Eye Institute, today.

I had another appointment at the Eye Institute, today. After last week’s appointment where I discovered that they didn’t have anything in my file since my visit in October, they put those %*#%^%  drops in my eyes for no damn reason which screwed my vision up for about 4 hours and I had to wait at least an hour before I could drive home, and I wasn’t sure if they knew what the Hell they were doing, I was ready to be pissed off, today.

However, I was very pleased with the visit.

Firstly, the woman that, to date, I have seen on every visit wasn’t there and one of the doctors actually saw me rather than another resident (or intern, I’m not sure which) saw me. I was ready to be upset because the first thing she asked was something along the lines of “When was your last visit, here?” I asked if they still hadn’t located my file and she assured me that they had my file but she just wasn’t sure if it was last week or two weeks, etc., from my last visit.

She actually seemed familiar with the case and she said that they had been in a quandary about whether it was an infection that was the cause of the problems or Herpes (which is the virus causes both Chicken Pox and Shingles, cold sores, as well as a variation being Genital Herpes which I can assure you is NOT something I have).

After having a really good look, she said that the problem seems to have stemmed from the Shingles I had last fall and possibly a recurrence recently. There is an old scar on the top right of my cornea and a new lesion near the centre of my cornea, so she is pretty sure that I had a recurrence after Christmas.

However, the lesion is healing, the old scar looks like a faint patch on the cornea, and that the vision appears to be getting better.

There will likely be a small amount of permanent damage in the form of a light scar but that it will probably fade as the old damage has done. As I have said, I don’t notice the vision as much as I do the sensitivity to light and that has CERTAINLY improved. Cloudy days don’t bother me nearly as much as they did and the one really sunny day I was out, once I had the sunglasses on, the light didn’t bother me at all. Before, if it was sunny, even  with two pairs of sunglasses, I was nearly blind.

They are reducing the medication and my next appointment is in two weeks.

All-in-all, I am pretty happy with the visit.

My eye.

I had my second appointment at the Eye Institute, today.

I had to wait endlessly to be called and had a gigantic coughing fit in the waiting room. Every time I sat down I would start coughing (I have a sort of throat thing). I would get up, go and get some water and the coughing would stop. I’d go sit down and within about 30 seconds was coughing up a lung. I kept assuring the folks “Tickle in the throat, not the FLU!” Finally after about the 4th visit to the water fountain, I was called in to see the doctor. Thank GOD!

After examining my eye, she said that the “damaged area” was smaller than the last visit but still fairly significantly visible. This time, however, when she poked me  repeatedly in the eye, I felt it. The last time, the surface of the eye didn’t “feel” anything.

I still can’t read the chart. If anything, that was WORSE than last time. The only thing I could make out was the big white letters on blue which were the name of the program they use for testing eyes — letters about 6 inches high. The actual chart letters were either straight-ish  fuzzy blobs or rounded fuzzy blobs.

During the last visit, when she mentioned that there were blood vessels going into the damaged area which, to me, sounded like a “good” thing but this time, the way she said it, it sounded like a “bad” thing. Somewhat confusing…

I was able to drive with no problems on Saturday but Sunday was AWFUL, even wearing the new wrap-around sunglasses. Saturday was fairly overcast but still rather too bright. Sunday was a brilliant day.

She’s given me more drops, this time with a steroid to reduce the swelling and inflammation, on top of the other drops and an ointment, and said that I am to go in again on Thursday. Hopefully, there will be more improvement.

Really, it is rather depressing to feel so unsure about whether there is any change or not, particularly because I can’t see any change. With something on the surface, you can tell when something is healing. With an internal problem, generally, you can at least FEEL if there is some improvement. With this, I don’t FEEL much improvement and a don’t see any improvement in my vision, really. I have to depend on the doctor seeing changes within the eye which won’t make much difference to me for some time… if ever.

At least it gives me something to legitimately worry about instead of having panic attacks over nothing. Oddly enough, I haven’t been anxious beyond just being worried. For someone who becomes nearly incapacitated worrying about things that may never happen, having something to really worry about is less stressful.


I finally found a family doctor (again…).

This one is part of a family medical centre. For a few years I have been forced to see whatever doctor is available in one of these huge medical centres where even if you have an appointment with  a certain doctor, you can wait hours. While I was seeing one particular doctor whenever I could, he wasn’t MY doctor and I was hesitant to sign on as his patient. Provincial health care rules mean that if you sign on with a particular doctor, that’s it. You are stuck for life unless they leave the practice and don’t take you with them.

