It was the beginning of January and everything still seemed to be settling down after the madness of Christmas and New Year. Whilst getting ready to go out with my little family I noticed a change in my vision; a ball of light that I can only describe as resembling a glare on a lens in the sun, passed across my right eye almost like a bubble. As weird as I thought it was I decided to carry on and just keep an eye on it (excuse the pun) to see if it happened again, which it did.
I went for an emergency check up and was immediately referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital as my symptoms showed up three possible causes, one of which could have been a detached retina.
At this point I didn't want to think about what the problem could be until I knew for sure, I knew I was going to the best possible place and didn't want to worry myself over what could be nothing. I didn't even consider that I may need to have an operation.
My husband and I went straight to A&E at Moorfields where the staff were brilliant. Eventually it was confirmed that I did have a detached retina and would need to come back at 7.30 the next morning to be booked in for an operation.
I couldn't help but feel anxious; it was mainly the thought of the operation being on my eye that made me feel uneasy. So many questions entered my head:
'Will I be able to see the surgeon's scalpel on my eye as he operates?'
'What if my eye is clamped open and I want to blink? What happens then?'
We arrived early the next morning and by the time we were taken to the ward where I would have my consultation and be prepped and taken to surgery, my husband and I had made friends with the other half dozen patients there for operations too. We all laughed and joked and talked of our symptoms to compare notes. It definitely took the edge off!
When it was my turn to go I was nervous. This was it. I hadn't had an operation before so didn't know what to expect but all my nerves were put at ease as soon as I got into theatre. The staff that prepped me for surgery were amazing; they made me comfortable, joked with me and eased any worries that I had about the operation. They talked me through everything they were doing to prep me for local anaesthetic (which was handy as without my glasses I can't see anything!) even telling me how it would feel.
The sensation of receiving local anaesthetic in your eye is bizarre to say the least and perhaps at most mildly uncomfortable, but because of having anaesthetic drops beforehand it is perfectly manageable. When I was told that I had endured the worst part of the whole procedure I wouldn't believe him. I haven't even had the operation yet so how could that be the worst bit? But he was right. Once the anaesthetic kicks in - which takes no time - you can't see anything. I felt as though I had my eyes closed the entire time and barely felt anything only mild sensations that wasn't painful - dare I say it towards the end I even felt as though I could have nodded off!
The hardest part of the whole experience was actually the recovery because for the first week I had to use a technique called 'posturing' which meant laying on my front all day and night alternating my head between resting on my left cheek then right. A gas bubble is inserted into your eye at the end of the operation that disperses over two weeks to ensure your retina heals properly, which is why you must posture and obviously means you can't see out of that eye.
That being said, of course it was worth it because I have completely recovered and my optometrist even said when checking the healing progress recently that you could barely tell I had had an operation at all, let alone earlier in the year. I am so grateful that everything ended up OK and can honestly say that despite my worrying the whole experience was very positive and nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be.
Thank you Moorfields for saving my vision in that eye and thank you to your amazing staff!
Mental Health Blog - Headcaseblog.co.uk
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