Tag Archives: eye problems

Eye can see clearly now…well, damn…

Hey, 1. You can’t say I didn’t warn you people about the eye puns, and 2. Just be glad I haven’t decided to be extra rude, and change all of my “I”s into “Eye”s. I am that much of an ass, I am not even going to pretend otherwise. 3. Dammit, I should’ve used this eye pun for the post about my glasses!

I said before that I would eventually talk about the accident that left me functionally blind in one eye, and I even went over in briefly in another post, but those of you who want the full scoop, here you are.

 

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“Stubborn as a mule” doesn’t even come CLOSE to covering it.            

First off, let me explain: I’ve always had a stubborn streak – and, perhaps, even more importantly a contrary one. Tell me to go left, I’ll go right. Tell me to stop, and I’m gonna run right up and over you. It’s a running joke that I am so contrary, I couldn’t even be born on the day the doctor said I would be. I ended up being born two weeks late. Contrary. And it was the contrariness that ultimately caused me to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

I was sixteen months old when the accident happened. My sister was fourteen at the time, and my brother was eleven. My father was at work, and my mother had been sick all day, so mom put me to bed, and then went to lay down, herself. My siblings were in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher.

Now, here’s where the contrariness comes into play. My mother put me in my crib, and told me to stay thereThree guesses what I did not do. (I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “stay” and ends with “there.”)

The minute they left the room, I was up and running. Climbed out of the crib, and ran right out of my bedroom, into the kitchen. My brother had just taken a glass mug out of the dishwasher, and seeing that a few drops of water remained inside, he did what any 

Image result for old glass mug
The cups were like these, but instead of alcohol, we used them for rootbeer floats.

one of us has probably done in our life times, and tried to shake the water out. He was holding it by the handle, he didn’t swing it wildly, he didn’t smash it against anything, he just gave it one good shake. The cup part of it detached from the handle and shattered…just as I came running around the corner. A piece of the glass cut through the eyelid of my right eye, and went into the eye itself.

 

 

My mom was a huge fan of the old show, Rescue 9-1-1. If it was on, the television was on, and the family was watching it. I’m not a fan of television, in general, but I can’t complain too much about mom’s obsession with that show. The last episode the family had watched happened to feature an eye injury, and thanks to this, my sister knew to grab a cup and place it over my eye, while someone else called for an ambulance.

Obviously, I was too young to remember all of this, and I’ve heard conflicting reports. One person told me I was flown from one hospital to another, and another person said that they drove me. From what my sister says, the paramedics who arrived on the scene wasn’t going to take me to the hospital, but one of them changed their mind, and I was originally taken to Franklin Square Hospital. I was then taken to John Hopkins Hospital (not sure whether it was flown or driven), where the doctors worked to save my eye.

When all was said and done, I had stitches on my eyelid and the eye itself. It’s been over thirty years, so my family doesn’t remember how many, but they believe it was at least seven or eight (maybe up to seventeen, total), and I wore an eyepatch for a while. Later, I visited the same doctor who treated me after the initial accident, and I found out that the reason I can’t really see anything on my right side, is because of a “trauma cataract.”

A cataract, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a cloud on the lens of your eye. 

Retina scans of my left eye (undamaged) and right eye (with trauma cataract). 

You can see it in the image above. The greenish mass that covers the right side of the lens is the cataract. I also have scar tissue, which complicates things a lot. I’ve been told that, even with cataract surgery, I  wouldn’t be able to regain complete vision in that eye, and I am okay with that. I’ve lived with my vision the way it is now for as long as I can remember. Honestly, if I had the surgery done, I think I would be worse off because the constant movement where none had been seen before would just drive my brain up the wall. Besides, the glasses I wear now bring what little vision I have in  that eye, from 20/80 to 20/30, I believe the doctor said, and that’s more than I’ve ever had. I put on these glasses, and I can actually read the clock from across the room with that eye alone. I’ve never been able to do that before. The only thing these glasses haven’t improved is my peripheral vision. Even if I look completely to my right side, I can’t see the edge part of my glasses. Meanwhile, on my left side, I can be staring straight ahead, and see the full rim and the left arm/leg of the frames.

Image result for peripheral vision

On the right side, everything past the Center of Gaze is pretty much gone. At  best, I can see to just before the “N” in “Near-Peripheral” is at. At best.            

