Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Red eye

SFB was helping me with a small boat project the other day. He was drilling a bit of Starboard®, which is a hard plastic material that can take the place of plywood in many a marine application. We were fitting new supports for the stays as one of the plywood ones original to the boat had rotted and split. He had used the old ones as templates and cut them to size over winter. Once the weather warmed up, we could install them and drill holes for the screws to secure them.

I had thought to get eye protection, but forgot to say, "hold on a sec," when SFB, already in the cabin, asked me to come help him for a moment. He drilled the first hole as i held the piece of Starboard® in place, and something landed in my eye. Hard to tell if it were dust, dirt, a bit of Starboard® or what, but it itched like mad, so naturally, i rubbed it, so it itched and burned, and i kept thinking i could blink away whatever the problem was.

After we were done, i checked in the mirror and couldn't see anything in my eye. It was red, but that was all. After a good night's sleep, i was sure it'd be fine next day.

And it was, sort of. Still a little irritated and red, but nothing screamed at me to run to the doctor's. I spent most of the day inside and treated myself for a walk along the breakwater when i ran errands in the afternoon. That was yesterday.

Today, i awoke with a feeling of gunk in my eye that had worked itself out. Eye was a little red, nothing to worry about. And, i got on with my day. SFB came back to help me move the boat onto the driveway and to wire the two lights that were removed when we removed the original stay supports. I got into the boat, this time with eye protection, and my eyes started to burn. And itch. So i rubbed and realized i was making things worse. I went inside the house to wash them out with water, and they teared a little bit and felt better. I'm not one who's known for having spring allergies, but this felt like the itchy eyes some people have described to me.

We ended up having to run to the hardware store to get different wire from what SFB had pulled from his stash, so i went with him. We chatted easily, i got back home, and went to put my purse in the house. After doing so, i caught a look at myself in the mirror. My eyes were as red as any stoner's in the seventies, and i knew i had to do something. SFB had commented how he used to have a great cache of all kinds of boating stuff, but since he had sold his boat and then a few years after helped his daughter and her boyfriend with preparing their boat so they could be full-time cruisers, most of his stash was gone.

Apparently, i'm the same way with drugs, because last week i had a headache, and grabbed the bottle of aspirin. Expired 2010. Now, here i was with red, itchy eyes, and nothing on hand to help.

I told SFB i was going to go get some eye drops, did he need anything? Nope, he'd work on rewiring the lights, and as the cabin space is really small, there wasn't anything i could do to help, other than give him all the space.

I drove to the drugstore and realized the last time i had bought eye drops, i had been a stoner in the seventies. I smiled to myself, thankful that i found a parking spot immediately in front of the drugstore, and went in. It took me a few minutes to locate where the eye drops were, and once there, i'm sure my mouth fell open. I had expected to find a name brand box and store brand box. But, no, this wasn't 1974, this was 2014. There were easily six different kinds of eye drops. Some removed only redness, some redness and soothed, some for allergies. Each one had Drug Facts on the side panel. A few were on sale, the store brands were buy one box and get a second 50% off. I decided the redness and itchy eyes kind was probably best for my needs, completely denying that any of this could be allergy related.

I found a box of gauze on sale and thought that might be good for the boat's boo-boo kit, so picked that up as well.

There were two cashiers, and i stood in line where i'd be the next customer waited on. Only, he had a to return an item. Something about a phone accessory he got that didn't fit, wasn't quite right. No, he didn't know what straight talk was, he had a data plan, only 30 bucks a month, and that was great. The chit chat part gave him only 100 minutes per month, but that was all right. Yeah, i thought to myself, it's all right because you're spending all your chit chat time right now while my eyes are burning, and while you were blathering on cashier #2 has waited on the customers who were in line when i walked up and now there's a new customer who has since walked up who is being waited on. Meanwhile, here i am, waiting, waiting, waiting....

Cashier #2 was done ringing up the latest customer, so i went over to her register. Good thing because she rang me up while phone accessory return man was still asking questions.

I nearly squirted drops in my eyes as soon as i got in the truck, but i decided to wait until i got home. It's been so long since i'd used these drops, i didn't want anything to go wrong and then be stranded, unable to drive. Sounds silly, but it's been nearly 40 years since i used the stuff. Who knows what's new and different?

As soon as i got home, i took the bottle out of the box, hacked through the "do not use this product unless the incredibly infuriating plastic wrap is securely in place because we want to keep you safe while raising your blood pressure," and squirted a few drops. Shades of the seventies, as my eye wouldn't stay open and i wore more of the drops on my shirt. A second squirt was more successful, and i felt nearly instantaneous relief.

An hour later, i squirted a two drops in my left eye, the one with the original irritation. Felt loads better, and the whites of my eyes returned to being white. The half-ounce (15 mL) bottle i have ought to last well until its expiry date sometime in 2015.

I looked in my medicine cabinet. Very few meds. Some nighttime cold relief medicine. Some Vicks® vaporub. The new bottle of aspirin i bought last week for the headache. A bulbous syringe for ear wax removal. A box of Sudafed®, the version of pseudophedrine meth addicts use because that stuff works better than the PE version. Some ointment that i can put on before i go out into poison ivy land that's supposed to keep the poison ivy from penetrating my skin. Rubbing alcohol. Hydrogen peroxide. Bandaids (plasters). And now the eye drops.

I guess that's the downside of being medically boring. You just don't keep loads of stuff on hand because there's not much call for it.


  1. Sounds as if it's time to create a first aid kit and replenish it regularly. If your eye remains irritated after you use the drops, please be careful. You might have scratched your cornea.


    1. Finally can once again comment on my own blog! Janie, nothing scratched, felt right as rain next day. :0)

  2. I really wonder if all this stuff needs replacing. My principle is; if isn't growing mould, it's probably OK. Hope your eye is now back to normal-ish.

    1. Yeah, i sometimes view expiry dates as more like suggestions, but three years out on a bottle of aspirin is a bit beyond my comfort level. I can use the old aspirin as dessiccants for silver pieces or add to any rose bouquets.

  3. You would keel over if you saw my medicine cabinet.....

    1. Maria, when i went to my PCP for my first visit after moving here, he was shocked that my medical history took less than half a page. I told him i like to be medically boring, and i do. My late ILs had full medicine cabinets, and it was very sobering to see all those pill bottles lined up.