My Health Issue, An Eye Infection
I have been dealing with an illness, mostly affecting my right eye. It all started roughly a year ago, right after my baby was born. And maybe the issues started before that because during the pregnancy, I had repeat sinus infections and was constantly sick. My OB/GYN had me on antibiotics throughout much of my pregnancy, but I never felt like I ever got much better.
What Happened Was:
Then one morning, after my baby was born, I woke up to what I thought was pink eye. Although my eye was not itchy, it was oozing green and was swelling up. I have never had an eye infection before and I just assumed pink eye, because what else would it be?
It was the weekend, so I went to an urgent care doctor and was told yes, it is pink eye. The doctor I saw prescribed antibiotics. I started the medicine that evening. The next day I wasn’t any better and by the 2nd day I was worse.
I woke up that 2nd day to my eye being swollen like I had been punched in the face. It was oozing and swollen to the point that I could not see out of that eye. I also experienced a loss of cognitive function. I was unable to think clearing or at all. My depth perception was gone, and I was walking like a drunk person. I was in no condition to drive or take care of my kids. I immediately sought help from two of my friends. One was able to watch my kids while the other drove me to the ER.
At The Hospital:
It has been a little over a week since my baby was born and I was already back in the hospital. I was diagnosed with orbital cellulitis which is an infection of the tissues around the eye. The doctor had me on an IV with an antibiotic drip for over 8 hours. It was so severe that the doctor ordered a CT Scan of my head to make sure the infection had not spread behind the eye which would have put my brain at risk.
Fortunately, the infection was not behind my eye. After over 10 hours in the ER, I asked to go home. The ER doctor said he would normally admit me for the night and observe the infection for 24 hours, but I told him I couldn’t because I didn’t have someone to take care of my kids. I had to go home. The ER doctor reluctantly let me go home with a prescription of a 20-day round of antibiotics and a steroid. I was told to come back right away if the infection wasn’t getting better or if I spiked a fever.
Over the next few days, the swelling in my face seemed to go down and the redness went away. While I did not feel 100% better after the 20-day antibiotics, I did feel mostly better and I had figured that was the end of the infection. I thought how weird and I’m glad that’s over.
Then It Happened Again:
Well I was wrong! A few months later, that same infection came back. I had started seeing a primary care doctor and was seen there for the infection. This time the infection did not get nearly as severe. I was on two weeks of antibiotics with a steroid. And again, the swelling seemed to go away as well as the redness. But again, I never felt 100% better, just mostly better.
Then again in the beginning of December 2017, the infection returned. This time I caught it well before the green ooze. I noticed the infection starting with the redness and swelling around my eye. I started to feel queasy and I was unable to think as clearly. I went to the doctor right away and was again on antibiotics with a steroid.
About a month later in mid-January, the infection blew up again. This time it moved fast like the very first time. Within 18 hours, I had gone from slight swelling and redness to full blown swelling down my cheek and into my neck. The green oozing was there, and I was unable to see out of my eye. The doctor’s office gave me an antibiotic shot and sent me home with two-week prescription of antibiotics with a steroid.
Now at this point, I had become concerned that there is something more going on. I found it strange that this eye infection keeps happening. More importantly, I was concerned that if it got severe again, I would be hospitalized with no one to take care of my kids. This is a serious situation and it needed to be addressed.
At the Doctor’s Office:
I made a follow-up appointment with the primary care doctor who had seen me 2-3 times for this infection now. I wanted further investigation into why this eye infection keeps happening. At this appointment, I was extremely distressed by this doctor’s office seemingly lack of care and lack of interest in my wellbeing.
When I had asked this doctor for explanation of why and how to get rid of the infection for good, I was told that infections happen and to try washing my hands more often. My almost 10-year-old daughter was with me at this appointment. She is such a smart and caring child. Even she knew this was a bad response by the doctor. When the doctor had said that to me, my near 10-year-old daughter blurted out that I wash my hands more than anyone she knows. This of course made me laugh and helped me to calm down. I was just so upset at this doctor. They really showed me how little they care for their patients.
Time For A Change:
It was time for me to find a new doctor, for sure. I started searching and finally found an office who takes my insurance. This new doctor office listened to me about my eye and got me in very quickly to be seen. This new doctor’s office treated me like they cared and showed interest in resolving the issue.
And I felt so relieved, when at this appointment, I felt that the doctor was taking my illness seriously and she listened to my concerns. The new doctor office made a referral to an eye specialist that deals with reoccurring orbital cellulitis. I am very grateful to this new doctor office for treating me like an individual and caring about my wellbeing.
I’ve had my first appointment with the specialist doctor. This doctor told me that the infection I am having is more likely a symptom of a greater infection or some other issue. The infection is reoccurring because it’s not the main source of the problem. And now the goal is to find the source.
The specialist doctor said he could see that I was still swollen in the face and around the eye. He said the infection is not fully gone, even though just five days before that appointment I had finished another two-week round of antibiotics with a steroid. The doctor prescribed another week of antibiotics, but two more weeks of steroids.
I will be having another appointment a few days after I’m finished with the medicine. In between then and now, the doctor wants copies of any imaging I have had done in the recent past few years. This means CT Scans, MRIs, X-rays, etc. Anything of my sinus, neck, brain, head, basically anything around the area that is being affected by the infection.
I Just Don’t Know Yet:
As of right now, I have no idea what’s the reason for the infections or what’s actually wrong with me. And, I couldn’t begin to guess as to why the specialist doctor wants such a range of images or what he might be looking for. I haven’t a clue and the specialist doctor didn’t really tell me. He did however reassure me that he is going to figure it out.
And that is good enough for me. I feel like I can trust in these new doctors I have been seeing in the last 2 weeks. I am willing to not know right now and let the doctors do their jobs. It’s a big difference from the old doctor office I was seeing and it’s reassuring to know that the doctor does care about my wellbeing.
If you, the reader, take nothing else from this post, take this message at least:
Trust yourself! It’s your body. If you think something is wrong and you feel your doctor isn’t taking you seriously, Find a New Doctor! Your health is more important than their paycheck.