Scary Stuff! Why I Had to Visit the E.R. on Monday

Scary Stuff! Why I Had to Visit the E.R. on Monday

I first want to thank everyone who wrote in to say they were praying for little Jack! Bless you!! He is still coughing but he is doing SO much better!! His mama, 10 days after losing her senses of smell and taste, started having upper respiratory issues, and running a fever last weekend. She, too, is feeling much better today, thank God!

I was in the E.R. on Monday night myself, but not from anything Covid-related. I started having issues with my left eye on Sunday and they got progressively worse.

If you’ll excuse my horrific handwriting (I was freaking out when I drew this) and my non-artist skills, here is a picture I drew for doctors since nobody seemed to understand what I was describing:

MY SYMPTOMS

Sunday night: A weird lightning flash to the far, far left of my vision field. in my left eye. I could only see it when I moved my eye left or right. I thought I was about to get a migraine. I did not.

Monday morning: Same thing.

Monday night: The lightning was then arcing all the way in a perfect circle over the top of my eye, and a small (it looks like the size of a pea to me), grayish, donut-shaped blob had appeared just to the left of my line of vision. When that happened, I said to Brian, “Get your coat. We’re going to the hospital NOW!” It was 11:30 p.m.

Google had told me that my retina might be detaching, which is an emergency. Once it completely detaches, you will never have normal vision again. You would need surgery to prevent total blindness in that eye. Symptoms of impending detachment are, according to the doctor, a storm” of floaters and/or seeing “a curtain closing across your eye.”

We spent six hours in the E.R. surrounded by people with Covid symptoms, and one poor young guy who had a horrible stomach virus. Remember how funny I was able to make my last E.R. trip sound? Well, not this one. There is NOTHING funny about spending hours sitting next to a poor stranger who is repeatedly puking his guts up.

I told the triage nurse that we’d had Covid back in June. He said that was good and I guess that meant we didn’t need to be separated from the people in there who were coughing, and had shortness of breath. They had fake “walls” on wheels between each chair that were about 5 feet high and 4 feet wide. But, nothing that would protect anyone in any way whatsoever from all the coughing going on.

When they finally were able to see me, I was given a CT Scan, which came out clean, and they put dye in my eye, and pulled out a ginormous light, to look for any exterior eyeball injuries. The doctor told us the story of a woman who dreamed that something had stabbed her in the eyeball. Turns out she’d injured herself while sleeping, and had scratched her cornea. Ouch!!

The hospital also gave me a vision test, which I passed with flying colors, despite the gray donut swimming around in my line of sight. Based on all of the results, even if my retina was detaching, it was happening slowly so surgery could wait a few hours. They sent us away after telling us to call a specific nearby ophthalmologist at 8:00 the next morning, and to get the earlier possible appointment. It was already 6:00 a.m.. We drove home, got 90 minutes of sleep, and then made the phone call. That doc already had a surgery scheduled that day so he referred me to a local retina place that was able to see me at 2:30. I was freaking out, still thinking my retina was going to detach at any moment. It did not.

Once there, they dilated my eyes, did a battery of tests, and took lots of pictures. They were VERY friendly, and really put me at ease. I do NOT have a torn or detaching retina. I am experiencing Vitreous Detachment, which is very common for people my age. I’m not sure why nobody ever mentioned this to or around me anytime in my lifetime. It would have saved me two days of extreme stress. It’s not dangerous but the symptoms can be very disconcerting.

Today (Thursday), the lightning is still there when I move my eyeball but it looks smaller. It no longer arcs all the way over the top of my field of vision. The donut is still there but it’s still slightly to the left so it’s not that big a deal. The doctor said, “Your donut is going to be there for several weeks or even months so you should just go ahead and name it.” Funny guy! And, I did. Donny the Donut is happily camped out in my eyeball. I could think of far worse things to be happening in there so Donny can stay for awhile.

One additional symptom IS bother me. Donny the Donut seems to be dragging something behind him. When I’m looking at my computer, and when my eyes move back and forth, Donny floats by, but he leaves a trail of something opaque behind him that makes the screen fuzzy for several seconds at a time. My brain keeps making my eyeball blink, thinking there’s something in there. Yesterday morning, it was driving me NUTS! I was in a very bad mood, thinking I’d have to deal with this for months! I work all day long every day looking a screen!!

After a couple of hours of torture, I put my left hand in front of my eye to give it a break. I left my fingers slightly apart. I could still mostly seen the screen with my left eye, while relying on my right eye to do most of the work. For some reason, I could then no longer see Donny or the trail of slug juice he was leaving behind. Amazing!!

