In the morning I was doing what I said I would do…. Take care of myself. Put myself first and get my eye the attention it needed. So I began the day by trying to get in to see the local ophthalmology unit in my towns hospital. They wouldn’t see me without a referral from my gp…. The referral that my gp was reluctant to make on Friday because she wanted me seen sooner than 3 days, and told me to get to A&E. Which I would’ve done if not for some unimaginable, unexpected insane circumstances.
We wanted to see an ophthalmologist though, because they really know their shit. So I called the gp, explained to the gp, they faxed, (FAXED!! PEOPLE STILL DO THAT?) the ophthalmology department, who after a while called me to arrange an appointment. On Wednesday, 3 oclock. Yesterday was Monday.
Let me explain that I am usually so very patient, unless you’re my mother or daughter throwing a tantrum… But, my eyeball felt like it was the surface of the raw tip of the most sensitive nerve ending in the human body, and my eye lid was razor paper. Which in my mind is akin to sandpaper but each grain of sand is a rapidly rotating three edged razor blade designed to shred every part of my eyeball like an absent minded chef demolishing a potato with one of those little peelers until he accidentally gave his palm a dry shave!!!
I’m saying it hurt, and I didn’t want to ignore or endure that pain for three more days. So we decided that the walk-in center would be the best option for us at this point. They are like a smaller version of A&E, we don’t have a very local Accident and Emergency and I’ll be honest we had no money to get to the nearest easily, so we hoped that the walk in center would be able to help. … At least for a few days until my ophthalmology appointment.
Now, before I get into the nightmare that followed let me fill in a few time gaps for you.
While waiting for call backs from GPS and ophthalmology folk, I was dealing with a tennis match of texts. Me to my uncle who was speaking on behalf of my mother… Remember she’s not here anymore? My uncle to me, who was speaking for myself and my family. She still didn’t understand that she can’t live here anymore. Telling her that once was hard. .. Re-telling her several times since doesn’t get any easier. Doing it yesterday was even harder still. Yesterday it would’ve been the birthday of her partner of sixteen years, the man died 5/5/16. One day I will go into detail about all of that, I’m sure.
I’ve talked about all the reasons why she can longer be here, And I have support in doing that but its still really a hard thing to do. I, as insane as it probably makes me, love my mum and I want to help her. See her get normal and sane and HEALTHY again. But not at the expense of my own sanity and health, or that of my family. My uncle was telling me that my mother would be staying there for a while but needed to come here for her phone. I asked how she was doing that, and said does she realize she can’t stay here? And that just because she’s now sober and thinking clearly doesn’t mean things will just be forgotten.
My phone rang with his number, and I answered knowing it would be mum. She was high….So so so soooo high, Couldn’t have spoken faster if you wrapped a motor around whatever brain she possesses and pulled the cord out of her arse to rev her up. Even though I knew that I didn’t mention it. She was trying to rapidly and feebly excuse her behaviour. Not apologise for it, just excuse it. I cut her off and tried telling her that she wasn’t staying here any more, the damage was done and proceeded with “Do you know, care, understand how upset you have made my Daughter, we had the police search the house, you’ve made Husband extremely ill because of the invasion of his space (Which it didn’t come to, but it Almost did, and that genuinely was enough to send all his anxieties into over-drive) and I haven’t even made it to get my eye looked at yet because of all your bullshit”. She didn’t even know how bad my eye was, that anything at all was wrong with it…she is so in her own insane world. She tried to argue each point I was making, saying that …Allow me to quote a few things”No no, your daughter knew I was coming back I had been talking about that flat I wanted, she was JUST BEING DRAMATIC”
“You didn’t have to let the police search the house at all..(Yes we did, mother, it is policy when reporting someone missing in case you KILLED THEM, Was my reply. And also what the police told us)..well you didn’t need a missing persons report I was Fineeee”
“Why what’s wrong with your eye? What do you mean you had a gauze-eye patch on I don’t remember that in fact I thought you looked lovely on saturday at the pub…That was where I said I was going, the hospital were calling and I would speak with her later. And then I hung up….knowing that she would assume that meant we were fine, because she just wasn’t getting it.
We got on with the day, by now it was about ten to three and daughter is due back quarter past so we rang her to hurry her up. Husbands girlfriend would’ve looked after her for us (she lives very close by) but there was no need to by that time. We got into a taxi and went to the walk in center. Saw a nurse after a few minutes, maybe 20 but her job was only to see which body part was the problem, make sure I wasn’t at deaths door and tell me where to sit. She didn’t even look at my eye. The next wait was ninety minutes.
Husband hid his anxiety as the room become more and more crowded, and we waited. As calm as we would be waiting for a late bus. I kept my sore eye closed at all times with sunglasses on.
