Well. That sucks.

So today I went to the big town to get a lens prescription for new specs. That was all I had in mind. And the optometrist does a bunch of tests, and her eyes get kind of big. And she asks, “When was the last time you had your eyes examined?”

“I don’t recall. Twelve or fourteen years ago.” I remember I was married at the time, so it was at least thirteen years.

“And did anyone say anything to you about glaucoma?”

“Not that I recall. Long time ago.”

“You should have remembered. Or they should have mentioned it. Your eyes didn’t get this bad in twelve years.”

She went on to explain that while she can (and did) give me a new lens prescription, it wouldn’t help much. She said the reason I can’t see well anymore is because I’m going blind. She actually used that word, which – let me tell you – had an effect on my attitude for the whole rest of the day.

She said I have severe glaucoma, what vision I have left in my right eye won’t last much longer, and the left one’s not far behind. She gave me a scrip for some eyedrops, said it would cost $15 and it turned out to be more than $60 – and that’s for the generic stuff. I have another appointment for the first of January, and if the drops don’t help she’ll refer me to a real eye doctor.

That sucks. Looks like for the time I’ve got left, I need to get serious about learning to shoot a rifle left-handed.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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26 Responses to Well. That sucks.

  1. Claire says:

    Jeezus, Joel. That must have felt like being kicked in the head.

    Just know your friends are here to help, if your stubborn pride will allow it.

    Now I’m trying to recall who used to tell me stories about their relative who was a blind desert hermit and how he got along …

  2. Anonymous says:

    Have you got a way to get a second opinion?

  3. Buck. says:

    I’ll second the second opinion part.

  4. Bummer?
    Dude, that is some serious bad.
    Glaucoma is nothing to f*ck around with.
    The bad part is the damage already done is permanent, the good part is they have come a long way in treating it to save what sight you still have left.

    Best and I do mean best of luck to you and by all means don’t miss that appointment.

  5. Teresa Sue says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Joel.

  6. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Damnation, that news would ruin anyone’s day. My condolences.

    Aperture rear sights have helped me with shooting w/ iron sights. Ghost ring and aperture blades inserted on barrel mounted rear sight. For a really inexpensive .22 rifle, I made a DIY version, Gorilla Gluing a very small rubber plumbing gasket onto the rear sight blade, centering the ring on top of blade. It really helped me keep the front sight sharper.

    I hope this helps – again, my condolences.

  7. Robert says:

    Sorry about the bad news. I hope you get a better outcome than you’ve indicated.

  8. Matt says:

    Wow. That trumps my Dads cataracts. On the bright side, it would qualify you for a medical marijuana prescription.

  9. Dan says:

    My dog has glaucoma, and takes human medicine that costs around $60/month — timolol maleate and dolorzamide hcl. We were able to get a 4-month supply for less than that by shopping overseas pharmacies online.

    And I’m with everyone else — get a second opinion asafp.

  10. Don says:

    Joel, that’s really troubling to hear. As Bustedknuckles said, it’s not something to fool with. It runs in my family, and the damage is permanent. However, the docs can do alot more nowadays than even ten years ago. I appreciate your feelings about using the .gov for medical treatment, and somewhat agree. I also know how you feel about blegging. But for Jove’s sake: GET TREATED. I’m certain a bunch of us could help out somehow if you won’t use Medicaid.

    On a more positive note, it seems I can get the updated page on the blog now. I did miss everything since I commented about it (including yours and Claire’s response), but have caught up now. Refreshing the page didn’t work for me, by the way. It just worked today for some reason.

  11. -s says:

    That’s terrible news, Joel. Let me second Claire’s thought: your friends are here to help. Now is a good time to be self-centered.

    I agree with second opinions, but the diagnosis is pretty straightforward. It’s rather unlikely she got that part wrong.

    Treatment is another thing entirely. There are multiple options with standard medical care – and with your income, you can and should find out how many are available to you from “shudder” government sources. Here’s the thing: we all get govt mediscare now, it’s only a question of how the chain is run, not if there is a bureaucrat in your doctor’s office. Get the best help you can find, and don’t be
    prideful about it.

    There are many things you can do with supplements and vitamins – things like fish oil do wonders for a few, and help most. Cannabis lowers the pressure about 25% – as much or more than most of the pharmaceuticals. Getting high to preserve your vision isn’t such a bad trade.

    You have a ton of learning to do, and limited time. Reach out when you feel like it, but don’t be bashful. Take care of yourself! Lean on your friends for a while.


  12. bmq215 says:

    Sorry to hear that Joel. That really, really sucks.