Another side effect of the accident is a strong light sensitivity. My right pupil is permanently dilated. Have you ever had your eyes dilated? If you’re over 20, chances are, you have (or at least, you should have – eye health is important, folks!). Now, try imagining walking around like that all the time. That’s how it is for my right eye. Bright flashes of light on that side are physically painful. They’re also mentally painful.

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Left eye.
Normal pupil.

It’s not all bad though, I have excellent night vision. Unless the room I’m in is pitch black, I can easily read a book in a dark room, while everyone else is stuck stumbling around, trying not to trip over their own feet. Also, because I’m so used to the extra flood of light coming in on that side, if there’s a bright light on my left side, I can pretty much just brush right through it. It’s still annoying, but I can manage. On the downside, does the sun really have to be so flippin’ bright? (Kidding, guys, kidding. I science, I promise.)

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Right eye. Deformed pupil.

What’s interesting about this whole thing, by the way, is how the emotional/mental impact caused the accident overshadows my life far more than the loss of vision. Besides my own slight PTSD over the whole ordeal, my family also has suffered. I don’t speak to my brother much, but from what I’ve been told, he still wrestles with feeling guilty over the accident, even though he did nothing wrong. My sister was the one holding me during the call to 9-1-1 and keeping the cup over my eye, so she had my bloody hand prints all over her. She was also the one who cleaned up all of my blood off the floor and calmed my brother down, who was, of course, freaking out. I tried asking her about it, but she can’t put the feelings into words – and considering she’s a writer as well, that’s saying something. I do know she also has a strong reaction to the sound of breaking glass, and she gets jumpy when children are near things that are out of a person’s direct control (people throwing balls, slamming stuff around, etc.).

My mother…her version of the story completely contradicts what my sister and I both were told by our father, so whether she has it right, or due to the trauma of the accident on top of the very recent (at the time) death of my baby sister, she has gotten it all mixed up, I have no idea. Either way, the whole accident had a massive impact on my family that still affects them today.

Eye love good news, don’t you?

Ah, yes, I am a two year old, thank you for asking (hey, I warned you guys the eye puns were never gonna end…).

So, long story short, I have a trip coming up at the end of the month, and I need new glasses (my last pair was so bad, the next doctor was convinced I was given the wrong lenses or something), so I scheduled an eye doctor appointment and got two unexpected bits of good news.

  1. I now have 20/20 vision in my good eye.

    Snellen chart.svgI’ve mentioned before that I am pretty much blind in one eye due to an accident when I was very young. Well, in my other eye, my vision was, at best, 20/40*. Not terrible, but not perfect either. Just a little bit nearsighted. Again, no big deal.

    Well, when the doctor checked my vision this time, he said the surgery must’ve shifted my eye just right or something, because I now have “perfect”** vision. I had noticed before that my vision seemed changed, but I thought maybe the tumor had been affecting it, and now that the tumor was gone, my eye was just going back to normal. Apparently not, though! Hey, I’m not complaining. Had a tumor removed and a corrective surgery, all in one! Not a bad deal, hey?

    I do have a prescription for new glasses though. Went and turned it in on the same day, so I should have my glasses here in a week or two. I went all out on the lenses. Got myself some transitionals so I don’t have to worry about losing my sunglasses. Again. For like, the millionth time.

  2. My eyes are leveling out.
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August 2016 – Left eye appears to be lower than right eye.

The way I eventually found out about the tumor behind my eye was because of the proptosis – or bulging out. When you looked at me, it looked like one eye was lower than the other.

The first time I noticed it, I thought I’d had a stroke or something, because that was the only explanation I could think of for one eye to be lower than the other. After the CAT scans and MRI though, it turned out that the tumor was pushing my eyeball down and out. That was why my face looked all lopsided.

After the surgery, my eyes still looked off to me, and I figured my face was stuck that way because of how long it took before the tumor was removed. Our skin only has so much elasticity, and it decreases with age. I’m not exactly a spring chicken anymore, so I pretty much just resigned myself to my new look. I asked the doctor about it though, and hey, surprise, surprise. He said that they’re almost back to normal.

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July 2017. About two weeks after surgery. Eye lid still swollen, but looking much better. 

