One of my eye buddies has a check-up appointment at his hospital tomorrow. Last week, he made the following comment on the RD support group page on Facebook:
“So, got a check up on 25th, not been since mid-August and don’t seem to have had any nasty or different symptoms!! But all of a sudden now the time is getting nearer I think I’m getting everything in the medical eye dictionary!!!
I sneeze = retina off
I burp = retina off
I fart = retina off
I bend down = retina off
slightest headache = pressure’s high
Watery eye = pressure’s high
Appointments I know are a good thing but I feel I could cry and run for miles; but then again = retina off
Hate this crap!!
Pimple on my nose! That’s right! = detached retina 😥 😥 😥 😥 “
This post was greeted with by gales of virtual wry laughter from fellow RD patients, along with comments indicating similar fears, including one from my eye buddy in Ireland saying that she’s had a very bad cough for a week and is afraid that her coughing will cause a detachment. Someone else noted jokingly that the farting doesn’t do any damage, and then another person caused me to almost spit out a mouthful of hot tea upon reading their comment: “Ha! A million and one points to the person who calls their RD surgeon and asks if they can detach their retina by farting…” Thankfully, it’s only now in retrospect that I’m wondering if uncontrollable laughter could cause the retina to detach, but I’m fairly confident that I’m safe on that score. I certainly hope so anyway, as these moments of light relief do much to make the whole thing bearable.
It seems that quite a few of my eye buddies have check-ups looming, and I’ll be back at Moorfields for another check in just two weeks as well. As always, I’m battling with two internal voices in my head. One keeps telling me that everything will be fine and it will be good to get my eyes checked; the other cackles evilly as it whispers venomously, “But what if it’s not; what if it’s detached more; what if the pressure’s high; what if there’s a problem with your good eye; what if they say you have to be whipped into surgery again…” What if, what if, what if…. AARRGHHH!! SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!!
It’s that evil little voice which drives us RD people around the bend, down the hill, and almost off the edge of the cliff at times. A few days ago, someone else posted on the support group page concerning his impending appointment: “I’m soooooo nervous about it. Always thinking about bad things. People around, like my girlfriend, get so upset about my pessimism and my fears – but it’s a difficult thing to control, to deal with. How do you get along with the fear of a re-detachment?” The other evening, my eye buddy (yep, that’s right – the one who posted the comments I’ve quoted above) rang me up and said, “I keep thinking I’m seeing things”, in a voice of frustration mixed with an undercurrent of fear which I recognise only too well. “What things?”, I asked him. He explained, and then we went through the classic symptoms which mean GET TO THE HOSPITAL NOW, i.e. loss of vision, a shadow, increasing redness, increasing pain, flashes, changes to floaters. Fortunately, he hasn’t been experiencing any of those. I’m therefore hoping that everything will be fine and he’ll receive good news tomorrow. In one sense, it’s a relief to know that these feelings of anxiety, fear, and paranoia are perfectly normal for people who have experienced retinal detachments. But in another sense, it’s upsetting to know that so many other people are struggling with it as well. Thank goodness we’re able to share some light relief in humour…