I decided to start with my needle in my eyelid story. Warning, it is not pretty. I decided to add a few photos (NOT of my eyelid) for those who get squeamish and would rather skip the story.
I took these photos a couple of weeks ago in the parking lot outside the medical plaza building where my eye doctor is located on a gloomy gray day (much like the weather is today).
And now the story...
Back in late July, I noticed this little lump on my bottom right eyelid. I thought it was the beginning of a stye. I tried to squish it when I first noticed it. This might have been a contributing factor of my pinkeye, which forced me to miss the first day of school for the first time in 26 years. The lump returned a week or so later and took on a life of its own. Everyone gave me advice. Nothing worked. It was even there when my school picture was taken.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally was fed up. The lump was getting bigger and harder and was beginning to hurt. I called to make an appointment with my eye doctor. I was told that my regular eye doctor was in Guam (providing free eye care, which I think is pretty cool). I was given the option of seeing his associate if I did not want to wait. Usually I would have decided to wait, but I figured the most intrusive thing he would do was to prescribe drops, so why wait any longer.
The eye doctor I saw (who seemed quite nice) said it looked like a stye. That is what I figured it was (according to friends and google). He said that the usual way he would treat a stye that did not go away on its own was to cut it open to let the contents drain out. Cut it open??? Fortunately, after looking at it, he said that the shape of my lump would probably not respond well to this treatment. Instead he wrote a prescription for two types of eye drops. After a glitch at the pharmacy, which resulted in days of phone calls, I started on the drops and continued with the warm compresses.
Two weeks later (last Friday) I went back for my follow-up. My regular eye doctor was back from Guam. He took one look at it and said it was not a stye. He said it was some sort of clogged duct. I can't remember the medical term but I am pretty sure it was not called a chalazion, which is the only name I keep finding on google that sort of describes the lump. He told me that he would recommend injecting some sort of steroid directly into the lump. He said it would be "a little uncomfortable". My regular eye doctor is an excellent eye doctor. I would trust him with any treatment he would recommend. Since the eye drops I just tried did not work and I was not about to bring up the option of having him cut it open, I figured the needle would be the way to go.
I was brought into another room and waited for about 15 minutes. I sat there staring at the needle, which was all prepared sitting on this metal tray as well as some sort of stuff in a tube, some sort of bloody looking liquid in a jar (which I later found out was betadine), and some long q-tip looking things.
Finally, after I spent 15 minutes imagining all kinds of scenarios, my eye doctor came in and asked if I was ready. He apologized in advance for the "uncomfortable feeling" I was about to experience. He put a couple of different eye drops in my eye. One was an antibiotic and one was to numb my eyelid (the second one did not work very well). He said he was sorry a few more times as he had me look up. The one good thing was that I was not able to see the needle. As he started to inject the steroid solution, he said "bee sting". That was probably not the best thing to say. I started to think of both bees and needles and it made me freak out even more. I squirmed in the chair like a little kid at the dentist as he slowly injected steroid solution through the thin sharp needle into the lump in my lower eyelid.
It was much more than a little uncomfortable. It was very painful. It was more painful than the thick dull needled that was inserted in my neck 11 days earlier as part of my shoulder manipulation procedure for my frozen shoulder and it seemed to last forever. I was not a good patient. He continued to say he was sorry a few more times.
I was so happy when he finally put that needle down. I thought that was it. I was wrong. After putting some of the betadine solution on my eyelid, he started to squeeze the lump with the long q-tip looking things and squish out some of the puss. That hurt even more than the needle. I squirmed some more. I was so relieved when he finally finished. At this point, my eyelid was very sensitive.
He finished up by putting a few more solutions on my eyelid and prescribed me two more types of eye drops, which I need to put in my right eye four times a day. This is not as easy as it sounds. Not only do I need to remember to put the drops in my eye four times a day, I need to remember to bring the drops to school, put one of them in the refrigerator at school, and then remember to take the drops back home again each day.
Even though having a needle stuck in my eyelid was not fun, at least I did not have to have my eyelid cut open. I am so thankful my regular eye doctor was available to do this procedure. Not only is he an excellent eye doctor, he is also very kind and caring. He must have said he was sorry about 100 times (before he started, while he injected me, and many more times afterwards). My eyelid has been pretty sore most of the weekend. It is finally starting to feel better today. Although my eyelid is still really red on the inside part of my eyelid, at least the lump hardly is noticeable. Hopefully the lump will be completely gone once the swelling goes down and all will be good when I go back to see my eye doctor this week.
Thanks again for all of your good wishes when I first mentioned the needle in my eyelid experience.
*Update Nov. 21st: I went back to my eye doctor this afternoon for my follow up appointment. When my eye doctor asked how I was, I told him that my eye is wonderful and then told him that friends mentioned that I should have at least been given a lollipop, a stiff drink, or better yet a box of chocolates. I think I made him feel bad. Either that or he is just too nice. He apologized to me again, saying "I'm sorry" at least five more times. When he took a look at my eye, he was amazed. The lump, officially called a chalazion, is completely gone. He had an intern with him. I think he was disappointed that there was nothing to show her. When I asked him if it was normal for the chalazion to disappear this quickly, he said that it was not. Lucky me!! The ugly chalazion is no more.