A Tragedy of Sight Averted – Hopefully

by on June 23, 2021 · 16 comments

in Health, Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

Seldom do I actually speak about myself.  I have never liked to be the center of attention and even though I may write about my opinions, my personal experiences are kept at bay when possible.  Having Covid in January changed some of that and the continuing saga is still in the forefront of a lot of my thoughts and experiences.

When I am asked how my recovery has gone I tell people I am about 95% recovered.  The extreme fatigue is still there; the muscle tone in my legs is noticeably worse; but I still am able to get around with a minimum amount of difficulty.

Except that the diagnosis I received from my Ophthalmologist last week scared the hell out of me.  Covid related?  Can’t tell, but maybe. And maybe not.

I have never had glaucoma. In December, one month before my Covid diagnosis, my pressure reading in both eyes was 16 – well within the normal range.  In April I went for my 6 month check-up and the pressure had gone up to 28 in the left eye and 31 in the right eye.  A red flag began to fly.  The doctor immediately put me on eye drops to lessen the pressure.  But the first drop she gave me – Timolol – did not work and caused severe headaches.  Too bad, because one of the side effects of the drug was longer eye lashes.  The second drop that she gave me was even worse, and besides the headaches, my voice became very hoarse, and it was difficult to talk.  The doctor then prescribed the third drop and wanted to see me in a month.

She was quite concerned and told me, after viewing all the results of the tests that I had, that there was a very good chance I would lose sight in my right eye; that the damage that had been caused by the pressure was irreversible.  She told me that the left eye had high pressure also, but there was no damage to that eye yet.  And then she threw in one other aspect – that I had no tears – liquid – in either eye and the “dry eye” was contributing to the faulty vision I was experiencing.

Needless to say I was frightened to death and used the drops religiously every day.  Again I asked her if Covid had had anything to do with this situation and she said that she doubted it but just wasn’t sure.  It came on so rapidly.

One month later I went back for another check and just about collapsed when she found that the pressure had gone up again in the eye that I was using the drops in.  She gave me all the possibilities that faced me, including the loss of total vision and said she would like to try two additional drops and see me in 4 days.  (This was Thursday.)  When she discovered that my insurance would not pay for one of the drops, I said it didn’t matter – that if it was a question of losing my vision and keeping it I would not squabble about the price.

I went directly to the pharmacy, only to find out that they did not have the drop – it was relatively new – VYZULTA – there was no generic, and my cost would be $285.  I asked how soon they could get it and was told the following day.  I told them to order it.  I had fully intended to use it in the car after picking it up and was thwarted in my efforts because it was to be taken at night!

I went to bed early that Friday night, and after applying the other two drops, used the miracle drop.  I used it without question Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and on Monday I had an appointment for a Field of Vision Check and the final appointment with the doctor to schedule the surgery for  “Open Angle Glaucoma Trabeculectomy”.  You can imagine how worried I was, and as I kept hitting the button indicating I was seeing the lights of the Field Test, I wondered how many lights I was missing.

At 9:30 am I was meeting with my doctor for the life-altering meeting, and she came in with a smile.  She said that I did quite well on the Field Test – almost the same as I did 5 years ago.  She also said that when the PA tested my distance vision I was 20/20 in the “bad” eye and 20/15 in the other one.  At this point everything was contingent on the pressure check of the right eye.  Once again she went over the possibilities of surgery; loss of vision; infection, etc. – in case I need the surgery so that I was prepared for the worst. She also had me watch a video of the surgery procedures so I could ask questions when we scheduled the surgery.  And then it was time to put the drops in and check the pressure!

It was absolutely unbelievable.  The pressure, with the new expensive drop, registered an eleven (11)! Lowest it had ever been.  Her smile stretched from one side of the mask to the other.  She told me that she ranks her patients as the most needy to the least, and I was at the top of her list, until moments before.  She was so glad to be able to take me off the list entirely.  I am not out of the woods yet – she wants to see me in one week just to make sure that this was not a fluke – but I will keep on using the drop probably for the rest of my life.  I am now using it in both eyes!

So was this caused by Covid? We probably will never know.  But when the article comes out about the Covid vs Glacoma, I will have the eye sight to read about it.  And please, if you haven’t had the vaccination – please have it post haste!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Eric Gerhardt June 23, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Great news!

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Judi Curry Judi Curry June 23, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Thanks, Eric.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 23, 2021 at 4:54 pm

My mid-70s paternal auntie in the late 90s had this happen, sudden onset of Glaucoma, and asked me about an article she had read about cannabis dropping the pressure in the eyes. I brought her high potency bud and a pipe, instructed her on use, and the pressure dropped to normal within hours. Her doctor was absolutely astounded and thrilled as yours was but she wouldn’t tell him what she’d started doing.

