Category Archives: Eye to Eye 2017

Eye to Eye 2017: the Gloucestershire alternative

Regular readers of my blog may remember that my aunt Susan unfortunately went down with a rather nasty bug just before our 14-mile sponsored hike to raise money for Moorfields Eye Charity and so unfortunately was unable to take part.  Of course, this also meant that Bryn the Welsh Sheepdog was forced to forgo his adventure in the big sniffy, much to his huge disappointment.  He wedged his tail firmly between his legs, his ears drooped, he whined and whimpered, and he went completely off his food.  (Okay, I admit it – I made that last bit up for dramatic effect: Bryn would no sooner go off his food than I would go off chocolate biscuits.)

Anyway… my aunt, being the determined character that she is and not one to back out of a challenge, decided that once she’d returned to full health she would attempt her very own Eye to Eye walk in her home county of Gloucestershire.  The fact that there was no Eye Hospital or Gloucestershire Eye there didn’t deter her in the slightest.  She explained her plan to Bryn, and – with hope in his eyes and a wag in his tail – he attended to her every need, bearing cups of tea and triangles of hot buttered toast to her sickbed on a silver tray.  (Oh okay, okay, I’m embroidering the truth again… blatantly, Bryn would wolf down the toast the second it popped out of the toaster, if only he could get his paws on it.)

The day chosen for Eye to Eye Gloucestershire was 3 May, which dawned bright and sunny, in complete contrast to the grey London drizzle back on 12 March, the date of the ‘official’ Eye to Eye walk.  Aunt Susan set off from Eastington, along with Bryn and her friend Joanna, who had been roped in to join them.  They walked along the side of the canal, all the way to Brimscombe Port, and then walked all the way back again.  It took them six hours and approximately 29,000 steps in total, she informed me with pride in her voice.  This did include a lunch break in the Lock Keeper’s Cafe – clearly a far more refined rest stop than our bus shelter in London, in which we sought refuge from the rain as we devoured our slightly squished sarnies.  They walked entirely along the canal footpath, which allowed them the opportunity to indulge in a spot of bird-watching; a past-time which Bryn joined in with gusto, much to the consternation of one of the three pairs of nesting swans they passed.  Fortunately, disaster in the form of a Welsh Sheepdog vs Angry Swan face-off was averted, and the heron which they passed further along the waterway simply raised an eyebrow and gazed at Bryn in disdain from the safety of the opposite bank.  (Do herons actually have eyebrows?)

When I asked what the best part of the walk had been, my Aunt Susan answered without hesitation, “The end!”  After further thought, she added that she’d thoroughly enjoyed being able to spend the day having a companionable walk with an old friend, and she loved seeing the swan’s nests.  Naturally, it goes without saying that in addition, she relished the opportunity to raise some much-needed dosh for the charity which her favourite niece keeps banging on about.  😉  As for Bryn… he had a fantastic time, off the lead and sniffing around everywhere!  However, he did mention one thing to me, woofing enthusiastically in my ear, “I’d still like the chance to cock my leg up the side of that big wheel!”  

Susan and Bryn’s sponsor money has now been duly collected and a cheque sent off to Moorfields Eye Charity.  This has increased our final fundraising total to a whopping £2,239.03, plus gift aid!  Unfortunately, I’m unable to work out the exact amount of gift aid, as some will be claimed back by Moorfields from our various hard copy sponsor forms.  Gift aid obtained via our JustGiving page totals £318.25, though.  I’m hugely chuffed that we managed to raise so much, and would like to shout out huge thanks to everyone who supported us, on behalf of my little team, the RD Ramblers!  😀

Bryn, relaxing after his long walk

Bryn, relaxing after his long walk

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Eye to Eye 2017: celebrating our supporters!

In taking part in Eye to Eye 2017 and sharing the stories of my fellow team members, the RD Ramblers, it occurred to me that there are actually many more stories hiding behind the scenes in the shape of our numerous supporters who have so kindly sponsored us in our fundraising efforts.  I’m thinking of the people who supported my sister and I last year as well as those who have sponsored our team this year.  The whole purpose of our blister-inducing fourteen mile trek across London was to raise money for Moorfields Eye Charity, and of course we couldn’t have done this without people’s help.  So this blog post is a celebration of the kindness and generosity of all our supporters.  🙂

