Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Feel Pretty

“Pinkeye (also called conjunctivitis) is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The lining of the eye is usually clear. If irritation or infection occurs, the lining becomes red and swollen…Pinkeye is very common. It usually is not serious and goes away in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment.”

Thank you, WebMD.

With so many friends, relations, and acquaintances dealing with REAL health problems (like cancer), it is perhaps churlish of me to devote a post to an unserious malady that will go away on its own in a relatively brief amount of time. I will do it anyway. My two eyeballs are stuck very prominently into my face, and I have been unable to think of anything else since I woke up Monday morning and discovered that I couldn’t open my right eye.

Two days later the left eye followed suit, sending me to impressive depths of self-pity. That afternoon my right eye was just about as bad as it was going to get before improving, and I had to pick up Nels from school. (Shaun had been kind enough to take over drop-off duty.) Having rejected Shaun’s helpful suggestion that I borrow a pirate eye patch from the boys, I decided to let my hair fall in front of the ugliest eye and keep my head down in an effort to avoid any eye contact.

Alas, I was unable to resist making a gentle dab under my eye with a finger, and at once the jig was up. One very nice mother took a peek at my swollen face and red eyes and exclaimed, “Did something happen? Are you OK??????!!!!!” The alarm and concern were so kind and so out of proportion to what was actually wrong with me that I was tempted to invent a dead pet or relative right on the spot. Instead I sheepishly said that I was fine apart from an embarrassing case of pink-eye.

As I was leaving, another mom inquired how I was doing. I explained about the pink-eye. She was fascinated and offered her help. “I never had pink-eye!”

Well, neither had I. At least, not until a year ago, when I caught an extremely mild case of it from the boys. My contraction of pink-eye contained a double indignity. First, pink-eye, like a lice infestation, is for kids. There’s something unseemly about a 35 year-old woman with pink-eye. Second, pink-eye is not just for kids, it is for OTHER kids. I don’t remember a single case of pink-eye in our house growing up, though my mom may remember differently.

Other kids got pink-eye, of course. I figured it was a case of some sort of deal their parents had made with the devil. These kids had their own bedrooms, slept in hotels rather than tents on family vacations, had televisions, wore store-bought clothes to grade school, and enjoyed lunches that contained items such as chips, cookies, and juice boxes or pouches. In exchange, the children suffered from asthma, allergies, ear infections, and the aforementioned pink-eye. All of the above benefits and liabilities were virtually unknown in our household.

So this killer case of pink-eye renders me suspicious. Now that I’m grown and have children of my own, I realize that my kids have their own rooms, wear clothes from Old Navy, and watch way more TV and eat far more processed food than they should. They’ve been known to have an ear infection or two. I have had a few bouts of symptoms that resemble allergies. It could be that all that’s standing between my kids and asthma is their infrequent (thanks to me) consumption of fruit juice.

No, I don’t really think that. I did get a doozy of a cold courtesy of the virus or bacteria that brought on the pink-eye, so most of this is the DayQuil talking. But it still couldn’t hurt to get a family camping trip in this year.

P.S. I really wanted to include a photo with this post, but I figured I’ve subjected you to enough.


Hillary said...

You could not possibly have articulated my world view any more accurately or concisely than in your third to last paragraph. I wondered, after an offended "no, I don't have allergies!" to the doctor the other day weather there might be a difference between not having them and not believing in them.

Save this one for your book.

Gretchen said...

Actually a photo would have been a great addition!;0)
I remember getting lice, having pink eye and suffering from allergies and we rarely got proccessed food or stayed in hotels on vacation and I did have alot of homemade clothes as well.... hmmmmm. You guys must have gotten lucky!

Toni said...

Our husbands work together & seem to have swapped our blogs, so I thought I should at least "introduce" myself. :) A sign of the times--meeting over blogs!

I have to say, I have experienced the joys of pinkeye and loved your descriptions--and could really sympathize! It could be worse--I knew what pinkeye was when I got it because I grew up on a cattle ranch & had seen cows with it. I promise you it is totally demoralizing to share health problems with cows!


Jason said...

Churlish, churlish, churlish, what the hey does that word- oh look, a dictionary! Thanks, Gypmar.