Saturday, September 24, 2011

An inconvenient time to have an eye phobia

I don't think I've ever had cause to mention this, but I have an eye phobia.  I've never worn contacts, primarily because I can't even watch someone put their contact in or take them out without my eyes watering and stinging.  And my blink reflex is epic — the only way I (or the eye doctor) can get eye drops in my eyes is to close my eyes, tilt my head back, put the drops in the corners, and then I pry my eyes open (even that is tough) until the drops go in.

So as you can imagine, Panama's goobery eye has been quite the experience for me.  I can clean out eye boogers when they are in the corner, but you know those stringy ones that cross their entire eye?  No way am I touching one of those.

The vet came out late yesterday afternoon.  The first thing he did was to put numbing drops in Panama's eye, then a green dye so he could look for scratches on the cornea.  He told me that as goobery as Panama's eye was, he really thought he'd find something, but luckily for me (and Panama), there wasn't anything.

Then he suggested we flush the tear duct.  He approached it like he was afraid I was going to say no, pointing out that if we didn't do it and Panama didn't improve, he (the vet) would just have to come back out.  I already knew a blocked tear duct was likely, though, and approved the flush immediately.

I couldn't watch, though, so the vet had me stand on the other side and hold Panama's head up (he was drugged at this point).  Sure enough, he said the first flush produced some "chunks" (SO glad I didn't watch), and the second flush produced a little bleeding, which he said was a sign there was a lot of inflammation in the tube between his eye and his nostril.  Then he gave me some eye drops and showed me how to put them in: three times a day over the weekend, and if he's back to normal by Monday, once a day for the rest of the week.

The drug he used to make Panama sleepy from the flush — an anesthetic with a little painkiller — wore off shortly after he left.  Immediately I noticed a difference — he was happy and excited, and when I tried to walk him around the property (the vet said to wait 20 or 30 minutes before I let him eat), he pretty much dragged me from one place to another.  I figured that probably meant he was awake enough to eat, and took him back to his corral to get his dinner!

This morning I got to the barn to find he had figured out how to get out of his fly mask: sign #1 that he was feeling better.  Sure enough, his eye was clear and happy with no goobers.  Sign #2: He was very vocal and kept nickering to me the entire time I was there.  Sign #3: He hardly fussed at all about getting his eye drops, even when it took me a few tries to get it right.  I think I was more anxious about it than he was!

I think he's probably wondering when our next ride will be.  I might hop on bareback a little bit this evening, when I'm there to put in the last eye drops of the day — but if not, surely tomorrow.  Heaven knows I'll be out there plenty this weekend!

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