Today’s visit to The Eye Unit

Well today I had my 4 monthly trip to The Eye Unit in Southampton, its a bit of a sausage factory and has all the issues any eye unit has, its like walking into a day centre or old peoples home, I’m still at the age of 20 the youngest person there by about 30 years but hey-ho its all part of the fun. I planned to get the bus after producing the days news bulletin for our student radio station, unfortunately the studio broke and what with one thing and another I was running late so splashed out on a TAXI. In my complete paranoia of being late, what happens I was an entire hour early! Anyway I signed in, did the distance vision test, which was a bit of an eye opener. They have got new electronic eye charts that are remote controlled, its no longer possible to cheat the eye test how upsetting is that! So anyway eye test done I went to wait to see the doctor an hour and a half winds by, I’m listening to my ipod, a million and one conversations that are going on around me and the sound of Gus moaning with boredom under my seat. Then my ears prick up its now 12:30 ish and I here a man behind me say that his appointment was supposed to be at 9:45 and that he has not been seen yet.

I then have that feeling of dread that tells me I am probably in for the long hall and that I should make myself comfy, maybe even get my laptop (her name is Lilly) out and do some work.

Then a nurse makes an announcement, the doctor I am supposed to be seeing is not in today and his replacement is a medical student, this is what is holding everything up. Then the good news, the other doctors have all finished there clinics now so are helping to clear the backlog.

Great I might actually be out of the eye unit by my next birthday! (October 31st if any one’s that interested.)

15 or so minutes later my name is called, it should all be quick and painless from here.

So I’m talking to the doctor she is a little horrified by the presence of my guide dog, she has a VERY quick look at my eyes then measures my Glaucoma score, doesn’t check them again, I could tell it was a bit of a quick get her out clear the backlog type examination. I am a bit of a specialist at being examined by eye doctors and medical students and have been round the opthamology block more than a few times. She tells me everything is fine my pressures are great and that there are no causes for concern.

I have a cause for concern, I have a small amount of debris in my right eye, its just remnants of scar tissue and stuff like that, every now and then a bit pops up, floats around a bit and I get a shadow in my vision, sometimes they are even pretty colours. I wasn’t really to concerned, but on Friday I got a new little floater.

I still have it now sat here writing this so thought as it has hung around for quite a long time I would run it past the doctor.

Doctor has a slightly better look at my eye and looks very concerned, then announces that the back of my eye has been bleeding, it might still be bleeding, I need to see the consultant and what have I done with my notes. 

It was literally those statements in roughly that order, at this point I got scared, and said that I had not at any point had my notes so didn’t know where they where either.

So anyway doctor goes off to ring consultant, she pops back to tell me that she can’t get hold of him so is going up to his office because he is probably by now on lunch.

So I’m sitting there and I realise I am completely pinned to my chair by the table that swings round with all the technical stuff on it. I try and push it away a little bit but its locked in place, literally on my lap, the building could burn down and I would be stuck there forever. I’m not a claustrophobic person on the whole but in that minute I was starting to panic.

Luckily a nurse swung by and I was like ‘Let me out I’m being claustrophobic’ one nice nurse and a glass of water later and all was fine.

Doctor reappears and says she can’t find the consultant or my notes. She doesn’t know why my eye is bleeding, or if it is still bleeding, or what to do about it, BUT it could be really dangerous and permanently damage my vision and I might need surgery to sort it out. (great, in my head I am shitting my pants)

She takes my mobile number encase they need me urgently, if no one rings me I will get a letter through the post, if I don’t get a letter I need to ring up and check I have not been lost in the system.

It all makes me have great faith in our NHS system, don’t get me wrong I love the NHS its a great invention and we are very fortunate to have free health care in this country, but wow losing my notes, missing that there is a potentially serious problem with my eye, then not being able to find a consultant to sort it out makes me worry a bit.

So anyway I am left to worry about what the future holds for my right eye and Wait for the phone to ring or a letter thorough the post… or to be lost in the system.

I have decided I am giving them a week if I don’t here anything I will chase them up, but of course I am now on red alert as it where, if anything worries me before I hear from them I will be heading to Eye Casualty straight away.

It’s all rather worrying really.


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