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ARE YOU KIDDING ME?: Dealing with dry eyes an ordeal

When the thought of pouring a gallon of lubricating eye drops in each eye became more desirable than eating a whole pizza, Leslie Crewe knew she had a problem.
When the thought of pouring a gallon of lubricating eye drops in each eye became more desirable than eating a whole pizza, Leslie Crewe knew she had a problem. - 123RF Stock Photo

You know how you live your life day to day, and most of the time you’re okay, despite the usual aches and pains that come with being as old as dirt; and then one day out of the blue you realize you’re not okay, or at least, there’s something bugging you, and it takes about six months for you to realize it. But once you’re aware of it, that’s all you can think about.

This happened to me recently. For months I thought I was either suddenly allergic to our (late) cat or we were having a pollen explosion in the middle of winter. My eyes, which I’ve never given a thought to my entire life were suddenly front and centre in the “this is really bugging me” department.

They were always sore, or itchy, or burning, or scratchy, or felt very, very tired. I was constantly rubbing them, which is not a good thing when you occasionally wear mascara. I was in Pennington’s shopping for a pair of pants and looked in the mirror while I was in the dressing room. A grumpy-looking raccoon stared back at me. Oh, dear lord. It wasn’t good.

Even hubby noticed after a while. “You’re constantly rubbing your eyes. Is there a reason?”

“The better to see you with, my dear.”

Later that night, as I sat and watched Grey’s Anatomy, a commercial came on with Serena Williams jumping around a tennis court before she sat down and put eye drops in her eyes. I unmuted the commercial. “Do you suffer from dry eyes? Get relief now!”

Dry eyes. I’d heard of it but never gave it much attention. Maybe that’s what I had. When the thought of pouring a gallon of lubricating eye drops in each eye becomes more desirable than eating a whole pizza, you know you have a problem. I called the eye doctor.

She checked me out.

“This happens to a lot of women as they get older. It’s hormonal.”

Of course, it is. Hormones and females go together like mac and cheese. I thought I was past the age of worrying about hormones but apparently, they stick to you like glue to the grave.

“Are you in front of a computer all day?”

“Kind of. I write novels and weekly columns where I complain about everything under the sun, like my itchy, miserable eyes.”

“You can turn down the brightness on your computer screen. It might help.”

“I hope they have a setting called gloomy.”

“Do you drink lots of water?”

Okay. This is like being asked how much you weigh. We always lie about it for some reason. We don’t want to admit that we don’t drink eight glasses of water a day, like we’re supposed to. It’s like telling the principle that we skipped school.

“Umm, I brush my teeth twice a day. Does that count?”

It doesn’t.

She tells me that studies show Omega-3 fish oil helps, but you have to be on it for more than six months before you potentially feel a difference. So, I’ll add that huge plastic bottle to the fifty other huge plastic bottles hubby and I have lined up on the kitchen counter. No wonder we can never get out of the house before 9 a.m. It takes us an hour and a half every morning to down all our drugs. Hey! I forgot to tell her that I drink water to swallow my vitamins and calcium tablets, so that has to count!

A humidifier in the bedroom would help me apparently. Just what I need. Another machine to drown out the noise from my CPAP machine. Our bedroom will soon be noisier than a construction site. So much for rest and relaxation.

And lastly, I need a life-time supply of eye-drops, and they aren’t cheap. I now carry drops with me constantly. I’d make a necklace out of the little droppers, if I could. And I have to put ointment in my eyes at night. Have you ever put what amounts to Vaseline in your eyes before you go to bed? It’s alluring.

Between my smeary eyes, my face mask, and my dental retainer that keeps me from grinding down what’s left of my teeth, I am simply a vision.

“John? John? Are you in here? Hello?!”

Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband. Since all her pets have now died, she's very cranky. Her 11th book, Are You Kidding Me?! Chronicles of an Ordinary Life, (a collection of her various columns over the past twenty years), will be available in book stores in September 2019.

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