We got called in and daughter waited out there while we went inside.. Then it happened
He sat me in a chair and had to lift open the eye because I couldn’t do it for more than a split second. Looked into my eye and then looked again with a torch, then he put a little pressure on the closed eye lid, asked if it hurt. Yes. Yes it hurts. It all hurts!! . He looked very concerned asking how long it had been like this, I told him since Thursday and you could just see his face drop. He told us to get to the hospital in the city. We live in a town outside of the city, we don’t drive and as previously mentioned we had no money. He told us that he thought it was big-long-name-to-tell-me-at-that-moment-disease. If it was that disease it was eye threatening. … Just to be clear I said “you mean I could go blind?” He said…. You’ll lose the eye, it spreads fast and you’ve been this way fourm days… By hook or crook I suggest you get there, now, tonight.
Well that was it, what else do you say to that? We asked him to write the name of the disease and where we had to go down. He scrawled the basics of the hospitals name and ward and sent us off. In total panic we left the building.
I will only say here that I am never unaware of how lucky I am and always actually have been when it comes to the friends and loved ones I have and have had. Without any money whatsoever we reached out to someone, and without question she put the money into our bank so we could get to the hospital. We were lucky again, in that the driver of our taxi was someone husband and daughter had been picked up by many Sundays going to church. (Husband doesn’t believe but his girlfriend does and our daughter is interested) when he knew what was happening he got us there as fast as he could, refusing to even go a cash machine to get the money, instead getting daughter to write down his number so we could call and pay him today. Which we have now done.
Into one of the biggest hospitals I’ve ever seen and we got to the ophthalmology unit. Apparently in my town you need to be almost losing an eye to get in one of those!! We saw a lovely lady, she wanted to numb my eye before anything so she opened it, dropped in a couple of drops, waited just second send said “open your eyes for me hen” I said I’ll try, but I don’t think I can. Confident as you like she replied “oh you can, trust me”
SO I DID!
I was indescribably happy just to be able to do that and it clearly showed. While this was going on Husband is calmly, we’ll not calmly but calmer than I am, telling this lovely nurse everything that had happened…. From Thursday and the reasons we didn’t make it to A&E, mothers madness, and then today. She was asking me had I cried a lot and I thought about it and said yes. She didn’t mean just since Thursday when this began she meant before then, as if that might’ve contributed to this or been the cause. That didn’t change my answer, I’ve cried a lot recently because of mothers madness.
She was furious that we had been told what we had by the guy at the walking center. We couldn’t remember the name of the big-long-name-to-tell-me-at-that-moment-disease but she said that she didn’t think it was eye, or sight threatening. She continued being a veritable super woman and calming us all down. The drops of anesthetic helped, suddenly I could use no eye without agony. She added some yellow dye drops as sell to prepare my eye for more thorough exam, and she told us that if she was right and this turned to be what she believed she would be contacting the Dr we had seen. We waited just over twenty minutes to be seen and in that time I ate a sandwich, they said I could and I still wasn’t sure I should, convinced I need an operation… But she assured me I could eat so I did.
I had my exam and they were sure, it was not big-long-name-to-tell-me-at-that-moment-disease, it was an eye infection. A nasty and pretty bad one exacerbated and possibly even caused by the crying and eye rubbing. But it was not eye or sight threatening. Before the ophthalmologist had even fully concluded the exam the lovey triage nurse had gone to make a call. We could hear her, this calm and kind lady we had just met turned into a fierce angry caregiver.
“You don’t ever tell a patient something like that unless you are absolutely sure, I have a frantic family in here and a lady who thought she was getting her eye scooped out before morning!! Which by the way has clearly meant she has cried since leaving your office potentially spreading the infection into her other eye ”
When she came back in she told us the name of what he had thought it was again. Optical cellulitis. She said that is a very severe disease and had it been that then yes, he did need to get us there urgently. She believed he acted from a genuine place of concern for me. So do I. I have since looked that up…. Don’t. Trust me, not pretty.
We took a taxi I home again. £40 each way by the way, to give you an idea of how far we were from that hospital and, how wonderful our friends are, not to mention how wonderfully kind the taxi driver, practical stronger was.
I have medicine for the infection. It’s a viral rather than bacteria infection, like an extreme case of conjunctivitis. I have to be very careful not to spread it to my other eye or to anyone else, but it should get better over a few weeks. I’m not religious and I won’t thank any gods, but I am so thankful for my good fortune. It was an excellent tremendously frightening experience.
Eyes are frail, your sight is so precious… I couldn’t imagine life without my sight… And believe me tried on the way to that hospital.