A Long Day

It has been a long day.  It started off with a trip to the retina specialist at 8:30 am.  We were a few minutes late, so only had to wait about 10 minutes in the waiting room.  Eliz had a cup of tea from the Senseo (or similar) machine, while I brought my own (my favorite Teavana mix: Queen of Babylon and Rose Garden Rooibos.)  I was called back into the first exam room, where I would (try to) read the eye chart and go over my eye issues.  Kelly asked about any of my eye problems and then noticed we were from Media.  She said she grew up in Wallingford.  When Eliz told her we did as well, she mentioned that she graduated from Strath Haven in 2002.  I told her I graduated from Nether Providence and Eliz from Strath Haven and Kelly asked if I went to school with her mother since I was born in 1954.  I laughed and asked if I looked 55…  I guess if there’s going to be a mistake, that one isn’t bad at all.  She corrected my birth year to 1964 and we moved on to the eye chart.

Again, I was unable to read any of it until I flipped the pinhole cover down.  Like magic, the E appeared.  I then said I know the next line is S and L, but I can’t see it.  She told me I was wrong.  What!?!  It’s not S and L.  Now I had to know.  I moved the pinholes all around until it was as clear as it was going to be for me.  I guessed O for the second letter.  Try again.  D!, I said next.  That was it.  The first letter (don’t ask me why I don’t read them in order) looked like it could be an O, G, or C.  I guessed G in hopes of it being the GD line.  No such luck.  C was my next try and that was it.  Kelly mentioned that this chart is made up mostly of similar letters that repeat often, so my usual deduction that I’ve got a one in 26 chance which increases with every letter doesn’t work.  I’m actually going to have to read them.

Once I was finished with the eye chart, Kelly took us to another waiting room, where Eliz read me the story of the Penn State mascot in a recent addition to ESPN magazine.  Before we could finish, we were called to see the doctor.  Dr. Garg asked me about my issues and mentioned that he had spoken to Dr. Pro about me.  He explained that even though my right eye doesn’t do much he still wanted to check it out.  Since my cornea is really cloudy and I have a pretty mature cataract in it, they would use an ultrasound to have a look.  He also explained a test they’d run on my left eye, to check for changes in the macular pigmentation.  Dye is injected via an IV (that’s iv, not roman numeral for 4) and pictures are taken.  After he mentioned the dye, I remembered that I had this test before.  The images are wicked.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a flash drive on me to get the images.

I went into another exam room to have the ultrasound and then back to the second waiting room to wait on the angiography.  After a 10 minute wait, Tom called me back to have the angiography.  He took a couple of images of my eye before putting the dye in.  The dye made me feel nauseous for about a minute.  Tom took more images and left to give someone an OCT scan (which took him all of five minutes — about 1000x faster than mine took on Monday.)  He then came back into the room I was in to get two more pictures.

I waited in the angiography room for a few minutes until they called me to see the doctor again.  He explained what he thought was going on.  He increased my use of one drop to three times per day and added another drop to try and get the swelling down in the retina and cornea.  He suggested that I wait on having the cataract removed until I see him again in six weeks.

After three hours, we were out of there.  We headed down City Ave to pick up Jane from school.  She called me just before the ultrasound and said she wasn’t feeling well, which I knew when she left for school.  I also knew we’d be right down the street from her and could pick her up after the appointment if she couldn’t last the day at school.

After I spent an hour, or so, at home (at which time I found out my mom had gone into the hospital — more on that below,) we headed over to Viva Salon in Springfield.  They’ve been having a problem with a hydraulic base that was still under warranty.  We swapped out the bad base for the good one that has been in our car since the move and headed to my next eye appointment.

I had scheduled this appointment with John Ruffini, another NPHS alum, to talk to him about the cataract surgery (and before I knew of any retina issues.)  He had a look at my still dilated left eye and we discussed my options and the problems that could arise from taking out the cataract.  He also thought it was best to see how the eye reacts to the increased drops and new drop.  I have put off scheduling the cataract surgery because of moving the business and the fact that it could undo the partial cornea transplant.  My left eye has endured seven operations over the years, with another one imminent.  I’m tired of going through these procedures and the recovery with mediocre success.  The risk/reward factor isn’t great, though I would do anything to preserve any sight I still have.

After leaving John Ruffini’s office, we made a delivery in Holmes and stopped by a salon in Milmont Park to look at a styling chair that needs replacing.  We returned home at about 4:00 pm and had an alarm company tech waiting to convert our system.  It took him about two hours (the whole story will have to wait for another time.)

We were finally able to head to Riddle to visit my mom.  She went to the hospital at around 8:00 am this morning because she was having shortness of breath and chest pains.  The doctor wanted to keep her overnight for observation.  She seems to be okay, though uncomfortable because of the shingles.  We are hoping to pick her up and take her home tomorrow.

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OCT Retina Test

What an adventure today at the Pagoda Building at 100 Presidential Ave.  After a few minutes in the waiting area, we were called back.  I followed Irene into a very dimly lit room, stumbling slightly on one of the stools.  I sat on a stool that seemed to be a bit too high for the machine I was supposed to put my chin in while pressing my forehead against the bar.  The device that was going to take the images and measurements of my retina looked similar to an older (circa 1998) surveillance camera.  Inside the lens was this cool blue light, slightly lighter than the blue light on the machine that reads your IOP,  that looked similar to something in a sci fi movie with a thin red line across the horizon that looked like a laser.

My good fortune was that the machine was brand spanking new and both Irene and Todd had not yet mastered it.  Irene couldn’t get a good set of images and kept asking me if I was diabetic, which I am not.  She then said that the cataract in that eye must be really dense, because they couldn’t get a clear image.  She then decided to dilate my eye.  (This test was only for the left eye.  The right is waiting for the Six Million Dollar Man eye and I haven’t spotted those at Radio Shack yet.)  Dr. Pro had asked that the eye be dilated, but Irene thought it wasn’t necessary at the beginning.  While my pupil was dilating, Irene stepped out of the room.  Todd, Eliz, and I talked about the machine.  I asked Todd a question and didn’t get a response.  Eliz then answered for him.  Seems he didn’t realize I couldn’t see him and he nodded yes to answer my question.  After about 10 minutes, Irene walked back in, but Todd wanted his turn on the machine, so Irene coached him.  He couldn’t get a good image either.  Irene’s turn again.

After about 10 to 15 minutes of trying, we were asked to go wait in another waiting area.  We only waited there a couple of minutes and then it was back into the hot seat for me (and I didn’t stumble in the room this time since my eye was dilated…)  Finally, Irene was able to get the correct images the doctor ordered.  I asked if I could have one put on my flash drive.  Irene said no, but said she’d print one out.  As she looked through all the images, she realized that they weren’t that good.  She asked if she could try again on getting a good image.  At this point, either Eliz or I mentioned the Endothelial transplant from December 2008.  She then said that might be why she couldn’t get a good image.  Whatever.  She got some images she was happy with and printed one out for me…  In black and white!  The doctor will have a look in a day or two.  I’ll call on Wednesday to see what the story is.

I’ve got a scanner issue that is stopping me from uploading the image.  Hopefully I’ll figure it out tomorrow and have the image up here then.  I know it doesn’t look like this image:

OCT demonstrating normal retinal architecture.

OCT demonstrating normal retinal architecture.

My OCT scan from 11 Jan 2010.

My OCT scan from 11 Jan 2010.

So now I have to wait to hear from the doctor.  My image is a bit more “hilly” than the image above.  I’m hopeful this is the reason for my latest issue.  I also hope this can be fixed.

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