She didn’t need much but smoked a little each morning and the pressure stayed normal until her death in 2001… She did admit that it was much better than an alcohol buzz… :-)

Just saying.
____

As for Covid, it’s only been 16 months since this new disease slammed the world so they’ll be discovering after effects for years. What you had happen may be another of the long list of related injuries from it, the so-called ‘Long Covid.’ But I’m glad you feel like you back to 95% of normal. I’ve got friends up here in their 40s that are seriously suffering the lasting side effects still and they’re mid-40s. Ongoing since last September with no end in sight. Doctors just don’t know enough.

As for the vaccinations, that rate is dropping all over the country. My county is at 22% as of last week and that’s about as high as it’s going to go I’m assuming. Don’t know if you read this about the coming storm of the India ‘Delta’ variant:

****Interesting comments on the Delta Variant from the Tweet feed of Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the UCSF School of Medicine:

If you’re fully vaxxed, I wouldn’t be too worried, especially if you’re in a highly vaxxed region….

Unvaxxed may well do OK for a while, probably through summer [due to the large number of vaccinated people]. But fall/winter now scares me a lot, much more than it did 2 weeks ago….

For Delta, Pfizer dose 1 is only ~33% protective. https://gov.uk/…/vaccines-highly-effective-against-b-1… This creates 2 problems: 1) People stay vulnerable until after shot 2 (& many let guard down earlier); 2) Loss in efficacy for dose 1 points to some degree of vaccine/immune escape. And – though this isn’t proven – I’d worry that a fully vaccinated elder, or someone whose immunity stems from an infection >12 mths ago, won’t be sufficiently protected over time, if immunity falls below a threshold needed to thwart Delta….

For a vaccinated person, watch the Delta % in your region (currently ~6% in the U.S. & rising) & Covid cases in your community. https://cidrap.umn.edu/…/delta-variant-makes-6-us-covid… If you’re seeing more cases & more Delta, I’d restore some precautions (esp. if you’re high risk) – at least indoor mask wearing (if you’ve stopped; BTW, I haven’t) in places w/ unvaxxed/unmasked folks.

I’ll now bet we’ll see significant (incl. many hospitalizations/deaths) surges this fall in low-vaccine populations due to combo of seasonality, Delta’s nastiness, & “back to normal” behavior…

For me, Delta adds to my resolve to keep mask on indoors when unvaxxed/unmasked people may be around. And I’m getting psychologically prepped for some restrictions to return in fall (tho highly vaxxed places like SF will likely do fine). Nobody wants that, but the virus doesn’t care what we want. For unvaxxed, I wish you well but my sympathy is flagging. Your bad choice is looking worse.
____

And new numbers out from UofW on covid-related deaths in the US puts it at nearly 1 out of every 331, between 900,000 and 1 million dead since last February not the ‘official’ gov number. The madly mutating variants are slaughtering everywhere across the globe and most of these people do NOT have access to ‘profit protected’ corporate vaccines which means the nasty bug will continue to sidestep vaccines as it mutates into new variants. Look up the latest to hit Vietnam, the India Delta crossed with England’s Alpha and….oh my. Their 90 million population barely got touched, never had to close up, a great PUBLIC health system that worked beautifully. Expect more and increasingly infectious/lethal variants. There isn’t any stopping them with the lack of worldwide vaccination…

With a 22% vaccination rate where I live, like the UCSF chair I’ll not be taking off my mask anytime soon…

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Sadie June 23, 2021 at 8:01 pm

Nice info. Thanks! I was interested in the link to “Covid cases in your community” & the link won’t work. Can you check to see if it’s all there? THANK YOU!

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 23, 2021 at 9:55 pm

Sadie: Sorry that the entire link didn’t load up. This is the website:

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/

To be blunt, what I’ve read in the last week on it has me pretty dang nervous. But I can’t find that exact article but it was here somewhere back a week or so. Info all over it right now on long covid, the Alpha variant and especially Delta, side effects; a lot of reading.

This is a cut from one on Delta posted today:

The ECDC said if countries gradually ease their restrictions by half by Sep 1, the rise in COVID-19 will affect all age-groups, especially those younger than 50 years. Hospitalizations and deaths could reach levels seen in the fall of 2020 if no additional public health measures are taken. Pop in and pick what you feel you need to know and can handle knowing…
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I also read the U of Washington/covid reports. Both universities have top notch infectious disease labs and excellent (though scary) updates. Bluntly, wear a mask/get vaccinated is what they are saying but not many are going to listen because people are acting giddy with the ‘it’s all over let’s get back to normal’ syndrome. It’s not, the world is just starting to be engulfed by the 2nd Wave. Following the pattern of the 1918-1920 Pandemic rather closely unfortunately. If it continues true to form, the next wave will be sometime in 2022 with other variants that aren’t here yet…

I apologize for being the bearer of bad tidings. As the UCSF guy said, covid doesn’t care what we think.

sealintheSelkirks

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Judi Curry Judi Curry June 23, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Great comments. I thought about smoking weed to see if the pressure would go down – haven’t done that since I broke my leg a few years ago – but with the pressure down on Thursday I may not try it. However, today the pressure was at 16 – up 5 points from Thursday so do not know what will happen next.

