In The Blink Of An Eye Everything Changes
Friday, October 1, 2010

It was 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.

I know this, because I remember looking at the clock right after it happened. 

I'd had a great morning. I'd bounded through my house filled with early morning energy and just about everything was tidied, washed, and picked up by the time the little hand hit the 10. 

I was ready for a full wonderful day of writing.  

And then, suddenly there was this heavy pressure over my left eye. It didn't hurt. It was just a, "What the hell is that?" kind of feeling. 

I looked in the mirror and stared at my pupils. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. 

But within minutes, I was seeing double everything and my depth perception made everything close and far and big and little. It was what  I can only imagine the beginning of an LSD trip feels like. 

Being the type of girl who never wants to be a bother to anyone, not even my husband, I figured I could take care of this myself. I did what I always do when I have any ailment, big or small. I took a hot bubble bath.

It is my Big Fat Greek Wedding Windex for all ailments. 

I put a cold compress over my eyes and let Calgon or actually, Philosophy's, "Falling in Love", take me away. 

After soaking for awhile, I got out of the tub. When it took me three tries to grab my towel off its holder, I knew I had to call my Hubby. 

I told him, "Something's wrong. You have to come home."

He raced home because I never fuss. I never bother anyone else with my hypochondria. 

We went to my eye doctor who after finding nothing of significance and conferring with my primary care doctor, decided that a little trip to the ER was in order. 

As soon as we got there, a full workup was ordered for me. Dan the Medic who is an awesome guy by the way, came into my room with another dude full of straight white teeth and green eyes, who I'm pretty sure, is one of the high school kids of Glee in his other life. His name was Shane and he was training to become an EMT. And Dan said, "If you don't mind, it's Shane's first day on the job and since we're doing a full workup, I'd like to let him . . . "

I stopped him in his tracks and said, "Please tell me you're not going to let Shane draw my blood for the first time in his life. Because, I'm down with a lot of things, but not that."

And Dan laughed and told me that no, he was wondering if Dan could observe me getting an EKG. 

I was all, "As long as Shane is not poking around my veins, I'm cool."

Then Dan said, "But I'll have to attach a disc to your breast, so if you prefer a female medic, Shane and I can leave and I'll be glad to get you one."

I waved him off and then told my two new man friends of the time I had just had my first baby. Of course, at a teaching hospital. I delivered her around 2:00 a.m.. And by mid morning, I felt like the entire hospital including the janitorial staff had been in to take a peek. I'm pretty sure they were shipping in the wide eyed med students by the busloads, just to take a look at my goods. So, when the next slim, bespectacled doctor walked through my doors, I smiled hello and then just threw back my sheets and lifted up my gown and was all, "Pull up a chair and take a gander, everyone else has."

He nervously adjusted his spectacles and said, "Mrs. Mannix, I'm your new baby's pediatrician. 

Dan and Shane got a kick out of my mortifying tale and I think they both felt a lot more comfortable as Shane fumbled around his first EKG boob. I'm always glad to help out.  

A cat scan, blood work, an EKG and several other basic tests showed nothing. The ER told us to call my doctor in the morning or come back if it got worse. 

I went home miserable, frustrated, and walking like a drunk. 

I did discover that if I covered one eye, it didn't matter which one, the blurry, double vision went away. So, I patched one eye and walked around like a drunk pirate. 

The next morning my doctor had me follow her pencil with my eyes. She decided my eyes were not good followers and sent me to an opthamologist. 

The opthamologist ran a litany of tests and then pulled out his pencil. 

In my humble non medical opinion, these doctors should all forgo the fancy equipment and imaging machines and just focus on collecting pencils. It certainly seems like they put all their stock in the pencil rather than all of the other fancy schmancy. It sure would be more economical all around.

And there you have my answer to the health care crisis. Pencils. You're welcome America. 

My opthamologist decided my corneas and retinas were all snappy but he, too, didn't like the way my eyes were following that dang pencil. 

So, he sent me on to the neurologist with the typical, it could be anything, like . . .  and then dropping scary terms I don't even want to put into writing, terms that were like radioactive bombs on my fragile hypochondriac heart. 