My beloved family doctor retired back in 2000 and was unable to find me a doctor. I’ve been with a couple of others but they simply left the clinics they were in and the clinics didn’t seem to care what happened to their patients.

So this week, I had my first actual check-up since 2000.

I had a “check-up” a few years ago at one of the “megaloclinics”. My “appointment was for 9am and I arrived at 8:45. I didn’t get called until 2:15. My “check-up” consisted of height, weight, and an eye-test (which the “nurse” did, insisting that I tack off my glasses and look at the chart 15 feet away… Since I can barely see the palm of my hand front 3 inches away, this was pretty pointless… Since I had just had my eyes checked less than a week ago by an actual eye doctor, it was even more pointless). That was the sum total of my check-up.

THIS time, I got the full work-up, including a home colon-cancer test kit.

So, now for the Pap…

Women know the scoop. Butt at the end of the table and knees in your ears.

Doctor says “This may be a little uncomfortable, since it hasn’t been used in a while…”

I’m thinking to myself “Either she doesn’t do too many internal exams and is using a reusable speculum…”

“Ummm, you mean the speculum or my…”

“I meant your….”

I’d have doubled over if I didn’t think that might just hurt a lot….

Finally (maybe)…

After a couple of years, they THINK maybe they have gotten to the bottom of Mom’s fainting spells.

In the last while, she has had various monitoring devices attached to the which have annoyed and discombobulated her but which seemed not to have shown the “experts” anything unusual. In fact, the one I had the highest hopes for did not catch the one episode she had while wearing it and 5 minutes after handing it in, she had another one.

Last week, she was put on a blood pressure monitor which she was to wear for 24 hours (which OHIP doesn’t cover and for which we had to pay $100 out-of-pocket).

We were called in to the doctor’s office yesterday and it seems that aside from the first hour when Mom’s blood pressure was elevated slightly, it showed that her blood pressure was “way too low”.  After discussing it with her cardiologist, they removed two of her blood-pressure medications.

Hopefully, this will have an effect on her and she may feel better and have a bit more energy.

Poor thing has been lolling about with no desire or energy to do anything except drag herself to the kitchen or up the stairs to the bathroom. I have been afraid to take her anywhere because every time I do, she has a “turn”.

I certainly don’t like the idea of going to the theatre or anywhere when I’m not with her. If she had one at the theatre, getting her down to the floor and getting her water would be impossible and if she were out with anyone else, they wouldn’t know what to do and would likely call an ambulance, not to mention that unless you get her on the floor with her feet on a chair, she actually goes out and throws up which is awful for her.

With the exception of the time at the restaurant where I was so worried about upsetting the other diners and ended up upsetting them, anyway, when she passed out and was sick and the paramedics came, I have always managed to get her to come round without her actually going completely out or getting sick. It is so upsetting for her to have to go to the hospital and, really, completely pointless because she is completely normal by the time she gets there and they can’t figure out what happened, anyway. And then she comes home sick and disoriented and not quite herself for several days.

If I act quickly and get her feet elevated and some water into her, she comes round and is right as rain almost immediately and never suffers from the “wobblies” for days and weeks after the way she does if she actually gets sick and passes out. If she actually goes out and is sick, I do call an ambulance.

It is just too upsetting for her and I refuse to put her through it if there is no benefit.

On another note,

I will remember this whenever my mother asks me the same question for the 100th time…This a Greek short film made in 2007

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “What is that? 2007“, posted with vodpod



I took Mom down to The Heart Institute and got her fitted with the  ambulatory blood pressure monitor this afternoon about 2:30. We went from there to the chiropractor’s and then I drove her home. I went out to Sears and bought 2 pairs of shoes for myself and then got some shopping done. I arrived home, just before 6, and went to put the groceries away and Mom started complaining about the blood pressure monitor as soon as I got in the door. “We need to take this back.”

I asked if it was uncomfortable or something and then walked into the living room to find that she had taken it off. I asked why she’d taken it off. “Because I’m done with it!”

“We have to take it back.”

I said “You aren’t supposed to take it off. It’s supposed to be left on!” We paid $100 for this test that isn’t covered by OHIP and I’m worried that we’ll have to pay another $100 to have it put on again. I am still trying to understand why she took it off. And then she says “Aren’t we supposed to take it back, today?”

