Wednesday, 2 May 2012

I consider myself fortunate

because, yesterday morning, I woke to find the "floatie" in my eye (one of those irritating moving spots) was still there.  It had appeared late the day before. I was not too alarmed because I know what these things are. I had never experienced one before but I know other people have and what causes them.
What did alarm me was the fact that I was also getting some tiny but very bright "flashes" at the corner of the affected eye. I also know that these can be the pre-cursor to retinal detachment. 
As I do not drive (and it would have been foolish to do so anyway) I 'phoned my sister's household at 7:30am. Someone would be up and would, no doubt, drop everything and take me up to the emergency department at the hospital. It was that or a taxi. At that hour a taxi could take an hour to arrive even if told it might be an emergency.
No, my medical student nephew answered the 'phone. He listened to my description and agreed it needed to be seen to as quickly as possible - just in case. He was sufficiently concerned that he arrived wearing his oldest pair of track pants and a disgraceful t-shirt. "We are not," he told me, "wasting any time."
I left my father in a state of panic. He does not handle such things well at the age of 89.
My nephew did not get pulled over for speeding but he did get me there in record time - and he stayed with me. I did not expect that.
The emergency department was, thankfully, almost empty. There were just two people waiting. I had to wait for the changeover of staff to occur but was able to sit quietly.  My nephew prowled off to get himself some breakfast. He knows where to find the best food in the hospital these days - although it is not like food at home. I sat. A nurse came in and asked questions - the first being did I have a headache and then was I in any pain. No and no. My blood pressure and temperature were taken. Fine and fine. The other usual questions were asked. 
Everyone was more than usually concerned because my sense of balance is not very good at the best of times and a problem with my eyes could have very serious consequences for me. 
        "Read the chart," I was told. I read the chart. I can still read the bottom line without glasses. They were impressed. So was I.
The nicest possible female doctor in emergency had a look and said, "I don't think that's the problem but I am sending you upstairs to the eye-clinic. They will see you straightaway."
I was prepared to wait but no, I had to wait only a few minutes. I was called in by a nurse another medical history taken, another chart to read - further away but I could still read most of the bottom line. (It is the one above that which is considered the standard for good vision.)
I had drops put in my eyes - not pleasant but not too bad. I had to wait then for those to take effect and was seen by yet another doctor. She was also pleasant and friendly and concerned. She looked with the aid of her fancy equipment into the back of my eyes and then said,
          "No, no tears or holes in the retina. I can see the floater and it is occasionally pulling on the retina which is why you are getting the flashing. It's a nuisance but it will gradually disappear. You were quite right to be very concerned though because the symptoms are virtually identical. I'll check it again in a month but it should be fine."
So, I had not wasted her time - or that of anyone else. It could have been something very serious and my tentative self-diagnosis was very close to what might have been wrong.
I came home with a headache - sheer stress. I can put up with that. I can put up with the current irritating obstruction knowing it will disappear over the next few weeks.
I just wish I had not had to worry the Senior Cat. He had not been able to settle to anything in my absence.
I love him for it but he is worry-wart.


jeanfromcornwall said...

Such a relief to read your report. Hugs to both you and Senior Cat - and to all the medical people and not least to the Very Helpful Nephew.

liz fenwick said...

Thank goodness it was more serious. As Jean says hugs to both you and senior cat and pat on back to nephew.


Shauna said...

Hi Cat, so glad to hear that you're okay. I had the bright flashes about six weeks ago, which are very frightening (as is anything to do with sight). Like you I knew what the worse case scenario could be. After a similar experience at A&E the doctor told me the 'jelly' at the back of my eye had detached (posterior vitreous detachment), permanent and left annoying floaters, but my eyesight is as it was.
The floaters have now all but disappeared, except when I'm very tired, or have done too much computer work!
Look after yourself :)

Old Kitty said...

Thank heavens for your fab nephew and big wave hello to your dad and thank your kind and wonderful emergency medical people!

Hope you have a calm and restful recuperation! Take care

Nicole MacDonald said...

Glad you're okay, my friend had a detached retina the other year and it was a major pain in the butt. Great you got onto yours so early :)

the fly in the web said...

I'm glad it turned out to be well, not O.K. but not serious - I can understand your father worrying.

catdownunder said...

Oh thankyou all of you! One of the problems with working from home is that I never see (and mostly never meet) the people I am working with so comments on the blog are particularly nice to have.
I think my nephew will make an excellent doctore when he finally qualifies (and his brother will probably manage to reduce the serious business of the courts to laughter!)
It is still bothering me - but in the way they said it would.
Shauna - that's encouraging, especially as someone else said the same thing today. Hope yours remains good too!