So, yesterday I had an-- H'mm. Not an adventure.
I was working a fill-in shift, which meant getting up a little after 1 or 2 a.m. to get to work not later than 5:00 a.m. Getting ready, I realized I was seeing little flashes of white light in my peripheral vision on my left side and there was something -- maybe stray strands of hair? -- at the edge of my vision on the right side. And hey, was that a spider or a little bug on the floor?
But it whisked out of sight when I looked at it, at which point I realized the various dark spots were floaters inside my eye, little bits of stuff. You get them as you age; if you haven't had one, you probably will eventually. Mystery solved.
Hours later, I was at a desk at work when I realized a really big floater was moving around in my left eye. I looked up at a well-lit, plain wall, and realized that in addition to the big one, there were layers and layers of tiny specks in the vision from my left eye, drifting about. It was kind of scary and the symptoms, flashes and a sudden bunch of floaters, seemed vaguely familiar.
Of course I looked it up online. That combination of things has something greater than a ten percent chance of indicating a torn or detached retina. They can be repaired -- if you get treatment in 24 to 72 hours. But it was Sunday.
A few calls later, I had learned hospital ERs deal with this kind of thing routinely; I left work an hour early and went to the ER, where they checked things out pretty thoroughly. An ER is not an ophthalmologist's office but they have a specialist on tap, along with the good old fashioned instrument for looking into one's eyes -- chin rest, bright light and fancy optics for the doctor. That was about the last step, after the regular ER doctor had done pressure checks, dye-and-UV checks for damage, and -- to my surprise --ultrasound imaging. Nothing turned up. That's a relief.
They sent me home with hugely dilated eyes and instructions to contact them if anything changed and to schedule appointments with my eye doctor and family doctor.
I've still got the floaters but at least I have a plan.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago