Take Advantage of My Experience

Frankly, I’d rather it be me than you in this situation.
Before last Friday, when I heard the phrase “detached retina”, I thought “A boxing injury” or something that happens to really old people.
Allow my denial for a while, OK?
Truth be told, within the last five years, an eye doctor told me the strands that connected to my eyes were “thin” and that I should watch for flashing or sighs of trouble and get right in.
I didn’t have THOSE signs last Friday. Around 11am I noticed a blurriess in my left eye. My first thought was that I had once again pushed myself too much and due to lack of sleep, my eye was really dry….or, worse yet, maybe I had triggered a migraine headache. I had one back in the 80s and I’m no expert on the subject, but I thought this was how they started.
I went to the Y for my tri-weekly workout….wrapped up, came back to work and the blurriness had worsened. In fact, it looked like my eyebrow had sagged down and was blocking my vision. I actually had lost part of it.
Around 2pm, I wandered down the hall at work to look at some commercials and while I could see their bodies, when I covered my right eye, their heads disappeared. Something was definitely wrong.
So I went to the Premera website, found the eye doctor closest to me and zipped over there for a 3:15pm appoint, with ever intention of returning to work afterwards.
He recognized the detached retina right away, sent me to a specialist down at Northgate, who informed me that surgery was the solution.
Yes, they DO go through the eye to make the repair. They left a band around my eye and a gas bubble inside it. This bubble, when I face down, will push up against the retina to help it heal right. This means 24 hours a day….sitting at home…sleeping at night, etc. It’ll take upwards of 8 weeks for the gas to dissipate. Until then, I won’t have complete sight in that eye and I may not get back full sight.
Those are the realities. That’s what I’m facing. My right eye apparently has the same thinning chords and holes in the retina, but by taking pre-emptive measures using lasers, I can avoid the detachment thing. Once my left eye is back, I’ll probably go down that route.
How do YOU benefit from all this?
1) DO schedule an annual eye exam
2) Stay on top of your eye health. I had no problems until the day of the unfolding events. If I had gone in, perhaps they would have seen how dangerously thin things had gotten. I’ll never know.
3) If you need inspiration, think about it: could you suddenly stop going to work for a week or more, lose vision in one eye. Have to sleep face down for a week?
I’ve always felt if someone had gone down a road before me, I’d love to hear about the things to watch out for so I could enjoy a smoother trip.

Here’s a nice write-up on the subject on wikipedia.

This concludes our travelogue to next week. It happens quickly, so don’t put it off. See an eye doctor, before you can’t see them.

Tim Hunter

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