Saturday, 6 February 2010

stickler - extension

Back to typing with my eyes closed. I went back into work on Tuesday after my sick certificate ran out, but Carol the personnel director encouragedme to go back to the doctor to get an extension. I went to the GP on Wednesday morning, asat the hospital they had said that's where I should go to get an extension to my sick leave if I needed it. I was in with the GP only a couple of minutes, and came out signed off for another three weeks. It was in fact quite reassuring that the doctor had no hesitation in signing me off again, and more or less asked how long I wanted. Three weeks seemed the obvious length since that would take me beyond the end of teh drops. The two issues are that the gas is still disappearing from the eye, and that one of the drops is dilating the pupil so although everything's blured it's very bright. I guess I had thought that it was expected that I could go back with that situation in place, so tried to go with that, but I don't think that was expected at all, and I found myself very relieved that I wasn't having to go on with it. People in my stage of recovery aren't always on the dilating drop, as that was an extra to relieve pressure in the eye, and also they did make it very clear that the gas going from the eye did vary a lot depending on the person and the gas used.

The brightness had been increasingly an issue in the week or so leading up to my planned return to work, I guessed because the sight was returning to the eye. By the weekend in particular the real discomfort in my eye was not to do with the eye itself but from keeping my eye closed. I was trying to work out options. What I'd been doing at home, quite successfully, was draping my black scarf over the right half of my face, but that wouldn't really work out while being out and about, or around the office, although I thought I could probably sit at my desk like that. (Brief pause while I bite my nails down to make it easier to type.)

On Sunday afternoon Margaret came round with a box of eye patches and a piece of undeveloped x-ray sheet, and some surgical tape. We didn't use the eye patches, as they were the stick on your face type, and what I was reallly wanting was just something that would mean I could keep my eye open like my left eye but have it dark. I dug out my clip-on shades, but they didn't fit my current glasses, and they weren't really dar enough anyway, and I didn't really want my left eye shaded as well. On Sunday evening I rigged up a patch over my right glasses lens using the x-ray sheet, cut up, and surgical tape. That worked quite well, and I had it on Monday to Wednesday. On Thursday I took it off for a couple of reasons. One was I worried that it might be making more things go into my eye, whether grit or lashes, being deflected in or getting caught on the patch and irritating or faling into the eye; I was also, although I was taping it heavily, having difficulty getting it to stay close to the lens and not bow out to be touching the area around the eye; it didn't reach the eyelashes but I was worried it would. I was also worried that it might be different enough in some way from the darkness of the scarf that my eye would be trying to focus on it, straining against what my left eye was doing but I don't know how likely that would be. I was also worried it might be stopping fresh air getting to the eye, though I don't know what difference taht would really make. Also, the real reason I needed to patch it was if I was going out and about more, but if I was staying at home, then I can control much more my own exposure to brightness. Being signed off again took the pressure off going out into the brightness.

I wasn't at the office for very long on Tuesday, from before ten until about one; I had planned to stay longer, but was finding it hard going even then, and in the evening I was quite tired and had enough discomfort that made me worry I'd over done it going out even then. i wasn't even using the laptop that much at the office, which was interesting; it was just using my eyes a lot more, and moving bout a lot more, and also I think talking more. (I found the last point to be true on Thursday night and Friday morning in particular, when on Thursday Daphne came round briefly in the afternoon and then we had house group at ours in the evening. I found the area around my eye, particularly my cheek, quite sore, and I'm sure it was just because of the physical activity of talking stretching the skin and muscles in ways they haven't benn used to for a while.) I also found that, while some of the folk I met at work talked to me mainly about my health, a couple of people just came straight in with issues of detail about the current issue of the magaine about which I know nothing,a bout which I know nothing and told them so, and they bot essentially said they would leave the issue with me to make sure it was sorted out. This served to emphasise how difficult it would be in practie to try to go in to work and ease yourself back in gradually, with short days and working on background or peripheral issues; and of course it's always hard to limit yourself on the laptop with the best will in the world.

Another reason I felt able to take the patch off the glasses was that I was finding that it wasn't too bright for my eye when I didn't have my glasses on, so thought it was getting a bit better. I did find that to be true when I took it off and had my glasses on in the house, though that was at least partly because I could control more the brightness of my circumstances around the house. But what I also found when I took the patch off was that I was starting to get vision back in my right eye. The tide mark, which appears as a darker line shading to lighter, is now about a third to a half of the way down. Below the line is still light and shade, but clearer; still blurred, but more distinct than it was. Above the line though it was much improved, with vision as you might see through a wet, slightly yellow window. For some reason the times I notice this is in the toilet, perhaps because I'm just sitting therenot looking at anything in particular ahead of me. What I notice then also is that when I look down by moving my head the tide mark of course moves higher; so when I'm head up but looking down by moving my eyes, I see the black and white check lino, still blurry but more distinct than it had been, whereas if I look down with my whole head it's like looking down into the bottom of a pond, more distinct than looking that other way, more watery than blurry really.

Another change which I noticed last night, which is a bit disconcerting now and took me a bit by surprise as I'm not sure why it's happened, whether the gas level has dropped imperceptibly but triggering something in the vision or whether the brain is just making adjustments, was that I suddenly started being aware of the vision out of both eyes when I had them open in such a way that I had double vision, because obviously the vision of what I'm seeing well out of the right eye is not lined up with the vision in the left eye. I say obviously, as I presume the visions won't be lined up until the gas has completely gone; if they are meant to be lined up by now then I'm going to be in trouble. So in fact this means that most of the time I'm back on having my right eye closed, but it's going alright I think. My eye has been a bit more watery because of this I think. Also on Wednesday/Thursday my eye was a bit more gunky than it had been for a while (when Bethan's been swabbing my eye in the mornings there's been nothing really there), and the white of the eye a bit redder with a bit of irritation; the gunkiness has cleared up, and the redness is down again, so I'm not sure if it was just a little infection/irritation which passed, or was from overdoing it (and it was partly that which made me think about taking the patch off).

So it feels like I'm entering into a new phase, and we'll see how that goes. I continue to confound those who imagine I must be getting very bored. People understimate my capacity for sitting around doing nothing. Though it has to be said that I've caught up signficantly on my podcasts, so this three-week extension might take a different turn. This time last week I had been looking at more emails and noting things in my blog, and watching a bit more telly, but in the last few days I've been quite disinclined to look at the laptop or much telly. So I'm not sure if I was overdoing it, or just if there's just a reshuffling and readjustment going on before reaching another plateau of experience and practice.

That's it for now.