I'm sure most people already know about the lengthy drought we are having out here on the west coast. As a result, many people have replaced their landscaping with native drought tolerant plants. Many of those plants are succulents and various types of cactus.
One of the plants you often see around here is Euphorbia Tirucalli. Also known as fire sticks, sticks of fire, milk plant, pencil tree, etc. These three are in front of our house.
After a recent windstorm, the one in the middle was badly leaning. I straightened it up and staked it in place. I broke a few of the pencil sized branches and they oozed white sap (that I apparently got on me, and somehow into my eyes). When I was done, I washed my hands and went about my business. That only lasted about five minutes. That is when my eyes started severely burning and hurting. I Googled the plant and it said that if you get the sap in your eyes, try to rinse them out. However, if you are allergic, or they don't stop hurting, go immediately to the emergency room at your local hospital. I wasn't sure if I was allergic or not, but within a few more minutes, I was pretty sure that I was.
I'm sure you already figured that out after looking at this photo. My face and head were puffy, beet red and covered with hives, welts, and splotches, and my eyes were on FIRE!
The waiting room was full and I seriously thought I might have to tear my own eyes out. It killed me when they were open, and it was worse when they were closed. Even worse than that though, was when I blinked. That was torture. I guess they didn't like what was happening to me, and took me right in.
The ER doctor said they only see this about once a year. The sap was apparently very toxic to me and it was possible to become temporarily blind (or worse). He then said they needed to rinse my eye sockets out and it would be very painful. I said it couldn't hurt worse than what I was already feeling. He said "not only can it, but it will, and we can't give you any painkillers until it is done."
In this photo, they are putting rubbery round things OVER my eyeballs. They went UNDER my eye lids (top and bottom).
The things are on my eyes and what you can't see from this angle is the round port that now sticks out of each eye. Those things didn't let me blink and also allows them to...
...attach freaking TUBES to my eyes! Each eye was hooked up to a liter of saline. They said our goal was to flush each eye with at least half a liter. The more the better. Apparently, most people either insist that they take those things out of their eyes, or rip them out themselves almost immediately.
I guess this was why I got nothing for pain yet. I had to sit up and let the fluid drain out of my eyes and into that pink tub. I think most of it went down my shirt.
When they opened up the valves to start the torture, I couldn't believe how GOOD it felt. My eyes were still killing me, but at least the fluid had a cooling effect. By the time this photo was taken, I think I had totally disassociated from the entire ordeal and the bags were almost empty.
When they took the things off my eyes, the pain returned in all it's soul cleansing glory. The doctor said it usually lasts for a couple of days. He then asked me the standard, "on a scale of one to ten, ten being highest, how much pain are you in?" I told him that I have a really high tolerance for pain, and it was more than 10. The nurse walked back into the room with a syringe. The doctor said it was dilaudid should help with the pain, and maybe even put me to sleep. I laid back on the bed and waited, but it did nothing. After a short while, I got another one, and then another. Still nothing!
He said I had reached the legal limit of what he could administer to me. That sucked. I think I had 6 milligrams in me and nothing had changed. He gave us a prescription for oxycodone or hydrocodone and a few to "tide me over" until we could get the prescription filled. Despite all the dilaudid in me, I got out of bed and walked out of there like I hadn't had any. We went home, I took one of the pills and washed it down with a full glass of wine. After all, the bottle said "Warning: Alcohol may intensify the effect." I know that was dangerous, but I seriously didn't care at that point. After about 15 minutes, I took another pill with more wine. I finally went to sleep and/or passed out. When I woke up several hours later my eyes felt a lot better.
It has now been about 3 weeks and all is good!
Watch out for fire sticks!