Whether or not my left eye will continue to move back into place, we don’t know. Honestly, we probably won’t know until it finishes moving. In the meantime, though, I’m happy. I actually put on makeup for the first time in almost two years the other day. Before, if I put on any kind of makeup around my eyes, it just made the difference in their positions stand out even worse, so I had stopped wearing it for the past year.

Plus, right after the surgery, it hurt to mess with my eye, so trying to put on eyeliner or eye shadow was just NOPE.

So, yeah, there you have it. Good news and more good news. My next official after-surgery check up will be next month, but considering the news I got this past week, I think the check up should go well enough. Fingers crossed, anyway. I am so ready to be done with hospitals and check ups.

Especially the ones that are first thing in the morning.

comparison

Side by side comparison. Forgive the crappiness of the “before” picture. NO ONE takes a good picture at the DMV, and I didn’t take any other pictures before.


* For those of you wondering how the whole 20/20, 20/40 thing works: Basically, if you have 20/40 vision, it means that you have to be standing 20 feet away from something to see what someone with 20/20 vision can see, standing 40 feet away.

** Despite common belief, having 20/20 vision does not mean your vision is perfect. 20/20 only applies to the clarity of vision. I have slight astigmatism, so even though my vision is clear, it’s not perfect. 

Eye can’t even…

Yeah, I’m not letting go of eye puns anytime soon.

Anyway, it occurred to me that I hadn’t updated you guys on my eye problems lately. I had my six month check up back in November. So far, I’m still okay. My left eye still isn’t tearing up right, but it seems to be getting a little better? I (FINALLY) watched Justice League the other day, and at one part of it, both of my eyes stung like the tears would come. Only one eye actually teared up, but the stinging is still new, so fingers crossed it keeps improving.

My next appointment isn’t until May, but I need to talk to them before then to see about getting new glasses. It’s getting kinda hard to stare at my computer screen without squinting (which is weird because the last time I had my vision checked, my good eye had went from 20/40 to 20/20…I thought age was supposed to make your vision worse?), and it’s past time for a new pair anyway.

At any rate, life is getting kinda exciting. “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” is finally finished, and “Blood Runs Black” is….well, not off and running. More like limping. I’m not liking it at all, to be honest, but it’s going.

I have two vacations coming up, one at home, and one with my family. Can’t wait, but there might be a bit of radio silence for a while. You can always find me on twitter, especially now that I’m hanging with the #WriteFightGifClub tweeps. This group is insane, but in all the best ways.  It’s always nice when you can find your people.

[Update] Everything is good so far!

For those who want the tl;dr version, please see the title. Everyone else, please continue reading.

Yesterday was the one month post-op check up. I won’t go into the long ass wait, because it really was a long ass wait (the neuro-specialist was called away for an emergency surgery), but the long of the short (so far) is that I am okay, and doing great so far.

There were a few concerns I had to ask him about though. I was told  that I may experience blurry vision for about a year. That’s all fine and good, but I expected it to mean that, when my eye opened up finally, that it would start off as blurry, and get better in time. Instead, one day, my vision will be fine, and the next, it isn’t. One minute, my vision is fine, and the next it isn’t. Hell, my vision has gone in and out about 3 times while I was typing this. I wouldn’t care so much, since I know it’s supposed to be temporary, but I have classes and work, and I need to be able to read for both of those. So yeah. it’s annoying.

The other issue I was worried about is because the eye they operated on is not tearing up the way it should. I went to watch “Wonder Woman” for my niece’s birthday, and during the sad scenes…only one eye cried. It was a very weird experience. It did it again when we went and watched Despicable Me 3 (though, fortunately, not as many sad scenes).

So I talked it over with the doctor, and he thinks it’s because of the gland they operated on. The lacrimal gland is the tear gland. He says that the gland creates a film of moisture over the eye that helps it to move easily within the orbit, and to see. According to the notes from the surgery, there wasn’t any damage to the gland, but it could be not working right yet because of the trauma around it. So, basically, the gland is either creating a thicker than usual film over the eye, or it’s not creating enough of a film. Either way, I have eye drops to try and help it out. We won’t know if it’s a permanent thing or not for a while.

Other than that, the doc says I’m healing great, and my next appointment will be in about three months.

