There’s A First Time For Everything…

Well folks, we’ve made it to another Monday.

I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones were able to enjoy a safe and healthy Thanksgiving celebration no matter how different it might have looked.

It certainly didn’t feel like Thanksgiving to me–as this year has not even felt like a real year.

And to go along with that…2020 has certainly been a year to say the least.

It has been a year of firsts for me in several different aspects–some a bit comical and some a bit more serious.

Let’s start with the comical ones first, shall we?

-This year was the first year that I didn’t have Ocean Spray cranberry sauce sliced from the can at Thanksgiving dinner. And for those who don’t know, cranberry sauce is a VERY close second to my unhealthy addiction with mashed potatoes. Many thanks to Mama Welliver who was able to give me a “doggie container” of some slices that I will be enjoying throughout this week. Seriously, SO good.

-This year was the first year that I learned how to set an old-fashioned Victor mouse trap. There seems to be a little night critter visitor in the kitchen wrecking some havoc. so many thanks to my father for supplying me with the traps. And, many thanks to the homemade YouTube video that gave me the 1 minute lowdown on how to set it properly. There are currently now 4 of them perfectly placed (if I do say so myself) within the kitchen. And when that no, no Nanette nuisance is caught, I will be doing a happy dance…you can guarantee it. Or your money back. Also, I don’t know why, but the fact that I’ve heard a mouse makes me feel incredibly self-conscious that the house is a mess, which I swear it isn’t. Also, if you have any suggestions on how you may have caught mice (or a mouse) at your casa, let me know how you did it.

-This year is the first year that I put up an artificial Christmas tree at Sunshine Cottage. I’ve lived in this house for 4 years and have never found the energy to decorate. To go along with this, it is also one of the first years at the holidays that I’m not involved with a show at EPAC, which makes my heart so sad. I love the joy and thrill performing gives to me and doing it at the holiday season is always extra special no matter how busy and stressed I might get. I seriously CAN’T WAIT to get back to the art of performing and being involved at the theater. I miss my EPAC family like crazy.

And now we get to the serious “first” for 2020 that I experienced this week.

-This year was the first time that I ever stepped foot into an Emergency Room for medical treatment. Want to know the full story of how it happened?

Well, grab your trusty sidekick beverage and prepare yourself because I’ll give you the full lowdown.

It all started Sunday, November 22nd when my contacts started irritating me at church. I was tearing up, scratching, and itching. It almost felt like it was allergies for a moment. On the drive home, the light started to bother me and trying to keep my eyes fully open while driving into the sun was incredibly difficult.

I got home and immediately ran upstairs to the bathroom where I removed my contacts. Except the one in my right eye came out ripped and in two parts. Anyone else have that happen ever?

It is not pretty.

But the contacts were out. I put a cool, towel over my eyes to try and help with some of the itchiness and pain along with putting on my glasses to give my dealings with contacts a rest.

Fast forward to Monday morning where I woke up in a bit more pain and started to be irritated by looking at a computer screen. While working my part time job, I discovered that looking down was more helpful than looking up at light. So, I stood for a majority of my day on Monday, but I decided to call Teladoc to discuss my pain and symptoms with a doctor.

I discussed with them my symptoms and sent a picture of my eye and they mentioned that it sounded like a corneal abrasion, which basically is a fancy way of saying that the cornea had been scratched. This made sense, especially for the fact that it happened before many years ago when I removed a contact that was ripped. I was told that it would heal in a few days, so that was music to my ears. I went on with my day and cancelled all my extra curricular activities just to give my eye some rest. I also got some lubricating eye drops and edible cookie dough to soften the pain I was feeling.

I woke up Tuesday and opened my laptop to start work at my full-time job. And it was unbearable. The light (even with the laptop at a dark setting) and no lights on in my house was so painful and I had to cup my right eye in order to alleviate some of the pain. I was trying to type with one hand. I ended up taking the day off and basically slept all day.

I woke up after what felt like more sleep than I’ve ever experienced in my years on this Earth and I felt good. I went to bed Tuesday night feeling that the eye was starting to heal itself.

I was able to work Wednesday with minimal pain and made it through the day. By the time I clocked out at 5pm, I was feeling pretty good. Pain wasn’t terrible and I was ready to take on anything.

I started to feel some pain again on Wednesday night, but nothing serious, so I wasn’t too concerned. Light was beginning to become irritating again though.

Thursday morning I woke up and it seemed like everything had taken a 360 turn. The eye was very red, light was impossible in any format to not feel pain, and the pain was pretty great. I drove to Thanksgiving dinner at my parents with sunglasses on and an attempt at cupping my eye from extra light as much as possible. It was a struggle and looking back, probably something I shouldn’t have done.

I didn’t eat much at Thanksgiving dinner and excused myself early to go lay down and sleep with an ice pack over my eye to try and give me some extra comfort. Resting and sleep felt good, so I drove home that night to give my eye even more rest. And on the way home, I called Infinity Eye Care at Spooky Nook to see if they had a last minute appointment that could get me some answers and relief.

