All it Takes is One Person to Care 3/7/22

Photo by ATC Comm Photo on

It really does just take one person with empathy to make a difference. Today was my appointment back at the 1st Ophthalmologist, that I saw a month ago. Lots of changes in the past month. There’s always a big difference when I see this doctor, compared to others. She listens, she explains her thoughts and details about exams. And she’s willing to discuss my own ideas and theories when it comes to my own body or well, eyes. Most importantly, she is willing to try more than basic exams to make sure there’s no damage.

She agreed with me that either when my eye hit the lights on my born into vampirism day, or after trying artificial tears which were irritating them, I pulled a muscle in my eye. The sharp pain is now a dull soreness, much like other muscle issues (my specialty). That’s why my eye’s did not line up, and thankfully it stopped that particular weirdness. She also agreed that the muscle issue would not affect the light sensitivity. Which was my question, why would it do that?

Everyone who’s examined my eyes since this has gotten worse in January has only done the most basic eye exams. 4 different eye doctors/specialists. Except for the doctor, I saw today. Today she examined my retina and macula, plus optic nerve. Of course, had to dilate my eyes, the headache came back today but I handled about an hour in tkd class lights, with sunglasses. Progress😊

The good news is that we have ruled out anything wrong with the cornea, retina, or any other part of my eyes that have been examined. There are no blood clots or scarring which both can happen with Covid. She said it takes forever but the few she’s worked with; light sensitivity eventually decreases after using the artificial tears. I’ve kept using the preservative-free ones that do not irritate my eye. My new favorite doc lady was very happy I was scheduled to see the neuro-ophthalmologist at the end of the month. I should also hear from the post covid clinic then too, but who knows how far out they are scheduling appointments.

There’s not much information out on light sensitivity, except it can happen after covid. My light sensitivity was mild after my bad Covid experience, I don’t understand why it would get worse after mild Omicron. And there’s no explanation for my right eye to decrease in vision and go wonky. I’ve gotten flashes over the right eye in too much light, and while I can focus the wonky eye it takes effort and goes in and out of focus.

The more that gets ruled out, the more it points to neurological systems. Not that I’ve kept pointing that out over and over. My neurological appointment is end of June, which I got from ER. Now it occurred to me that no one at the ER, after explaining headaches/pain/eye issues after having Covid, no one asked if I’ve been having any cognitive issues. While not serious right now, after the month of being sick, I had really bad cognitive issues. Brain fog, forgetting directions I’ve known forever, spelling, grammar. I started grad school 6 months later, it was very noticeable. As I’ve studied psychology, cognition, and the brain, I played brain games. Lumosity has many, including language and numbers. I still struggle today remembering how to spell words that I used to with ease and struggled with remembering 4 numbers switching between apps today. I’ve always been good at remembering spelling and numbers. One of the themes of my master’s degree was about improving executive functioning (attention, focus, cognitive flexibility or shifting attention, etc.). So are the doctors going to believe I have cognitive issues if I started therapy on myself?

I listened to a podcast/zoom special on The Ellementa Show this weekend. The host Aliza Shermen, and Cannabis Doctor/Family medical practitioner Dr. Bridget Williams were discussing the few research that has been published about CBD/Cannabis and Covid. The discussion came around to long haulers and accessibility to healthcare. I found it interesting that as a Doctor, Dr. Williams still struggled to be taken seriously, and sometimes found better care when she didn’t explain her background and education. Sometimes explaining helped, sometimes it didn’t. I have had that too. When I attempt to explain that I have a good understanding of anatomy, taken pathology, and study the brain, sometimes it helps, sometimes I’m taken less seriously. I used to think it was because I wasn’t a doctor and I have crappy government insurance. Might still be the insurance. But also how healthcare systems treat women, which is even worse for people of color. Pandemic made the bad, worse. I have to add, they both recommended the Vaccine as the best way to prevent Covid, me too. Even if you’ve had Covid, after talking with your doctors.

My research today is a popular topic, I’ve seen on multiple sites. The study was done using neuroimaging on a population that had the previous neuroimaging done, then again after having Covid. One of the issues with seeing changes with brain imaging is that a comparison is needed. The same with mammograms and other certain types of imaging. The study was unique in having before images. Even with the wild headlines, of ‘Even Mild Covid Can Damage and Shrink the Brain’, remember these articles are reading and summarizing in their own words, the actual study.

Here is the actual study. The imaging did show mild .02-.2% brain changes and abnormalities in the brain and most in the study has mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization. The age of the population was 51-81 with 401 in the experimental group and 387 in the control group (who did not have Covid, but same imaging). This was a large study and included cognitive testing, which showed a larger decline in the Covid group. The participants had Covid prior to vaccine availability. My people

The wild headline article above is here. It wasn’t a bad article, but I felt it was written to get a reaction. I think Yahoo news here did well. They summarized the study above and included information from other studies linking each one in the article. One on neuroplasticity, the ability for the brain to heal and regrow, it’s still being studied, and we don’t fully understand yet. I’ve always been big on neuroplasticity and makes me think of Autism. Temple Grandin, The Autistic Mind, she discusses imaging of her brain and how it showed fewer connections in some areas, but then extra connections in other areas related to her strengths. My psychology journey has focused on cognitive and executive functioning, and I definitely think it can be improved, always depending on the person and other factors. I plan to do research on cognitive and executive functioning with my Ph.D. While the studies above didn’t surprise me as Covid causes inflammation everywhere, it doesn’t scare me either. Don’t let it scare you. Humans are amazing and resilient.

I read as much as I can most days, reading is my thing. One last article I read today. This one is about how immunocompromised people are feeling about mask mandates being lifted. I’m uncomfortable, but don’t have the option to work from home just yet. Plus I love working with my tkd kids. I feel like this is too early, and puts people already at risk, more at risk. Every time I get Covid, I get long-term unexplained issues, can’t afford it again. It helped to read I’m not alone in this, and neither are you. Article is here.

Knowledge is power, understanding brings compassion.

Wishing you someone to listen, when it matters.

Becca Dove


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