Sunday, March 25, 2012

Journal - Infection

I guess I have a little catching up to do, so here goes.

I had an appointment with Dr. Feilmeier in Kearney on March 8. Two or three days before that I started noticing some things in my eye. I’ve been down the infection road quite a few times and know most of the signs by heart: a little more redness than usual, a little more light sensitivity than usual. So I was pretty sure there was an infection starting up but since I already had an appointment I decided to wait until then and let Doc take a look at it.

On March 8, Doc confirmed my suspicions and said that one of my sutures had loosened and allowed an infection to set in. We are now five months out from surgery and under normal circumstances the sutures would have probably been out by now, but Doc had told me right from the start that he would leave mine in much longer to give the cornea some extra stability while it healed completely. This being because of my history of problems and the fact that I only have one eye, “Driving on the spare.” As Doc so eloquently phrases it,

Doc gave me two new eye drops to use, Zymaxid and Vancomycin. Zymaxid is kind of a general bacterial antibiotic which I had used for a while following surgery. Vancomycin is a bit more potent and is also used to treat bacterial infections. The Zymaxid is common and can be picked up at most any pharmacy but the Vancomycin is a special solution that has to be made to order. The doctor’s assistant called around Kearney and couldn’t find any pharmacist that could make it but finally found one in Holdrege so we had to drive over to Holdrege to pick that one up.

After giving me my instructions Doc said he wanted to see me again the following Monday (as I expected) which meant a trip to Omaha. I further expected that it would take more than just one trip to Omaha but that remained to be seen.

So on Monday the 12th we headed out bright and early for the big city. Not quite bright and early enough though, we got there half an hour late for my appointment and the doctor had already left the office. Dr. Feilmeier keeps hours at three different offices in Omaha, all Midwest Eye Care locations. Two are in Omaha and the other is across the state line in Council Bluffs. The Council Bluffs location is where he had afternoon hours that day so we made arrangements to go over there and see him. Luckily that office is only another 8 miles east of where we were.

We got there with no trouble and Doc took a look at my eye. He said things didn’t look much better but not much worse either. He made some slight adjustments to my regimen of drops and said to come back on Wednesday. I like Dr. Feilmeier a lot, he always seems so apologetic knowing that these are long trips for us, but he is very frank about the need to get things under control as quickly as possible and I agree with him completely on that. He’s a good doctor and it’s clear to me that he really cares about the outcome of all this.

Wednesday morning we left early again and made it on time for my appointment. On this visit Doc told me that in addition to the cold sore virus there was another spot in my eye and he wasn’t really sure what it was. He took some cultures of it to send to the lab to be identified. In the meantime he gave me a prescription for another drop called Viroptic, the generic form being Trifluridine, which I am very familiar with. The infection that I had a lot of trouble with several years ago was a herpes simplex virus. It’s not the sexually transmitted type of herpes, but rather the kind that causes cold sores. Trifluridine is used to combat that type of virus. As was explained to me years ago, there’s no cure for this type of virus, all you can do is try to keep it from flaring up. Since my surgery in October, I’ve been taking a pill called Acyclovir for that very reason. I was taking 400mg twice a day, so on this visit Doc upped it to 800mg five times a day. So by this time I had four kinds of drops and the pills. Doc said he wanted to see me again on Wednesday so we trudged home knowing that we would be back in two days. On our way, we stopped at the University pharmacy to pick up the Trifluridine. That was only a few blocks from the office.

By then Joni’s back was starting to give her some trouble so I made arrangements with Mom so she could drive me on Friday. On this day Doc said that the herpetic virus was completely cleared up, but the other spot was still there, no better and no worse. He called the lab to see if there were any results on the cultures yet, but so far nothing. He said those can take up to two weeks to show anything. By this time he was thinking that this other spot might be fungal so he gave me two more prescriptions: a drop called Natycyn and a pill called Doxycycline, both of which are for fungal infections. That brought the total up to five drops and two pills, the drops being used 6 times a day each. Quite a regimen. We stopped at the pharmacy again to pick those up and then headed back home with another appointment for the following Monday.

On Monday the 19th there was still no change and still no results from the cultures. Doc reduced all my drops to four times a day and sent us home with an appointment for Thursday.

On Tuesday, the doctor’s scheduler called and said he would have an emergency surgery on Thursday morning and that we would have to reschedule. So the appointment got pushed back to Friday at 11 am.

Friday came and still no change and still no culture results. Doc seemed okay with the fact that the spot was not going away because it wasn’t getting any worse either. As far as the cultures went, even though it hadn’t been two weeks yet, he seemed satisfied that this was probably not fungal in nature and said that it may just be an inflammatory reaction due to my allergies and such, this being allergy season. So out came the old prescription pad once again, this time for Prednisone, which I have talked about before. Prednisone reduces inflammation and is very good for clearing up my lungs, sinuses, and skin, although I’ve never had it prescribed for my eyes before. Since everything seemed stable, my next appointment is for Thursday the 29th.

We always stop at York on the way home for a late lunch or early supper, but since Friday was Joni’s 32nd birthday, she wanted to stop at the York Walmart as well to spend some of her birthday money. We dropped off my prescription at the pharmacy and then shopped for a bit. Joni got herself some flowers to plant outside, and she also bought t-shirts and work gloves for Adam and me. Apparently what she really wanted for her birthday was for me and Adam to be comfortable while we work out in the yard.

So that’s where we stand right now. Through all this God has been with us, giving us safe travels, keeping our aging car running beautifully, and providing financial help for all that gas through family and church. I am confident that he has a purpose in al this, maybe just to remind us that He is always in control, a reminder that I seem to need rather frequently. Whatever the case may be, I know that everything is working out according to His plan and that He will take care of everything as He always does.

Psalms 136:16 "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." ESV

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

1 comment:

  1. "Apparently what she really wanted for her birthday was for me and Adam to be comfortable while we work out in the yard."

    That's funny! :P

    All I really wanted was to share my happiness. I spent the day with YOU! And got to see you both happy!(as well as me) YaY me!

    I don't like that you have to go through all of this, but God has a master plan. Like Pastor Mike said, we all need patience in waiting.

    Isn't THAT the hardest thing?

    S'okay. We have each other and through all these trials we only grow stronger!

    Thank you for the special birthday! And I thank God every day that He's placed me here, in your life. :)