My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

Day 1 of the conjunctivitis saga (Day 2 · Day 3).

This entry is just going to be me complaining like an old man about my various illnesses in a long rambling manner, so if that is of no interest to you I recommend you stop reading now.

I’m so sick of colds and associated illnesses. I feel like I’ve had a cold for months. A few weeks before Christmas I had proper flu, the kind that makes you stay in bed simultaneously sweating with fever and shivering with a chill. That lasted around four days but with sniffles lingering on right up until Christmas.

Just as I was over it I travelled up to Birmingham to spend Christmas week with family, and everyone there was ill with some coughing and sore throat thing as well! I spent a week surrounded by the walking dead, wondering when it was going to be my turn. I thought I’d got away with it: I returned to London on the 28th still feeling okay, and walk in to the sound of my house mate Phil having a coughing fit.

A few hours later I could feel my throat going.

On the 29th I met up with a work colleague to take the on-call stuff from him, for I was to be on-call over the New Year period, handing over on Wednesday 2nd. The throat/cough thing was getting worse, but it was just an irritation, I could handle it.

By New Year’s Eve it was fairly miserable. During the day I’d been in dayjob’s office as it was a normal working day I’d not booked as holiday. I struggled through, not being very productive and got out of there about 6.15pm. I did have somewhere to go that would be on-call-friendly and still sociable, and I could have forced myself to get into the spirit, but due to a miscommunication that didn’t work out anyway. By 10pm NYE I’d had enough of it all and went to bed. Woken at 1am by the on-call phone, I ushered in the new year by rebooting things.

New Year’s Day was spent mostly under the duvet occasionally reaching for snotrag.

I was meant to be back in the office on Wednesday the 2nd, but the cold had become a lot worse and I took a sickie. Not a great way to start the new working year, but I wouldn’t have been up to much anyway. By this point my body clock had given up any semblance of coinciding with working hours and I was finding myself unable to sleep until past 5am, then waking up a few hours later with the alarm. When this happened on Thursday morning I was actually feeling a lot better, just completely exhausted and sleep-deprived. I emailed in another sickie and settled down for some sleep, content that Things Can Only Get Better.

Remember the on-call stuff? I was meant to hand over on Wednesday but because I’d pulled two sickies I still had it, so I was still on-call. This is not ideal of course, but was doable in the face of mere man-flu.

Some time later it was dark and my eyes wouldn’t open. Welded shut with eye-goo. And itchy, so incredibly itchy. Feeling like I’ve got glass under the lids. With some pain I force them open, discover it is Thursday evening, and visit the bathroom mirror to check out the damage. My eyes were a bit red but it didn’t seem that bad once I’d washed my face. But the itchiness wouldn’t go away, in fact it only got worse as the night progressed.

By late Thursday night the whites of both my eyes had turned deep red, goo was continuously leaking everywhere, and I’d have to unstick my left eye every few minutes. My eyelids felt like weather balloons, the whole area around my eye sockets was painful to the touch. What the hell is wrong?

I had it once before when I was a little kid: conjunctivitis. My cold’s parting gift.

It got so bad that I decided I must take a picture of it just so that people would believe me. It turns out that taking a picture of your own eyes without a tripod when you are a crap photographer is really hard. Every shot was just too blurry to make sense of. What follows is the best I could do, and it does not do justice. You can’t really see how red my eyes are, nor how encrusted with gunk. You did want to see that, right?

That was from this morning. Time to visit the doctor!

Last year, some people mistakenly got the impression that I do not like my doctor. This is completely false; I think he’s pretty good actually. He seems very efficient, seeing me and most others in mere minutes, yet in the few times I have seen him I’ve never felt that he was trying to rush me out the door. He always takes the time to discuss treatments, and doesn’t get too exasperated when I bring up other things unrelated to my appointment.

Of course I had to get past the usual hurdle of the demon receptionist when I called at 8.45am, her trying to persuade me that I don’t actually need to see the doctor today, but with my eyes doing that I Do Need To See The Doctor Today and wasn’t going to accept any other outcome. They warned me that because of this vomiting bug thing I’d probably have a long wait but it turned out to only be about 20 minutes.

As soon as I walked in to his room he looked at me and said, “My God, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen conjunctivitis that bad. I’ll give you something for it but if it isn’t any better by tomorrow then you must go to hospital.” Hey, at least I got my diagnosis correct. While I was there I got him to give me a flu jab as well.

What I did next was a bit silly. I still had the on-call stuff you see, yet I’m obviously not fit to carry out that duty. I’d emailed work before setting out for the doctor’s to explain what was wrong with me and that I’d be bringing the on-call stuff in to hand it over to someone else. Even before seeing the doctor I knew that conjunctivitis can be very contagious, but I was feeling guilty for my time off and didn’t feel able to call them up and say “yeah I’m not coming in today either, and I can’t do on-call, and I’m not bringing the on-call stuff back, sorry.” I should’ve though. I do not recommend doing what I did, which was to go straight from the chemist to the office.

Walking about with one eye gunked shut is interesting, if unpleasant. Using public transport and crossing roads etc. is quite nerve-wracking with limited vision. Also people staring and making comments about my encrusted eyes was a bit embarrassing. When I got into the office, the youngest of the many goths we breed there said, “Dude, didn’t you see the email saying Don’t Come In?” “I’m not seeing a lot of things at the moment.” was the best I could come up with. The rest of the team kept their distance as I unpacked the laptop and phone, and the person I was to hand over to looked extremely nervous about taking possession of these potentially-infected items. In fact she told me to “just leave them on your desk and we’ll.. do something with them.” Ace. I left.

Once again, I do not recommend walking about in public with contagious infections. It was irresponsible and stupid of me and entirely due to my own lack of backbone to just say “no” at key moments. In this case it was even just the thought of having to say “no”, since in reality my employer urged me not to do this anyway (only I didn’t see that, as it happened in email while I was at the doctor’s).

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit better now. The eyes still look pretty bad but they’re not leaking much anymore, and are a little less red, so I have hope that I won’t be going to hospital tomorrow. I’d probably just get the vomiting bug and MRSA as well, anyway.

I’ll try and take another photo of the eyes tomorrow. I bet you can’t wait.

5 thoughts on “My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

  1. Hi
    Thursday I will have pink eye for 5 weeks. I teach in an elementary school and I has been awful. It seemed they were getting better but then last night they glued shut again and were so bad made another trip to doctor and out of school 2 days. This is awful. Does it make you feel bad?
    My energy has gone out the window. Thanks! from North Carolina

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