I had this brilliant idea that I would offer to house sit and dog sit for my dear friends while they went to New Zealand for three weeks. The biggest reason I wanted to do this, other than stay in their magnificent shore house, was so that I could make a real dent in my next book.
And it was working, for one day.
Then I got pink eye.
I went for a walk on the beach and by the time I came home, I couldn’t see. I was sure it was because the wind was whipping pretty furiously but I persevered. I also thought that my eyes were red because, well the wind was whipping furiously!
After writing all morning and subjecting myself to a vigorous walk on the beach, my creative juices deserved a nap.
Upon waking, so ready to dive right back into that book, my eyes refused to open. They were sealed shut tighter than a child-proof cap on a bottle of Tylenol.
I’m in a shore town, in April. There’s nobody here. I don’t have a doctor or even an ER close by. I drive to the CVS pharmacy hoping they have a Minute Clinic where I can get drops and be on my way. Really hoping I don’t have to drive much further because I can’t see a damn thing out of my right eye.I keep wiping my drooling eye with a new tissue and immediately put it in a used grocery bag because I suspect I’m contagious as hell. I don’t want my steering wheel, door handle, or anything else to propagate this vile disease for the next three weeks of my self-imposed writing bootcamp.
CVS tells me the closest Minute Clinic is 100 miles away. Luckily, a beautiful Emergency Medical Tech is standing next to me and gives me directions to the closest Urgent Care, whilst moving very slowly away from me with every well placed word.
I find a great staff and physician at the Urgent Care. I tell the doctor I’m so glad I caught the pink eye before it infested both my eyes. He gives me a sympathetic nod. I got the feeling he wasn’t convinced this disaster was over. Kindly, he told me to call if I needed anything else.
I went back to the CVS, picked up the miracle antibiotic drops and went home to listen to YouTube videos. I couldn’t write because I couldn’t see. I went to bed secure in the knowledge that in the morning I would be clear eyed.
At 2:00 AM my writing life was over. At least for another day. I now had pink eye in both eyes. Since I’m not an idiot, I put the magic drops in both my eyes and four hours later rebaptized my suffering eyeballs.
Then I called the doctor to call in another prescription so that I would have enough drops to finish the job.
Not so fast.
The Urgent Care doctor was not surprised that he needed to call in the prescription. The CVS pharmacy, however was hog tied by my medical insurance.
“Sorry,” the pharmacist said, “but I can’t refill the prescription until next week. Because you just picked up that medicine yesterday, the insurance company won’t allow me to refill it.”
“But, but, but that was for ONE eye, I now have it in BOTH eyes!”
The pharmacist flinched, not because this was a crazy request, but, I’m pretty sure because she was being begged by Quasimodo to fix this problem.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” she said.
I couldn’t help myself. I had pink eye all over the place. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t drive, or go to a bar and drown my sorrows. I was typhoid Mary and couldn’t hide it.
So I wiped my eyes with the palm of my hand and stuck it out to the pharmacist.
“That’s okay, I’m sure you understand what it’s like to have this in both eyes. Thanks for your help.”
Her horrified face met my proposed handshake as she grabbed the phone. She called the insurance company and said to me: “Come back in two days, you should have enough medicine until then.”
She left my handshake hanging, but I was okay with that.
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Cathy is the author of Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial Caregiver