Monday, 9 August 2021

An Eventful Few Weeks

 Firstly, the Assessment Day, regarding my cataract surgery, didn't exactly go as planned and I was so glad that I hadn't gone on my own.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to drive after the appointment because of having drops in my eyes which would affect my vision.  So  a good friend collected me and Benji (the Dog Who Can't Be Left Alone!) and drove us to the hospital in plenty of time for my appointment - despite the l o n g delay because of repairs to the Tamar Bridge only allowing one lane of traffic to cross at a time.

So - I had a further eye check and the promised drops inserted (3 lots!) then I was sent in to see the consultant. He asked me what I was expecting from the cataract removal and I replied that I had heard so many reports about the wonderful outcome when vision is restored.   He then warned me that the results might not be as good as expected because the Macular Degeneration would probably have a negative effect.   

Wait!  What??? Macular Degeneration????  

"Oh! You didn't know you had that?" he asked.  No, I didn't know.  No-one had told me that.  He couldn't apologise enough and said he assumed I knew because it was on my referral form from the optician.  

I confess I was in shock from then on and I have no idea how the conversation went on.  I do remember him asking if I had any questions and I replied, "Yes - lots, but mainly how does this progress and at what pace?"  I don't think he was able to give me a straight answer or an accurate one.  I did a heck of a lot of internet trawling that evening.  It isn't good news, that's for sure, but I have had time to process things and I've been referred to The Macular Society - lots of information and tips from their online presence and the possibility of an MD group in the nearby town. 

So I can still go ahead with having the first cataract removed and see what effect that has on my vision before deciding whether or not it's worth having the 2nd one removed.  At present, my vision is blurred, like looking through badly scratched glass, so I reckon that should improve with new, clear lenses.  The effect of the Macular Degeneration is to remove my central vision - there's a black blob in the centre - but I instinctively move my head from side to side to use the peripheral vision.  This is more effective when looking into the distance, but not so good with close work. I cope with reading by using my Kindle with enlarged font; on my laptop I zoom in on the font enough to make it readable; applying  lipstick accurately is well nigh impossible!!! And it's so frustrating to find that my online banking would be so much easier if they used BLACK font instead of their pretty faint blue! 

It took me a week or so to come to terms with that diagnosis, then I heard of the terrible fires raging across Turkey - where one of my sons is living. There was very little information on the news, what with Covid and the Olympics, so I looked online . . . . Oh my word!  I found videos of the fires around my son's village and the lack of firefighters or Government help; their water and electricity was cut off, internet and phone lines were down; my emails to him were met with silence. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8XZiQxnNf0

I was constantly checking online BUT I won't dwell on that.  Suffice to say that eventually I had an email from my son, then another a couple of days later and finally, yesterday a phone call.  The relief to hear his voice. It appears that the temperature has dropped and the fires are either out or under control now, so they can relax a bit more.  They have been sleeping in shifts while they were on fire alert, and ready to be evacuated at very short notice; things have been scaled down a little now and all are praying that the winds will drop and won't change direction.  Greece is suffering badly now, so I hope things will improve there too. So many homes have been destroyed, land burned, vineyards, animals lost and people's livelihoods gone. 

I am so very grateful to know that my son and his partner are safe and that they still have their home.  

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20 comments:

  1. Oh my word, how frightening! I'm so glad your son and partner are ok. Sorry about the shock of the MD.

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  2. A relief to hear from your son!
    That was exceedingly remiss of your optician to not explain your referral.
    You will have found out that MD doesn't progress at the same rate for everyone or the same rate all the time for an individual. Good that you have found support groups. One of my friends has had MD for a very very long time...her sight has almost gone now, just dark and light..she is nearly 90.
    Sending a big virtual hug ((0))

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    1. Thank you gz, especially for the hug - much needed. I have been given a lot more information from an online friend who is an optometrist, including what the procedure should be when finding that a client has MD - and that procedure definitely wasn't followed in my case.

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  3. Good to hear from your son that he is safe in Turkey, and you had a shock when you had that eye exam. I hope you get the best treatment for your eyes.

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    1. Thank you, Terra. It's good to know that the very high temperatures in Turkey have dropped significantly, thus reducing the risk of further fires.
      At present I'm still waiting for an appointment to remove the worst cataract. But I believe the NHS has a backlog of appointments, so it could be some time.

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  4. So glad you have heard that your son is safe. What a terrible way to find out that you have M.D. I hope the cataract removal helps your eyesight and that the M.D. develops slowly.

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    1. Yes, very relieved to hear from David and to know that he is safe. Got everything crossed that when the first cataract is removed, it will bring an improvement in my sight, followed by a similar extra improvement after the second one is removed. I would hope to carry on driving for a while yet if possible, before the MD takes effect.

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  5. What a terrible time you have been having! I hope the cataract surgery goes well if you decide to have it. What a decision to have to make! And I'm glad you've had the call from your son. E mails are great but it must have been such a relief to hear his voice.

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    1. Yes, I'm hoping the cataract surgery will have a beneficial effect so that I can resume driving again. Roll on the appointment for that.
      I've had a further phonecall from David and things seem to be calming down now with the drop in temperature. Phew!

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  6. Oh my dear, what a worrying time you are having.

    So sorry to hear about the MD on top of the cataracts, I confess that sight loss is probably the one health thing that worries me more than pretty much anything else, so I have my fingers and toes crossed for a successful outcome for you.

    Is your son permanently in Turkey or might he ever come back? A friend's son lives in Durban, SA, and has been similarly worried sick over the past couple of months because of the unrest there, so I do understand - sort of, in the best way I can (because no-one can really understand what another person is feeling when they worry). xxx

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    1. Thank you, Jayne. Yes, David has bought a house in Turkey and applied for residency. He loves the life there and says he has no plans for returning to the UK, apart from family visits. I do miss him, but he appears to be much more relaxed - a good thing after his 10 years in Afghanistan.

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  7. What a worrying time you have had recently. I'm so sorry about the eye problem, it must be a difficult time right now. So relieved your son is alright, what a dreadful year it has been with fires.

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    1. Not so difficult now that I know David is safe and well and as for the eyes - I can only take each day as it comes and hope for the best outcome.

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  8. It must have been an awful shock to have the MD diagnosis sprung on you like that! Anything to do with eye disease is scary, like Jayne said above, it is also one of my worst fears, moreso as I have diabetes (like you, I seem to remember) and so I always have my annual screening and sight test. My mum's eye sight (she's 76) was perfectly fine pre-pandemic but last summer she became very unwell for a month and at the end of it she'd gone blind in one eye. Further MRI scans/eye investigations revealed her optic nerve had just "frazzled", hence the blindness. 18 months on and we're still no further forward with an exact diagnosis - MS has been suggested but the NHS is so far behind that the wait is endless. I hope you get the necessary support with your MD - support groups can be a god send.

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  9. I think it also depends on whether is is wet or dry MD?

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    1. At present it is dry MD, but it was explained to me that the surgery for cataract removal might release fluid which would make it wet MD. Everything crossed that that doesn't happen.

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    2. Hope all is proceeding well now?

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  10. Tom has had one of his cataracts done and is waiting for the other but he recently had to have laser treatment on it as it had started to cloud over. This was successful thank goodness but I didn't know that once done they could cloud over again.
    My Sister in law has MD and has had it for a long time, she's in her late 70's now and still driving so hopefully you will be the same. But, what a shock to find that out like that.
    Briony
    x

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