They just don’t know enough about Covid to make intelligent suggestions. The variants are very scary, and even though I have had Covid AND both Pfizer injections, I still do not feel safe going without a mask. If only it had been handled correctly in the beginning….

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Avatar Gravitas June 23, 2021 at 6:53 pm

Judy: I miss your column and thank you for your stop the fireworks efforts. Some nights they do’t even go off. A treat. And your restaurant reviews. Westerly Pub is a new place (the Hilton annes) on Rosecrans. No chance to eat there, but the indoors look nice.
Stay well. Enjoy the mild weather.

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Judi Curry Judi Curry June 23, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Thank you so much. As more restaurants open up my reviews will begin again. I saw the “Westerly Pub” when I passed by a few days ago. It is on my list. Want to go with me?
The weather is certainly “San Diego weather”. Getting a little depressing. I know that will change shortly. As for the fireworks – it is almost a losing battle – like the airport. Stay well.

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Avatar Harry June 23, 2021 at 7:38 pm

Hi Judy, Nothing to add, just congratulations on a great outcome. Best wishes, Harry

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Avatar Sylvia Lange June 24, 2021 at 7:28 am

Judi- what a story! You’ve been through so much and I’m so happy you’re pulling through. Happy also for your eyesight getting stronger! Looking forward to your reviews!

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Judi Curry Judi Curry June 24, 2021 at 10:04 am

And Sylvia – thank goodness I will be able to do them. Thank you!

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Judi Curry Judi Curry June 24, 2021 at 7:35 am

Thanks Harry c

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Avatar nostalgic June 24, 2021 at 10:04 am

Glaucoma is another thing that could be handled better. Numbers go up and down, and doctors look blank. It takes one minute to do the test. They should do it in every drugstore. But it takes a machine, and only opthalmologists and opticians have the machine. The numbers tell the story. There are still too many people who do not get the news until too late. Thanks for reminding EVERYBODY to get this test.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 28, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Covid latest. READ THIS PLEASE. You can catch Delta and the new Delta Plus mutants JUST BY WALKING PAST SOMEONE INFECTED as video at airport shows.

Under 40 and kids in Missouri is going DOWN. Doctors are screaming at Faux Infotainment for lying to people.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/06/28/here-comes-donald-trumps-final-massacre/

sealintheSelkirks

PS, and it’s heading for 112’F again here. Frank is going to be hotter than he ever imagined in Portland…

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Avatar Geoff Page June 28, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Not sure I understood this sentence, seal, “Under 40 and kids in Missouri is going DOWN.” I thought it meant that people under 40 and kids were getting sick until it occurred to me that kids are under 40. Just looking for a bit of clarification.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 29, 2021 at 10:31 am

Sorry Geoff! Drop the ‘in’ and put a period after kids. Missouri is going down heavily with Delta. The US went from 6% of new cases in May being Delta to 20% by June. Almost all are not vaccinated but even vaxed people can contract the Delta if exposed to enough virus to overload the system. Being unmasked in a restaurant full of people with asymptomatic carriers is all it takes is what I’m reading. And people who got sick last year are losing their antibody immunity as coronavirus are well-known for short-term immunity after infections. It’s why people catch the ‘common cold’ every winter, it’s a coronavirus.

Up here 20% of the new cases are Gamma, the highly infectious Brazilian mutated strain. Delta is making inroads, too, of course. With this insane back to normal with near zero mask wearing it isn’t going to get better as I see clumps of people in restaurants etc etc in a county that barely reached 22% vaccination rates. Stevens County Washington is ripe for plucking by Delta and/or Gamma…

Or maybe they’ll do the same thing that India’s Delta and England’s Alpha have done in Viet Nam, combine into a new hybrid which is slaughtering in that county. Vietnam never closed down, they had it beat with their excellent health care system. But they weren’t ready for the new hybrid that hit them…

This is the 2nd Wave of Covid 19 that is sweeping the planet. Pretty soon the original strain will be completely extinct is what the science is saying… In other words, watch your ass old surfer dude! And everybody else down there that read the RAG, don’t get cocky!

sealintheSelkirks

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