So you’re one of the brave people who decided to check out exactly what a corneal ulcer looks like.
You sicko ;P (don’t worry, if the roles were reversed I’d be checking these bad boys out as well!)
Whilst ill I couldn’t really tell how well the eye was healing. All I knew is I couldn’t see and it felt as though someone had filled my eye with sand.
To better understand what was happening, I took regular photos of the eye.
It helped me better judge the healing and progression, and at the same time gave me this wonderfully disgusting gallery.
So, if you’re still interested in seeing the corneal ulcer that nearly cost me an eye looks like, read on.
The Day it Began
I awoke in New York two days after a conference to realise I was blind in one eye.
I was staying in an Air BnB in Harlem and, to my hosts credit, was well looked after (thanks Chad!).
I took this in bed in my Air BnB to send to a friend for some advice!)
First Day in Hospital
After waking up blind I went to an eye hospital in Manhattan. It cost a fucking arm and a leg (not an eye fortunately) to get seen by doctors, and the news wasn’t good.
I was told I could lose the eye and that I needed round the clock medical attention in case things got worse. I also had to use eye drops every 30 minutes to fight the infection.
Rather than bankrupt myself by taking a bed in Manhattan, I decided to run back to the UK for a little free healthcare.
I was on a flight later that night and admitted to hospital in the UK the same day.
The following picture is grim. So be warned.
This was taken the day after I was admitted to hospital. You can actually see the ulcer on the cornea. I’m oddly proud to say it was a pretty good size.
Five Days In
Getting woken by nurses, regardless of how polite or pretty, every 30 minutes for six or seven days isn’t fun.
I nearly went out of my mind from sleep deprivation, but it was all worth it. The below picture is about four days after admission. I still couldn’t see anything, but there’s a marked improvement.
A Gift? For Me?
About three weeks in the Doc came in for my morning examination and told me the greatest news I’ve ever heard.
I might be OK to be let free that afternoon. I was ecstatic.
Problem is, nothing ever moves quickly enough the day you’re due to be released. I sat around all day, a my last bland hospital meal (with a smile for a change) and sat, patiently waiting.
And I waited, and waited, and waited.
Turns out my release was delayed due to the huge quantity of medication I was to be sent home with.
Below you can see a good friend of mine, Craig, sitting with all the eye drops I was sent home with.
Eight One Days Later
This was one of the first pictures I took after being released from the sleep depravation chamber.
Vision at this point was still bloody awful. I was also still using an eye drop called Atropine which keeps the pupil dilated.
The combination of a permanently dilated pupil and a corneal scar diffusing light made anything even slightly bright near torture to look at.
I couldn’t use my laptop, phone or iPad. No TV, no movies, but worst of all. No sunlight. I had to shut myself in a bedroom and keep the curtains closed.
But hey, it looks a hell of a lot better, right?
The below is a picture of the eye more than one month after leaving hospital. You can see that things are much improved, but there’s a definite scarring of the cornea.
I’m still undergoing treatment and it’s a long road ahead. We went from hospital visits twice every week to once a week, to once every two weeks, once a month and now we’ve just started doing them once every three months.
We’re basically drowning the little bastard steroid drops to reduce the scar. There’s the possibility of surgery and I’ll be discussing that with the doctors shortly. Truthfully though, I don’t fancy having sutures in my eye for up to a year.
What Did This Teach Me?
Every story has to have a lesson attached, right?
Well, this one’s no different.
Before the ulcer I was the proud owner of a six-figure freelance writing business. I had a stable stream of clients, enough income to travel to expensive places (New York, LA, San Francisco etc) and even had clients on a wait list.
But business doesn’t stop.
And that’s something you need to understand as a freelancer. You could be the best at what you do, but you’re not going to get paid holidays. You can’t take time off sick.
You’ve got to keep on producing results regardless.
Cause when you can’t, even the most robust of businesses can collapse.
I was away from work for around two months. A relatively short period of time, but long enough for everything I’d created to crumble.
- I lost all but one client
- I was sued for breach of contract because I couldn’t finish work. I avoided the lawsuit by paying €3000 euros to the other party
- I lost thousands of dollars in medical costs, receiving only £660 back from my insurance company
- I lost some great upcoming projects that were going to keep me earning for the next month or three
An unexpected injury took me from flying high, back to square one.
I’m never going to let that happen again and I want to help you avoid the same fate.
If you’re reading this then I’m guessing you’re a freelancer, which is great. But don’t rely solely on your freelance service to provide for you.
You’ve got to have something else in place, whether that’s a passive income stream or someone to help out I don’t know. but you can’t rely solely on your ability. You have limits, and even a minor issue can derail a good plan.
So I’m putting a few strategies in place to keep me earning should the worst happen again. And I want to help you do the same.
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