For the rest of the day, I felt like I was going to vomit from the thought of all the big and little things, all the scary unknowns waiting for me out there in the blackness of "What now?"

And here's where I tell you about that man of mine. He owns an insurance agency. But he knows nothing, not one darn thing, about OUR insurance. It's like he's so busy all day taking care of everyone else's insurance needs, he doesn't have time to keep up on us. 

And so I take care of all of that business. In fact, I take care of all the medical business round here. The kids, my own. I am very well versed in everything doctorly about us. I'm not even sure he knows our pediatrician's name, in fact. He's too busy to worry about our details. He's got to keep us in shoes. 

Until Tuesday. 

From the moment he walked in this door, he took charge. He checked on coverages. He called doctors. He worked his usual magic and got us in to the very best doctors immediately with a few well placed phone calls and a lot of charm. He even stood with the opthamologist and observed my wonked up eyes not following the pencil. 

And two days ago, he had some major business happening at his agency. Things and big cases that required his presence but instead, he was with me and my wonky eyes all day and I know how frustrated he must have been. Even though, he never said a word about it.

While we were waiting for the opthamologist, he was on the phone, trying his best to attend to business. I was watching the TV in our examining room with my one eye. The news was reporting on this dude who just nabbed a reality show, a reality show featuring him and his FOUR wives. And I'm telling you, I MUST watch this show. The man's big, poofy blow dried mullet is only one of the reasons I know I'm going to love it. 

Which, by the way, all examining rooms should come equipped with TV's. Because there is no more unendurable stretch of time than when you're waiting for the doc, sitting on that crinkly paper while clothed only in a paper gown. 

Luckily, eyes do not require disrobing. 

As my Hubby tried to manage a problem with one of his biggest clients while sitting in an examining room with me, I turned to him and said, "I'm sorry for all of this."

And he said, "Stop. I can get new cases. I only have one wife."

After I smiled and winked at him with my one eye, I pointed at the TV and said, "Apparently, you're no longer limited to one." Wife that is.

The neurologist, the opthamologist referred us to, was able to see us that day. Dr. A is the head of Neurology for our Big Deal hospital in the city, so in all this nonsense, I was grateful for these little tender mercies— doors that easily opened when I needed them the most.

And not only was he a Big Cheese, he was quite handsome, too. Both of him. 

See, there is an upside to double vision. 

And guess what this handsome, noted doctor with tons of letters after his name did? That's right. Dr. A used a pencil. After I failed my 3rd pencil test, he said, "I don't understand what's going on and I don't like it when that happens. So we need to get to the bottom of this fast and if I can't get you all the tests you need today, then I'm going to hospitalize you, so we can get those tests done asap."

My hubby and I looked at each other and said in unison. "Fine." 

It gave me great comfort to know I had a man, or two, in this case, who liked to get things done. 

Luckily, I slept in my own big, comfy bed. My twin neurologists were able to schedule all my tests for the very same day. Tender mercies. 

And I'll only say this about my tests. Right before my MRI, Brian the tech, stressed the importance of staying perfectly still during the MRI. Now, I'm one of those folks whose eyelids will start to flutter like butterfly wings if you tell me not to blink. So, I was worried about the fidgeting. He told me not to worry, he was going to pipe music through my headphones to keep me from thinking about wiggling. 


Before I could protest, he slapped on my headphones and sent me down the MRI conveyor belt.  

And I just knew I'd be squeezing that emergency button in my hand, if Justin Bieber's prepubescent squeak of "Baby, Baby, Baby, Ohhh . . . " came over my headphones. 

Thankfully, I think Brian forgot about the music and for a good part of the MRI, I just listened to the Clacky Clack noises which for me, is still 100% better  than having to listen to Rihanna.  

And when he did finally remember my music halfway through, I was relieved to hear Chris Martin of Coldplay, singing to me. But then I thought about how Chris Martin is married to the insufferable Gwyneth Paltrow and for the one and only time during my MRI, I flinched. 

Fast Forward to yesterday, where we trekked back to the big city to see Dr. A for results. 

I am happy to say, most of the big, scary things have been ruled out. MRI's and scans of carotid arteries and all the other tests show everything is as it should be. 