Having observed the full horror of my painful days of posturing misery following various surgeries, certain people who are close to me probably had more inclination to give than others.  I think perhaps my mum, sister, aunt and uncle hoped that by raising as much money as possible, a magical cure might be found, and hence they’ve all been extremely generous in both their monetary and their moral support.  Certain friends have also been very generous, including old university friends, people I’ve met more recently, and a couple of school friends whom I haven’t seen since I was about 17 years old!  (We’ll gloss over how long that actually is – I feel old enough already as a result of the amount of time spent sitting in eye clinics where most patients appear to be well past retirement age.)  Of course, generosity doesn’t necessarily bear any relation to the amount of money donated.  I’ve been particularly touched by donations from people whom I know aren’t particularly flush, and it’s always the case that the amount itself doesn’t mean as much as the gesture of support in making the donation.  However, having said that, we are trying to raise as much as possible!

With this in mind, I was hugely grateful to my South Korean friend for a rather large donation which came completely out of the blue.  In fact, I had to ask her whether she’d added an extra zero by mistake.  This is someone whom I met back in 2001, during the longest ever train journey from Canterbury to London (never mind Chaucer and his travelling tales).  If I mention the fatal words ‘rail replacement bus service’, my UK readers will know exactly what I’m talking about here and groan accordingly.  In the middle of a busload of grumbling passengers, she tapped me on the shoulder to enquire if she was on the bus going to London.  I nodded cautiously, not liking to betray my distrust of the British public transport system to someone who was clearly a visitor to the country.  We fell into conversation and when it transpired that she was studying for an MA at the art college in Canterbury, we spent the rest of the journey in animated discussion of Morandi and whether his paintings surpassed his etchings.  Upon arrival in London, we swapped ‘phone numbers and promises of meeting up and tasting Korean food at some point in the future, and both went on our way.  Perhaps surprisingly, we have kept in touch – albeit sporadically – right up until the past couple of years when she moved from South Korea to China.  When, after months of silence, I received an email notification of her donation to our JustGiving page which including a message telling me that she was shortly moving to another country, it was like a double blessing.

We’ve had donations from other people which have been equally surprising and touching.  The two people whom we met and walked with during Eye to Eye 2016 made a generous donation, as they’d planned to join us this year but unfortunately were unable to.  A few people have donated whom I’ve never actually met and only ‘know’ online.  This category of supporters comprises mainly my eye buddies, who have an obvious reason for supporting our cause, but nevertheless it’s still hugely appreciated.  My Dutch eye buddy had problems with our JustGiving page last year but she refused to give up and her determined efforts paid off (literally!) in the end when she was able to make her donation.  This year, seven of my eye buddies very kindly donated – five from the UK and two from the US!

When Lucy and I signed up again for Eye to Eye, after taking part last year, we thought that we were unlikely to raise as much money.  I’m very aware that everyone has specific charities they prefer to support, as well as the fact that we all get bombarded by requests to support various charities and sadly we can’t all give to every worthy cause.  We felt that we couldn’t keep asking for sponsorship.  However, many people encouraged us to go ahead with it, pointing out that people aren’t compelled to give, but those who are aware of the importance of Moorfields’ work and the fact that it has such a personal significance for me would probably be happy to support us again.  We’re very lucky that many people have done just that, and I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to all of you ‘double supporters’ out there.  And thank you so much to everyone else who’s donated as well!  I think Lucy just about summed it up when she said in her Eye to Eye 2017 story, I could never do a job in fundraising as I feel guilty asking people to sponsor us to go for a walk as I feel I should be offering something back.  Whenever we have a new donation on our JustGiving page it does wonders for my mental health (and I think Emma’s too) as we get that feeling of “wow, people are supporting us and they don’t expect anything back, they’re doing it because they care”. So thank you!”  🙂

 

Eye to Eye 2017: walking in the rain

Team RD Ramblers at the finish line, King's College.

Made it to the finish line, at King’s College!

Things weren’t exactly going according to plan.  It should have been the final stint of training for our 14-mile walk, followed by a rest period just beforehand.  Instead, just over two weeks before the big day, a white van belonging to a well known delivery company crunched down the  entire side of my newly serviced and MOTed little Yaris.  By the following morning, the slight snuffle and sore throat which had been annoying me for the past couple of days had developed into full-blown (wo)man ‘flu and upon attempting to speak, I discovered that I couldn’t.  I spent the next few days downing honey and lemon, munching ibuprofen, and wondering how the hell I was going to walk 14 miles through the streets of London as it was such a struggle just making it from the bed to the kettle.

