On 12 March 2017, my sister and I will once again be walking 14 miles from Moorfields Eye Hospital to the London Eye (via the scenic route) to raise money for sight-saving research. This year, we’re taking part as a team, along with other people who have been affected by retinal detachment. I thought it would be interesting to share the stories of my fellow team-members, so this week it’s my aunt’s turn. After featuring in a few of my blog posts, she gets to have her own say…
Well today I am joining the blogosphere – I am becoming a blogger! Probably my first and last. My first reaction when I heard what had happened to Emma was that I felt so sorry for her. It must have been so frightening being in a foreign country, experiencing the symptoms of a detached retina, and not knowing what it was.
Through talking to Emma and reading her blogs I have become more aware of how eye problems radically affect people’s lives. We tend to think it only happens to the elderly and that is to be expected. I had no idea that so many young people are affected. They are in the middle of their working lives and suddenly their lives are turned upside down.
Emma’s blogs have helped me to understand how it has affected her whole life. I have had a glimpse of the real fear and anxiety she has, particularly when she has an appointment at Moorfields, wondering if her eyes are stable and having to adapt to life in a different way. Because she looks “normal” (some might question that!) people sometimes make unwise comments which can be hard for her. The blogs have really opened up to people what it feels like to have these problems.
She has coped with it amazingly, as I experienced when I went to look after her after her second op when she had to do posturing to keep the retina in place. I have to say she was a model patient and although she was extremely worried we had some laughs to help the time pass. I had never heard of this posturing. Although I nursed a few eye patients in my very much younger days, most were elderly people with cataract surgery. They were in for about a week then. I only remember one young woman with a detached retina. I think she had surgery and I just remember that she had to lie flat for a long time. I have an old book, ‘Modern Nursing’ by Winifred Hector which was published in 1960 so I looked up eye surgery in it. I quote, “The patient must rest quietly in bed with the eye bandaged usually for a week. Since many of these patients are vigorous adults, the lack of activity is very irksome, and the fortitude exhibited by most is the measure of the importance of sight. In hospital the most popular form of diversional therapy is talking.” Things are a bit different nowadays! I liked the word ‘fortitude’, not often used these days, but I think that sums up my niece Emma, as she has faced operations, check ups and not knowing what the future holds.
The reason I am doing the Eye to Eye walk is obviously to try and raise a bit more money for a great cause and make it more known. Also, Lucy was looking for someone to guide her when she does part of the walk blindfolded. This has really made me think through what it must be like to be blind or partially sighted – totally reliant and trusting in others. I have to confess that Lucy and I haven’t had a practise run through yet!! Watch this space! Photos will follow!