I do have some soaring blood pressure and some high cholesterol and some vitamin deficiencies— luckily all things that are small and fixable. 

But my eyes still don't want to work together. 

When Dr. A heralded me with the good news that my brain looked beautiful, (his words not mine) and that my tests showed me to be in very good health, I immediately said or perhaps, I don't know, yelled in frustration, "But why can't I see? That's all great and all, but I CAN'T SEE!"

He told me to calm myself and first and foremost, celebrate the good news that all my tests came back perfect. And in that moment, I thought about his waiting room and all of the folks sitting around me, with obvious impairments and shaved heads and an inability to speak or walk and so I took a big sigh and nodded. And then I said, "But I CAN'T SEE STRAIGHT!"

And that's when he said, "We'll figure this out. I'm not leaving you until we get to the bottom of this, but just be thankful for what it's not."

And I said, "Yes. I am so very grateful, but now what are we going to do, because I SEE TWO OF YOU!"

And he said, "Okay, the first thing you need to do is RELAX."

And with that, my hubby nearly fell off his chair with laughter as he told Dr. A, he's been telling me to do that every single day now for over 20 years now. 

So, I'm not a relaxable type of girl. There are worse things I could be. 

I began Tuesday with a primary care doctor I saw maybe once a year and of course, my girlie doctor. I took no medications except for the occasional antibiotic. I sit here today with a neurologist, a neuro opthamologist  and a handful of lifelong meds. And still, my eye is wonky. 

Right now, their best guess is an inflammation of vessels surrounding the eye and a mild hope that my medicines may do the trick. But next week, I see an opthamologist who specializes in muscular disorders of the eye and also a cardiologist, because, what the heck, we've checked out every other organ, might as well, check out the heart, too. Heck, there's always room for more medication. 

I got home last night after a journey of far too many doctors' offices and hospital beds. I fell asleep at 7:30 into a hard, dreamless sleep. My daughter said I didn't even move the 1001 times the phone rang, all the wonderful folks checking on me. 

Who knows what will come. All I want is my EYESIGHT back, those regular old eyes of mine that just see one of everything. And I'm not a patient girl, nor, as it has been pointed out to me, have I ever been able to relax. Whatever.

I apologize for the length of this post. I just wanted to explain my absence. I won't be around for a few days. I'm supposed to rest my eyes. And I'm not very good at resting . . . anything. But my Hubby is acting like a Nazi soldier, constantly monitoring me. He's allowed me one post, but then I'm supposed to step away from the *sob* computer. Also, I woke up this morning to an Internet outage in our area. I think my Nazi hubby is behind it. 

I'll be back, hopefully next week. I apologize for my lack of response to all of you. But know, that I appreciate each and every one of you. 

And if I may ask for prayers or good wishes or anything that might help me get MY VISION BACK, I would be most appreciative. Until we see each other again, Love and Kisses guys. 

Today's Definite Download: Coldplay's "Fix You." Chris Martin wrote this for his Gwyneth when her father died. A song most assuredly written by a man who stood by and helplessly watched his wife grieve. I've always loved this song, because it came out right after my own father died and I could relate to his words through my own broken heart.

It was the first song to play during my MRI. Ironic, huh? 

"Fix You" for Dr. A. Please, Dr. A, fix me and stop telling me to RELAX! 

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you


Lisa said...

Oh Joann - I will be be praying! You poor thing! Sending you love, prayers and a big ol' hug! Get better soon.

Amber at The Musings of ALMYBNENR said...

Wow, Joann...just wow! I can't imagine that everyone is stumped about what is wrong with your wonky eye! I'm really glad that as far as we know, nothing is seriously wrong with you from all those tests. But I do hope that your vision comes back and acts normal SOON and I will be sending all those vibes your way. Last year into early this year I had a whole lot of eye doctor fun too, where I had tests to rule out tumors and such, so I can empathize a bit.
Stop seeing double SOON!

A. B. Keuser said...

I hope everything turns out okay. I'm sure it will be something simple that when they tell you how they're going to fix it you'll look at them like "that was too simple, are you sure?"

Good luck and listen to your hubby. Rest up!

Suburban Correspondent said...