On the Monday of Eye to Eye week, my aunt (team member Susan) went down with a nasty bug and took to her bed – an extremely rare occurrence.  On the Wednesday, Lucy broke the news that her big toe nail, which had only just grown back after turning black and falling off after Eye to Eye 2016, had started to crumble away when she’d somewhat foolishly attempted to trim it, leaving her with an extremely sore toe.  On the Thursday, team member Nickie emailed me to say that she’d been ill all week but was hoping to be fit for action on Sunday.  On the Friday, I received the news that my 99 year old great aunt was in hospital after breaking her hip and fracturing her pelvis in a fall.  (Upon visiting her, we found her in good spirits and doing well, fortunately.)  On the Saturday, my mobile crashed and died, taking with it my fellow team members’ contact numbers.  After five RD surgeries, I’m well aware of the fact that bad luck doesn’t always come in threes, but this was taking the biscuit.  I’ve also just realised that this blog post is starting to sound like a Craig David song, and i wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Anyway… after all that, you’d hope that the big day itself would at least have dawned bright and sunny, wouldn’t you?  But no.  The sky was painted with colours from Hammershoi’s palette, which didn’t bode well for our hopes of remaining dry.  Lucy and I peered at each other through bleary, sleep-deprived eyes as we donned our Moorfields Eye Charity t-shirts and packed our rucksacks.  I’d been wide awake since 3:20am and felt as if I’d already walked at least seven miles.  We were two team members down, as unfortunately my aunt Susan wasn’t well enough to make it, and therefore Bryn the Welsh Sheepdog had to forgo his London adventure in the big sniffy.  However, we followed that very British advice, tediously repeated on tea towels and cheap mugs in gift shops up and down the country, as we set off to Brookwood station.  There we met team member Alex, who was full of beans and raring to go.  Upon arrival at Waterloo, we had a short wait for team members Nickie and Cindy the Labradoodle, who had missed their first train, but when they joined us I realised that all would be well as Cindy clearly had enough energy for all four of us.  I also reckoned that I could probably hitch a lift on her back, if I really started to flag.

We made it to Moorfields, where we were issued with maps, tracking numbers, and instructions.   There were a few moments of panic as Lucy and I briefly lost our other team members due to the fact that we’d had to split up as dogs (other than guide dogs) aren’t permitted in the hospital, but then we found them… and we were off!  The orange arrows, placed on lamp posts and railings along the route, seemed easier to spot than the previous year, which was fortunate for those of us who are somewhat geographically challenged.  Ironically, considering the subject of our fundraising, the maps had been printed in an A5 booklet rather than the A4 of the previous year and just appeared as a big blurry mess to me, although I was able to read the larger text setting out the directions.

We plodded through the streets and then down along Regent’s Canal, at which point it started to drizzle.  We continued past London Zoo and by the time we reached Lord’s Cricket Ground, the drizzle had become more persistent and we were feeling rather soggy.  We made it to Abbey Road, where we gawped at the hoards of tourists holding up the traffic as they posed on the pedestrian crossing and then happily found our own free crossing just around the corner where it was much easier to take a picture.  We squelched on, resisting the temptation to hijack a narrow boat as we passed through Little Venice.

Upon making it to the half-way checkpoint (hurrah!) with its array of goodies, Lucy proceeded to choose a selection of jelly sweets before realising that the rest of us were munching on bananas and she possibly wasn’t setting the best example as the nutritionist of the group.  However, she did share out the jelly sweets, and they definitely infused us with a sudden burst of much-needed energy.  Next was the welcome greenery of Hyde Park, which Cindy made the most of as she partook of the facilities.

We plodded on past the Science and Natural History Museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum, keeping a look-out for a dry, dog-friendly place to eat our sarnies.  After a while, we spotted the perfect solution: an empty bus shelter.  We piled in for a rest and re-fuel, briefly considering whether it would be cheating if we actually caught the bus, before trekking on once more… past Harrods and into Hyde Park again.  Next, it was Constitution Hill and Buckingham Palace.  Cindy wanted to nip through the back gate and see if the corgis could join us for the last leg, but it didn’t look as if they were home.  By this point, it had miraculously stopped drizzling – hurrah!  It was probably just as well, as we were beginning to struggle.  We headed through Trafalgar Square and along what felt like endless grey streets, until finally the London Eye came into view – wehey!  We quickened our pace along the riverside and then slowed and groaned when we spotted the huge mountain of steps we were required to scale to reach the bridge.  Despite our screaming muscles, we made it to the top and then back down the other side, past the London Eye, under Waterloo Bridge, and on to King’s College where we were greeted with cheers at the finish line, followed by tea and cake.

