Good News and Bad News

Posted on January 17, 2009 by sonjabarrie



What a week, talk about being on top of the mountain one day and in the depths the next. The start of the week was fantastic, we got our citizenship on Tuesday 13th January and I think I walked out of the Rose Wagner Theater floating on 6ft of air. I have since found out that it was our neighbor Shannon who put the flags in our driveway. Thanks Shannon, that was such a nice gesture and really appreciated. Shame you couldn’t make it to the ceremony but this was just as
good if not better!

Next came the scramble to get the paperwork and photos together for our AMERICAN PASSPORT! We made an appointment at the post office and we had to send our Naturalization Certificate with the application and believe me when I say that was scary! It is the only thing we have that proves we are Americans and a thousand things go through your head, mainly, what if they lose it? how hard will it be for me to get another? can I get another? Now that we have no Green Cards (they take them as you go into the theater) and the visa is no longer valid we have nothing to show we are legal. We only had it 2 days! The passport office will now have it longer than we did!

It supposedly only takes three weeks to get the passport and they had better not take any longer as we leave for Costa Rica 22nd February. I have to say I am really looking forward to getting away from it all.

Although I won’t be getting away from that which is making me down in the dumpies! I have to note here that if you get bored with this post can you at least go to the very bottom and read my VERY important note there.

Yesterday I had to go to the Ophthalmologist again, most of you probably know I have had Ocular Herpes (also known as Stromal keratitis) for about 30+ years now, mostly it stays dormant and I have been very lucky as it has only raised it’s ugly head about 3 or 4 times in all those years and usually attacks last a year to 18 months. However, for whatever reason 2 years ago it decided to wake up and torment me, and torment me it has. I have now been on various medications for it since it flared up but as soon as it appears to die down (it is a virus) it flares up again. They would like to do a corneal transplant but can’t until the virus goes dormant, well it has now gotten so bad they have put me on some pretty strong stuff, yesterday the Dr. gave me the new prescription and warned me that it is “a bit expensive”.

I put the prescription in to be filled and was half way to the post office when they called me:

“Before we fill this prescription we just wanted you to know that your portion of the cost is going to be about $1,800 and your health plan is only covering 25% of the cost so if you had to pay for the whole thing it would cost about $2,500.”

Much to my surprise I didn’t crash the car, faint or freeze in panic (though they all crossed my mind I think!) I calmly told them I would have to check what was going on and call them back. I have a $500 deductible which means I have to pay the first $500 of all prescriptions and then it is covered 100% by my health insurance. Well, that is what is supposed to happen anyway, as it is Saturday there is no-one at the office so I have to wait till Monday to find out exactly what I am suppose to pay. In the mean time I need these meds, my eye is hurting so I hedged my bets and got enough to get me through one month (60 pills) and still had to pay $669.37 with a $10 off coupon I found on the manufacturers web site (very generous of them when you consider the whole bill would have been $812 without insurance!)

There are certain classes of drugs that insurance companies will not pay the whole price for (I have even been refused a prescription and had to back to the Doctor to try something else.) With all the eye drops and meds I have to take for this it is going to add up to about $12,000 a year to keep my eye that I can barely see out of anyway because of all the scarring from the disease.

Now here’s the irony, it would cost me LESS to actually REMOVE my eye and I don’t even know if the new meds will help at all. Now I often say my life is weird and wacky but how weird and wacky is this! Go Figure!

The thing is, I might not be any better off if I was back in the UK. With all the cuts to the NHS I know they have a list of meds that Doctors are NOT allowed to prescribe because the individual health departments don’t have the money to cover it. Thank goodness I can afford it, well for now at least.

In case you want to know what it is I have (apparently the pharmacist said she had to look it up when I told her what I had as she had never heard of it either) here’s the details:

http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/ocular-herpes.htm

Stromal keratitis

Stromal keratitis occurs when the infection goes deeper into the layers of the cornea. This can lead to scarring, loss of vision and, occasionally, blindness. Stromal keratitis is thought to be caused by a late immune response to the original infection. Although the condition is rare, the National Eye Institute reports that stromal keratitis is the leading cause of corneal scarring that subsequently causes blindness in the United States.

What Causes Eye Herpes?

Caused by the type 1 herpes simplex virus, eye herpes (ocular herpes) is a recurrent viral infection affecting the eyes. This type of herpes virus can cause inflammation and scarring of the cornea that sometimes is referred to as a cold sore on the eye.

Herpes of the eye can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person who is having an outbreak (e.g., cold sore of the lip). The herpes simplex virus initially enters the body through the nose or mouth and travels into the nerves, where it may be inactive. The virus can remain dormant for years and may never wake up. The exact cause of an outbreak is unknown, but stress-related factors such as fever, sunburn, major dental or surgical procedures and trauma are often associated with incidents.

Once the initial outbreak occurs, eye herpes has about a 40-50 percent chance of returning. There is no specific time frame for ocular herpes to reappear; it could be several weeks or even several years following the original occurrence. Although symptoms usually present themselves in only one eye, the virus possibly could affect the other eye as well.

Surgery is required if there is scarring in the cornea and the treatments including the steroids do not help clear the center of the cornea. In cases where corneal scarring is permanent, a corneal transplant may be recommended to restore vision.

Although there is no cure for eye herpes, the described treatment programs can help control outbreaks. Studies are being performed to determine better methods for managing the disease.

LAST WORD: PLEASE SIGN YOUR DONOR CARD. WITHOUT DONORS, EVEN IF MY VIRUS SETTLES DOWN, I HAVE NO WAY TO RESTORE MY EYESIGHT WITHOUT A DONOR!!!

One Response to “Good News and Bad News”

  1. Ms57Classic

    - 3rd Mar, 09 11:03pm

    Hi. In 2001 I had a corneal transplant and have written about it in my blog. I’ve also created a social networking site for those who have had a corneal transplant or will be having one. If you are interested the link is:
    http://cornealtransplantsupport.ning.com

    Reply to this comment

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