Well, sorry for the absence. Things were already a little sparse around here due to me frantically trying to stay on top of Christmas this year (unlike last year... but hey, we had just moved so I had a good excuse). One of the tough things about living far away from family at Christmas time (besides the obvious we won't see said family) is we have to ship everyone's presents... and shipping takes time. We're usually down-to-the-last-minute people but that doesn't work anymore if we want everyone to actually open their gifts on Christmas. So I've had to begin my Christmas preparations before December (unheard of for me!). Add into that some unanticipated events and you get a very quiet blog. Anyway, so last week I finally had the package together to send to my sister in Brazil so me and the boys headed out to the post office to send it off.
And this is when it gets good...
We get to our post office, which is located in an area of town that is notorious for car break-ins. Like, a lady in our ward had her car broken into THREE times in this area. So when I pull into an open spot there is a sketchy looking car with people just sitting there next to me. Normally not a big deal because I don't leave anything worth anything in my car ever. But Rob had updated my navigation system a couple days before and left the DVD and manuals and stuff on the passenger seat. I didn't feel comfortable leaving that stuff in plain view (and potentially making my nice car a target) so I decided to put it away before going inside. The manuals are easy to put away, they just go in the glove box. But the DVD goes in a drawer on the backside of the center console. I can reach it from the front, but it's a little awkward since I have to bend my arm back behind me. So I go to put it away, I'm looking over my shoulder where it needs to go and my right arm has the case and is swinging back to stick it in the drawer when all of a sudden things don't go the way they should. The corner of the DVD case gets stuck on the edge of the passenger seat, but before my brain can really register what's happening it swings free, but not in the direction of the drawer. Instead it whips directly into my left eyeball.
I almost blacked out.
Instead I was seeing stars. And had no idea what to do. I mean, if I was gushing blood I know exactly what to do for that. Or if I had smashed something. But an eye injury? My eyeball was still in my head and there wasn't anything stuck in it. I had just basically poked it really really hard. I tried calling Rob to see what I should do but he didn't answer his phone. I couldn't really see at this point, the pain was making it difficult to open either eye. So I just sat there and waiting for the pain to subside and figured, like when you poke an eye, I'd be able to see after a little bit. And sure enough, after about 45 minutes I could open my eye and see. It was a little blurry but didn't hurt so much anymore. So me, being the stubborn person I am, decided I was going to finish my errand before heading home.
So I dragged both boys out of the car and we headed into the post office. BIG mistake. You see, this particular day we had 30 MPH+ winds in El Paso. Since there is no foliage in El Paso, when we have strong winds we have dust storms. We had to walk into the wind to get to the entrance. I'm sure you know where this is going...
Yeah, I got dust in my eye. And it hurt. A lot. We managed to make it inside, but I was pretty much blind. I immediately walked to a corner and waited a few minutes to see if I could open my eyes again (later Rob asked me why I couldn't just leave one eye open but that was impossible... close one eye then look around with the open one. I don't know if you can tell without a bunch of crud in your eye, but both eyeballs move together. So if I kept one eye open the hurt eyeball was getting dragged across dust particles that like sharp thorns). I couldn't, and just wanted to cry at this point, so I had Max lead us back outside to the car with me peeking every few feet to make sure we were good safety-wise. Once we were in the car I let the boys run free in it while I laid down in the trunk and tried to call Rob again. And again. And again. Oh, and I forgot, the impact gave me a migraine. It had receded after that first 45 minutes, but with the introduction of irritants came back in full force.
At this point let me re-iterate that this was supposed to be a quick trip to the post office. I had no diaper bag, no medicine, no sunglasses, nothing. Nothing to feed or distract the boys with. No useful trash items in the car. It wasn't a big deal at first, but as time went on and I couldn't get a hold of Rob nor open my eye for more than a split second this became a big issue. Especially since Max needed to use the bathroom. As you know, there aren't public restrooms in post offices. And driving was out of the question. Our post office is on a busy road (and there are no trees) and we were parked away from the building so there was no discreet corner nearby he could do his business. And peeing in the middle of a parking lot where everyone can see you wasn't an option either. And I had no bottles he could pee in. Or a spare diaper. All I had was a coke can. And a roll of paper towels. So I made a huge nest of paper towels to catch any spillage and the can to make and told him that was his only option. To which he cried and freaked out saying, "THAT ISN'T A BATHROOM!" So he held it some more.
At some point I realized that this wasn't getting better on it's own and there wasn't anything I could do to make it better since I didn't have any water to flush my eye out with. And Rob STILL wasn't answering the phone so I used several of my split-second windows where I could crack my eye open to find a friends number. And luckily for me she came to our rescue!
Not only did she come to get us (since we were stranded) she also called our other friend who works in the ophthalmology clinic on post. They took us straight to her clinic (one of the doctors stayed late to check my eye out), as well as fed the boys and changed Nick's diaper and took Max to the bathroom and basically saved the day. They also alerted anyone and everyone who works with Rob that I was injured and was headed to the hospital (that's where the clinic is) and he was needed. When Rob finally got to his phone, he had about 30 missed calls. And what really cracked us up was that with every person who called him my condition got progressively worse. Apparently I had been admitted to the hospital and the boys were in child care and needed to be picked up:)
Anyway, so once I got in the doctor's office he gave me a numbing drop so he could check it out and that relief was amazing. With that drop the pain stopped and I was able to open my eyes and keep them open. He diagnosed my injury as a corneal abrasion and gave me some eye drops and some goop to keep my eye from getting infected. Rob met us there at the hospital and took us home, where I was finally able to take something for the headache. And as soon as the headache was gone I felt great! The doctor had told me once the numbing drop wore off I would be in some pain again and that it would take about 72 hours to heal. But as soon as the headache was gone I felt great, eye included!
I went back in the next morning to get my eye checked out again and found out I am a mutant healer. Apparently this was the WORST corneal abrasion they had ever seen, it was so bad it was bordering on a laceration. And less than 24 hours later it was almost completely healed. It was described to me like this: Just a few hours after it happened (I didn't make it to the hospital until about 4 hours after it happened) the surface of my eye looked the way a rug does if it's shoved out of the way... almost like someone had taken their thumb and shoved the top layer of my eye to the side. But the next day everything was back down in place, no more bunching. And it continued to feel great the whole day.
But there was a slight hiccup in the healing process. I got something in my eye Friday night and didn't get it out until Saturday night, so I had some major light sensitivity and mild pain for that 24 hour period. But we managed to flush it out Saturday night and it's been all good since then! As a precaution I didn't leave the house for a few more days to avoid getting any more El Paso dust in it. There has also been some lingering blurriness so I went back in today to see what was causing it, but it's just some scarring. And that should fade in the next 3-6 months. (And don't worry, I can see fine, my vision is back to 20/20, it's just stuff in the distance isn't quite all the way in focus yet)
Ultimately, I am so so so grateful I am not blind and there is no permanent damage. Eye injuries are no joke. And I never thought about just now not blind-friendly things are these days. For example, trying to call someone was the worst. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I had my old phone with a keypad. But these fancy new touch phones require sight in order to make calls; there is no feeling for the right buttons. Other seemingly simple things, like taking a picture, were hard too since I managed to hurt my dominant eye. I've been having to reteach myself how to close one eye because my right eye has always been then one to close, not my left.
I was so lucky, and still am. I can resume normal activity again, and so soon after too. (Just a week!) Makes me so grateful for my health, and hurt for those who aren't so lucky. So people, take care of your eyes! You need them!!
And hopefully things will go back to just being sparse instead of completely silent around here:)