We were all utterly exhausted, but thoroughly chuffed that we’d made it and had managed to raise so much money for Moorfields Eye Charity.  We had a lot of fun along the way, despite the rain, and it was good to chat to new people and hear about why they were taking part.  We’re all incredibly grateful to everyone who’s been kind enough to sponsor us, and would like to say a huge THANK YOU!  Amazingly, we’ve made it past our ultimate target of £100 per mile, having raised over £1,400 to date.  Stand by for our final total!  And for anyone who didn’t donate… it’s not too late!  You can still do so, at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  😀

Cindy, with her Eye to Eye medal!

Cindy, with her Eye to Eye medal!

Eye to Eye 2017: Bryn’s story

Bryn, the Welsh Sheepdog

Bryn, the Welsh Sheepdog

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.  Cindy the labradoodle will also be joining us, and now we have a surprise last-minute addition to the team in the shape of my cousin’s dog, Bryn.  I thought it would be interesting to share the stories of my fellow team-members, and obviously I’m not about to discriminate against furry folk with more than two legs, so this week it’s Bryn’s turn. Although Bryn is a Welsh sheepdog, born and bred in North Wales, he was whisked off to Gloucestershire by my cousin as a small puppy and doesn’t actually bark in Welsh at all.  This is rather fortunate, as the Welsh branch of my family doesn’t own a dog and so it’s likely that I would have experienced problems in getting an accurate translation from Welsh Woof to English Woof and then into plain English.  But I digress.  Here’s Bryn to have his bark…

I was so thrilled when Susan finally said I could go with her on this massive walk around London that I legged it straight out into the garden for an excited wee and almost forgot to cock my leg!  Then I ran round and round in circles, woofing in delight at the top of my bark.  At laaaaaaaast!  She’d been going on and on and on about this huge walk for weeks – bought a rucksack and new shoes and everything!  All the time I kept barking to her, “Errr, hello!  Walks!  And what about me?”, but she seemed completely oblivious!  I mean, everyone knows that she’s a bit deaf, but that was just taking the biscuit!  (Mmmm, biscuits..!)  Anyway, FINALLY she remembered me and now I’m on the team!  Weheeeeeeeeeey!  It’s going to be such an adventure!  It’s not just any old walk on the Cotswold Common either… it’s London!  Bright lights, big sniffy!  😀

I’ve never been to London before, but it sounds as if it’ll be right up my smelly old alley.  Loads of lamp posts to wee against, parks to pooh in, and I can’t wait to cock my leg up the side of that big wheel!  Apparently that’s where the finishing line is, and we’ll get fed cake there.  I like cake.  In fact, I like anything edible.  Apart from that pack of butter I nicked off the kitchen side the other day – that didn’t go down so well.  I was soooooooo hungry though!  Quite frankly, I don’t think I get fed enough – I could easily eat waaaaaaaaaay more than I’m given.  Honestly, you’d think the war was still on by the miserable rations of Pedigree Chum I get.  But London’s going to have looooooads of food!  Just the thought of it is making me slobber all over my whiskers!  There’ll be lots of people in London, and people always drop food – they’re so careless!  They’re wasteful too; they never bother to pick it up and eat it once they’ve dropped it on the pavement.  It’s okay though – I can take care of that.  ‘Waste not, want not’ – that’s my motto!  I’ve heard all about this place in London called Trafalgar Square which is ram-packed full of pigeons to chase.  I can’t wait for that bit – it sounds so exciting!  The meaty looking pigeons had better fear for their feathers when I bound into town!

Of course, brother Wallis won’t be coming on the walk with us, because it’d be way too much for him.  He’s getting old now and he’s only got one eye, poor blighter.  He had to have the other one removed because of glaucoma.  So now he sometimes bumps into things, he’s crap at catching sticks, and he’s nowhere near as fast as me.  We’re doing the walk to help humans with eye problems, not dogs.  It seems a bit mean, cos dogs have eye problems too, but I’m not about to miss the opportunity of going on such an exciting adventure!  Weheeeeeeey, just think of all the people in London who’ll make a fuss of me… and all the FOOD!!!

If you’d like to sponsor Bryn and the rest of our team, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  Alternatively, you can donate by texting: “ISEE66 £5” to 70070 (or whichever amount you prefer, of course).  All donations, no matter how small, are hugely appreciated.  Although Bryn has also requested donations of FOOD, this is unnecessary as he will be provided with adequate rations on the day.  Whether this will be sufficient for his requirements is another matter entirely, but I’m sure he can supplement them with lashings of podgy pigeon as we pass through Trafalgar Square.

