my handfasting) and her two kids (her husband had to stay and work). They hadn't seen the house since before we started the renovations, so Corene and I were very excited for them to see everything we've done. Unfortunately, the house hadn't really been cleaned since before the New York side of my family came by in August for a quick visit on their way back home from the beach vacation we spent with them at Emerald Isle (I kept getting sick or my fibro would act up or I'd rather work on my stories, etc.), and the house was still a wreck from Winter Solstice, so we spent the previous week cleaning. The house looks great now and was actually presentable to my family, so I'm glad Corene and I put so much effort into it. The first thing my sister said when she saw our bedroom was, "So you've decided you're royalty now." :) She was mightily impressed, but we feel that way every time we go in there, so that was cool.

Anyway, they got in Monday afternoon and we spent the evening hanging out and talking, which was great. I even got some really useful tips for The Trine. My sister is an EMT, so she was able to give me those little extra details that I think will make certain scenes more believable and visceral (I love that word). Actually, we spent most of the night talking about the stories we're each working on (my sister and her daughter, who's 15, both write fan fiction, as well as original fiction), so it was a pretty cool night. Of course, it only makes me miss them even more now that they're gone.

Then yesterday, we went to the zoo, which was fun, and it was a great day for it too, mostly overcast and in the 60s. Then we went to McKay's, a local used book store that I love, and that's when I noticed I had some kind of blurry spot on my left eye (this was around 5pm). That scared the crap out of me, since my ability to see clearly is rather closely linked to my ability to read and write. So, we came home and I looked up the symptoms on WebMD and my sister checked the Mayo Clinic's site and we both came up with retinal detachment, migraine with auras, stroke, or optic neuritis as possibilities, but none of them were exactly right.

I have a history of dry eyes with scratches and scarring on outer areas on my eyes, so they've never gotten in the way of my sight, and I have several floaters that I know so well I can practically draw them, but when they get in the way of my vision, I just look around really quickly, and they move out of the way. I've also been diagnosed with chronic migraines, but I don't get auras, I just get nauseous and extremely sensitive to light.

This blurriness was like an oily thumbprint with the tip of the thumb right at the center of my focus and the rest of it going down diagonally to the right. Everything else seemed clear in my peripheral vision. I even drew a dot with concentric circles around it to figure out the shape of the blurriness (that's how I came up with the thumbprint shape).

Retinal detachment would probably come with a sudden increase in floaters and there would be flashes and a shadow over part of the field of vision, none of which I had. Migraine with auras would probably show halos around lights, flashes, and there would be pain, but I didn't have any halos or flashes, though I knew I was working on a migraine, so it was a possibility. Stroke would have other indicators too numerous to mention, but I could smile evenly, I repeated a phrase my sister said, and my eyes were tracking and dilating evenly, so we could pretty much rule that one out. Optic neuritis is basically an inflammation of the optic nerve and its main symptoms are pain and loss of vision. It usually develops due to an autoimmune disorder that may be triggered by a viral infection. Again, I didn't have pain in my eyes, but I do have a twitchy immune system, so it sounded like the most likely candidate.

Well, even though going to the ER was recommended for some of those, I figured I probably wasn't going to die immediately from any of them, so I decided I'd spend the rest of the evening with my family, and then go to the ER afterwards. I took a Naproxen for the migraine I knew the trigger point in my neck was trying to bring on and then did my best to relax and enjoy the visit, since I knew my family was leaving early in the morning and I wouldn't be seeing them again for a while.

So, we hung out at their hotel room, watched a couple episodes of Teen Titans, then a documentary about vampires on National Geographic, and talked, while I curled up on Corene and tried to keep my eyes closed to rest them.

Well, around 11pm, it was time to say goodbye, so I decided to check how my eye was doing and found that the blurriness had just about completely cleared up (there was just a little left in the lower right area). I could focus on stuff and read things clearly, so I was very happy. We talked about it a little and came up with two theories. One, it was just a dry patch and with my putting half a dozen drops in my eyes every few minutes after I first noticed it and then keeping my eyes closed most of the night allowed it to remoisten and clear up. Or two, it was the optic neuritis and me taking the Naproxen, which has anti-inflammatory properties, calmed down the inflammation and allowed my vision to clear. Either way, I'm just happy I can see okay (I don't seem to have any residual blurriness now).

If it happens again, I'll definitely go to the doctor, and I do have an eye doctor appointment in April, so I'll mention it then and see what the doc has to say.

All in all, it was a great visit (except for the minor medical scare) and I can't wait to see them again.