Next update: holy world building, Batman! I’m in love *_*

Asking for help is a GOOD thing.

I am seriously using EVERY SINGLE TAG I use for this, because this is important. A cry for help should not EVER be ignored, and the person ASKING for help should never be made to feel like they are somehow LESS for NEEDING that help.

If you are shot, you go to a doctor. If you break an arm or a leg, you go to the doctor. You don’t feel ashamed for needing help THEN, why should you when the pain is INSIDE you? When it is a literally LIFE THREATENING injury/illness? And yes, people, it IS life threatening. Or do you think they were just playing with the noose around their neck? Or the bullet hole in their head? Or maybe the slit wrists and the mountain of fucking pills in their stomach.

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.

Do you know WHY so many people don’t get the help they need? Because there are dickholes out there who are mocking them. Who dismiss the cries for help as a “phase” until the person finally gets to the point where they think “why bother?”

And then those same assholes have the nerve to say “I don’t understand…what happened?”

YOU happened, asshole. You and the rest of society who have pushed them down one too many times, without even a backwards glance, much less a helping hand to get them back on their feet.

Their blood is on YOUR hands. And don’t you EVER fucking forget it.

 

**Note: To those of you who actually reach out to those who need help, this is NOT directed at you. And please, never change that part of you. We need more people like you.**

First off… no one panic, I’m not suicidal. Yes, I get down and feel like wtf is the point at times. I hate having to work when I know life is short and I’m not happy at my job and I keep thinking.. no one cares. If I died tomorrow, there’d be some poor schmuck […]

via Suicide… 4 words: Listen, I need help! — Kawanee’s Korner

I made it!

Sorry for the lateness, everyone, but I. Am. Back!

So, went in for surgery on Wednesday morning. Got there at 8:30am like they told me to, and then I ended up waiting almost two hours before they even took me into the back. If I had known I’d be waiting that long, I would’ve brought a book or something, but ugh. Anyway. Got to my prep/recovery room, and they came in with the IV.

Yeah, I noped the fuck out again. I warned them, the doctor warned them, and the head anesthesiologist even had a note in there to sedate me first, but noooo. They didn’t want to do that. They ended up calling the doctor who would be overseeing my anesthesia, and he came in to talk to me. He said as long as I signed the paper saying that I understood that there was a higher risk with gas induction,  they would do it my way. I had my hands out for the paper before he even finished talking. Obviously he couldn’t just let me grab and sign, he was a good doctor, but dammit I tried.

Anyway, apparently part of why they prefer starting the IV first is because some people freak out when they get to the OR. They see all the tools and stuff and get scared. I told them “I’m a writer, and this -hopefully- the only time I will be in an operating room. I’m not going to freak out. If anything, you’re going to have to gas me just to get me to stop asking questions.”

They got a good laugh out of that, and then they wheeled me in. I tried to get them to speed up, but the one guy said he was too old to be running through the hospital, dammit.

Then it was go time. I just want to say this: I LOVED my anesthesiologists. I had asked them to wait until I was completely out before they started the IV. When they started the gas, I saw him step forward, and I put my hand up and said “Not yet.” around the mask thing.

Guys, he listened.

I was expecting to have to fight with them the whole time, but they worked with me. Seriously, if you ever find yourself having surgery at John Peter Smith in Fort Worth, Texas, and you’re nervous: ask for Dr. Davenport and Nurse Gwen. I don’t know if they only work with the eye surgeons or what, but they are amazing.

Obviously I don’t remember the surgery. I woke up because someone was telling me “time to wake up!” I do distinctly remember telling them “no.” They tried again, and I told them, again: “NO!” Then I started asking for Kristy (roommate/adopted sister). She came in, and got to witness me almost deck one of my doctors (in my defense: the doctor was prying open the eye they had just operated on, I mean…c’mon!). I got distracted from swinging at the doctor though, because when she pried open the eye, I realized I could see.

One of the risks of the surgery was the loss of vision, so I was distracted enough for her to finish torturing examining me.