I said that we are supposed to take it back Thursday that she’s supposed to wear it for two days!

“But I’ve been WEARING it for two days!”

I kept trying to tell her that she’s had it on for less than 4 hours, at this point. She’s looking at me like I’m crazy…

I told her what we did today and she’s convinced that that was 2 days ago…

I managed to get the thing put back on properly, though. Hopefully, it will STAY on for the next two days.

And every time the thing beeps before the cuff inflates, she’s asking “Is this going to go on all night?”. I explain that it only beeps for the first few hours and then before bedtime, it stops beeping and won’t beep at all before we take it off. It will take her blood pressure every half hour but it won’t beep…. It beeps again and she gets irritated and asks if it is going to go off all night long, again.

“It seems to be beeping every 2 minutes!”. It is 1/2 an hour by my count…..

Jesus and all the Saints preserve me….

Monday’s Shingle-y update…

I went to the hospital today because my vision in my right eye is blurry and I have what appear to be new spots and some swelling around my eye…

The doctor, the same one as last week,  (who, by the way, was the doctor who say me, here in Ontario, after last year’s Elk attack) said that it appears I have an abrasion on my retina cornea, either from rubbing or from the eyelid sores rubbing but I have to go to the Eye Clinic tomorrow* to make sure.

Apparently, when the eye is involved, to the extent that mine was, the “remote” likelihood of the Herpes virus infecting the eye is less “remote” and when it infects the eye, it can get into the brain…. Brain Shingles, as goofy as it sounds is pretty serious. AND, as you may know, reading up on these things often gives you more information than you want to know… Like, people who get Shingles which invade the eye are at a higher percentage than normal (as much as 30%!) in having a stroke within a short time of their attack.

Having said all that, the doctor is pretty confident that it hasn’t gotten in there but with the corneal abrasion, he wants to make extra sure, especially as my vision in the right eye has become “significantly” blurred since just last week. Then, I was able to read clearly all but the bottom line of the chart, and even some of that. This week, I could read down to line four and that would go in and out…. He thinks it is just from the abrasion.

He drew me a diagram of what the Herpes virus on your eye looks like (see below – with dye and refraction). He says mine just looks like an abrasion but that it it’s best to get it checked out.

Occular Herpes (ARGOS Consultorios de Salud)
Occular Herpes (ARGOS Consultorios de Salud)

On the whole, he says that I am “clearing up nicely”, in fact and that the spots are “post-Herpetic”. After yesterday when I was having a lot of pain and took a number of the pain meds, (rendering me “pretty loopy” today, the headaches seem much reduced, though painful. And I can’t tell if the hot-flashes are to do with Shingles or being 53…. I have taken “dr. az’s” advice and decided to give myself a break from Scramble on Facebook because I was worried about my “brain fog”.

And my blood pressure was great, or at least the bottom number, which is the one that matters (160/94).

The really GOOD thing out of this is that, last week, when I was at the pharmacy, I overheard the clerks talking about “doctors taking patients!!!!!”!!!!). There is a new clinic around the corner from the pharmacy and I toddled right in an made an appointment for a “meet and greet” with the doctor.

Hopefully, this will be the start of a beautiful friendship and I can stop waiting 3 hours for an “appointment” which isn’t an “appointment” but the Appletree Clinic version of a cattle-call. MY last doctor left the previous clinic without warning to join the Ottawa U Medical faculty and the clinic in question didn’t seem interested in finding me someone else to see. My theory about doctors is that you know what kind of service you are going to get from the receptionists and the previous clinic was, for the most part, cold and disinterested.

The welcome at the new place was friendly, considering they were confronted with a person with swollen eyes and a horrific rash. We’ll see how things progress. It has been almost 10 years since my lovely family doctor, Dr. Power, retired, leaving me high and dry (they were unable to find new doctors for a good number of the patients, including me).

I will miss Dr. M from Appletree because he is matter-of-fact and we got along but I need to feel confident in the over-all care and I just don’t feel that with Appletree.

*Tomorrow, I also have to take Mom in to The Heart Institute to get fitted with a blood-pressure monitor that she will have to wear – and have $100 to pay for it. Wednesday, she has to see her cardiologist, hopefully about the results of the “event monitor” she had on for two weeks AND I have to arrange to have the second part of her root canal done. Life is full….

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