June 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 81 of 83

laugh She’s Got Bette Davis’ Eye…Disease By Laura J. Gallagher “Are you going to write about this?” Ah, the words every colum- nist dreads. Especially when you’re strapped to a table with laser beams shooting into your head. I should probably back up a bit. Approximately nine months ago, my immune system decided that attacking my thyroid was waaay too 2007 and headed north to my eye muscles. The double vision came first, but because I mainly noticed it when looking at a com- puter screen or watching television, I figured it was eye strain—until the day I woke up with it. When I mentioned it to my optometrist, he flew into panic mode and told me to get an MRI right away. The word “stroke” was men- tioned—it gets a bit hazy and distorted after that. So off I went to get an MRI. Did I mention I’m claustrophobic? And that it was a closed MRI and I had to wear a cage over my head so I couldn’t move and that it took 45 minutes? And then I needed a second one which was even worse because I had to have the cage and beanbags over my eyes? And oh my god what if the building collapses and I’m stuck inside this machine and someone turned the heat way up and if I don’t get out of here this second I swear I’m going to die? No? ANYWAY. No stroke, just a lovely case of thyroid eye disease. The disease has inflamed my eye muscles, causing my eyes to bulge out of their sockets and, shall we say, go their separate ways. They’re John Lennon and Paul McCartney circa 1971. The first treatment we try consists of enough steroids to make Jose Canseco weep with envy, which are administered via IV over my lunch hour for two weeks. This is nice, because it gives me a chance to catch up on my People and US magazine reading. “ ” The disease has inflamed my eye muscles, causing my eyes to bulge out of their sockets and, shall we say, go their separate ways. But, the disease whips its middle finger at the ‘roids, peels out of the driveway, and gets worse. Now, my right eye won’t close all the way, so it’s drying out and giving me a lovely case of conjunctivitis. Between the conjunctiva and the double vision, I decide to wear an eye patch. Do you know how many little kids are into “Pirates of the Carib- bean?” Do you know how obnoxious some adults can be? Wanna find out? Eye patch. Little kids stare at me over restaurant booths. I get several, “Hey, Halloween’s over” comments. A complete stranger says “Arrr, matey” to me as I leave the dry cleaners. A grown man. I consid- ered flipping up the patch and rubbing my eye on his sleeve, but he was heading into the discount cigarette store so I figured he had enough problems. Months go by. I’m on steroid drops, artificial tears, oral steroids, I’m wearing specially made goggles to bed to keep my eyes moist. Nothing. My ophthalmologist (who is awesome) finally throws his latex-gloved hands in the air and says “radiation.” Which is how I came to be strapped to a table, yada yada. Once again, the universe tries tough love to cure me of my claus- trophobia. A mask that looks like hardened fishnet is made that fits my head and face exactly. I will lie down, the mask will be put on and then, of course, it will be snapped to the table—because it ain’t no fun unless Laura’s immobile. Luckily, I’m not in any machine this time, it’s just moving around my head making science-y sounds and emitting rays of radiation. The good news is that this seems to have worked. I’m actually get- ting better and I don’t feel like a female Marty Feldman anymore. While I still see double, my right eye is trying very hard to look where the left one is. I appreciate the effort; my left eye has always been difficult to work with. I’ll need at least one surgery to get everything back to normal, but that’s fine by me. I haven’t written about it until now because, well, it didn’t seem very funny when I kept getting worse, not better. But now, ah, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Actually, there’s two. ••• Laura J. Gallagher is a long-time communications professional. When not teasing her husband, Triple M’s Pat Gallagher, she enjoys reading, cooking and trying to get their dog and two cats off the bed so she can make it for once. Find her on Facebook on the Laura J. Gallagher Fan Page! 80 BRAVA Magazine May 2011

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Brava - June 2011