it all started sometime around september of last year.
itching, dryness, blurriness, and morbidly unattractive redness would plague my contacts-ed eyeballs. it began small - a bout of irritation here and there, or perhaps a slight pink tint to my eye after a long day of work (and a short night in a hotel room with the AC constantly on). slowly but surely, it became more and more frequent, until it became normal for me to walk around with teary red eyes at the end of the day. "poop-eye the sailor BA", "poopahauntas", and "all around scary-looking weirdo" became common nicknames for me amongst my fellow mature and compassionate thoughtworkers.
after a few weeks or so of these increasingly-severe shenanigans, i decided to see an optometrist. his words: "oh my god. it's a desert in there. this will take months to heal" i was taken aback. it was that bad? i'd worn the same contacts for the better half of a decade... surely my body couldn't have suddenly just... decided to reject them! this was blasphemy, people. BLASPHEMY.
but nevertheless, i decided to err on the side of caution. unlike shins or forearms or ankles or any of the usual body parts that can take a beating, eyes are a pretty sensitive part of the body. i didn't want to fuck mine up (more than they already were). so i reluctantly stowed away my now-allegedly-evil contacts and dug out my out-prescribed, wonky black glasses. i wore those (read: waddled my way through) for the better half of three months.
now let me tell you something: people treated me differently when i wore glasses. i treated myself differently when i wore glasses. i think that in general, i felt a tad smarter and nerdier and freer to be funny/vulgar/unladylike (i like to think i channeled tina fey a little, but in reality it was probably more drew carey than tina). oh and i didn't wear makeup or feel cute enough to dress up a ton, which was okay because the one boy whose affection i cared about thought i looked good in 'em anyhoo.
but i digress. as i wore my glasses, i could feel my eyes improving bit by bit, and weekly visits to the optometrist confirmed my progress. by the end of three months or so, my vision had gone back to normal. i got new glasses prescribed and a pair of trial contacts to wear - just a few hours a day at a time - and did a little jig. i was so excited to work out and be able to see the treadmill's numbers. or put on mascara and feel pretty again. or not have to squint at the screen at work. i was just glad to feel back to my old self.
i guess i got too excited, because i uh, did not obey dr's orders to the tee. while for the most part i stuck to just wearing those contacts for a few hours each day, a couple times (read: snowboarding) i wore those contacts for eight hours or more. and within two weeks my eyes were starting to show the same symptoms, but at an alarmingly quicker rate. so i cut back to one, maybe just two hours once every other day or so, but my eyes seemed to be getting worse and worse regardless of how much i scaled back. the new year came and i was at the same place i was before, with another diagnosis of severe dry eye and corneal abrasions. -insert napoleon dynamite-esque "idiot!" here-
it's been about three weeks and i'm still recovering and regretting not being smarter about my eyes. i'm seeing doctors, taking medication, following instructions (this time) and am 100% positive i can beat this darned thing. yet for all the inconvenience, time, and money this has cost me, it made me realize that too often, i take my health for granted and that it really does pays to take care of myself. i consider myself lucky that this eye thing is the only thing that's plaguing me, that i am otherwise blessed with a fully functioning mind and body. and hey, if it weren't for this i would never have learned about the benefits of fish oil. that stuff has so many benefits, it practically makes you superhuman. which i will be once i am back to 20/20 - eye-eye, cap'n!