Friday morning, I made it about 2 hours at work and went into the eye doctor for an appointment to find out what was happening. A HUGE thanks to Marissa for driving me to my appointment. Megan Tirburtini and her staff at Infinity Eye Care were SO amazing, kind, and compassionate with what I was going through so if you ever need an eye doctor, go there! I can’t wait to go back and get an official eye exam because Lord knows I’m due for one!

Megan took a few, thorough looks at my eye and was nervous not 100% sure what was in there bothering me. She called around to a few other specialists (in regards to possible culturing with what was in my eye) and she ultimately told me to go the Hershey Medical Emergency Room for a final diagnosis.

So, on to the Emergency Room I went…my first time ever. And many thanks to Mama Welliver for driving me there. After arriving around 12:30pm, answering all the pre-COVID screening questions and defining my emergency as an unknown eye issue causing pain, I took a seat in the waiting room.

The nurse called me back around 30 minutes later to triage me and take my vitals. I had some fun with them since I was trying to lighten the mood and just made sure to share my appreciation for all that they were doing because it is apparent they are exhausted with all that is happening in the world.

And then…waiting.




And more waiting.

Waiting in a mask with incredible eye pain that was even more irritated due to the light and causing my eyes to tear and nose to run was quite the experience.

Also, I have to say that some of the things I saw in the ER were unbelieveable. I saw human attitudes so poor toward the medical staff and front desk staff that made my heart sink. The season of thankfulness and it seemed that no one was feeling that way.

And these poor medical staff are doing all that they possibly can for everyone…and are exhausted. I can’t even imagine.

Also, total side note–I can’t begin to thank everyone for all of their love, support, texts, and messages while I was waiting to be diagnosed. Waiting in an ER alone (since my mom was not able to come in with me) was a whole new level of anxiety, especially with it being my first time in one.

Around 6:30, I was called back to finally be seen by a doctor. I failed the eye visual test as I could read nothing because my vision was so blurry in the right eye. It was actually embarrassing.

The doctor looked at my eye and mentioned that it appeared I had an ulcer. I also had some fun with him too because it seemed like a stressful environment he was experiencing. I was trying to spread some of that Mr. Sunshine sparkle and joy.

After he looked at my eye several times and poking and prodding, he decided to call the Ophthalmologist on call to come take a look. I was giving all the medical staff a run for their money.

My eyes are apparnetly just THAT beautiful.

After about 20 minutes, Dr. Grant Carlisle entered the room to take a look at my eyes to make the final diagnosis with a treatment plan.

My eye was swabbed 8 different times to be cultured for bacteria and would you believe that I didn’t blink at all while that happened?!

That’s right. Impressive. Dr. Carlisle was impressed too.

He made the final diagnosis that there was a pretty hefty sized ulcer in my eye directly on my pupil–something that he had not seen before.

He gave me two eye drops for treatment that would have to be put in about 14 times a day and mentioned that there would be several follow up appointments to make sure the ulcer was shrinking.

He also mentioned the first couple days of treatment would be painful. And he wasn’t kidding.

Around 8pm, I was officially discharged with paperwork–about 8 hours after I first had stepped foot in the door.

A HUGE thank you to the entire staff at Hershey Medical for their time, attention, and patience for all that they do. I can’t imagine working long hours day in and day out while dealing with cases of medical traumas constantly with little or no break.

God bless them.

Also, HUGE thanks to my Mama Welliver for waiting in the car out in the parking lot during this whole ordeal and driving me home to their house where Marissa met us to drive me home to Lancaster.

I cried on the way home because I had never been in so much pain before. If I could describe it, I would say that it felt like a knife had been put through my eye. I was wishing that it could just fall out because it was so bad.

I got home to find a cute note with some hot chocolate from a special and handsome friend, Ethan that was a welcome sight after what had been a very draining day.

Needless to say, I’m finally on the mend, my pain is going down a little bit each day, and I’m extremely thankful for my health, the healthcare workers, and everyone who helped me throughout this first-time ordeal of being in the ER.

Also special shout outs to Pastor Angie for dropping off some Dunkin’ coffee and pastorly joy on Saturday, Marissa for spending some time with me on Saturday evening while we ate frozen pizza and watched The Amazing Race, Abby for driving me to my parents’ house on Sunday and buying me my first Peppermint Mocha of the season, and to my dad gor driving me to Hershey for my follow-up appointment with Dr. Carlisle. Also huge thanks to Tim Rohrer at McElroy’s Pharmacy for helping secure the final third eye drop of my treatment.

This was definitely a traumatic experience for me to say the least and I don’t wish the pain I felt on anyone in this world.

I’m not always someone that takes my health seriously, but this has been a game changer for me espeically because all the doctors that I saw were thrown for a loop by never seeing an ulcer direct on the pupil in someone’s eye.

I guess they also got a first this year with me as their patient.

So, the moral of the story is to be thankful and grateful for the things you have in your life and to NEVER, EVER take anything for granted.

…Oh and…I’ll no longer being doing contacts, so I’m going to be a four eyes.

2020 has been a year of firsts.

Share yours with me. I would love to hear them!

Sprinkle sunshine always,