El Secreto de Mis Ojos

Recently my eyes have been bothering me. I was blaming it on the “lowering of the smog” as we transition from summer to winter here in Santiago. I wear contacts, so I think the pollution gets trapped in them. That’s my theory, anyway.

So last night right before my class, my right eye started stinging like no other. I went to class and my students asked if I was alright, because my eye was watering and I was sniffling. It looked like I had been crying. I told them I was fine, but all through class my eye was killing me. I even went to the bathroom at one point and took out my contact then put it back in. No relief.

As soon as I got home, I took out my contact. Usually, this solves the problem. This time, though, my eye kept stinging. I figured I just needed to sleep it off.

This morning I awoke and I couldn’t open my right eye. Opening my left eye also produced some sort of weird sensation in my right eye (I think it’s because your eyes move together, so opening the left moved my right eye into an uncomfortable position). I figured I needed to shower and flush my eye out. So I did. No help. In fact, it even felt worse.

So I called Integramedica and scheduled an appointment for 10:45. I had to take a taxi there because I couldn’t manage walking down the street with one eye half-open part of the time. Let me tell you, I have so much more respect now for blind people who navigate the streets of Santiago with a cane.

So I got to the doctors and the nurses tried to give me a vision test. I informed them I only wanted someone to look at my eye because, in case they hadn’t noticed, I couldn’t open it. They kind of ignored me and made me do the test anyway, and one got frustrated because she couldn’t do the test on my right eye. I was like, lady, I CAN’T OPEN IT. THAT’S WHY I’M HERE!

So I finally sat down and waited for the doctor.

The verdict? HERPES. IN MY EYE. I should say that I have oral herpes (cold sores) so it’s not as surprising as it would have been had I not had that, but seriously, I had NO idea you could get herpes in your eye. After a Google search, I found out that it’s relatively common, especially since I have oral herpes.

So the doctor gave me a prescription for three things, two antivirals (pills and an ointment) and some eye drops. Just my luck, I had to go to THREE different pharmacies to get them! First I went to Salcobrand because my insurance has a convenio there. They only had the eye drops and the antiviral pills were ridiculously expensive there. So I didn’t buy anything. Then I went to Dr. Simi and got the oral antivirals (they didn’t have anything else). Just to compare, SalcoBrand was going to charge me $13.000 (US$26.00) pesos for 15 pills. At Dr. Simi a box of 35 pills only cost $6.500 (US $13.00). Then I went to CruzBlanca to see if I could get the ointment and drops, but they only had the ointment. So then I had to go BACK to Salcobrand to get the drops. Luckily, that was all within two blocks of my apartment and the doctor had given me a topical anesthetic in my eye so that I could actually see.

This was not how I was planning on spending my Friday.

Anyway, sorry if I grossed anyone out with my medical problems or my use of the word herpes. I feel like herpes is such a taboo word just because it’s also an STD. I feel like people need to get over that. HERPES! HERPES! HERPES! There. I hope that helped.


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