Bryn and his 'brother', Wallis, enjoying some sea air

Bryn and his ‘brother’, Wallis, enjoying some sea air

Eye to Eye 2017: Susan’s story

Susan, showing off her pink wellies

Susan, showing off her pink wellies

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…

I think it’s worth mentioning at this point that my aunt has been a huge support to me throughout my ongoing RD journey, not only with coming to the rescue in helping me through the most difficult ENTIRE MONTH’S worth of posturing back in July 2014 (https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/pondering-posturing/), but also in the constancy of her caring and understanding.  She never fails to text me before an eye appointment to say she hopes all will be well, and rings me up afterwards to ask how it went.  She shows a real interest in the medical complexities of my case and both she and my uncle have helped me a great deal with their emotional support.  So… if you’d like to sponsor Susan and the rest of our team, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  Alternatively, you can donate by texting: “ISEE66 £5” to 70070 (or whichever amount you prefer, of course).  All donations, no matter how small, are very much appreciated!  🙂

Eye to Eye 2017: Cindy’s Story

Cindy, the labradoodle

Cindy

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, and one four-legged member of the team in the shape of Cindy the labradoodle.  I thought it would be interesting to share the stories of my fellow team-members, and obviously I’m not about to discriminate against folk with more than two legs, so this week it’s Cindy’s turn.  Fortunately for those readers not fluent in Woofs, we’ve managed to get her story translated into English.  So now it’s over to Cindy…

When Mum told me that we’ll be going for a reeeaally long walk in March, I jumped up in excitement, wagging my tail as hard as it would wag and woofing at the top of my bark, “Yes yes yes yes!”.  I just luuuurve walks, you see.  Especially looooong walks.  Long walks mean more to sniff!  And more people to meet!  And more people often mean treats, especially if I’m really good and stare at them longingly without blinking.  Apparently, people are even going to pay us money for going on the walk.  I thought Mum would be able to use the money to buy more treats, which seemed like a great idea!  Then I found out that the money is going to help people with eye problems.  Mum told me all about how she’d wanted a dog for years and years, and when her eye went squiffy she thought the only way she’d get one was if she needed a guide dog.  I know all about guide dogs.  I met one in the town a while ago.  He was the most handsome chocolate labrador I’ve ever seen – just the colour of the mud I love to roll in, with deep brown eyes to drool for.  I galloped up to him for a sniff and a wag, but he just stared straight ahead without even a sideways glance to admire my golden curls.  He barked sternly out of the side of his jowls, “Sorry, can’t stop and sniff – I’m working”, and continued on his way.  I probably should have played it cool but you know what it’s like when you fall ears over paws for a cute canine.  I figured it wasn’t much fun being a guide dog though.  I mean – who wants to be working all the time?!

Anyway, it’s okay cos Mum’s eyes are much better and she’s got me to cheer her up and give her lots of licks.  So we’re going to go for this loooong walk to help other people.  It’s going to be a walk all around the streets of London.  I’ve been to London before.  There’s not much mud there, or cow pats, or other deliciously-smelling things to roll in.  But on the other paw, it does mean that we get to go on the train, which is waggles of fun!  Trains are whooshingly exciting, and they have loads of different smells on them and lots of people who sometimes share bits of their food if I stare at them long enough.  People seem to like me quite a lot, which comes in handy for getting extra treats.  I often get mistaken for that famous labradoodle on the telly – you know, the one on the Flash advert.  (You can watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIR5dNN7o1w.)  Of course, the pooches down at the park think that I’d do a far better job at the slow-motion mud showers.  I can’t show off that trick too often at home though otherwise I get into deep doo-doo.  The sort of doo-doo that won’t fit into one of those tiny plastic bags, if you catch my drift.  The only thing I’m a bit worried about with this walk is that London has looooooads of lamp posts.  Lamp posts are great because a quick sniff tells me which of my friends are in the area that day, but of course I also have to let everyone know that I’m there too and sometimes when there are too many lamp posts it means that I run out of wee, which can get a bit embarrassing.