We just so happened to have some eyepatches in our medical supplies. Brian sat in front of me with one. I put my left hand over my eye with the fingers slightly apart so he could see what I was doing. He then cut strips out of the eyepatch that were the same distance apart as my fingers and, guess what? IT WORKS!! I can work with the eyepatch on, and still see the screen (mostly) with my left eye, but with no problems. How weird is that?? If anyone can explain that phenomenon to me, please do!!

I can’t work with my entire left eye covered because the vision in my right eye is not great for computer work. My left eye is my dominant one for looking at something 18 inches from my face. I do not wear reading or computer glasses. Only ones for long distance.

The best part (NOT!) of this entire crazy experience is that my right eye will have the exact same thing happen to it in the next few months or couple of years. Awesome……

Some people experiencing this never have vision issues so don’t freak out if you’ve also never heard of this happening. If it HAS happened to you, I’d love to hear from you because I am seriously the only person I’ve never know who has gone through this. And, I’m feeling very special….but NOT in a good way.

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Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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11 Responses to "Scary Stuff! Why I Had to Visit the E.R. on Monday"

  1. Anglena Waller  December 27, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Yikes, and YES!!! I didn’t know about Vitreous Detachment either until a few months ago back in the middle of summer.
    When it first started up, I could see flashes of light like lightning out of my left eye and thought I was just tired and it was a new migraine aura but then the NEXT DAY it was happening in BOTH EYES!! I totally freaked and even though I had already recovered from COVID I did NOT want to sit in the ER and risk it. I had a regular doctor appointment in less than a week after the symptoms and thought as long as it doesn’t get worse I would wait. The symptoms didn’t get worse but they didn’t go away so I kept my regular appointment which was early the week following the onset of the eye symptoms.
    At my regular appointment,
    I told the nurse at check in what I was experiencing and when the doctor talked with me herself, she had me call my ophthalmologist from her office who had me come straight over from the doctor’s office.
    I had to wait at the eye clinic for them to fit me in between patients; the wait was EXCRUCIATING because, like most of us, that weekend I had Googled “flashes in the eyes” and read ALLLLLL the “scary” scenarios.
    At the eye exam, my eyes were dilated and thoroughly examined and I was given the “good news” that I was experiencing Vitreous Detachment which is a harmless, normal part of aging. Like you, I wondered WHY we were never told we could experience this; it was very frightening at the time!
    I still see flashes at the outside corners of my eyes but nothing like at the start and my right eye gets blurry at times which also makes me blink to try to “clear it” but it too is inside the eye.
    Wow, isn’t getting older “fun” at times?!? (Gotta keep my sense of humor; it’s always the last thing to go in my family!)

  2. CJ  December 18, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    YRS AGO WHEN I WORKED AT A HEALTH FOOD STORE WE SOLD THESE GLASSES THAT JUST HAD TINY HOLES IN THEM AND THEY HELPED U SEE BTR. I THINK THAT DOES SOMETHING TO THE EYE/BRAIN CONNECTION.

  3. Dianne Stevens  December 18, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Angela, you are not alone. In February, I experienced sudden flashes of light and a flood of floaters in my right eye. I saw my PCP who referred me to my opthamoogist for an emergency appointment that day. That doctor diagnosed a hole in my retina, flashers and floater and sent me immediately to a retina specialist who examined, screened, ran tests and performed laser surgery to close the hole I’d developed – all in the span of 4 hours. It was terrifying. I am 67 and my vitreous fluid pulled away from the retina leaving a hole. It can repeat, happen again in my other eye and require another laser surgery. I had follow-up appointments in 1 week, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months and 4 months. My next appointment will be a year from now. I may always have to be followed by a retina specialist. The flashers went away in the first week, the floaters s-l-o-w-ly were disappearing (all but 1 big one which I still have all these months later) but still bothers me. I did not have a head or eye injury, it just happened out of the blue. Be patient about healing. For months I often watched tv with just my left eye. At times, I used my computer that way too as I had trouble reading with both eyes. I don’t like the thought of thie possibility of a tear or hole again but I was told, like you, “it is part of the aging process as your vitreous thins and moves.” No rhyme or reason to it. It just happens to some people. The flashes and floaters can last for months. Sorry to hear you’ve joined me in this aging scenario.

  4. Bradley Phillips  December 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Angela,
    I first noticed a floater in an eye a couple of years ago. It freaked me out initially, and I read on the internet that one should always consult an optometrist (or ophthalmologist) when you get your first one. So, it’s good you did that with Donny. I still just have the one floater, and I barely notice it anymore. Also, I got progressive lenses put in my glasses years ago, and they would help you – one drawback, though, is you would have to turn your head left or right to really see something on the periphery. They aren’t recommended for driving because of that. I have a neighbor who doesn’t seem concerned and wears her progressive-lens glasses all the time. Good health & a better year to you and your family.
    Bradley

  5. Wendy Haugh  December 17, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Angela,

    I was very sorry to hear that you’ve had that frightening experience with vitreous detachment. As a kid, did you ever feel a big sneeze coming on and you just let your head swing wild and free with the force of the sneeze? Head thrusting downward with the force, then swinging back up in one wild motion? (or maybe I was just a weird kid?)

