Thursday, 30 January 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - January 30, 2014

Write On!

I wanted a diagnosis. I wanted to know what was distoring my central vision. I've wanted to know this since October 31/13 when the greasy smear first appeared down the centre of my visual field. I wanted it to go away. Yesterday I got my answer. Yesterday my love and I made the trek down to the city, to St. Michael's Hospital to see a neuro-opthalmologist.

The information sheet warned, in caps no less, that "Due to the complexity of care for our patients, the waiting time will be 3 to 4 hours."  So it was with books and writing tools, tablets and smartphones that we settled into the waiting room. No matter how I planned for this, no matter how much stuff I brought to while away the time, to distract me from the tension and the tedium, waiting in a big city hospital to be seen by a big gun specialist was still nerve-racking, a delicate balance between fight and flight accompanied by the constant chatter of the optimist and the pessimist in my head bantering on about the best outcome and worst case scenario. I studied my surroundings - hospital green walls, salmon marbled vinyl flooring, bad artwork on the walls, umpteen notices about infection control, two identical poems about miraculous hands which I couldn't see well enough to read, and a big poster about patient's expectations of a great hospital. I wrote a little (you're reading it now) and the first hour passed.

Just after 10am, my name was called. The doc spent the next 40 minutes asking questions and doing tests. No fault found. Then the eye drops went in and I was shuttled back out into the waiting room. Of course due to the drops, my eyesight became even worse over the next 40 minutes. Those green walls became a sea of blurriness and the wall art some nondescript flotsam and jetsam. Again I was summoned back to see the doc. One look with an opthalmascope into those huge dark pools that my eyes had become, and she announced the diagnosis: an epiretinal membrane in the macular area of both eyes. You can read all about it on the Canadian Opthalmological Society website.

I have half of what I wanted and it's neither as good as my optimist nor as bad as the pessimist. But it's not going to go away. I am stuck with this distortion and though it may get worse over time, I won't lose my sight entirely. When it does get really bad there is a surgical procedure that can remove the membrane, with some risks; all surgery has risks. While I wait to see a retinal specialist who will monitor my eyes for some time to come, life goes on. There is a Chinese New Year dinner to prepare. I've got most of the ingredients and the rest I'll pick up today. Tomorrow after a luxurious massage and a haircut, I'll get cooking.

Write on, I say, Write On!

© -

©2014 April Hoeller


  1. Write on, indeed! I salute your spirit and eagerly look forward to reading your blog weekly

    1. Thank you, Ketaki!
      I look forward to reading from you too.

  2. I, too, salute your spirit!!! Following the link, I read that the surgery would be a vitrectomy and I thought, "how strange", as that is what I had done. But, Wikipedia explains that this would be followed by a membranectomy - there's the difference. It can all sound quite scary, but I have great faith in the specialists out there. Accelerated cataract development is quite common after a vitrectomy. That, too, can be dealt with. Now that you have a diagnosis, I am convinced that you will overcome the "handicap". Of course, there will be those days when the pessimist in you barges in, But, with your spirit, the optimist will triumph and you might even make friends with those jellyfish in your eyes. Maybe you can use this as an additional reason to buy an extra case at NOTL this year... Write on!!!