Thursday, 12 November 2015

Symptom #1 Vision

I first lost the sight in my left eye in 1994 and was told I has macular dystrophy.  I accepted this diagnosis and moved on with my life and my vision very slowly returned.

Then in 2002 I had another sudden loss of vision in the same eye, although not as bad as previously.  This time I just assumed it was the macular dystrophy, got a referral to the eye clinic, was told that there was nothing to be done, visited a good optician and got new glasses.  By this point my brain was completely not bothered by the uselessness of one eye and so life went on.

In 2006 I had another sudden deterioration in my left eye, after having a nasty liver reaction to penicillin. Again I went back to the eye clinic and again they looked a little confused but put it down to the same old same old.

But those were nothing compared to 3 weeks ago when in the space of a few hours I lost all of the sight in my left eye; just like that!  There was nothing, all black. 

By this point I had received a diagnosis of MS (summer 2015) and so I just put it down to that and waited to go to the GP the next day.  I wasn't that concerned, in fact I was a lot more concerned about the dizziness and left sided weakness (see following posts) and so my GP wasn't too concerned and we waited until the next scheduled eye casualty appointment three days later. 

On those three days my left eye improved and I was able to see shadows.  But nothing felt right and I was worried that my right eye was suffering.  And I was right; the eye casualty staff treated my vision and even I could see how much worse it was than normal, although I assumed I just needed adjustment to my glasses.  After tests and tests and examinations with too many bright lights the diagnosis was "optic neuritis" caused by MS. Great!

We were back the next day for yet another four hours sitting in the eye clinic and a very depressing visual fields tests which showed no vision anywhere in the left eye and a significant loss of fields in an arc in the right eye; also indicating optic neuritis.  This was the a shock; the first real shock.  I knew my left eye was dodgy and that out seemed I'd probably been living with relapsing remitting MS all those years; but it never occurred to me that it could attack my right eye as well.

In the two weeks since then I've had 9 appointments of one type or another, and way too many blood tests to rule out lots of even nastier nasties.  My left eye has stayed with shadows and a few colours and the right eye has deteriorated, although I think that deterioration is slowing down.

Right now I can't drive, probably won't ever again unless a miracle happens.  I can't read anything smaller than font 48 (at a push) which includes medicine labels, cooker temperature and pin machines.  I can't read the guide on the TV or the letters through the door or the numbers on the bus or my name on the call screen at the GPs.  And I can't see peoples faces and that's awful. 

But I keep smiling because what else can you do.  And its pretty funny when I start talking to someone at the doctors assuming I know them and then realise I don't; I wonder what they thought I was going on about.

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