    Well, a few years ago on the 4th of July I felt a big sneeze coming on as I sat on the beach waiting for the fireworks to start. For some reason, I just let my head fling forward, then whip back up (I even thought to myself: I haven’t done this in decades!!!). But in the process (the sudden jolting), my aging vitreous tore away, and my vision abruptly went wild. Flashing lights all over the place, just in one eye . . . dozens of tiny circles with darker centers in my field of vision . . . crazy-shaped floaters like you wouldn’t believe. It was awful, and SCARY!

    When I went to the ophthalmologist, it was determined that I’d jolted my vitreous away badly enough that the resulting hole needed to be laser-ed all around. That was done on the spot in a special room for radiation treatments. Afterwards, most of the crazy light flashes stopped; but the many obtrusive floaters have remained with me ever since. They did, and still do sometimes, create blurry spots in my computer vision.

    Today, my floaters still consist of one huge spider and so many other damned little annoying, ever-moving critters! But I was told that, over time, my brain would make allowances and adjust to their presence. I wish I could say it happened overnight. It didn’t, but they DEFINITELY have improved. The floaters are still with me, but either I don’t notice them as much or I choose to disregard them much of the time. The brain is amazing that way!

    And those circles I mentioned? By the next day, I had hundreds of them in my field of vision . . . it was extremely creepy. My doctor told me the circles were actually blood. Due to the damage done by my carefree sneeze, there was bleeding where there shouldn’t be. (So if you ever suddenly see weird circles all over the place in your field of vision, get it checked out!)

    My laser treatment resolved the issue as best it could, and every check-up since has shown that the laser-ed circle around my injury is holding well. But those floaters . . . they are the pits, still. My other eye, I’ve noticed, has those flashes of light sometimes — particularly when I first turn off the lights at night and lie down. But I’ve been told that’s just normal for aging eyeballs 🙁

    The biggest thing I’ve learned from all this is to avoid making truly sudden, jolting changes in the position of my head. Basically, my eyes experienced whip-lash: my head flew forward, then whipped back, and my one eye couldn’t adjust to the new position quickly enough. (OMG — I will NEVER intentionally sneeze like that again!). My doctor said he’s had patients experience this while bicycling, dancing, all kinds of vigorous physical activities. It may be a natural occurrence . . . but it’s totally frightening, and the after-effects are a bummer.

    Again, I’m really sorry to hear you’ve experienced vitreous problems, Angela.
    Take care, and may all of your vision problems right themselves quickly!

    Best wishes,
    Wendy

  6. El McMeen  December 17, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Yikes! It’s also good to read up on ocular migraines, which can be scary.
    El

  7. Elaine Abramson  December 17, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Some time ago, I was sitting in my family room watching television when I felt a speck of something light touch my eye. Since it was nine o’clock at night and this small speck did not bother me, I figured I would call my eye doctor in the morning. My husband said no way. Call him now. I called my doctor and told him what happened. He asked me if I had a “popcorn ceiling”. My reply was, what’s that? It is a ceiling covered with tiny little bubbles made from plaster. It is a decorative touch found in many homes from the 1970’s. When I replied that I did, he told me to come to his office immediately. After forty-five minutes with lidocane making my eye feel like it was glued open, he excitedly said, “Got it!” He showed me this tiny speck of round plaster and said, ” If you had waited until tomorrow it would have worked its way way down in your eye and you would have had sight problems for the rest of your life.”

  8. William Collins  December 17, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    The disappearing blob floating in your left vitreous humor might appear to vanish (Hmm… appear to vanish) because of the limited light allowed by the eye patch. In other words, the ambient light within the eyeball’s vitreous humor is not enough to illuminate the blob sufficiently to be picked up (sensed) by the retina. If true, under bright light, it would reappear.
    Extrapolation only – I’m not an eyeball expert of any kind.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  December 18, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      I think you are right, William! Thank you!!! It is far less noticeable when there isn’t much light in the room. 🙂

      Big hugs!
      Ang

  9. Dianne Lininger  December 17, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Welcome to the club! I have posterior vitreous detachment in both eyes! I have light flashes & floaters galore: big black ones, small brown ones, & globs of gel ones that blur my vision.

    Also I believe you are a Florida resident. If so, keep an eye out for skin cancer! A giant pimple on my face turned out to be one. I now have a wide hole in my face that’s going to leave one hell of a scar requiring a skin graft by a plastic surgeon.

  10. Pamela Allegretto  December 17, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    The eye patch is genius. I hope the eye heals quickly.