You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

Frightening to be sitting there with your eyes not working right, I know - but I'm betting on some inflammation pressing on the optic nerve. Just hang in there!

That medical advice (from a fellow hypochondriac) is free, by the way. I know, I'm amazing. Hey, I've got a pencil and I know how to use it.

Rae said...

Hope everything is back to normal soon!
Good thing you have insurance coverage- I can't imagine the bills for all those doctors and tests.
Do you remember my post about my spider bite? I was in the ER 30 minutes. The doctor saw me 2 minutes. My bill was $1400. I never so much as got an aspirin, either!
Miss you! And even though you don't want to hear it- try to RELAX.
I'm praying for you...

TesoriTrovati said...

Goodness Joann. That is the scariest thing. And we don't appreciate our good health until it is not there. Sounds like you have the very best care that you can get.

And each of those pencil tests? Will cost you $600 each.


Wishing you good health and sending prayers your way.

Enjoy the day!

Ducky said...

I can honestly say I know exactly what you're going through. Add in excruciating brain pain and I'm all there....scans and all.

Hope some r & r does the trick for you!

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

I had a feeling something was up with you. I hope your wonky eyes straighten up and learn to work together. I hate when they don't cooperate with each other.

I love that you are such a giver. A teacher of sorts, offering up your boob for those to learn.

Hope all is well soon!

alicia said...

How unnerving to not have answers to such a scary thing. Hang in there friend. Answers will come.

Heather said...

I am so sorry you are going through this, but on the other hand how else would you have cured the nation's medical ills with pencils!! I will no longer see a doctor that doesn't have one!!!

Seriously though I pray they get to the bottom of this. And I pray that you will be able to relax!!

DB in MD said...

Best of luck to you Joann. And, yes, be thankful for what it's not.
I hope you're well again soon.

Jennifer Vanderbeek said...

Oh, wow! What a roller-coaster. As thankful as I am that the tests came back negative for the big scary possibilities, I know first hand how hard it is to get "normal" test results when something is very obviously wrong.

Hang in there and I hope your new coterie of gorgeous doctors get you fixed up.

Cecelia Winesap said...

Hope you get to the cause of all of that quickly!

Gucci Mama said...

Oh my gosh! At least you have hot doctors, right?

Feel better; I hope you get some answers soon!

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Joann, I'm so glad they didn't find anything seriously wrong! I know of your frustration, I have been battling vertigo all summer long - double vision and losing my balance. Supposedly it's fluid in my ear caused by pollen and/or spores. They can't do much for it but give me some dizzy pills and I have to wait it out.

Feel better soon and do indeed rest!

Renee said...

Good luck with everything! I'm thinking of you.

randine said...

Oh, Joanne.
I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this.
I thought of you last night on my way home from work, for some reason, and I hope this doesn't sound too stalkerish- but I hadn't seen you around and was beginning to wonder. Mayne the spammers retaliated? I worry about my blog friends when they're not around.

But then I thought, well, she's working on her book, I think.

I really hope this all resolves soon.

And that show- the one with the creepy haired mullet guy- is called Sister Wives and it is freaking AWESOME by the way!

And I laughed at the the thought of JB being piped into the MRI.
That would be hell.

Feel better.
Hugs- hope that's not too stalkerish either.

McKenzie said...

Oh wow! I'm sorry that you had to go through all of that.. I hope everything keeps looking up! You are in my thoughts.

Missy@Wonder, Friend said...

I'm so glad the scary stuff has been ruled out!! I'll keep praying for answers.

Unknown said...

I was wondering what happened to you! I just though, well, you probably missed a sentence where she tells us that she's going away to her cave to edit her book.
Poor you!
Eye stuff is the worst.
this post is hilarious though, and what a sweet husband you have. Awww.

Keep us updated, even if you have to make the Nazi post for you.

Tracie Nall said...

Very scary. I have been there with the strange medical condition that 72 doctors can't seem to diagnose. It is awful, and all those assurances of "your brain is beautiful" and "your heart seems fine" and "what great blood you have" don't matter until they can take the pain away (or in your case, make you see!).

Rest those eyes, relax......pretend to relax-it's a good start.

Prayers for you.

