Update on Ivana’s Vision Problems
Hi! Thank you everyone for all the well wishes! I’m back home and doing just fine. My eye problems should recover on their own in 2-3 months, so that’s good news! If you like medical stories, I’ll share mine below; but feel free to skip it if you don’t.
For those doctor-types, I have right partial third nerve palsy. If you’re not, that means my right eye isn’t aligning properly with my left, so instead of the two eyes working together to form a single 3D image, I’m seeing two images all the time, one slightly diagonal and tilted. Also, my right eyeball doesn’t move quite like it should, the pupil dilation isn’t quite normal, and my eyelid is drooping a little.
The doctors are very confused since I don’t have any of the normal risk factors for this kind of condition. The symptoms don’t quite add up normally, either; so they are at a loss to explain it. Many of them thought it could be an aneurysm, which is why they went to such lengths to find a cause.
Here’s what happened: On Tuesday morning around 11:00 a.m., I started having double vision. Since I was sitting at my computer at work, I got up and walked around a bit, looked at other things, closed my eyes for a while, etc. It didn’t go away, so I worked one-eyed for a while, thinking it would recover on its own. It didn’t. I figured if I was going to drive home, I’d better do it before rush hour traffic, so I went home early (driving was a challenge) and took a nap. I drank a lot of water and ate some protein; too, thinking it might be caused by dehydration, low protein, exhaustion, etc. But the double vision persisted until Tuesday morning.
I started out at an urgent care clinic on Wednesday morning at 8:00. It’s important to note here that, like a dummy, I didn’t eat breakfast before going. Urgent care sent me to Wolfe Eye Clinic. They did some really cool things to measure just how out of snyc my eyes were. They sent me to the ER for an MRI, concerned about a tumor, stroke or aneurysm.
So I had my first MRI. I’m not claustrophobic, but with as many people as freak out in MRIs, I was curious about my reaction. I did fine for most of the hour, until I started getting spasms in my low back. I was just about at the end of my tolerance when the tests were done, so I’m pretty proud of myself for that.
The MRI came back completely normal. But the ER doc was still really concerned about an aneurysm; so he wanted me to go to go—BY AMBULANCE about 2 hours—to a bigger hospital with lots of specialist. His goal was for me to see the Neuro Opthamologist. I almost refused, especially since the ambulance didn’t leave until about 6:30 in the evening (8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. by this time with no food). After I begged, the hospital did feed me a small turkey sandwich while I was waiting for the ambulance, since I hadn’t yet eaten anything and I was starving!
The doc was so earnest about me going; he even called my primary doc who said I should go. So I did. By ambulance. Hubby stayed home to take care of the dogs; he planned to meet me at the hospital in the morning.
So, by 8:30 p.m. I was in the ER at the bigger hospital. I saw two neurologists and another ophthalmologist. They all asked me the same questions I’ve answered multiple times already, ran the same little tests, and all get this really confused expression on their faces. I still couldn’t eat or drink in case they wanted to run more tests
At some point I fell asleep. Around 3:00 a.m. they woke me up to finally admit me. I was barely awake and irritated because I still couldn’t eat or drink, I was put into a shared room (I didn’t think hospitals did that anymore), and I had to put on a stupid hospital gown so they could put a heart monitor on me. So, tired, hungry, and irritated, I finally fell back to sleep.
Thursday consisted of more doctors and more tests, including my first CT scan. Hubby showed up to keep me company, which was awesome. I still couldn’t eat or drink. The Neuro Ophthalmologist though they should do an angiograph — string a small camera through an artery to find the nerve damage and examine the area around it. The Neuro Interventionists who actually perform that procedure didn’t think it was necessary. So the doctors were duking it out while we waited, and waited, and waited. The docs compromise on a CT scan with the option to do the angio later if necessary. They didn’t make a decision about that by Thursday night, so we had to stay another night. We hadn’t planned on that.
But, at least, after 48 hours of nothing but a small turkey sandwich, they said I could eat! I had the best pot roast and baked potato in the entire world. 🙂
Finally, on Friday, the team of doctors decided not to run the angiograph and they cut me loose with a, “we don’t know why this happened, but don’t die, okay?”
Since the MRI and CT scan came back completely clean with no indication of any possible aneurysm, the angiograph people didn’t feel it was necessary to do more tests. If there is an aneurysm, it would have to be smaller than 3MM, and they don’t treat aneurysms that small anyway. Normally, an aneurysm that small would not be capable of causing the symptoms I’m having; it wouldn’t cause any symptoms at all, actually. So their best guess is that a tiny blood vessel burst or was damaged in some way, which interrupted the blood flow to part of the third cranial nerve that controls parts of the eye. In this case, the vision problem will clear up on its own in 2 to 3 months with no intervention at all.
So, in the meantime I’m functioning one-eyed. I can work and read, but not for as long as normal. I’m not yet sure how this is going to affect the blog work or my goal of reading two books a week, but we’ll find out. If nothing else, I can review audio books! In 2 to 3 months, things should, thankfully, be all back to normal. It’s been an interesting and crazy learning experience for me.