Sight for Sore Eyes
During my adolescence and adult life I have always been blessed to not have allergies of any kind. I have also, since the age of 10, worn glasses and contacts since about age 15. I have astigmatism and wear a special "rotating" contact lenses called TORIC lenses.
Living in Oklahoma for most of my adult life, the dry air was nice to me and I survived most spring seasons without even a sneeze. Now Chris on the other hand was absolutely miserable in both Oklahoma and Lubbock with the dry air. However, that all changed about a year ago. In the Spring of 2016 I noticed I was developing some air allergens and other springtime nuisances.
My eyes, especially, were very itchy, red and watered what seemed like ALL the time. I went to my school district's wellness center for a visit with the PA who told me I as all gic to pollen and perhaps others allergens in the air and gave me a Claritin prescription. My eyes looked tired and weary ALL the time and were red, like pink eye, for quite some time. I looked terrible but did not feel bad. I twas more of a nuisance really. Within a month was better and my eyes stopped watering and all seemed well.
In the Fall of 2016 the same itchy, red and watery eyes returned. I went back to the PA at the "Quack Shack" as my fellow teachers call it and once again I was told it was allergies. I specifically had him look for PINK EYE since being an elementary school teacher aides to a lot of germs. He told me it was NOT pink eye and again gave me allergy meds, this time Zyrtec.
I took the Zyrtec regularly and within 6-7 weeks the allergies seemed to get better. however, during that time my eyes hurt more than the previous allergy season and my contacts started to really bother me. It was during this time that I began to wear my contacts only 10% of the time. My entire adult life I have typically worn contacts at least 5 out of 7 days of the week.
Towards the end of this allergy season my eyes got to be really red and watered non-stop, so I went back to the "Quack Shack" and the PA gave me a steroid eye drop for my eyes to help get them over the "hump" as he called it of allergy season. I took the steroid eye drops for about a week and my eyes felt and looked so much better. I was able to go back to wearing contacts regularly and felt as if I had made it over the "hump" and survived yet another allergy season. However, my "rotating" contacts were just not working for me so I wore my glasses most of the time. My contacts are "monthly" contacts and since I was only wearing them 2 days or less a week I kept the same pair for well over 2 months, which seemed fine since during those 2 months I would only wear 10-15 times.
In February of this year my eyes started watering and the itchiness reoccurred so I went back to get tested for Pink Eye as the amount of "eye boogers" and "eye crusties" in the morning was disgusting. Again, the PA told me it was not pink eye or even the allergy type of pink eye and told me to double up on the Zrytec, I did just that and the eyes kept getting worse.
Even while Chris and I were on our Bahamas cruise my eyes were not perfect, but they were better so that led me to believe it was a little bit of allergies (In hind sight, no pun intended, it was just the HIGH of being on a cruise. Shoot, ain't nothing wrong with you on a cruise). In fact, 3 out of the 4 days my eyes didn't itch or water but again, every time I tried to wear my contacts they felt weird so I would just wear my glasses.
After the cruise and Spring Break my eyes just went more and more downhill. I started to notice that even while I was wearing my glasses my eyes would fog over and glaze over to where I would not be able to see a computer screen or my saxophone music at church. Now despite being tested for pink eye 3 separate times, I knew this was something beyond pink eye or allergies so I went to my optometrist who then had to refer me to an opthamologist.
Monday, April 10, 2017
On Monday, April 10th I went to the specialist to try to get some answers because at this point it had been over 2 months and I could tell my eyes were not only NOT getting better but were getting worse. During the pre-test area as the nurse testing me for the peripheral vision and other screenings I could tell that I was not able to see hardly anything. Several times the nurse said "Mrs. Davis, are you ok? Did you see that?" And I sat there with a lump in my throat thinking "NO, no I didn't see that". At this point I thought I was going to puke.
As I met the doctor he looked at my eyes with his little flashlight and said "Oh my. Hold on we need to dig deeper". Then he put some special dye into my eye.
Ophthalmologist- Oh wow. Oh this is bad, very bad. Wow. let me look at the other eye
(Switches eyes on his machine).
Opthamologist- Look up. oh my goodness, this is severe. Oh wow, Look down, wow Mrs. Davis this is really bad.
(This continued for what seemed like 2-3 minutes or eternity really)
Me- Ummm hello just tell me already.
So he pulls away from the machine and says I have Keratitis, a severe infection which leads to disease that causes blindness. He said that he could tell that I have had it for quite some time and while we did catch it "in time" it may not be in soon enough time.
Of course at this point my blood pressure is sky high and I am sweating like crazy. He tells me I will need a high mega dose of a specific eye drop and antibiotic called Vigamox. He asked me in the room if I had health insurance as this medicine is incredibly high priced. I do have Blue Cross Blue Shield and I remember in 2013 when I did have pink eye the meds were $185 so I expected about the same.
I completed the necessary paperwork and set up the follow up exam for 10 days later. I drove straight to my normal pharmacy at the Walmart near my house. Oddly enough there was NOT a line (that should have been my 1st clue that something was wrong as there is ALWAYS an hour+ wait). They gave me a 30 minute window so I went and got some groceries and then went back to the pharmacy to pick up the meds.
The pharmacist then (After the 30 minute wait) told me that they did not have all the drops I needed and could not fill. At this point it was 6:45PM and I was DONE. She then told me that the cost of the meds would be $315 PER ML so a total of $945 for the 3 ML prescribed. I lost it and started crying because I do not have an extra $1K just lying around.
I left and drove right back to my eye doctor to see if there was another route to take. Luckily he was open until 7 and gladly took me back in. He said that Walmart was either giving me the screws or was just wrong on the costs. He wrote me a weaker prescription for eye drops that offered a generic brand so would be cheaper but he said they would more than likely not work because my case was so severe. He then told me if this didn't work it would get worse and would lead to blindness and perhaps a hospital stay.
I left the eye doctors office crying with the orange tears from the dye running (and staining) all over my face. I decided to go to CVS pharmacy across from my subdivision as I was just done and this way Chris could go get the prescription for me if it took a while.
I get to the CVS counter and the tech took all my info and said "Oh no, I don't think we take this insurance anymore". Of course, I just break down and cry even more at this point. Then she entered it and sure enough, it was accepted. The total was $278 for all 3 ML. Then the pharmacists pulls the tech aside and somehow the two of them find a coupon and it lowers the meds to $80.70. I am literally saying "Thank you Jesus" out loud as she fills the prescription and checks me out. After I had it all paid Jessica, the pharmacy tech. and the nice Pharmacist came from behind the counter and gave me a hug and told me it would all be OK.
That right there... Was a GOD THING! A $945 prescription to less than $100. Wow! Thank you Lord for Jessica and the CVS pharmacist! Bless them and their families!
Now I have to take these meds every 2 hours for the next 10 days, even in the middle of night. Today has been TERRIBLE as the lack of sleep and the meds have taken a toll on me. I have felt dizzy and nauseous all day. My eyes have not improved too much as of yet and they are still fogging over and drying out and are VERY bothersome all day. I know it will take time and I am trusting God that they will heal with this regimen. If He can bring a $900 drug down to $80, I know He's got this! Now to just keep the faith and TRUST HIM!
Please keep me in your prayers as I wander down this journey towards eye health.
Mine Eyes have seen the GLORY... Thank you Jesus for this trial and Lord I pray that as the Great Physician You will heal my eyes!
God is good... All the time!