I tucked my list into my purse and strolled to the grocery store to pick up some items for that evening’s supper. I wandered through the bright aisles, list in hand, stopping in front of the spice rack. I was examining prices of several brands of spices when a cluster of blurry lines appeared in my left eye, creating a cloudy blind spot – the labels disappeared in the little wall of sightlessness. I turned my head to use my right eye, feeling a bit like a bird as I tried to focus around the missing patch of sight. It was only a couple of months ago I had my six month visit with my ophthalmologist to make sure the Hydroxychloroquine was behaving; I was told there was no sign of the rare toxicity that could develop from the medication.
I finished my shopping and embarked on the short walk home, the undulating lines blocking out most of my peripheral vision. I approached a set of stairs and reached out for the railing only to find my hand flailing in the air as I tried to catch sight of it; ten minutes had passed since this strange blind spot invaded my eye. I arrived at my apartment, and after a few failed attempts, somehow managed to insert my key into the microscopic gap of my keyhole.
Once inside my apartment, the dark spot began to subside a bit. I had a magnetic Amsler Grid (a square-shaped grid with a solid dot in the middle) affixed to the door of my fridge. It was given to me by the ophthalmologist as a tool to check my vision for trouble spots. I covered my right eye and stared at the dot in the centre – the lines on the outer vision of my left eye were missing. I was baffled. This couldn’t possibly be toxicity from Hydroxychloroquine – could it?
I called my eye specialist to report the incident; I was impressed by the secretary’s ability to decipher my incoherent description of my sudden loss of sight; she said she’d call me back after she spoke to the doctor. The spot began to diminish moments after I called; within fifteen minutes, it faded away, devoid of all the drama of its arrival. My left eye had regained its full vision by the time the doctor’s office returned my call. I reported that everything was fine; the doctor’s advice was to “keep an eye on it”…
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.