When Things Got Dark

“Every treatment we take on has risks.  All of them.  But, I keep choosing which risks to take, because I know what the darkness is like, and if it comes to that for me I will deal with it, but if I can keep putting it off, believe me, I will try.”

 

A few years ago, I had an intravitreal injection, this is a shot that delivers medicine to the vitreous of the eye. I don’t remember now what the status of the inflammation was at this point, but I’m guessing it had to do with the retinas. The procedure is similar to the Needle in the Eye post, (blindpossibility.com/2014/05/30/a-needle-in-the-eye) except that there is more prep and I was tipped back further in the chair.

I was told that at the end it could be black for 30 seconds and possibly up to 2 minutes.  It was.  And then it stayed black. I don’t remember now exactly how long the darkness was.  I do know that it was significantly longer than the 2 minutes, and it was unnerving, both to me and to my doctor.

It was the day that I realized I did not want to be blind, ever if I could help it.  The darkness reminded me of being in the Oregon caves when they make you turn your flash lights off.  That kind of darkness is complete and I could feel it.  Thick black, no shadows, outline, nothing, not the tiniest hint of light, or the person standing next to you, the rocks behind you, or the stairs below you. Just thick, black, black, black, dark.  And that is the sort of darkness that I experienced after the intravitreal injection.

Slowly light began to come in and things began to focus…sort of.  But then, in my central vision was this image that was like a large kaleidoscope.  I could see through small holes in it, but it was this design of bright rainbow, shifting colors.  They moved…just like one of those kaleidoscopes you turned the bottom of as a kid, only faster.  It was big too at first, and while it may sound weird, I was glad to have it, relieved, even though it was annoying.  It was good just to see something that involved light.

For awhile it stayed big.  I remember looking at the TV and the whole TV was the kaleidoscope.  Eventually though it began to fade, over a period of about a year.  And when it did, I was left with what I described as cobwebs.  Now I think of it more as tree roots.  My doctor doesn’t see anything that accounts for this, except that when I try to read an eye chart with my left eye, I can read letters at the top, the bottom, the side, but not in a row.  It appears random.  But, it’s not.  I can’t read them in rows because there are no rows.  If you picture a root system of a tree, and then put an eye chart behind it, the letters I see are the ones that show up in the gaps between the roots.

If you are considering an intravitreal injection, please don’t use my experience to deter you.  I am the only person any of the doctors I have seen have ever heard of this happening to.  I had another injection recently, which I will write about tomorrow, and it did not behave in the same way at all.

Every treatment we take on has risks.  All of them.  But, I keep choosing which risks to take, because I know what the darkness is like, and if it comes to that for me I will deal with it, but if I can keep putting it off, believe me, I will try.

 

Remember…if you have a question, they are welcome.  If you have had a similar experience or your own thoughts to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

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