    On the plus side there are treatments that can slow down/arrest vision loss and while the damage is permanent there’s a good chance that you can keep a lot of what you have. Remember, the only thing more intimidating than a desert hermit with an assault rifle is a half-blind desert hermit with an assault rifle.

    Pride aside, give us an idea of the costs when you learn them. There are a lot of people here that are willing to watch your back.

  13. MamaLiberty says:

    Oh Joel, I’m so sorry! Some of these things do sneak up on us, but it sounds as if someone way back when dropped the ball big time. Shouldn’t happen, but it does.

    Find and make use of the best ophthalmologist you can locate. Let your friends help with the cost. An awful lot of people care. 🙂 Don’t waste time with this… each hour actually makes a difference. Get ‘er done.

  14. coloradohermit says:

    My Dad had glaucoma and the drops really did halt the progression for many many years. Please do whatever you have to do in order to preserve your remaining eyesight! Even if it’s gov assistance. If I could designate how my taxes were to be spent, this would be it.

  15. Brass says:

    Joel, count me among these ruffians who will gladly chip in to help you with anything you need. Get a Paypal account, if you can.

  16. Landlady says:

    @Claire “Now I’m trying to recall who used to tell me stories about their relative who was a blind desert hermit and how he got along …” It was T’s brother-in-law from his first marriage. Retinitis pigmentosa — same thing T’s son has.

  17. NETim says:

    I was diagnosed with pigmental glaucoma waaaayyy back in ’83 at the tender age of 27. The optometrist caught it during a routine eye exam with the “puff of air” device. I had a severe amount of damage done to both eyes already by that age. The vaunted military healthcare system MISSED IT BIG TIME! I was in for my 2 year extension physical. The corpsman examined my retinas and asked if anyone had ever told me I had high blood pressure.

    I did not have high blood pressure then, nor do I now. He was seeing the damage already done to my retinas by glaucoma. AND THE USN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TOTALLY MISSED IT! I am so looking forward to more .gov in my health care now.

    Anyway, done ranting about that.

    Lots of good drugs out there now and they don’t seem to have much for side effects that I can tell. One drug, COSOPT, makes my mouth dry once in awhile. Alphagan P I can’t detect anything. The Lumigan has given me the longest, darkest, prettiest eyelashes on the planet and I’m pretty sure Maybelline models would kill for them. 🙂

    I had to have trabeculectomies done on both eyes in ’85 as the drugs then couldn’t bring the pressures down to where no futher damage was occurring.

    There are lots of options as far as treatment is concerned.

    I would STRONGLY advise everyone to get the “puff” test done annually. Glaucoma is an insidious disease. It’s painless. (at least the open angle variety is.) And the damage occurs so slowly it’s not noticeable.

    The docs tell me that as soon as a kid is able to sit still for the “puff” test, then they’re old enough to be tested. Glaucoma isn’t only a disease for the aged.

    Best of luck!!

  18. richard says:

    Big-time bad news, but you knew that.

    My elevated IOP was discovered over thirty years ago. Have been treating the condition with various eyedrops ever since. Currently on twice-daily Timolol. Vision is not compromised, but I visit my opthalmologist twice a year for thorough exams and renewed prescriptions for the drops. Doc says we can likely keep it controlled.

    Seek better care & treatment immediately. Best wishes.

  19. John Venlet says:

    Joel, sorry to hear about this. If I can do anything for you, just reach out, at your own discretion.

  20. chris says:

    get thee to an opthomologist as quickly as possible… do not wait for the optometrist

    Mine said to do just that when she saw something she didn’t like during an exam… been seeing the opthomologist ever since… doing the eye drops daily for 4 years now

  21. Old NFO says:

    Concur, second opinion NOW- Opthomologists can give you the real story. Thoughts and prayers Sir!

  22. julie says:

    Sorry to hear this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  23. JC says:

    Well shit. That blows. Even the opportunity to get legal delta niner 4-tetrahydrocannibanol is not a good thing. I got a dx for cataracts some 6 years ago, and by the time I got the treatment (a)the treatment had become more effective, and (b) a hell of a lot cheaper. Mayo leads me to believe that there are a couple of surgical procedures that shouldput paid to the whole phenomenon, but there’s a short research window on ’em. dDo the drops, keep the faith, and you’re in my prayers. Being blind is no fun.

  24. Carl H says:

    Best thoughts.

  25. Jay says:

    Damn, damn, damn…totally sucks. I second everyone else’s advice.

    And add me to the back-up choir. I’ll send a little something ASAP.

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To the stake with the heretic!