Saturday, August 4, 2012

The hazards of beer drinking....

Last week we had the unfortunate luck of dealing with a pretty serious eye injury. Now that Alex has recovered a bit, we can joke about it but at the time it was a pretty scary thing. Last Thursday afternoon, I was at work as usual and Alex and Forrest were down at our beach playing. Alex opened a beer,(a Pacifico if you all are interested...) and the beer was under a crazy amount of pressure and the top flew up and hit him in the left eye like a bullet. Within a few moments he lost his vision almost completely in that eye, and was only able to see light and dark, not able to make out shapes, faces, or anything else. He called me wondering what he should do. In my work in the ER I've seen various eye injuries, and along with the non-medical person know fully well that loosing your vision suddenly even from a fluke thing like a beer cap is NEVER good. I told him to go to the ER.
 He made his way up the trail with Forrest and luckily Matt was able to drive him the hour long drive it takes to get into town. During that time I luckily got in touch with the opthamologist on call Dr. Gibb who was waiting for him in the office.
Needless to say Alex has a hyphema, or a bleed in the anterior chamber of the eye. He also had a corneal abrasion which was minor compared to the hyphema. Along with this comes acute glaucoma or increased pressures in the eye so to cut to the chase Alex's perfect 20/15 vision was gone.

Hyphemas can be devastating, or they can heal within months. The danger of them is a secondary hemorrhage or a re-bleed which usually happens in the first week. So it was 3 different eye drop meds for Alex as well as very sedentary activity.
Insert the trouble...! Anyone that knows Alex, especially during the summer, fishing season, etc, knows that sedentary activity and this guy do NOT go together. We tried to play it as an impromptu vacay, feet up, cold drinks, etc. But between the eye pain, bad vision, and worrying about what may happen it was not the best of days...
He persevered though and is now released for activity. No re-bleed happened and even though his vision is still blurry in his left eye, and he will be at risk for glaucoma for the rest of his life, I think we came out of this one pretty good.
Lots of ophthalmologist trips in the future, but we can deal with that!
Now if anyone knows where to pick up a good pair of beer goggles...;-)


Alison Willis said...

Crazy story. I appreciated the diagram. Hope he is on the mend and getting better day by day!

Fultmeyer Clan said...

Alison, realized after I posted it, that it was in German, whoops! I guess it at least got the point across :-)