28 January 2011
I had a bad night last night. It all started perfectly fine when my left eye started burning a bit. I grumbled a bit and poured a glass of wine. It was not my turn to cook and I was preparing to enjoy the evening and take it very easy. No cricket to watch, just a bit of soccer, and little to distract me. Perfect!
And then my left eye started behaving badly. It started streaming tears and got a little painful. Luckily I have an expired first aid kit which has some eye drops and I dripped some drops and went back to my couch. This was when my eye became more irritating than Manchester United and their supporters. It hurt when open and also hurt when closed and was time for drastic measures like a deep hot bath and aspirin. This did not work either.
One of the things I should never do when in pain is look in a medical reference book or google the complaint. By then my eye was streaming tears to the extent that I thought of drinking water to prevent dehydration. Google did not help as I was not prepared to let someone urinate in my eye (apparently good for Spitting Cobras) and irrigating the eye with water did nothing. The only thing I had done that afternoon was a little gardening and cut down a Euphorbia mauritanica. The flower books don’t say much apart from “succulent shrub, up to 1m. Flowers mustard coloured in terminal clusters. Dry hillsides.”* It did not mention the toxic nature of the white sticky sap but it was something I had been warned about. I must have had a little sap on my hand and wiped my brow. Sweat must have carried the sap to my eye.
I also remembered an old first aid tip from long ago and bathed my eye in milk and the relief was almost instantaneous.*
Avoid gardening and rather do something healthy running a marathon or bungee jumping.
Vanderplank, Helen J. Wildflowers of the Port Elizabeth Area Gamtoos to Swarkops Rivers. Bluecliff Publishing; 1999.
* I have a friend who is a nurse and I trust her more than any doctor - she mailed me and said this was good advice.