Eye Drops

Three weeks into the new year and we found ourselves in the vet’s office once again.

After a beautiful week of snow, it was finally starting to melt. The off-leash park where A.J. likes to run had turned into a lake as rain came down and a foot of snow started to melt. What little grass is left in the yard began to show through. A.J. was once again coming home from walks covered in mud. Everything was a wet, soggy mess. In other words: business as usual in Portland, Oregon.

I had been away from the office, working from home, for over a week. But the ice was finally off the roads and the buses running on schedule, so it was time to go in. I got up in the morning and jumped in the shower. When I got out and started getting ready for work I noticed A.J. was being even more clingy than usual. I was rushing around doing the usual pre-work morning things: getting dressed, brushing my teeth, and so on. I’d reach down to give him an occasional scratch, but I needed to get to work.

When I was ready I went downstairs and checked the schedule to see when the next bus was due to arrive. Usually by this point A.J. knows I’m leaving and has curled up on his bed, resigned that once again I’m about to abandon him for the day. But he was still trying to nestle up to me and get me to pet him. I finally stopped, looked at him, and –

“What happened to you?!”

A.J. was trying to look back at me, but his eyes were all squinted. His right eye was barely open, and what I could see was cloudy and red. I tried to look closely at it, but A.J. was having none of that.

I went to work, and as soon as I got there I called the vet’s office and scheduled an appointment for that afternoon. A couple of hours later I texted Greg and asked if A.J. was any better.

“He looks better than he did.”

Because A.J. has a habit of showing up at the vet acting like nothing is wrong, it occurred to me to have Greg take a picture of him. He answered “I can’t. I hadn’t look at him in about 45 minutes, but he looks fine now.”

Well, that sounded good. I considered cancelling the vet appointment. I waited another half hour then asked Greg “Can you just take a picture of him and send it to me?” Here’s the picture I received:

AJ with a hurt eye
Half asleep and not feeling well.

Now, on the one hand I didn’t think his eye looked very good, but on the other hand he was laying down and half asleep.

“Thank you for the picture. It would probably be easier to see if he picked his head up.”

“You know how he is.”

Um, yes I do. He’s a dog. Say his name and he’ll sit up and look at you.

“Well, maybe you could try another picture when he decides to sit up.”

“We’ll see.”

A little while later Greg did finally send a picture. A.J. looked fine? Maybe not quite fine. I had taken a picture of him just the day before. Here is the before and after:

AJ's eyes
Before and after. No, his eye is not fine.

I left work early and got home in time to take A.J. to the vet.

When we got there I made sure the vet knew that looking in A.J.’s eyes was not going to be easy. She quickly discovered I wasn’t exaggerating. But she did get a good enough look to see that there was definitely something on his eye. As I was holding him for her, he turned into the light and I could see it too. There was definitely something right on his eyeball.

She took A.J. in back to get his eyes flushed out, sending me out to the waiting room with warnings that this may require a visit to an ophthalmologist. Oh good.

A few minutes later she came back out with A.J., very happy because she was able to flush his eye and get the object out. It turned out to be a piece of grass that had embedded itself into his eye. The vet tech came out and gave us some chewable anti-inflammatories and – eye drops. To be administered three times a day. One to each eye. For seven days. Three times per day. For seven days. Oh no.

We’ve now managed to get his eye drops in several times. This involves treats, major struggles as Greg and I try desperately to hold him in place without hurting him, followed by more treats. Then we do the other eye.

Three times per day, seven days, two eyes: 42 drops.

Oh, A.J.