In Your Eyes


My most recent strange health issue: a massive allergy to who knows what causing my left eye to swell almost completely shut. With this, an itch beyond comprehension that spread from my eye to my forehead and cheeks, gradually crawling its way to my right side. I hit the Benadryl hard, sleeping like the dead between doses, making sure I was tapered off the latest dose so I could drive to pick up my kids. Thanks to fibromyalgia, any number of triggers ranging from season changes to unrelated injuries, the flu, stress; I often have such unusual health issues. Allergic reactions, pain, injury, it’s a potpourri of things that can and often do go wrong when one’s immune system is compromised. Yet another reminder that our bodies and minds are part of a complex system; there is no separation or isolation when it comes to a fibromyalgic. After a day of Benadryl only to awake between doses to worsening symptoms, I was at wits end.

I have a wonderful specialist who treats most of my fibromyalgia issues. He is so well-known and well-respected though, that he keeps short office hours and doesn’t take insurance. No matter, I know how to manage my illness well. In this case, I knew I just needed to see an internist at my regular practice. To that end, I must rail against health care and, frankly, some doctors’ humanity, flexibility and honestly, commitment to the Hippocratic Oath. The day before my appointment, I made a beeline to our family doctor’s practice, kids in tow. I had been unable to get in that day due to the timing of picking up said kids and when I called the office at 5 pm to see if I might see someone that night, the phones were turned off. We live blocks from the office so on our way home, we swung by. I was barely holding on to my sanity with two grumpy kids and one eye almost swollen shut. I appealed to the receptionist, acknowledged I had an appointment the next morning but the swelling was much worse and was there any way someone could see me quickly that evening. Was there, perhaps, a doctor in back who could take ten minutes to see me? She scurried to the back only to return with a doctor who motioned us all back, I felt a moment of relief. He looked at my eye and said, “No, we can’t see you. You have an appointment for tomorrow, come back then. I understand you were offered an appointment today and missed it.” I could feel my blood start to boil. “I didn’t miss an appointment today; I was unable to take it because I had to pick up my children at the time.” “Well, he said, we don’t do walk-ins. Either go to the ER or come back tomorrow. This can wait.” “Why didn’t the front desk just tell me that?” I asked. “Because, I can’t let you leave here with a pussy swollen eye, so I wanted to look at it but this, this can wait until tomorrow.” In that time, he could have prescribed me the steroid I needed and sent me on my way.

I pushed through the day and went in the next morning. The doctor promptly prescribed a high dose of Prednisone starting with 60 mg/daily and then slowly tapering down. We were to leave the next morning for a romantic anniversary weekend.  And, sure enough, after 24 hours, I looked (and felt) almost normal. Just another day in the life of a fibromyalgic—when your immune system is out of whack, any number of random things can trigger any number of reactions. After over a decade with this illness, I have learned to roll with it; and am grateful that my swollen and far from sexy eye allergy flare-up was under control so I could celebrate with my husband. I knew it would pass; it always does if I’m patient and pay attention to my body’s signals. I just thought of John Cusack boom box held high, the pure love on his face and in his eyes as he serenaded Ione Skye. And even with one eye swollen almost completely shut; I knew I’d be complete to

see the light and the heat . . .
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes

And, thank you to my husband who always sees the light in my eyes, even when they’re puffy with allergy and swollen shut.


  1. Love the song 🙂 and for what it’s worth, you’re not alone in your frustrations, pain, or the challenge of living life “weirdly” as I often think of it 😉

    Happy Anniversary


  2. Thank you hiddenlives. I think it’s time I started shining more light on my experience with FMS. I am very highly functioning and many people don’t even know I have it. I am fortunate not to need a walker or wheelchair but I do get sick a lot and am all of a sudden “gone” from the gym for weeks at time rehabbing this or that. While I don’t need to wear a sign, I also don’t want to hide. So, this is my life. I would encourage you to read another recent post on FMS “You’ve Got A Friend.” Best, Jenny


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