Mum says we need to practise for this long walk… imagine!  Practising for a walk?!  I’ve never heard such a howler!  Walking is easy – you just put the front two legs in front of the back two and off you go!  I think it’s harder for humans though, because they only have two legs and they don’t have paws.  We went for an eleven-mile practise walk the other day – Mum and her friend Alex, and me.  Mum wore new shoes, but when she got home she found that the shoes had bitten her feet and made sore patches.  So that wasn’t good.  And Alex just fell asleep when we got home, without even giving me a treat first, which I thought was simply apawling behaviour.  I had to ask Dad for a treat instead.  Dad won’t be coming on the walk, which I feel a bit droopy-eared about.  I might try and find a nice smelly stick to take back for him…

if you’d like to sponsor Cindy and the rest of our team, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  Alternatively, you can donate by texting: “ISEE66 £5” to 70070 (or whichever amount you prefer, of course).  All donations, no matter how small, are hugely appreciated, and will also give Cindy considerable kudos with her brown-eyed chocolate labrador guide-dog acquaintance  (when he’s off duty, obviously).  Cindy would also appreciate donations of treats or quantities of mud to roll in, but sadly we don’t have the resources to enable online donations of either of those items…  😉

Cindy in the bath

Cindy, perfecting the Flash dog look

Eye to Eye 2017: Nickie’s story

Nickie, with Cindy the labradoodle

Nickie, with Cindy the labradoodle

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 Nickie’s turn.  Nickie is Alex’s best friend (you can read Alex’s story at: https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/eye-to-eye-2017-alexs-story/) and she’ll be walking with us along with her labradoodle, Cindy.  Nickie and Alex have known each other for 32 years and shared various trends together, including the dubious one of retinal detachment.  The cause of Nickie’s retinal detachment was her myopia (short sightedness).  People who are very short sighted are at a higher risk than others of having a retinal detachment.  Usually this is only people who have high myopia, greater than -6 (i.e. they are very short sighted).  So now it’s over to Nickie…

My experience of having a detached retina began in 2008.  For a couple of months i was experiencing dark floaters in my right eye, that would settle in the right hand bottom corner of my eye.  This would last for quite a while and was worse when i was tired.  I explained this to my option, they did a thorough examination of my eye, but could not find anything.  They gave me the advice of “if you see bright flashing lights come back”.

Fortunately or unfortunately, i never witnessed the bright flashing lights, just the floaters settling for longer and covering more of my eye.

Then a few months later, one evening when lying in bed waiting to go to sleep, I lost the vision in my right eye.  That was quite scary initially, but when I blinked my vision came back.  This happened a few times until my vision didn’t come back.  I thought that because i was tired that if i went to sleep, by the morning all would be ok.  Which oddly enough, by morning i had full vision in my right eye.

During that day, i had difficulty seeing when climbing the stairs at work. Whilst driving home that night, i slowly experienced the vision in my eye disappearing.  I know now, it was called the curtain effect, and thinking about it now, it was just as if someone was drawing the curtain over my vision.I drove to the near by walk in centre, who informed me there was nothing they could do about it that night, but strongly advised me to go to the emergency eye department at the local hospital, in the morning.  This I did, to be informed, after many hours of assessments, eye tests, eye drops etc etc, that i had two tears in my retina.  They booked me in for surgery the following day.

I had a surgical procedure called “a buckle”.  The consultant monitored me but in two weeks time I was undergoing further surgery to my eye, as the repair they did hadn’t worked, and i needed to undergo further surgery.  This time, i was to have a “gas bubble”.  Both lots of surgery lasted 2 to 2 and a half hours under sedation.  No GA for me – consultant  choice (think he thought i was tough – little did he know!). Fortunately he was an extremely good surgeon who specialised in retinal detachments.

During my recovery, for the first two weeks, i had to spend looking down at the ground.  I was not allowed to look up. That was quite hard, though i did realise how dirty my carpets were!!  I ended up with a total of about 10 weeks off work – day time TV has not improved over the years!

I went back to work two weeks before Christmas in 2008, and then had to have a cataract op in February 2009. This was due to the gas bubble clouding my lens.  A contraindication to the surgery.

I can remember little bits and events of each of my eye ops, some funny and some so not. Though my eye is much better, i do experience some high pressure behind the eye, which i am now on daily eye drops for.  However,at the end of the day, i am very thankful to my consultant. Thanks to him, i have fairly good sight back in my right eye.

Probably, like most people who have lost their slight (hopefully) temporarily, from a detached retina, I realise how precious my sight is.

If you’d like to sponsor Nickie and the rest of our team, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  Alternatively, you can donate by texting: “ISEE66 £5” to 70070 (or whichever amount you prefer, of course).  All donations, no matter how small, are hugely appreciated!  🙂