Unknown said...

the prayer part is a given Joann
and I'm assuming you are getting these comments read to you... no cheating.

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

Prayers!!! Now stop peeking at your comments and go rest!

Noelle said...

Of course you'll be in my prayers!!! And now I will stop whining about my day...and focus on whining about your day! I hope all of those good doctors soon figure out the problem!

And as a side note...Sister Wives...with the wacky haired husband...that show kept me up ALL NIGHT LONG thinking about it. I was disturbed on many levels, and I'll be back in front of the TV Sunday night to be disturbed again.

Hang in there!

MrsBlogAlot said...

Please DO relax and take it easy my girl!!!

And stop all this medical pencil talk before the gyno's get wind of it.

Deidra said...

Oh my gosh! Thank goodness they've ruled out a lot of nasty things already. I'm sure everything will be fine! We'll be here when you get back!

Unknown said...

I'm praying that it's something minor and easily fixable. Take care.

Alexandra said...

OK. I'm taking deep breaths here. B/c I held my breath during that whole gloriously long post.

So afraid of what your last sentence would say.

But I didn't skip ahead.

Thank you for the MRI info.

But , please, let us all know, K?

Cuz you're all important to me and stuff...

Amethyst Anne said...

All the best mojo coming your way! Take care, relax and let the masses pamper and take care of you!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you are okay. Seeing double of a handsome doctor is fun and all but I hope they fix you up soonest!

Baby Sister said...

That sucks. :( I'm sorry you had to go through that!! You will be in my prayers...I hope it gets fixed!!

Ash said...

Holy smokes Joann. Lay off the LSD already, chica. It's so 20 years ago. At least I hope it is.

All my prayers and thoughts to you and your wonky eyes. And a massive high five to your hubby. Aim for the hand in the middle :-)

P.S. I detest the word "relax" - the situation always sucks when that word is given. OB/GYN office, mouthy teenager, etc. But I'll say it anyway, relax sweetheart. We need you back.

Unknown said...

Good grief sweetie you have been through it to say the least. First of all Kudos to hubby who stepped up to the plate in a surprising way to you, and I am sure all will be fine.. take a deep breath and remember to relax.. praying for you

Paula said...

Prayers for you and yours, Joann.

Melissa B. said...

Wowzer...what a journey! And the only upside is the "two" hot medical types? At least double vision is good for something. Hope they (both of them) get to the bottom of this real soon...

Hulk (Who's always there for a friend...unless the ball game is on. Then he might be a little late...) said...

Good thoughts and prayers...

And for once, listen to your husband. It won't kill you to take a few orders once in a while.

Alyson -- Common Sense, Dancing said...

So sorry you don't yet have an answer yet (but that you CAN rule out the scary stuff)....

We'll be here for you when you get back. No worries. Take good care of yourself -- and that includes letting others care FOR you!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nazi,...if you're reading this to your double visioned wife,..please tell her I am praying for her and that I love her. I am also grateful that you are there to take care of her.
"Course if you are reading this yourself Joanne, just switch things around 'till they make sense. Don't know how to comment on this thing - but I am middlechild.

Venassa said...

That would be pretty scary! You're in my thoughts. Your husband sounds like a great guy to have around in these kinds of situations.

Ashley said...

Hope your doctors come up with some answers soon. I don't want to be seeing you on the next episode of "Mystery Diagnosis."

Feel better soon, too :-)

Tiffaney said...

oh no! I'm so sorry you're going through this. But I am relieved beyond measure that the scary stuff has been ruled out. I'll be sending love, prayers, good thoughts your way as they try to unravel the unpredictable mystery that you are, my dear! Hang in there, and props to your hubby for being such a wonderful guy.

The Bipolar Diva said...

How frustrating that has to be! Prayers going your way!

Cheeseboy said...

Too bad Chris Martin can't be your real doctor. Your doctor sounds a lot like Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock.

Glad all the major issues have been ruled out. From one hypochondriac to another: GOOD LUCK with the rest of the tests.

Jessica Gottlieb said...


Cheryl said...

Well that's scary. Very, very scary. I am glad that 1) you have a beautiful brain, altho this is of course something I already knew and 2) that it's not anything horrible.

