Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tests, Blood, and Vampire Eyes

My quickly-numbing eyeballs were growing blurry.  I knew my niece Isabella watched me with her somber, perceptive gaze, so I did my best to grin and bear it, even cracking the occasional joke.  She didn't laugh. She doesn't find me funny.

We - me, my sis-in-law Anne, niece Isabella and nephew Lincoln - were sitting in the optometrist's office waiting for my pupils to dilate to that weird, unnatural state that seems to get eye doctors all so giddy.  Tests from my previous eye appointment had dictated this one; pressure in my eyes was showing too high, a possible forerunner of glaucoma.  So I was ushered in for another round of tests.  Not something I'd really ever WANT to do, but especially now.  House on the market.  Husband away for two weeks.  Difficult past year under our belts.  Yada yada yada.

So I sat and laughed with Anne as we rounded all the topics two women touch on when they're parked in a doctor's office waiting room and working hard to distract each other.

Finally, when I could no longer focus (literally) on the book Isabella was holding or on my drooly 9-month-old nephew lolling on the floor, the nurse called me back.  I underwent the tests with what I hoped was saint-like joy and endurance so my niece would be inspired ("I remember waaay back when Auntie Jessica was in that eye doctor's office...").

And then we were done.  Of course, I'm skipping over all the really fun details - like the gallons of extra drops (of whatever they happened to find lying around in random droppers) into my poor eyes, like the things I had to squint at and look past and NOT BLINK, NOT EVEN ONCE for.  Yeah, after all that -we were done.  And the doctor came in.  

Dr. Jonathan Berry is one of those really great doctors who comes in, exchanges the necessary pleasantries quickly, and then gets right down to business.  So, y'know, you're not left waiting.  Wondering.  Guessing at the rate his eyebrows are moving and trying to work that rate into some kind of mathematical equation which tells you how bad the news really is since evidently he isn't going to tell you for another hour, give or take another round of eye drops.

"Everything looks good, real good," Dr. Berry said right away.  And I relaxed.  My lungs gave up that extra quarter of space they'd been hoarding for the past few weeks - or longer.  Things were finally turning.  Even just a little bit.  Good news was here.

Long, detailed, and medically brain-numbing story short - my tests showed that my optic nerve (the part of the eye which deteriorates during glaucoma and eventually causes blindness) is just fine.  The pressure in my eyes was still measuring high, but they'd watch that and if things began to go south, they'd give me eyedrops to combat it.  Almost as an afterthought, Dr. Berry had me undergo a cornea test - yup, more drops.  Later he called me at home with the results.  

Turns out, I have extra-thick corneas.  This means two things: 1., People with extra-thick corneas always test out at a false higher pressure in their eyes and 2., People with extra-thick corneas are less likely to get glaucoma than those with thinner corneas.  Go figure.  Finally there's an extra-thick part of me that I can be proud of.  They'll still be keeping an eye on me - standard procedure when things aren't textbook, but all in all, it was a good report.  I'm glad.  I needed one.

A second good report came when we were leaving the optometrist's office.  The nurse from my OBGYN office called my cell with the results from a follow-up blood test I'd taken.

Brief history: after the second miscarriage last September, my doctor had had me take a rather extensive series of blood tests to rule out any cause for miscarriage.  

Now, understand that most miscarriages, even subsequent ones, are just due to sad chance.  Not coffee drinking.  Not heredity.  Not God wanting the baby to be in a better place (even though they certainly are).  We are imperfect bodies, living in an imperfect world.  I understand that it's easier for a lot of us to have things like this buoyed up by a deeper meaning behind it all, but sometimes things just aren't.

But I, wanting to do all I could to keep from losing any of our next babies, I took the test.  And in the first round, something was testing out a little higher than it should have been.  It ended up being one of those somethings which was just high enough to make it not quite a negative, but not so high as to be a clear positive.  So my doctor decided to err on the safe side and had me take a mild medication (Baby Aspirin) to offset the potential condition.  He also requested that I retake the test later.

And here we were.  I had retaken the test.  And now I sat, just outside the optometrist's office where I had been given a much-needed good report, cradling the phone to hear the confirmation of the blood test results.  

Negative.  My results were negative for the condition that could have caused the miscarriages and could affect any future pregnancies.  I did not have the condition.  My blood tests were perfect.  It was a good report.

We got home and all the girls ran to play; the drooly crawler rolled around on my floor, looking for unsuspecting objects to stuff in his mouth.  I went to the bathroom to check out my still-numbed and blurry eyes.  Staring into the mirror, I had to chuckle a bit as the blue of my irises were only barely visible behind the ominously large, black, dilated pupils.  I looked like a hungry vampire.  But my heart was more satisfied than it had been in a very long time.  Sure, the events of the past year were not undone.  The things my family waits on and prays for are still yet to arrive.  But, as I looked back into my black eyes, I knew two very big things had been brought to a very good close.  All the worry, all the tears shed over them were now dried up and left behind.  I was free to move forward, unencumbered.  Without fear.

The turning of the tide: sometimes it comes slowly, but still it comes.


Momae' said...

To him ....He that is able to keep us from falling. We give honor.

Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

I love hearing good reports! We should set up a service that searches out, confirms, then passes along good reports. Kind of like the news... but the opposite since they mainly deal in BAD reports and broadcast to millions (they hope) at once and my service would be more personal. A phone call. A note. A special delivery.

Rebekah said...

This was so good to read.