Okay come on now, admit it… any of my eye buddies who may be reading this: how many of you have googled your consultants to check that they really do know what they’re talking about? Ha! Yep – I suspected as much… it just has to be done, doesn’t it?! I googled my first consultant after my initial surgery, and was fairly encouraged by what I found – the results of which included several articles containing high praise from patients whose sight he’d saved, and the fact that he’d completed a fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. A few months down the line after my second lot of surgery, when he told me he was referring me to Moorfields for a second opinion, my confidence in his abilities was starting to waver a little, but I was encouraged by the fact that he was sending me up to ‘the big guns’ and so proceeded to crack on and google with gusto the consultant he was referring me to. ‘Excellent!’, I nodded to myself with satisfaction when I discovered that she had a research degree specifically in PVR as well as a large number of publications concerning PVR and the use of silicone oil in retinal detachment surgery. I attempted to read a few of her articles, confused myself thoroughly by most of them, but calmed my nerves by deciding along with my sister, who had also been making use of Google’s services, that she had ‘a kind face’.
I was somewhat perturbed, therefore, at my first Moorfields appointment, to be confronted not by the kind-faced lady expert in PVR, but a MAN. However, he proceeded with the usual examination (see halfway through the following post, if you’re wondering what this entails: https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/a-grand-day-out-at-moorfields-eye-hospital/), and then at the end noted that I was supposed to see Miss X, to which I replied, ‘Ah yes, I was going to ask you about that.’ ‘I’m not her’, he said, with a perfectly straight face, before explaining that he was her Fellow (I shall refer to him as ‘Mr C’) and that I would have to return a few weeks later so that Miss X could confirm she was happy with the proposed surgery to resolve the PVR issue. Once I realised that he was going to perform the next lot of surgery, I indulged in further googling, and was heartened to discover that his publication record was pretty extensive as well. That, together with the fact that he patiently answered pretty much ALL my questions each time I saw him, without giving any airy fairy answers, made me feel much better. This man was going to fix my eyes – I was sure of it! My certainty was increased when he told me with calm confidence at a follow-up appointment after my ‘oil change’ surgery in January 2015 that he was ‘optimistic’ and although he couldn’t say for certain, he ‘thought everything was going to be okay’. He still thought everything was going to be okay after discovering and fixing a small detachment when he removed the oil in May 2015.
Fast-forward to exactly two weeks later when I was sitting with my sister, waiting to have my eye pad removed after emergency surgery by a different surgeon the previous day to re-insert oil after the retina had spectacularly detached again, and we spotted Mr C striding through the room before disappearing again through another door. As if by magic, he reappeared just as the nurse was about to remove my eye pad. ‘Did she have surgery yesterday?’, he asked, sounding shocked. My eye may have been cut open (again) but my tongue was still firmly in my head and I was perfectly capable of speaking for myself so I answered, ‘Yes!’ ‘What happened?’, he asked. ‘It detached again!’, I all but wailed back. ‘I’ll come and talk to you in a minute’, he promised, before darting out of the room once more. When he had failed to reappear over half an hour later, the nurse suggested we confiscate his bag, which he’d left in a corner of the examination room, so that he *had* to come and talk to me again. If I hadn’t been experiencing horrendous double vision at the time, to the extent that just getting from one side of the room to the other was a struggle, I’d certainly have taken her up on this suggestion. However, to be fair, I don’t think he’d legged it – I think he’d been called into surgery.
Stalking the surgeons has consisted of more than simply googling them and considering holding their bags to ransom, although I haven’t quite reached the stage of finding out where they live and chaining myself to the front gates with a sign saying ‘I’ll only move on if you fix my eyes first’, although this idea is becoming increasingly tempting. When I had to make a return visit to the hospital in Surrey because of high pressure issues and there was some doubt over whether I’d get to see the actual consultant, my sister marched us both over and bagged the seats directly in front of his door, with the cunning plan that he couldn’t very well pass me onto someone else if we were parked right there. Her plan worked. Another time, I became ever so slightly worried about my sister’s stalking tendencies, when I received a text message from her one evening instructing me to, ‘turn the TV on – it’s Masterchef at Moorfields!’. Unfortunately for my sister, the first thing I read was her second text message, which said, ‘Mr C might be eating their food!’, which made me wonder exactly what kind of stalking she was partaking in. After receiving another excited text from a work colleague, I reluctantly fired up the haunted fishtank (I don’t watch TV very much anyway, and watch even less these days) to indulge in a game of ‘spot the Moorfields staff on Masterchef’. We saw the nice Irish nurse, and my consultant’s secretary, but that was about it. It was quite a fun game though, and at my next appointment I had to restrain myself from telling the nice Irish nurse that we saw her on Masterchef (she was a bit stressed that day, as it was very busy).
It’s now just over a week until my next appointment at Moorfields, and I’ve been deserted by Miss X who’s on maternity leave, and Mr C, who’s left for another job. However, I’ve managed to find out the name of the new locum consultant and have been rather busy on Google…