My eye has been bothering me since Sunday. It started as an acute itch, almost so intense that it stung. Then as I rubbed it (couldn’t stop myself), it grew irritated, as if opened underwater in a heavily chlorinated pool. The color matched this feeling, the normal white tinged red throughout. I tried saline, resting it, and applying a warm compress, but found no relief. Over the next few days, it cycled between severe itchiness, unusual dryness, general irritation or burning, and exudate formation. It became increasingly resistant to blinking fluidly, catching the lid while opening and closing, and vision was blurry and hard to focus. Yesterday, fed up with the discomfort and pessimistic about the viability of my “home care” clearing it up, I had it assessed and diagnosed in urgent care as conjunctivitis.
Because things often end up being more complicated than we’d like them to be, the antibiotic steroid drops the doctor called into my pharmacy were out of stock and unavailable for another two days. I had to call the prescribing physician back, one of my least favorite chores, and instead of modifying the medication, the doctor wanted me to use a different pharmacy. I can’t reiterate enough how much changing routines or “places” is uncomfortable and upsetting to me. I like my pharmacy and am more than reluctant to switch to somewhere else, even if just for a one-time fill. Of course, I logically can reason that this is ludicrous and such a minute problem in the greater context of my life and the happenings of the country and world at large. However, it’s my reality. I stubbornly hold on to my “usuals” that I’m accustomed to in terms of doctors, errands, places I feel capable of going to alone, sensory thresholds, etc. I knew a different pharmacy company would mean establishing myself as a new patient, presenting all my cards and waiting for eligibility and authorization checks, talking to new technicians and staff, and otherwise weathering hassles I didn’t feel up to bearing, particularly in my physically and sensory depleted state after the urgent care visit itself and the bothersome eye symptoms and fever. It’s not a valid excuse, but sometimes I feel like my “autistic tendencies” like this disproportionate disdain for change in routine, are at such an unreasonable exaggerated level because I’m almost always living at the end of a frayed rope, desperately clinging to stay on, as more fibers splinter off and the knot holding me up further disintegrates. Between the chronic anxiety, depression, jarring PTSD, physical pain, and sensory overload, I’m essentially straddling this unsafe canyon between getting by” and utterly distraught and completely falling apart. The well-adjusted or “fine” landing is essentially in a foreign land; occasionally I get glimpses of it or fly over it, but even in the best cases, it’s more of a hover over that territory than any sort or touch-down with footing. The extent to which I can soundly land on “getting by” instead of plummeting into oblivion, depends on the day and the demands, my physical and emotional state, and resilience. Taking on what should be tiny inconveniences (like an urgent care visit and going to a new pharmacy) can push me over the edge way too easily because I’m always right there. Any extra breath can blow my body off my kilter and make my mind go into overdrive.
I drove to the other pharmacy, a CVS. There was yet another hassle when I tried to get my medicine; they had my old address from childhood and seemed confused why it had changed yet I was still the same person (bizarre…don’t people move?). She seemed baffled that my phone number and address had changed since 2001 and that I was no longer in my parents’ medical insurance. That baffled me. It was a whole rigmarole to get the personal data changed (again, shouldn’t this be simple?) and the prescription dispensed. When it finally was squared away, I paid $48 for the smallest bottle of eye drops I’ve ever seen. You’d think it was to treat a baby field mouse with exceedingly rare tears from magical fairies.
This morning after I applied a few drops to my eyes, they blurred and I fell. I crashed to the floor in a disheveled heap. It really hurt but it’s so comical in its unlikeliness that it serves as the cherry on top of this crazy little ordeal.