It’s Not Cuckoo Bananas, But It’s Not Good Either

It has been a busy week, so I haven’t had a chance, until now, to post an update on last Fridays appointment with Dr. Garg, the retina specialist.  Unlike two weeks ago when I went to the glaucoma doc, this appointment was lacking most of the nonsense.  By the end of the appointment, I wasn’t any closer to an answer than I was since late April.

The appointment started with the typical questions from a tech about how my vision was doing, if I was experiencing any pain or discomfort, etc.  Then it was time to read the chart with my left eye.  The E was not a problem.  The next line, C and D, I could see, but if I didn’t remember it I might have said G instead of C.  The next line, which I now know is DHN, I couldn’t see.  With the pinholes, I was able to make out the H.

She moved on to my right eye.  Good news there, I can still tell if a light is off or on if it is a foot or less away from my eye…  Yippee.  She then put, or should I say shot, drops into both eyes.  God only knows how many, but it was sure more than one of each.  One is to numb the eye to get IOP (pressure) readings, while the other was to dilate my eye.  While she was doing this, she left the chart on, so I continued to try to read it.  She then used a hand-held device to get the IOP (Dr. Ayres calls this device a glorified random number generator.)  IOP was nine in the left and mid to upper 20s in the right.  The previous week at my glaucoma appointment, it was eight in the left and 13 in the right using the standard device (the one that you put your chin in, press your head against the bar, and look at the blue light.)

She waited a minute or two and then tried to get another number on the right eye.  Meanwhile, I’m still trying to read the 20/100 line on the chart.  She then said I was cheating by continuing to attempt to read the line.  Eliz didn’t like what she said and asked how I was cheating if I was just trying to read the chart.  While the lady answered Eliz, I had my hand in front of my eye, trying to simulate the pinholes while still trying to read the line.  Hey, if you don’t want me to keep trying, shut the effing thing off!  As we got up to move to the next exam room, I glanced behind the chair where the chart is bounced off of a mirror and saw that the line was DHN.  Now maybe that was cheating.  How would that help me though?  It’s not like I could get a drivers license for reading the 20/100 line.

In the next room, Dr. Garg came in and asked some questions and then had a look.  He then told me that the only thing left to try were injections in the eye.  Before we try that though, he wanted to get another OCT scan to make sure the risk/reward was worth the attempt (actually, attempts, as it would take several injections over the course of a few months for it to work.)

Tom gave me the OCT scan a few minutes later, then we headed to another exam room.  After a minute or two, Dr. Garg came in and had a look at the scan.  He said that it wouldn’t be worth trying the injections as there was only a 15% chance of them helping me see better.  At that point, I said, “Okay, so there isn’t really anything you can do for me?”  “That’s right,” he replied.  He told me I could come back in five months (why?,) or sooner if I was having any other problems.  He did tell me to make sure that I see him, Dr. Ayres, Dr. Pro, or Dr. Ruffini frequently to get IOP readings.  Seems like ‘roids that I take 2x per day in the left eye could cause the pressure to rise.  Maybe it’s time to see Dr. House, Dr. Riviera, or Oscar Goldman…

So while my vision is not cuckoo bananas (a technical term Dr. Garg used at my last appointment in June,) it’s not good either.  So what do I do now?  Some days, my vision is better than others.  Today, for example, it sucked big time (I suppose that is a technical term I picked up somewhere along the way.)  Maybe I’ll see a little better tomorrow.  I’m not holding my breathe (but would if it would help…)

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One Year Later

So, today marked the first anniversary of my partial cornea transplant (for those that need to know specifics, I had a DSAEK procedure, which is a partial-thickness corneal transplant that replaces only the endothelial layer.)  I guess this means that at least part of my body (a very small part on a rather large body) is 70 years old.  God knows I often feel like I’m 70…

When I had the surgery, I wondered how well I would see in the days and months afterwards.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, most of my doctors were pretty optimistic.  They all agreed that unless something went wrong, I’d get back to 20/200.  Some thought I could get to 20/100 or even better.  One year later and my vision is at 20/400.

Dreams of reading a newspaper, magazine, purchase orders, invoices (those that I create to send to a customer, not those sent by a vendor — Eliz can read those,) mail, and anything else printed on paper never came true.  Wild fantasies of tossing a softball around with Jane, hitting a tennis ball around with Jake, going to a Phillies, Flyers, or Eagles game (you know, I’ve never been to the Link) and enjoying it have all been placed back deep in the corner of my mind next to being a rock star, an action-hero actor, or a top chef.

As I’ve previously posted, none of my ophthalmologists know why my vision has deteriorated since June.  Maybe it’s from the mold at our business (we’ll know shortly, because we are vacating or current building very shortly.)  Maybe it’s age related.  Maybe it’s because I’ve gained weight.  Maybe it’s just supposed to be this way.

I have an appointment on 9 December with the cornea specialist.  Perhaps he will have an answer better than the last time I saw him, when he told me that he didn’t know what it was and it would be a hard fix.  I’ll post sometime after the appointment and let you know.

I do plenty of complaining, whining, and ranting here.  One thing I’m not sure I’ve ever done is thank the donor of the endothelia that now resides on the fifth layer of my cornea.  I don’t know who he or she was.  I only know that the donor was 69 years old when they died and without their cornea (even though they only used the endothelia, the whole cornea was available to me) I would almost certainly be much worse off.  Thank you sir/madam, I do appreciate your gift.

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