So you might not know much, but you know no alien is going to burst through your eye and eat your ducks.

Take care of yourself and I hope you get some answers soon!

W.C.Camp said...

Wow scary stuff. Take care of yourself. Hope it all works out. At least the really dangerous parts seem ok but weird about the seeing thing? Good Luck and keep us posted! W.C.C.

purplume said...

Sending prayers and I put you on my church's prayer list.

granny1947 said...

Oh Dear Joann...I do hope you get to the bottom of this soon.
Positive thoughts coming from this side of the world.

Deborah said...


It sounds like you're in such good hands with that hubbins of yours.

I am sending white light your way.

One Photo said...

You know how you always find out who your best and true friends are in a crisis, well I reckon you also find out who the amazing husbands are too and it sounds like you have a gem there. Your and your husband were so very right to press to get the best and most immediate of attention - clearly something is going on and hopefully they get to the bottom of it soon. Sorry you had to go through all that worry - I had an experience last year if waiting and worrying so know how hard it can be to deal with.

But I have to ask, how can you write such a long post with wonky eyes?!? :-)

Bossy Betty said...

Oh, Baby! I hope you feel (and see) better SO SOON. Good that the man took charge. Good Man. This is scary stuff, I know and I'll be sending you good vibes. You MUST get your vision in top shape for the watching of the Wives and Mullet Man Show. I am SO looking forward to your review of it!

Hugs to you!

Ami said...

I hope the medical issues are resolved soon and I'm happy to read that many scary things were ruled out.

And I'm left smiling because it's quite obvious that not only do you love him.. but that he obviously treasures you in return.


Cari said...

Oh my! I hope that everything gets back to normal very soon!

Lindsey said...

I am praying for you and can't wait to see you back. Rest as long as you need to.

Lori said...

How scary! I'll be thinking of you and hoping everything is ok. Thank goodness for supportive hubbys.

Kelly said...

OH. My. GOD. I'm just now reading this and how frightening for you! I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything gets resolved and you can see perfectly fine out of both eyes at the same time.

P.S. That's not how an acid trip starts. Don't ask me how I know this.

Judie said...

Joann, is your case going to be presented on Mystery Diagnosis? Please let me know so I can tape the episode.

Joann, is your case going to be presented on Mystery Diagnosis? Please let me know so I can tape the episode.

Do you see one comment above, or two? Ha, I'm just messin' with you.

I know you are going to be perfectly fine.

Cupcake Murphy said...

I am looking forward to your total 100% healing so you can write more about the freak polygamist with the poofy hair. Love to you!

Art Chick said...

Sending you double hugs--some for you,and some for that awesome hubby who is taking such good care of you!

The Furry Godmother said...

Please be well, Joann. You are a light. My best to you and your charming family.

Dawn in D.C. said...

Sending you warm and healing thoughts.

Come back soon and tell us more about all your cute, young doctors. Which really doesn't seem fair, because when I was young and cute, the doctors were all old and scraggly. Now that I'm old and scraggly, the doctors are all young and cute.

Mother Nature really is a bitch.

Nicki said... have a lot of people who care about you!!! Your husband seems wonderful!!!

Dear God,
I don't know Joann personally but I pray that what she is experiencing isn't anything serious. I pray for skilled doctors to find and fix her eyesight. I pray for courage and strength for her and her family and I pray that she will be able to see the need for relaxing. I pray her nervousness does not elevate her blood pressure more so her condition isn't worsened. Lastly God, thank you for sending Joann such a remarkable husband, thank you for watching over her, and thank you for hearing my prayer.

In Jesus' Name,

Mom vs. the boys said...

Oh no!!! that is awful! I hope they figure it out soon!

Katie Gates said...

Joann. Oh my! What a story! My thoughts are with you, and if you see that statement twice, then I think it's appropriate. I hope you and the doctor community get to the bottom of this soon! Hang in there!

Unknown said...

Joann, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am relieved the neurologist didn't discover anything wrong with your brain. I do hope you will get some answers, and SOON.

Sending healing and happy thoughts,

jayayceeblog said...

I only have one wife. *sigh* Now that man is a keeper! Sending positive vibes and only music that you love your way as you figure this thing out!

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