Sunday, March 23, 2008

One-eyed Tahs Supporter

Please read on - this isn't about football.

On Monday 10 March the vision in my left eye was incredibly blurry. This was very strange because the Friday before I'd picked up new reading glasses and had a visual field test, and the Friday before that I had the eye test to get a new prescription and was advised I had no pressure problems (glaucoma), no catarats and they even took nice pictures of my retinas. I do have large optic nerve attacments but I have had for a while, and they aren't getting worse (that's why you have the field test), I also had slightly large veins in the eye. The optometrist asked if I had hypertension and I replied that my blood pressure was good.

On the Monday I made an appointment with my GP but didn't think it was an emergency, so the earliest I could get in was Monday 17 March. When I saw the GP that afternoon I also mentioned my blocked nose and the GP decided we should check to see if there was a sinus infection that could be causing the vision problem, this required a sinus CT scan The GP thought I'd be struggling to get booked in but that I had to insist, and made another appointment for me at 6:15 Thursday, which was of course the day before Good Friday. At this stage all I had was very blurry vision, so that seemed OK. By the time I left the surgery it was too late to call the Radiology place, but when I rang first thing Tuesday they said I could get in straight away.

I went about life as normal on Tuesday but on Wednesday morning I woke to have a green shadow circle segment in the lower right corner of my left eye. As this didn't clear I rang the GPs office - but he doesn't work Wednesday. By Wednesday night it was black and almost filling the whole of the eye.

So Thursday morning I rang to ask for an earlier appointment and got one for 11:15 am. As soon as I sat down and talked about the symptoms he realised something more was wrong (he simply thought a bleed) and booked me in to see an opthalmologist straight away. So down I went to the specialist and saw him at about 12:30 - on first examination he looked at my eye and said "yes you have a problem" then put more drops in my eye to dilate my pupil and sent me out for half an hour. Not a great wait I must say.

Then when I go back in after looking again he tells me I have a torn and detatched retina which is not good. He only sees two a year. I will need to see a retina guy, but they have one right there (and I discover later he only works there Thursday). They squeezed me in to his already busy schedule - plus gave me some more drops to further dilate the pupil.

While waiting they take pictures of my retinas - and wow - it really is ugly. About half the retina is detatched and it is masking the rest of the retina so it looks blurry. When I get to see the retina guy he tells me officially the bad news - and for some reason (possibly contributed to by not having eaten since breakfast, a high level of stress and having looked at the world through one eye) I start feeling incredibly dizzzy - so I lie on the floor and get the rest of the news lieing on my back. He tells me that I actually do have cataracts forming, which is sort of good because the surgery to fix the retina results in cataracts so it is less of a concern if I was geting them anyway. The surgery could be done at the Eye Hospital but Thursday night might be a problem because it is also the hand hospital and there is a five hour operation about to start to reattach a guys fingers. They can't tell what has happened to the macula and if it hadn't yet detatched then getting the retina back on would be better for recovery. I convinced the guy we should try for Thursday night.

It is now about 3:30pm and he tells me I should aim to be at the Hospital by 5 and present to Eye Emergency. He encourages me to take the train but I want my iPod so need to go home first and we figure driving will be just as fast. We very nearly made it except for a guy who just double parked in Hospital Rd and who took exception to us tooting - what part of he was blocking access to emergency didn't he understand.

Because we'd missed 5pm eye emergency was shut, so we went to ordinary emergency. Ordinary emergency didn't understand that while the hospital was expecting me I wasn't really booked in - they sent me up to the first floor who wanted to send us back down. I didn't move till she called her supervisor who was brilliant, took me back downstairs and explained to the triage sister what to do. It was still a long process to get admitted.

At 10pm the retinal guy and I remet in theatre, he'd been home had dinner and a bit of a sleep. Surgery was under a local anaesthetic but quite frankly I don't remember a thing (the good eye was covered and the optic nerve of the dud eye blocked by the anaesthetic).

Back to the ward at about midnight. Text to Marg to tell her I was OK - then try to sleep on my stomach with my face down. Out of hospital at about 10:00am the next day. Now my eye is full of gas, I can't catch a plane for a couple of weeks, have no vision out of the eye and have to wait to see if I'm one of the 90% for whom the retina reattaches.

All this trouble to become a one-eyed Waratah's fan and they still lost miserably to the Crusaders.

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