The morning of my much-anticipated rescheduled check-up appointment at Moorfields (have a read of ‘Sod the Tories‘, if you’re wondering about the rescheduling) got off to a somewhat ironic start when I mistook the shampoo for shower gel during my morning shower and only realised when I started hunting for the shampoo to wash my hair. I’m sure the lettering on toiletries is getting smaller and smaller these days… naturally, my dodgy peepers aren’t to blame!
My sister (aka eye secretary) and I reached Moorfields in plenty of time and settled down in the clinic for a long wait. We’d already spotted the whiteboard, which declared a waiting time of two and a half to three hours, so we were fully prepared for an extended game of ‘I Spy’. We therefore both audibly gasped in surprise when the nurse called me through almost immediately.
I peered at the Snellen chart with my bad eye, desperately trying to focus on the two letters on the second line down as I hazarded a guess, “Is that an X? I think it’s an X.” and then rattled off the penultimate line with my good eye – yay! My eye pressures were the best they’ve been for a while (yay again!), and then came the stinging dilation drops, which always seem to sting more when I’m tired. Considering that the previous night had been broken by a series of nightmares, I wasn’t surprised that the drops were more uncomfortable than usual. At this point, the nurse instructed me to go off for a scan and then return to the clinic. “A scan?”, I asked in some alarm, “I don’t usually have a scan – what kind of scan is it?” Upon double-checking my file, she nodded and assured me that this was correct before pointing us in the direction of Medical Imaging.
Off we went, and sat down in another queue. We didn’t have long to wait until I was called through, whereupon I immediately started questioning the poor guy doing the scans about what scan it was (OCT, I was informed) and why it had been requested. Scan Man (far more impressive than Batman, because he could operate an OCT scanner) consulted my file and informed me that it was because of VMT. “VMT?”, I repeated in confusion, “What’s that?!” “Vitreomacular traction”, he informed me, before proceeding to talk about PVD. “But no-one’s told me I’ve got VMT or PVD!”, I replied in alarm. “I have got PVR in my right eye though – maybe that’s why the scan’s needed?” I stared at him through dilated eyes and saw my look of confusion reflected back at me as he asked, “What’s PVR?” “Proliferative vitreoretinopathy”, I explained. “It’s a complication of retinal detachment surgery.” I was tempted to refer him to my blog post, ‘The curse of PVR‘, but managed to refrain. “Oh”, he replied, sounding almost as baffled as me, before proceeding to do his stuff with the scans: “Look at the green cross… keep still…” He showed me part of the scan on his computer, but it didn’t answer any of my questions and I concluded that perhaps I shouldn’t really have started asking questions in the first place.
We returned to the clinic again and settled down to a game of ‘I Spy’, whereupon we managed to pass a full ten minutes as my sister attempted to guess “something beginning with S”. A series of clues revealed the obvious answer, “Spectacles!”. Eventually, the Prof called me through and got on with the business of the eye examination: “Look up… look down… look left…. look right… look up and right… look down and right… look up and left… look down and left…” etc. I sat with bated breath and kept my fingers crossed below the examination contraption as he delivered the best news I could have hoped for in the situation: everything was still stable and he didn’t see the need for further surgery unless the oil started to cause problems.
He reminded me again that two further surgeries would be necessary in any case – one to get the oil out, do another retinectomy, sort out the abnormal blood vessels, carry out more laser and put more oil back in. Then another surgery at some point in the future to try and remove the oil if my eye behaved itself. Considering the fact that my ruddy retina has misbehaved from day one, I’m not particularly keen to rock the boat by having more surgery before I absolutely have to. So, although I was disappointed that no miracle had occurred, I was enormously relieved to hear that things were still stable. I was even more relieved to hear that the OCT scan appeared to have been a mistake in that I hadn’t actually needed it and there was nothing further wrong with my pesky peepers… phew! The only slight blip was the news that the cataract in my good eye had worsened slightly. He reassured me that this was nothing to worry about for the time being. So naturally, me being me, I worried…