More adventures with BigEye

Sticky Situations
Photo by TerryJohnston

When we last checked in with the BigEye saga, the ophthalmologist had declared it must be a tumor — brain, sinus, or other — and I was waiting to get an MRI.  Unfortunately, good old Southern California Kaiser had a month-long wait for an MRI appointment for any reason, even a possible brain tumor.

I amused myself in the meantime by getting engaged.  (This was very romantic; one day David said, “So, do you want to go ring shopping today?”  I did.  I’m the kind of girl who likes to pick out her own engagement ring.  He would have never guessed that I wanted a sapphire.)  Finally, the big day arrived (the MRI, not the wedding), and lo and behold… “It’s not a tumor.”  Hmmm.  By process of elimination, they decided that I could have both hypothyroidism and Graves Disease (1% of cases do), and that it could affect only one of my eyes.  Final diagnosis: euthyroid (not caused by the thyroid) unilateral (one-sided) exophthalmos (sticking-out eyeball), or — as we like to call it — BigEye.

You can have lots of fun with BigEye.  Since I could not close my left eyelid, I would fall asleep with my eye open.  I had no awareness of it — it felt the same as sleeping with both eyes closed — but David discovered that he could wave his hand in front of my face and I would wake up.  Apparently a) one can see while asleep if one’s eye is open, and b) others find that this is a fun way to amuse themselves on a long train ride.  I was later taught a better, less cornea-damaging way to sleep: fill your lower eyelid with LacriLube (main ingredient: petroleum jelly), and then pull your upper eyelid over the BigEye and tape it to your face.  (Yes, indeed… with Scotch tape.)  The eye stays closed until you pull the tape off in the morning!  You only lose a few extra eyelashes a day!  Your eye feels much better because it is not dried out like an old sponge!

Attractive, eh?  Don’t forget that I got married while all this was going on!  David will never forget, ever, because I chose every single one of our wedding photos based on whether or not the BigEye looked good in the proofs.  David could have been grimacing or coughing or looking the other way, but if the BigEye was well-camouflaged, I was a happy girl.  In the end, though some of them made him look strangely like Patrick Swayze, none of the final photo choices made David look too bad…

Stay tuned for Further Adventures with BigEye!  Find out about “orbital decompression!”  Relive the drama of plastic surgery!  Hear David’s strange prediction… and how it came true.

  • {Clutter} released: Six more duplicate Newbery books!  Putting those books in alphabetical order was well worth it.

Adventures with BigEye

Eye 9
Photo by Oyvind Solstad

Quite a few days last week, when I needed to write a blog post, I found myself wandering around the house looking for something to get rid of.  There were things everywhere, but nothing jumped out and said, “Set me free!”

Tonight, on the other hand, I decluttered things without meaning to do so.  I had decided to sort through my old makeup bags to see if there were any good makeup brushes for Quinland’s future use.  I found myself throwing away old mascara, testing eye pencils to see if they still worked (they didn’t; too old and dry), and just clearing out everything ridiculous.

Except for dress-up events (and my own wedding), I haven’t worn makeup since 1991.  That was the year I was diagnosed with BigEye.

When my left eye first started to get big, I didn’t realize it was BigEye at all.  I thought my eye was drying out — it felt like one of David’s old twenty-sided dice, all corners and edges — and I started to put drops in it during the day to keep it moist.  Pretty soon, though, the signs were obvious: small children would stop me in the supermarket and say, “That eye is going to fall right out of your head!” or “Look at me with both your eyes!”

You see, by this time, my right eye was reduced to a slit.  As most people know, the muscles in your eyelids can move involuntarily (blinking), voluntarily (winking), or reflexively (closing your eyes when you see an object coming toward you).  It is a little-known fact that, when it comes to involuntary movement, your brain must send messages to both your eyelids simultaneously.  If one of your eyelids is really wide open (because it can’t close properly over the BigEye), your brain is screaming to your eyelids, “Close! Close!”  The one over the BigEye can’t — it is trapped — but the other eyelid does its job efficiently and well.  It may even do its job a bit too well…

So I had one eye trapped open wide and one eye dutifully answering the call to close.  At this point, I visited an ophthalmologist.  His pronouncement: “Protruding eyes are usually caused by a condition called Graves Disease, which manifests as a result of severe hyperthyroidism.  However, you can’t have Graves Disease, for two reasons.  First, you have hypothyroidism, the exact opposite condition.  Second, you only have one protruding eye, and Graves Disease affects both eyes. (He was wrong about this, incidentally.)  I suspect a tumor behind the eye is pushing it out.”

Tune in next time for more Adventures with BigEye!  Hear about the weeks-long wait for an MRI to rule out a tumor!  Ponder the mysteries of orbital decompression!

  • {Clutter} released: A decent pile of old makeup.  There’s something that was taking up space that will never be missed!  (I did find a few nice brushes to set aside for Q.)
  • {Perfectionism} released: It is David’s birthday.  I have not done anything remarkable for him, but I have let him know I love him.