Monday, 18 January 2010

stickler

An interesting start to the new year for me. I'll be touch-typing this - and subsequent notes - mainly, with my eyes shut; I may or may not fix mistakes, and there will not be as many links as usual.

A quick recap. Sometime in November - probably earlier than I like to imagine, probably in optimistic denial - I started getting some flashes and floaters in my right eye. Flashes which looked to be from my guess the lines of veins in my eyes. I've always had floaters in my eyes - old friends I've had all my life, that I can choose to notice if I want but generally don't - but these were new ones. I thoght, again in optimistic denail, that they might just be because I was tired, too much screen work and so on, and they did seem to settle down, although perhaps I was just getting used to them.

Then during my Christmas time off work - I think it was in Christmas week, but again I may be in denial and it may have been in the week before that, as I had finished work on Tuesday fifteenth -I started to notice a dark patch at the bottom of the sight in my right eye, which bobbed up when I looked up. I don't think it got worse during the holidays, though again I may have been kidding myself, but I knew I should go and see someone about it. I plannd to go at the end of the first week of January, after I'd gone back to work.

On New Year's Day, however, I exchanged New Year greetings with Margaret over the phone, and asked ehr advice, as I wasn't sure whether I should go to my GP or my optician. When I described my symptoms she told me to do neither, but to go to a and e. St Thomas have a specific eye a and e, which is open daytimes, and she said I should go there on Monday when it was open again, but that if it got any worse I should go in to a and e straight away, that I might have a detached retina.

From Friday to Monday I was a bit stressed then, because Margaret is no alarmist and knows what she's talking about. Monday morning I was at St T's eye a and e, and sure enough I had a detached retina. I popped home at lunchtime and Bethan came back in with me,as there was a possibility they would do surgery on me that day. They didn't in the end.

Tuesday we went back in for my pre-op things. I saw the senior consultant, who asked a few questions about non-related things and told me that I had Stickler's Syndrome, which is as good a syndrome for a pedant to have as any. It has no particular implications for my future health, as far as I understood it - I haven't been able to google it yet - it just describes what I've got, that is hare lip and cleft palate, slight hearing loss, dodgy eyeballs, although the thing I haven't had yet which is associated with it is joint trouble, so perhaps I've got that to lok forward to. He got all the other doctors to come and have a look to see what a stickler eye looked like. It was probably a good thing that they didn't fit me in on Monday - I don't know hwo likely that was - as then they knew what to expect when tey got into my eye.

It was snowy and icythat week, but they said to be sure to get in. No difficulty for me, being at Elephant and Castle, I could have walked it if I had to. Someone else scheduled for that morning - Wednesday, that is, the next morning didn't get in. I had my surgery on Wednesday morning - I had to get in by 7.30, the op ended up being eleven until one. I had to lie down for four hours afterwards before going home, to let flid drain off I think.

I was fortunate in that my posture for recover was to sit up - the tear being at the top of my eye, so you want the bubble of gas to be where teh healed tear wsas to keep the fluid off it. Bethan's dad had a similar operation a few years ago and had to lie face down for two weeks. They said I should sleep proppped up, but I said I could slpp sitting up if that was bettter, which it was. My ability to sleep in any position does come in handy soemtimes. I don't know if it's attributable to growing up in Lewis and sleeping sitting up in buses and cars on journeys around the island and on holiday. Bethan can only sleep lying down in a bed. So I've been sleeping downstairs sitting up in a chair; the extent to which I haen't slept has been attributable to my health rather than my posture. I'm not sure I'll get back into my bed, as Bethan may e getting too used to the absence of a snoring lump.

Bethan took me back into the hospital on the next day, Thursday, for post-op clean-up and check up. The doctor prescribed teh usual two sets of drops, a steroid and something for inflammation, plus a third drop as the pressure in the eye was high (and there was a bleed at the front of the eye).

On Monday I felt quite a bit better in general, apart from the eye of course. On Tuesday Bethan took me in for a first follow-up, an extra one because of the pressure. The doctor reckoned I was having a reaction to my eye drops, and changed all three drops. When I used them at home, one in particular was quite irritating, of the new ones that is, and I thought I should go backin on Wednesday - I tried ringing the numbers I had on the Tuesday evening but didn't get anywhere. I hadn't felt the first set of drops were espeicaiily troublesome; I'd had some irritation and teariness, but I took this as normal, just like the aching and occasional pricking/stabbing/stinging. When I went back in on Wednesday, to the eye a and e, I saw the senior consultant this time - it just so happened he was around and intersted I think - and he reckoned I wasn't having a reaction but that I had a 'brisk infection'. He changed my medication again, in particular putting the steroid up to hourly, during waking hours, I guess to blast the infection, and said to come in again on Thursday morning.

I came inagain on Thursday first thing, and waited quite a long time - they couldn't find my notes, these things happen. A doctor saw me without my notes in the end - I had Bethan's notes of the sequence of medication I'd been on, which I'm sure helped. He was happy with how the infection, or inflammation he called it, was going, and said to keep hourly for two days then to go two-hourly. He said the pressure was normal now, but to stay on the medication for that. Just as the Tuesday doctor had said, he said to get int ouch, or better come in, if anything got worse now, as nothing should be getting worse at this tage, and that otherwise they'd see me on Tuesday - that is, tomorrow - for my scheduled check-up.

That's enough typing with eyes closed for the time being. Entries to follow, hopefully, on the actual surgery, the sight experience, the recovery experience and so on.