Monday, March 8, 2010

Everything's Falling Apart! (I'm Gettin' Old!!)

In the news biz, a floater is a body found in water, usually very, very dead. Here in Wisconsin, sometimes the spring thaw brings a floater or two to the surface of a lake, and with it, the attendant closure and final bad news for distraught family members and friends.

So, when the eye doctor told me last week that I have a floater, I couldn’t suppress a chortle. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not dead. Not yet.

For most of the last 25 years, my daily routine involves sitting in front of a computer screen, researching or writing, and occasionally running off at the mouth. So when I noticed there seemed to be a small area in the central vision of my left eye that was blurry, I first thought it was a smudge on my glasses.

When thoroughly cleaning my glasses didn’t change things, I chalked it up for a few days as just some dumb thing that happens to gentlemen of a certain age (60, in my case) who sit in front of a computer all day. But when it wouldn’t go away, I made an appointment with Lori at Dr. Schanel’s office to have it checked out.

I briefly described the situation to Dr. Schanel’s associate and he said “Floater. You’ve got a floater”. He told me it was common for “working age people” (how kind of him not to say old farts like me) to get these things, and said he’d like to run a few tests to confirm his diagnosis.

By the way, when your eye doctor talks to you about a “floater”, he or she is talking to you about a tiny embryonic structure inside the vitreous humor of your eye, which gets in the way of the optic nerve (as I understand it) and gives you that blank spot in your vision. They’re apparently quite common and usually not much to worry about.

He did his tests – which involved putting numbing drops into the eye (that’s a lot of fun) and shining an extremely bright light into the eye. He found the floater. He also said my eyes were pretty healthy in general and in good shape, but that we’d have to “keep an eye” (pun intended) on this floater, and check it again in a couple months to determine if it was getting worse and would need further attention.

Did I mention that part of his complete eye exam involved “dilating” my eyes with drops of medicine? Perhaps not, because I may have blocked that from my memory. Suffice it to say that it’s a unique experience, especially when it’s a beautiful sunny day like it was last Thursday. Even with clip-on sunglasses over my prescription sunglasses, I had to narrow my eyes down to tiny slits to deal with the overpowering sense of brightness.

And when I come back in May, he’s going to dilate my eyes again. Wonderful. It just takes all the fun out of a visit to State Street.

And, I guess it’s just another one of the many things I’ll have to look forward to as I move forward into my 60’s.

Pretty soon I won’t be able to stall my primary care doctor any longer, on that colonoscopy he tells me it’s time for again.

Ain’t life grand!

1 comment:

  1. Got those too, Tim. I thought it was a hair in front of my glasses, except I could never find the hair. Annoying but harmless. It's good your doctor is keeping an eye (way too easy a pun) on it because in some cases they can be an indication of a more serious condition.