That very special time has come again… The time when I need to leave my home and travel for a few hours to a neighbouring city to be put into a chair and have needles inserted into my eyes… Yes, you read that right: NEEDLES IN MY EYES! If you had told me, six years ago, that I would be having this done every 8 weeks I likely would have laughed at you and called you crazy. But yet, here I am. Doing it again…
I suffer from something called Diabetic Macular Edema, which is a condition where a Diabetic sufferer will develop an accumulation of fluid in the tissue of the eyes. A side effect of living years with type-1 Diabetes, the fluid causes a swelling that can blur one’s vision, hinder sight and eventually cause blindness. The only treatment currently available is to inject a prescribed medication into the eyes that reduces the swelling and dries up the fluid.
Sounds lovely, eh? Picture the scene from Clockwork Orange where the guy has his eyes held open by metal clips. I’d like to say I’m exaggerating but that’s pretty much what they use to keep my eyes open during the procedure. Freezing drops are used and I’m fully conscious and can see while this is happening so I’m usually treated with a show of swirling colors and lines, directly in my line of sight despite the fact that it’s all happening on the inside.
I’m usually blind, by the legal definition, for several hours after the injections and once the freezing drops wear off, it’s an unwanted visit to pain town for many hours to follow. Given the need for my kids to stay at home and my wife to work, I usually embark on this adventure on my own, which means I book a hotel room near the hospital and pass out for a few hours to let the pain subside once the injections are done.
Although the process is onerous and painful, it would be a lie to say that it’s entirely a bad experience. Besides the fact that it’s a proactive step towards ensuring my continued visual health, I get to have dinner in a nice, stylish little Irish pub that’s located on the hotel’s main floor. A little place called “Finn’s,” it’s usually all but dead on a Monday night, which means I get excellent and speedy service on my food and drinks and I get to observe a bit of society from a dark corner while I recover.
I’ve never been much of a club or bar person. unlike most of my counterparts, I didn’t spend my youth hitting the clubs or getting shit-faced at parties. Instead, I spent those formative years training and studying the martial arts. Some may claim they had more fun than I did. I have the benefit of saying I clearly remember all of it. But I digress… Since there’s really nothing I can take to alleviate the pain caused by the injections, a couple of cold brews help to take the edge off and I’ve yet to find a place with a burger as flavourful as Finn’s.
Given the new job I’ve been in for the past year, tomorrow morning will see me attend a couple of meetings virtually in my hotel room before checking out. Gotta love the way of the new world. It seems kind of rainy in Regina this morning, but the forecast seems to suggest it’s sunny in Saskatoon, which is important since I need to walk to the hospital. I guess I need to pack up and get on the road.
I could be bitter and complain about need to get injections in my eyes but two important facts come to the forefront. The first is that I’m pretty lucky in the sense that many people are much worse off than I am, and if getting needles in my eyes helps me to maintain my sight, I’m in! The second is that when I started taking this medication, I was going every four weeks. Now that it’s been stretched out to every eight weeks, it feels like a walk in the park by comparison, which is kind of ironic since I take a walk through a park to get to my appointment. ☯️