I made one of the nurses nervous, supposedly. I told them I wanted the lump they removed. I believe my exact words were “I want to put it in a jar in my room and name it ‘Fred’.” The nurse tried telling Kristy “Oh, that’s just the drugs talking.” But Kristy corrected her. “No, this is normal. If it were the drugs, she would’ve came up with a more creative name.” Kristy said the nurse gave her a weird look and left very soon afterwards. (On a side note, I meant to name it “George” like in the old cartoons. “I will hug it and squeeze it and love it all to pieces!” but “Squishy” was also in my list of names.)

Getting home from surgery was the worst part. Both of my eyes were swollen shut, so I couldn’t see anything. Plus, anytime I stood up, I was nauseous. So there was a lot of laying down going on there. My mom arrived around 7pm that night, and I’m not even going to lie, I cried like a baby. I really really did not like being blind.

My “bad” eye (the one I’m mostly blind in) finally opened really late that night/early the next morning, so that helped. My niece was amazing while I was recovering though. She brought me drinks, helped bring me food. Took care of our cat, and the dog. Just…all of it. She was very helpful, and I am very proud of her.

My other eye didn’t open for about three or four days, so my “bad eye” was pulling some major double duty. I ended up with headaches from eye strain and too much light. The doctors only prescribed Tylenol 3, one pill every four hours, but it was just not cutting it, so I called a nurse and asked if I could take two instead. She was worried I would run out too soon (and I did), but ugh. It was worth it. By the time I did run out, it was time to go back and have the stitches removed.

The only thing I will say about the stitches is that it SUCKED. It felt like she was cutting ME instead of the wires/threads.

Now, about the tumor:

I FINALLY found the name of it. It was a pleomorphic adenoma of the lacrimal gland. It can be dangerous, but usually only if 1. The whole thing is not removed, and 2. If the capsule around it breaks. Both of those can lead to the tumor becoming malignant and very aggressive. Dr. Itani was able to fully remove the tumor, and it was in one piece (no breakage of the capsule). So as far as we are aware of at this moment: the tumor was benign.

I still have to be monitored for regrowth, because that is where the real danger begins, but other than that, I am safe and in the clear. My next appointment isn’t until August.

Both of my eyes are open now (my left eye is still a little swollen and bruised, but it’s open), and I am celebrating. Wednesday is my niece’s birthday, so we’re going to go watch Wonder Woman, and tomorrow…tomorrow, I update Zombies!

…and do a crap load of homework. *sigh*

No zombie update today.

So, there isn’t update on zombies today, but that’s because I have a different kind of update instead.

SURGERY!

Called the hospital today to make sure the surgery would still be happening on Wednesday. It took a while for her to get back to me, but YES. Finally. I find out what time they’ll be doing it tomorrow sometime between 3-6 PM.

Now, this also means that there will probably not be an update for S’N’TZ on this coming Monday either. It will depend on if my eye is still all swollen shut and everything.

Fingers crossed for me guys.  First time ever having surgery, not quite sure what to expect.

Eye see what you did there…

Sorry for the lack of update yesterday. The past two days have been very busy for me.

So, went in for my appointment with the doctor on Wednesday to discuss the MRI results. That was fun. I got to harass Mr. Villian Voice, and watch a standoff between a patient and one of the nurses.

Apparently he thought he was there for surgery, but it was just a checkup. He made the mistake of getting beligerant with the head nurse. She shut him down quick. “I am the RN team leader here, and you need to speak to me with respect.”

He left in a huff, but that’s what you get for being pissy with a nurse.

Anyway, they called me in, we all looked at the MRI. I saw my brain on a screen and completely geeked out on the poor doctor. He was laughing at me, but I don’t care. I told him “it looks all wrinkly.”
him: No, it looks normal.
me: I’m pretty sure that’s the only time that word has ever been used to describe my brain.

Entertained the nurse who was trying to take a picture of my eye. The camera was on, but she wasn’t looking at me, so I started dancing around. She happened to look up at the screen, “are you playing with my camera?” Busted~ She walked by me about an hour later, just shaking her head. “Girl, you crazy.” That woman has no idea, rofl.

So, onto the tumor:

So far, everything looks somewhat good. The main doctor said that he think it’s either one certain kind of tumor, or another (there’s a bunch of different kinds).  One is really really bad, the other is somewhat okay. Because there is a distinct lack of pain, he believes the tumor to be the “okay” one.

That doesn’t mean that I am safe, but it’s still good news.

Surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday, but I won’t know what time until the day before. I’ve been told to expect the whole thing to take about 6 hours, but depending on how it goes, I might end up staying overnight. I’ve had to arrange for time off from work and school both, since I’ll be out of it on pain meds for the first couple days, and my eye will be swollen shut. It wouldn’t be so bad, but since I’m functionally blind in my right eye, and this surgery is being done on my left eye….yeah. Ugh.

I spent just about all day yesterday on the phone with school, financial aid services for the surgery (I was approved, yay!), and the hospital in general (all while doing homework assignments that were due THAT DAY. Fun times. Just….So. Much. Fun.). I had an appointment today for the pre-op anaesthetic testing. I thought there was going to be a bunch of tests, but it was just an interview.

My family should be heading out this way on Tuesday, so they’ll be here for the surgery. I guess they’re going to try and help out with the kids while I’m recovering. The manager at the gas station job told me that I am not allowed to come back to work until the doctor says it’s okay. The doctor said I’ll need about 10 days, and warned me that I’ll be bruised from forehead down to my neck/chest area, so if I didn’t want people to see me all messed up, I would need to make arrangements. I don’t care if people see. If they have a problem with the way I look, that’s their problem. The hell if I’m letting them try to make it mine.

All that being said, I will update “Say ‘No’ to Zombies” on Monday, but I’m not sure about the following week. It will depend on how the surgery goes. Some of the risks of the surgery include double vision or loss of vision for the rest of my life and/or the eye, itself. The doctor said he hasn’t had anyone lose an eye yet, and he believes that I won’t have any issues, but he had to tell me about them, for just in case.

Fingers crossed, people. If I lose the ability to read, I will lose my fucking mind.

Yuck. Another eye update.

Okay, so yesterday was my follow-up appointment about the mass behind my eye.

Apparently it is a tumor of some kind. They don’t know if it’s cancerous or not, and because of that, they can’t do a biopsy while it is still inside me. They have to remove it. So…surgery. For sure. Yay. /sarcasm.

No news yet on when the surgery will be. They had to send me in for an MRI to get a better look at the tumor first (Pro tip: Do not wear your hair in a ponytail when you are getting an MRI. By the time they were done, it felt like I had been stabbed in the back of the head). I have been warned that it may be a complicated surgery, depending on if the tumor has attached itself to bone and/or tissue. They have to make sure to get all of the tumor out, because if they don’t, and it turns out that it is cancerous, it can come back as very malignant and aggressive.

They wanted to send me to Houston for the surgery, but they’re not even sure if the hospital there accepts people without insurance. There’s also the problem that even if they do accept non-insured patients, it would be ass expensive, and I can’t afford it.

I’ve already applied for medicaid and was turned down (I don’t make enough. Not sure how exactly that makes sense, but that’s what it said). I also tried to sign up through the Affordable Healthcare thing, but open enrollment was closed. And now, thanks to Fuckhead in Chief, it’s about to go the way of the dinosaurs anyway. So yeah, I’m screwed seven ways to sunday on that one.

On the plus side, I get to see my mother soon. She’s supposed to come out and visit sometime in the next couple weeks, and possibly my sister as well. Still trying to work that one out. My sister said she will definitely be here for the surgery, but we’re not sure how long the recovery time for it is, so just…ugh. It’s a mess.

I called my mom and my sister both last night to give them the news and to get the freakouts out of the way. It’s seriously not that big of a deal yet, but ahh, family. At least they’re doing the freaking out for me, which means I can concentrate on homework, lol.

Ugh, this surgery better not mess with my GPA.

Never underestimate a reader/writer…

Something I forgot to mention in the last post.

After the CT scan was done, I asked if I could see the images. The tech guy, Keith (I finally remembered his name!), said “sure. You won’t really know what you’re looking at…”

Little did he know, I had to do research on CT scans for part of Etlan. So he pulled up the image, and started going through the different layers.

Me: “Oh, okay,  there’s the nasal cavity, and there’s the eye soc-ohhhh, there’s the mass they were talking about.”
him: *gives me wtf look*
me: I read a lot.
him: What do you read??
me: a little bit of everything.

So yeah. Fun times yesterday. Besides the freakout, anyway.

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