An Eye Ulcer Almost Changed My Life

An Eye Ulcer Almost Changed My Life

How did this happen? I have no EYE-dea.

It is hard to remember a time in my life where I had great vision. I started wearing glasses when I was in first grade and moved up to contacts the summer before seventh grade.

The week before I left for college, my ophthalmologist told me that I had been over-wearing my contacts and needed to give my eyes a break by wearing glasses. Not liking my appearance with glasses on, I wore my glasses in moderation and continued to wear contacts. The redness died away and I truly believed that everything in my eye was fine. I had monthly disposables and would, at the latest, dispose of them a few days over when I was supposed to. You could never find me sleeping in them, and I cleaned them often and well. There is no doubt that I was a healthy contact user.

There were a few rare days when one eye would get red again; however, it never lasted too long. This also kept the thought that anything was actually wrong, away from me.

It was a Monday evening in mid-November when things took a turn for the worst. My eye had been red that day, which did not mean a lot to me, but this time, a significant pain grew as the night went on. It hurt to close my eye too tight as well as to keep it open. Eye drops would simply fall out of my eye and did nothing to help me. I woke up many times and got very little sleep. In a constant state of fatigue, I woke up much later than usual and headed to class.

Walking there was a journey within itself, as I went back and forth from holding my eye, attempting to force it open, and closing it all while dodging traffic.

After getting to my class safely and early, I sat, holding my eye for about ten minutes. My T.A. noticed my behavior and after I explained myself, she demanded that I went to the Health Center. I fought her on the subject since I hate missing class.

But, eventually found myself inside the Health Center in defeat, and I could not be more grateful that she had made me go.

As the nurses violated my eye with their unusual scans, they told me that I had a scratch on my eye. They prescribed eye ointment, which I did not even know existed, and said that I should probably go to the hospital. My mother, on the other hand, assured me that we would see an ophthalmologist when I would come home for Thanksgiving break.

Once home, we visited the ophthalmologist and were shocked to hear what he had to say. My eye did not have a scratch on it, my eye had an ulcer. He said the reason was what he called "Contact Over Wear Syndrome". Even though I had been taking care of my contacts, there had been a miscommunication. What I thought were monthly disposable contacts had been two-week disposables. It is unclear if my contacts had been that way for years or more recently.

But, if I had continued to wear my contacts, it is likely that the ulcer would have caused permanent damaged to my vision.

As a Graphic Design major, it is impossible to deny that vision is a key element. If I had lost my sight or even a part of it, it is likely that I would have had to change my major. My life in general would have been changed altogether. And this could have become my reality if I had not been forced to go to the Health Center.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?

I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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The R-Word Is Not A Word You Should Be Using

Spread the word to end the word.


I'm having a conversation with a group of friends and it's going well as conversations with friends should go. Out of the blue, one person says something along the lines like, "Yeah, I looked retarded."

Excuse me, what?

Out of all of the adjectives in the world, you pick that one?

Allow me to elaborate. The R-word is not a word you should be using in an everyday context. You shouldn't call someone that and you should never describe someone or something as the R-word. Why? Because it's an offensive, derogatory term to humans with special needs. Basically, you are degrading others and their abilities by saying the R-word as well as not being accepting or inclusive. It's crude and needs to be eliminated from everyday speech.

Now don't get me wrong. This hasn't always been the case with the R-word; This word was socially acceptable at one point (back in like, the 17th century). In fact, the word comes from the Latin verb "retardare" which means "to hinder" or, "to make slow." We see it pop up in older literature and conversation but around the 20th century, it became a word that describes people living with mental disabilities and quickly became associated with other terms such as "moron," "idiot," and "imbecile."

In fact, on October 5, 2010, President Obama signed S. 2781 (known as Rosa's Law for the young girl who worked to get it signed) into law. This bill replaced the term "mental retardation" with "mental disability" as well as the phrase "mentally retarded individual" with "an individual with an intellectual disability." Now, the former terms and phrases no longer exist in federal health, education or labor policies. The overall goal for this law was and is to eliminate this harmful language permanently to prevent hurting and offending the vast number of people and families that have a loved one who may live with intellectual disabilities.

This concludes the history lesson portion of the article. For these reasons, the R-word has become a degrading word with negative context and we as a society should realize that, find a dictionary, and pick another adjective to describe how you look.

Still don't get it? Still think that it's socially acceptable even after my history lesson?

A former teacher of mine once used the following as examples to prove this exact point that I'm trying to make and as much as I hate typing them out, it hits hard and it will shut down any person that tries to argue that the R-word is fine to use. To sum up the examples in the softest way possible, it's basically the equivalent of calling an LGBTQ+ person a "fag" or an African American the n-word. You don't. Because all of that is WRONG and DEGRADING and you have no right to be using terms such as those. Does it make sense now? Yes? Good.

If you're interested in finding out more about ways to stop the use of this word, I recommend checking out this organization raises awareness about the negative context of the R-word and encourages people to pledge to "spread the word to end the word." You can check out personal stories and find out when events that promote the organization are taking place.

The world isn't that big but our vocabulary is. If you use the R-word, chances are you'll seriously offend someone. Instead, please find another adjective. It's not that difficult. By doing so, you'll be helping to end the use of the R-word permanently.

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